Work/life balance and fair pay at centre of London ‘ni...

'Work/life’ balance and fair pay at centre of London ‘night tube’ dispute

11 January 2016

The threat to the work/life balance and an inadequate pay offer are the key issues in the long-running London Underground dispute over the introduction of the ‘night tube’, as Unite, the country’s largest union, announced three days of strike action.

Unite, which represents a key 600-strong workforce of engineers and maintenance staff without which the 270 station network can’t operate, accused of London Underground Ltd (LUL) of ‘unreasonable, hardline intransigence’.

Unite members will be striking for 24 hours from 18.30 on Tuesday 26 January; Monday 15 February and Wednesday 17 February.

Unite acting national officer for rail Hugh Roberts said: “The sticking points are an inadequate four-year pay offer and a failure to agree over the implementation of the ‘night tube’. LUL bosses are also threatening to impose rosters and tear up agreements.

“Unite is not against the principle of the ‘night tube’ as we can see the benefits for the nocturnal economy of one of the world’s great and diverse cities.

“However, it should not be at the expense of our members’ work/life balance – they have families too – and they should be suitably rewarded for this work.

“LUL management can’t expect the night tube to be run on the cheap with the prospect of zero-hours contracts for drivers during this period.”

Last month, Unite London Underground reps unanimously rejected an offer of a four-year pay deal from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2019. 

Hugh Roberts said: “Not even world-class economists can predict the level of pay deals in four years’ time. The LUL proposals tie our members are far too close to the retail price index (RPI), currently 1.6 per cent.

“As the economy picks up, pay deals could outstrip the RPI, leaving our members with severely eroded pay packets in real terms. We won’t allow this to happen.”

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.