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.

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Article last updated: 2 August 2021 18:19


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  1. ASLEF shrugged says:

    “other driver unions”

    There is only one other drivers union, ASLEF, which has more driver members than RMT

    There won’t be any redundancies because we are desperately short of drivers and training replacements has been delayed by Covid precautions. That’s why LUL wanted the Night Tube part timers to go full time.

  2. Chris says:

    Fire them all. Flick the switch that turns on the ATO, and problem solved.

    • Julian says:

      …. except you will need a member of staff on board to flick that switch.

      Nice try though.

    • Liam says:

      Great idea Chris – ever considered a career in diplomacy? Your direct approach could solve so many of our worlds issues. Peace in the Middle East, the global pandemic and refugee movement. So many opportunities for you to bring your enlightened and considered response into.

      The London network tube is needing all its remaining staff. With reduced subsidy we may well be headed for another ’80s era of underinvestment in our public transport network. When its essential to have greater capacity and many less breakdowns. Just to ensure its future and remain a viable alternative to cars and the more polluting means of commuting. ATO will never do that in isolation.

  3. Liam says:

    Mon 2nd August 2021 – Update on the news that the tube strikes will not now go ahead this week. That’s good!

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