UPDATE – first two tube strikes have been suspended – details here.
Tube train drivers who are members of the RMT union are to hold two tube strikes next week in a dispute about night tube driver grades.
Announced last month, the RMT has confirmed that they will go ahead as planned.
The tube strike – assuming there are no last-minute changes will run from:
- Noon on Tuesday 3rd Aug to noon on Wednesday 4th Aug.
- Noon on Thursday 5th Aug to noon on Friday 6th Aug.
The strike will only affect RMT drivers as the other driver unions have accepted the changes, so the disruption to services will be less severe than if all the tube unions were to go on strike. However, also note that the tube strike takes place as the southern half of the Circle line and part of the District line will also be closed for planned engineering works.
The union says that the dispute is over a plan to abolish the night tube grade, a special grade created for people working the night tube service.
TfL wants to merge the night tube grade into the standard tube staff grade, which the RMT opposes as they argue it will lead to job cuts among the night tube staff. However, as the night tube is currently suspended, and seems likely to remain so for some time, keeping the night tube staff segregated from the rest of the staff reduces staffing flexibility.
The RMT says that it will also lead to job cuts, although, Nick Dent, Director of Customer Operations for London Underground has previously said that no job cuts are planned from these changes. Although merging the two job grades would in theory require fewer drivers, as there’s always a number of people retiring/resigning there may not be a requirement for redundancies, just fewer staff being hired later on.
Although the changes make it easier for night-tube limited staff to become full-time drivers, they also mean that existing tube drivers could, in the future, be asked to work the night tube shifts at weekends, which they currently don’t work.
There are also two more tube strikes planned later this month:
- Noon on Tuesday 24th Aug to noon on Wednesday 25th Aug.
- Noon on Thursday 26th Aug to noon on Friday 27th Aug.