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The Night Tube Isn't Going to Start Until March 2016

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Whatever you think of the Underground workers' unions, you can't deny that they're damned good at getting what they want.

Boris Johnson's pet project of introducing a 24-hour service on the London Underground now looks like it won't be starting until March next year - fully six months after its original kick-off date of 12 September.

London commuters have endured two sets of double tube strike days - at the start and the end of August - following disputes over working conditions and the work-life balance of Tube drivers.

There were going to be two further strikes this week, which had already been pushed back from earlier in the month, but these were called off after negotiations began, seemingly as a goodwill gesture from Union bosses. Nonetheless, it doesn't look like there's going to be much of a compromise any time soon.

A source 'close to negotiations' told City A.M.:“Senior managers have been told by their operations team to work towards March. TfL has said they are committed to the autumn but it's possible they don't have a date in mind at all.” They added that, within TfL's negotiating team, “the foot is very much off the accelerator”.

From the Union side of things, the story seems the same - that Autumn is not going to happen. Aslef's district organiser Finn Brennan, said that London Underground had “now indefinitely suspended their plans for an all-night service. This is a significant victory for staff on London Underground and this trade union. We have prevented new rosters being imposed and stopped the attempt to destroy [Tube drivers'] work life balance.”

On a practical level, talks are not restarting until next week and, even if an agreement is reached, it will take a minimum of a month to begin the service as 28 days' notice must be given for new rosters.

So London will just have to put up with the good old night bus for a little while longer then.

(Image: Rex)

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