London Tube drivers to vote on strike action over night pay

Mind the Gap Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Night Tube will start running by the end of the year

Tube drivers on the London Underground (LU) are to be balloted for strikes in a row over pay for new all-night services, the Aslef union has said.

The Night Tube will provide services on several lines from September.

Aslef said it had been told that unless drivers agreed to rosters they would automatically be imposed and no pay offer would be made this year.

The union said LU had "closed down" negotiations, however LU said these claims were "completely untrue".

'Work/life balance'

The new rosters would include covering all-night services on Friday and Saturday nights when they begin.

Finn Brennan, Aslef's district organiser, said: "London Underground has closed down the negotiations.

"Our members are entitled to a family life and to some sort of work/life balance.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Around 80% of all London Underground drivers are members of the Aslef union

"We aren't opposed to all-night services but we want them introduced in a fair and sensible way which rewards staff for their hard work."

About 80% of all London Underground drivers are members of Aslef.

Mr Brennan said drivers would have to work an unlimited number of weekend and night shifts for no extra pay.

The Night Tube services will initially run on the Piccadilly, Victoria, Central, Jubilee and Northern lines.

They will be extended to the Metropolitan, Circle, District, and Hammersmith & City lines by 2021, the London Overground in 2017 and the Docklands Light Railway by 2021.

The plans are part of a six-point long term economic plan that Chancellor George Osborne and London Mayor Boris Johnson said would add £6.4bn to the London economy by 2030 and create 500,000 new jobs.

Image copyright PA
Image caption George Osborne and Boris Johnson said the Night Tube would add £6.4bn to the London economy by 2030

Labour's London Assembly transport spokeswoman Val Shawcross said the Night Tube would be a great thing for London but "it's important it's done properly".

She said: "That means recognising the impact it will have on staff who will make the night Tube possible and listening to their concerns.

"Instead, last year the mayor announced a start date for the night Tube without any proper consultation with the staff and unions."

Nick Brown, chief operating officer for LU, said: "To suggest that we've closed down negotiations is completely untrue and it is extremely disappointing the co-ordinated response by the unions has been to announce their intention to ballot members.

"Talks have not broken down and we are committed to reaching an agreement that rewards our hard-working staff that is affordable, sustainable and fair."

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