Gwyn Topham, The Guardian, March 02, 2015
London’s promised 24-hour weekend tube service could finally be on track after the biggest union voted to accept the associated pay deal.
A ballot saw 84% of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union vote in favour of a deal that should help clear the way for the introduction of the night tube, originally scheduled to start in September 2015.
The service will lead to London Underground trains running on most lines in central London throughout Friday and Saturday nights for the first time.
Concerns from unions over work-life balance and rosters, allied to discontent over the closure of ticket offices, led to a series of actual and threatened strikes before plans were delayed.
After months of talks, a proposed deal was put to tube workers. As well as the RMT, members of three other unions need to approve the deal. The second biggest tube union, Aslef, is voting on the offer, which has been recommended to drivers by negotiators. The result of that ballot is expected next week.
The introduction of the night tube is likely to be some months off, with new drivers recruited to work the shifts still in training. The overnight service is unlikely to be brought in before the mayoral elections in May.
The RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, said that its members had “stood rock solid throughout the long campaign of industrial pressure to secure a fair deal from the company over pay and night tube operation”.
London Underground welcomed the news. Steve Griffiths, its chief operating officer, said: “This is a fair and affordable pay deal, which includes complete protection of employee work/life balance. We are seeking agreement with the other unions and continue to focus on the recruitment and training of part-time drivers to deliver the night tube for London as quickly as possible.”
The four-year pay deal, backdated to 2015, will push up salaries by £500, followed by a 1% or RPI inflation increase annually, with a £500 bonus for staff working on the night tube when it comes into operation.
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk
This article was written by Gwyn Topham transport correspondent from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.