Any thoughts of 2016 paying witness to any turning of new leaves between Underground workers and Transport for London should alight here: the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has announced that its workers will strike for 24 hours from 18.30 on 26 January, with further strikes planned for 15 February and 17 February.
Talks between workers had stalled repeatedly throughout 2015, as union workers clashed with TfL over proposed contract changes set to come into effect with the arrival of the Night Tube service.
Mick Cash, general secretary of RMT, said in a statement:
RMT members are furious at the bodged introduction of the Mayor’s Night Tube plans and the fact that they have been tied in with a pay deal that has left our members dangling on a string and out of pocket since April last year. RMT supports the principle of a properly worked out Night Tube service introduced through agreement with the unions but the abject failure to work through the detail has led to a comprehensive breakdown in the negotiations and has forced us to name a programme of further industrial action. This whole situation could have been avoided if London Underground, under direction from the Mayor, had dealt with the Night Tube professionally from the off instead of resorting to ultimatums and imposition.
In addition to the three proposed 24-hour strikes, RMT's station staff members will take a week of industrial action from 7 February in a separate dispute over jobs and rosters.
The ASLEF union for train drivers also confirmed it would be taking strike action, with 24-hour walkouts planned for "from 21.15 on Tuesday 26 January to 21.14 on Wednesday 27 January followed by two further 24 hour strikes from 21.15 on Monday 15 February to 21.14 on Tuesday 16 February; and from 21.15 on Wednesday 17 February to 21.14 on Thursday 18 February". This would result in closure of the entire underground during the stated periods.
"This is not a decision we have taken lightly," said Finn Brennan of ASLEF. "We genuinely regret the inconvenience that will be caused but the behaviour of London Underground's senior management team have left us with no other choice.
"Our negotiating team last met London Underground at ACAS on 10 November and since then they have refused to talk to us despite repeated requests. Our members have been extremely patient, they have waited for more than three and half years for promised talks on improving work life balance. There is still no indication when they will receive the pay rise that was due last April."
TfL is yet to make an announcement in response to the unions' proposed strikes.
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