ABOLITION OF NIGHT TUBE TRAIN OPERATOR GRADE – LONDON UNDERGROUND

Our Ref LUL/2/3

28th July 2021

TO ALL LONDON UNDERGROUND TRAIN OPERATORS AND INSTRUCTOR OPERATORS

Dear Colleagues

ABOLITION OF NIGHT TUBE TRAIN OPERATOR GRADE – LONDON UNDERGROUND

For the second time your lead officer and senior representatives met with London Underground at ACAS to try to resolve this dispute and this has been reported back to your National Executive Committee. During discussions our demands were made abundantly clear. No LUL train operator should be forced to work night tube, rosters / shift work life balance cannot be made worse and 200 jobs cannot simply be abolished. LUL were also reminded that we currently have an agreement (Night Tube settlement 2016) that is fit for purpose and is a national agreement between us. Despite our strong representations, management would not accept our position.

The NEC has considered your lead officer’s report from ACAS and noted that, whilst talks continue, management has so far failed to seriously address our concerns. It was further noted that LUL has engaged in a hostile campaign of misinformation in an effort to undermine support for our strike action, which commences on 3rd August 2021. I have been instructed to inform London Underground that unless they spend more time seeking a resolution to our dispute instead of spreading misinformation then our strikes will be followed up with further action.

The key issues facing members which are yet to be addressed by LUL are as follows: -

LUL entered into a comprehensive agreement to resolve our dispute over the introduction of Night Tube in which it was explicitly stated that no full-time driver would be forced to work night Tube duties. This agreement safeguarded Train Operator members from working more nights and weekends and avoided unacceptable levels of fatigue associated with fragmented roster patterns.

Vague promises from LUL that our members will not have to work more weekends are not supported by any real proposals to avoid this. It is clear that if weekend Night Tube duties are rolled into full-time TO21 rosters then there will be additional weekend turns to be picked up by full-time drivers.


There has been no recognition from LUL that the requirement to cover night-tube duties in the main TO21 roster will lead to fragmented duties moving from days to nights and unacceptable fatigue.

Management’s insistence that working Night Tube turns be compulsory shows that they do not expect the impacts of these duties to be beneficial to the TO21 grade. If management’s claims were true they could quite easily rely on volunteers.

Suggestions from management that the overall number of train operators will not be cut are not supported by any formal agreement. At a time when TfL is seeking massive spending cuts it is inconceivable that LUL will not seek to recover the costs of paying a Night-Tube duty premium by reducing staffing costs across train operations.

We simply cannot allow LUL to abolish an entire grade, slash 200 jobs and destroy the work life balance of the 3000 drivers that remain. This is nothing short of a breach of trust by an out of touch management hell bent on abolishing the part time jobs of workers – mainly women – who rely on the flexibility and security they offer while they juggle other commitments. That is a major equalities issue that the London Mayor and LU management should be taking very seriously indeed.

Having worked tirelessly throughout the devastating pandemic, making a massive contribution to keeping vital public services running, this is a real kick in the teeth and it is clear how angry and frustrated drivers are on the combine at LU’s failure to address our concerns at their poorly considered and damaging plans for the driver grade. Your quality of life is effectively being traded to pay the financial cost of the pandemic.

As a result of LU’s position the series of strikes we have called remain on and as a reminder are listed below: -

Members are instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between: -

12:00 hours on Tuesday 3rd August 2021 and 11.59 hours on Wednesday 4th August 2021
12:00 hours on Thursday 5th August 2021 and 11.59 hours on Friday 6th August 2021
12:00 hours on Tuesday 24th August 2021 and 11.59 hours on Wednesday 25th August 2021
12:00 hours on Thursday 26th August 2021 and 11.59 hours on Friday 27th August 2021

I am writing to LUL to advise them of our position, confirming that the strike action remains in place. We will urge them to meet with us this week for constructive ACAS discussions to try to resolve this dispute. I will keep you fully informed of developments.

STAND FIRM
SUPPORT THE STRIKE ACTION
UNITY IS STRENGTH
 

Yours sincerely


Michael Lynch
General Secretary