Night Tube ACAS Update: Four Day Week For Trains Discussed

Your Train Functional reps (from both unions) along with John Leach met the employers at ACAS on Tuesday afternoon (September 15th). The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a joint RMT/Aslef proposal to introduce Night Tube. The aims for your TFC reps have always been to introduce NT fairly and safely; we want to cause as little disruption as possible and to “share the pain”; and to get fair remuneration for the disruption and for the changes to our agreements. It is recognised that Night Tube can only be introduced by agreement if LUL accept that there will be some cost and productivity impact.

Strikes push LUL back Initially, LUL told us that as far as they were concerned they could introduce NT within current agreements and without compensation. Two very effective, 100% solid strikes put paid to that foolish notion and now LUL are finally entering into meaningful negotiations. Any agreement will not be a ‘one size fits all’ but will be subject to local requirements in conjunction with Trains Functional Council agreements. It was this recognition that allowed us to call off the last strikes. We still have the problem of Mayor Johnson insisting that NT comes in at a bargain basement price. The reason the pay talks have stalled and why you haven’t yet had the wage increase that you were entitled to back in April is that LUL have linked pay with NT. Effectively, LUL are withholding our pay increase and using it as a hostage to negotiate NT.

Introducing Night Tube On the trains side we are looking at the introduction of NT in two stages – the interim period and the “permanent solution”. We are firmly of the belief that working night tube shifts in the interim period should be voluntary. All night tube shifts should be rostered and then drivers not wishing to work night tube duties will give a minimum 28 notice in writing to their Train Operations Manager. This is still a point of contention and will be discussed again at ACAS next week. (At Morden and Arnos Grove, where fixed-link systems are in place local consultation will take place about where the NT duties are placed.)

"Initially, LUL told us that as far as they were concerned they could introduce NT within current agreements and without compensation. Two very effective, 100% solid strikes put paid to that foolish notion"

In practice this will mean that volunteers willing to work NT duties will be identified locally and then allocated to work those duties that are put back over the counter by drivers not wishing to work NT. A system of doing this fairly will be put in place and monitored by the local depot committees. NT duties on Friday and Saturday will have an enhanced payment to encourage volunteers. During the interim period drivers will not be rostered to work any more Saturdays and Sundays than they are at the moment. We had originally asked to have a “recovery day” built into the roster following NT duties but LUL are refusing to budge on that demand. They are also insisting that there is no money available to increase the shift enhancement or the NT introduction bonus payment.

A Four Day Week The permanent solution will not see any bonus payments for working NT duties, which will be on separate links. The NT links will be staffed purely by volunteers, and nobody employed as a driver during the interim period will be compelled to work NT duties after the introduction of the new NT rosters. The rosters will be comprised of current drivers who volunteer to work them and promotional candidates from other grades. There will also be an opportunity for all drivers to work reduced hours and fewer shifts, on a pro-rata basis. There will also be opportunities for drivers to work, for example a 4 day 35 hour week. This will again be purely voluntary, and can be accommodated where there are enough volunteers at a depot to make it viable. (This will of course need changes to the Framework Agreement for those drivers choosing this option.)

Please remember that this is a work in progress, and we are a long way from sorting out all the details. Once your negotiating team believes we have got as much as LUL are prepared to concede, and we have full details about the process of the introduction of NT we will carry out a full consultation with reps and members. You will then be able to make a decision to accept or reject from a position of knowledge. If a majority of members believe that we could get more through further industrial action, then that is certainly something that will be considered by our Council of Executives. We have more dates to meet LUL at ACAS next week, and once more details are available we will issue a further update. For a full discussion on the details of NT please attend the Train Grades meeting on September 24th at 14.30 in Room 1 at Unity House.