Tube driver clashes with Nick Ferrari over strike
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The strike – said to be the longest the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) has ever called – will begin tomorrow and is expected to last until June 19. Transport for London described the decision to go ahead with the strike “disappointing”, apologising to customers for any disruption.
The strike will affect Night Tube services on the Central and Victoria lines – currently, the only lines open on a Friday and Saturday night since the coronavirus pandemic led to a reduced service.
It means that the underground network could grind to a halt as people try to use the public transport service to get home.
The RMT warned of “severe consequences” for Londoners.
The row between TfL and the RMT stems from a new roster, introduced last August, which the transport network said had been agreed with other unions representing workers on the line.
The strike was called even though the new shift agreement included assurances there would be no job cuts on the Underground, despite the pandemic obliterating TfL’s finances.
TfL also said that the new rosters provided “certainty” and the option for permanent work for those on part-time contracts.
The scheduling of four night shift weekends per year could be swapped with colleagues for other shifts “where preferred”, it added.
The network called on RMT to join it in talks to “avoid this unnecessary action and resolve this dispute”.
In a statement released today (Thursday), Andy Lord, Managing Director of London Underground, said: “We’re disappointed that, once again, the RMT is continuing to push for strike action that is likely to cause further unnecessary disruption.
He added: “If these six months of action do go ahead, we will continue to operate as regular a service as possible.
“However, customers are advised to check before they travel and use buses to complete their journeys where required.
“I apologise to them for the impact this unnecessary action will have on their journeys.”
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RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch also said today: “If London Underground and the Mayor thought this fight for progressive and family-friendly working practices was going away they need to think again.
“It’s the failure of [London Underground] and Sadiq Khan to address the grievances at the heart of the dispute that leaves us no option but to confirm the programme of action goes ahead as planned.”
He added that the strike “will have severe consequences for Londoners through to the summer.”
In a letter to members on December 23 announcing the strikes, RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch described the Night Tube duties as an “imposition”.
Mr Lynch claimed that TfL had ignored a 2016 agreement stating that no existing train operators would have to work Night Tube shifts “unless they choose to do so”.
He added: “It is only fair and reasonable that the company honour the 2016 agreement they entered with us in good faith and for a resolution to be sought on that basis.
“It is wholly unacceptable for them to treat our members with contempt and impose duties that are completely contrary to both the spirit and letter of our agreement.”
Night Tube services were reintroduced on the two lines on November 27 last year.
Despite strike action in the lead up to Christmas, TfL said it had been able to run a “regular and reliable” service.
It noted that the impact of the strike action would depend on the number of drivers who are striking that are booked onto each weekend.
TfL advised customers to check the status of a service before travelling.
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