RMT to hold referendum on four day week proposal for Tube drivers

When RMT entered the London Underground pay talks, one of our original demands was a 4 day, 32 hour week with no loss of earnings. LUL has dismissed this. A counter proposal came from staff side for a 4 day 36 hour week. LUL said that this could only be achieved if the same amount of handle turning time is completed over 4 days as it was over five. This will inevitably involve changing the Trains Framework Agreement. Simple arithmetic shows working that four eight-hour shifts is never going to equal a 36 hour week.

The RMT took 9 days of action, alongside ASLEF, in 1996 to get a shorter working week and reduce our rostering parameters to current levels. Because of this, the RMT believes it to be appropriate to consult with all our driver members when we are considering changing these frameworks, and this is exactly what we are going to do by holding a referendum.

Let’s be clear about this – the RMT has not walked away from talks on pay and Night Tube. Nor is the Union doing a back door deal or stepping away from a joint position with our sister unions, all 4 of which have been in talks with LUL since the spring.

London Underground is willing to do a trial of a four day, 36 hour week -  for volunteers only -  in two depots; to establish if it is possible to implement safely, as well as being cost effective and popular with drivers. The framework agreement will need to change only for those drivers who volunteer – it will remain unchanged for all others. The company has said that the working day needs to be at least 10 hours, and driving time needs to be increased to at least 4 hours and 45 minutes. This will be subject to further negotiation and will clearly suit some drivers, but not others.

Once members have had their say on this matter we will continue with detailed negotiations and try to get into a position where we have a whole package on pay and Night Tube. Only at that stage will we ask you to vote on whether to accept the entire offer.

Your ballot papers for this referendum will arrive shortly. Please ensure your voice is heard.

For further details please contact your local reps or one of the Functional Council members.


  • London Underground have stated they have no objection to any grade looking at a 4 day, 36 hour week as long as it is safe and mutually benificial.  More here