London Underground has unilaterally incorporated Night Tube train operator duties into full-time train operators' rosters, consolidating the former TO23 (Night Tube) and TO21 (full-time) T/Op grades into a single grade.
This will mean fewer train operator jobs, increased night and weekend working for full time train operators, and an end to driving parameters that stop us starting or finishing a duty at any time of the night. It is also an end to the "clean wage" - the principle that we all earn the same for doing the same job - as those who volunteer for Night Tube duties (or are forced to do these unsocial hours if there aren't enough volunteers) will get a bonus payment for doing so, in most circumstances.
Bosses went into negotiations in January looking to make current Night Tube train ops full time as they are desperate for more drivers, and came out of those negotiations securing that goal, which both unions supported, but also grabbing a plethora of work life balance gains and conditions, eagerly handed over by ASLEF, in a move that is largely unsupported by full time drivers and the RMT.
Further to this, London Underground forced this attack through ignoring the "machinery of negotiation", which lays out the parameters of how such issues are discussed, and overriding the 2015 pay deal which tube workers in both unions took industrial action to defend in 2016. This is an important factor that needs to be responded to, because it demonstrates that we cannot trust management to abide by deals they have agreed with us in the past or to interact with our unions in the way they say that they will.
RMT has announced they will fight the London Underground/ASLEF plan - something to be welcomed. Tubeworker believes the following factors are crucial for all unions and Tube workers to ensure:
• No jobs lost or reduction in headcount in full-time or Night Tube T/Op grades
• No increase in night or weekend working for the full-time T/Op grade
• Waiting lists must be protected; station staff shouldn’t see training dates for a train operator role further delayed
• Promotional options must be preserved: many Night Tube CSAs want Night Tube T/Op jobs as these are, demonstrably, the hours they can work.
Many Night Tube drivers who want it now have a full-time contract, which is to be welcomed. They should consider the role they will be moving into and join the fight back to ensure it has the same terms and conditions it has at present, rather than allow the detrimental changes that will occur if Night Tube operation is incorporated into the full time roster.
It is time for all of us to fight back against London Underground management’s detrimental attack on our terms and conditions and work life balance. We also need to make clear to ASLEF’s Trains Functional Council reps, who proposed and backed these plans, that the membership does not support these changes, with the aim that going forward they listen to and speak on behalf of the membership to management, not on behalf of management to the membership.