Plans to restart London Underground’s Night Tube have been hit by an announcement of strikes by drivers in a dispute over staffing.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said its members will stage a series of walkouts from later this month, when the night service was due to start again after being closed because of the pandemic.
Drivers on the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines will stage 24-hour strikes from November 26 and December 18, with stoppages on the Central and Victoria lines in between these dates.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “No one has worked harder to ensure a safe environment for women on London Underground than the RMT.
“While Tube bosses have axed staff and left stations routinely unstaffed, with all of the obvious risks, we have campaigned relentlessly for the front line, physical presence of visible staff on stations and platforms.
“We are now being repaid by the imposition of working arrangements that would wreck the work-life balance of our members.
“All of this was avoidable if the Tube management hadn’t axed dedicated Night Tube staff and perfectly workable arrangements in order to cut staffing numbers and costs.
“It’s that action which has led us to make today’s announcement.
“RMT supports the reintroduction of the Night Tube but we know full well that prior to its suspension during the pandemic it was a magnet for violent, abusive and anti-social behaviour.
“We warned months ago that slashing 200 Night Tube train driver positions would create a staffing nightmare and LU need to start facing up to that reality.
“The union remains available for talks.”
Nick Dent, director of London Underground Customer Operations, said: “We are disappointed that the RMT is threatening London with this unnecessary action.
“The positive changes to Tube driver rosters have provided greater flexibility for drivers as well as permanent work and job certainty, something welcomed by all other unions.
“We have been meeting with the RMT for a number of months through Acas to try and resolve their issues and we remain open to talking further.”
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