MORE London Underground maintenance staff will be balloted on strike action over all-night services, rail union RMT announced yesterday.
Its members at maintenance company Tube Lines, created as part of the Underground’s failed private finance initiative (PFI) but now in the public sector, will vote after RMT leader Mick Cash said that bosses’ offer on new conditions and hours was as unacceptable as for staff elsewhere on the Tube.
Industrial action begun last night by RMT and its fellow unions TSSA, Aslef and Unite will see London’s entire Tube network close down until tomorrow morning.
Earlier this week the unions rejected a new offer from bosses that included, in the interim, a pay rise of around 2 per cent and a £200 supplement for drivers for each night shift.
London Mayor Boris Johnson fanned the flames yesterday, saying he would not offer any more money to finance the changes.
Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said his union supported the plans for all-night running on Friday and Saturday nights.
“We remain prepared to talk at any time to try to find common ground,” he said.
“But by forcing these new rosters on train drivers and acting outside of our agreed way of working, senior management are making it even harder to resolve this dispute.”
Speaking after a visit to military veterans at the Royal Hospital, Mr Johnson repeated his refusal to meet union leaders and said that he was “not fussed” about the service starting on time on September 12.
He also attacked the unions’ internal democracy, saying: “What I am fussed about is the offer being put to union members.”
RMT general secretary Mick Cash hit back: “We have a network of elected representatives who consulted members … and the latest rehashed offer was universally rejected.”
“This dispute is not about money, it’s about being able to plan for and enjoy some downtime with friends and family away from work.
“The current plans wreck that and the unilateral issuing of the new rosters has simply inflamed the situation.”