The RMT Union (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) says strike action is going ahead over the "imposition of impossible and unreasonable demands" on staff in advance of Night Tube reopening.
The union has confirmed that the action will go ahead by members over what it describes as the imposition of unacceptable and intolerable demands on staff in advance of the Night Tube reopening, which the union says will wreck work life balance by bulldozing through additional night and weekend working.
The union says that London Underground (LU) refused point blank to consider the serious grievances at the heart of the dispute and that it has become clear "the drive from tube bosses is all about cutting costs regardless of the impact on staff and the services they operate".
As a result all train operator and instructor operators working on night-tube lines (Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly & Victoria) have been instructed not to book on for any duty commencing between 04:30 on 26/11/21 and 04:29 27/11/21.
Further all train operator and instructor operators working on the Central and Victoria lines are instructed not to book on for any duty commencing:
between 20:30 on 27/11/21 and 04:29 on 28/11/21
between 20:30 on 3/12/21 and 04:29 on 4/12/21
between 20:30 on 4/12/21 and 04:29 on 5/12/21
between 20:30 on 10/12/21 and 04:29 on 11/12/21
between 20:30 on 11/12/21 and 04:29 on 12/12/21
between 20:30 on 17/12/21 and 04:29 on 18/12/21
All train operator and instructor operators working on night-tube lines (Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly & Victoria) are also instructed not to book on for any duty commencing from 04:30 on 18/12/21 to 04:29 19/12/21.
General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “We have made every effort in ACAS and direct talks to resolve this dispute but it is clear that LU bosses are driven solely by the bottom line and have no interest whatsoever in the well being of their staff or the service to passengers.
“We will take no lectures from LU on safety as no one has worked harder to ensure a safe environment for women on London Underground than the RMT. While Tube bosses have axed staff and left stations routinely unstaffed, with all of the obvious risks, we have campaigned relentlessly for the front line, physical presence of visible staff on stations and platforms. LU have ignored us as cuts come first.
“We are now being repaid by the imposition of working arrangements that would wreck the work-life balance of our members. No one should underestimate the anger this issue has generated amongst drivers.
“All of this was avoidable if the Tube management hadn’t axed dedicated Night Tube staff and perfectly workable arrangements in order to cut staffing numbers and costs. RMT has supported the introduction of the Night Tube but we know full well that prior to its suspension during the pandemic it was a magnet for violent, abusive and anti-social behaviour and trying to run it on the cheap will make that situation even worse.
“We warned months ago that slashing two hundred Night Tube Train Driver positions would create a staffing nightmare and LU need to start facing up to that reality and soon. The union remains available for further talks.“
But Transport for London and London Underground bosses have hit out at the decision, calling it "unnecessary”.
Nick Dent, Director of London Underground Customer Operations, said: “At such a pivotal time for the capital's recovery, we are hugely disappointed that the RMT is threatening London with this unnecessary action. By making changes to Tube driver rosters, we have provided greater flexibility for drivers as well as permanent work and job certainty, something welcomed by all other unions.
“The return of Night Tube is a hugely significant moment for the night-time economy and for Londoners travelling late at night who will have improved journey times and an additional safe travel option. We have been meeting with the RMT for a number of months through ACAS to try and resolve their issues and we remain open to talking further.”