London is growing and increasingly becoming a 24 hour city. The Night Tube will transform night time journeys, cutting journey times by an average of 20 minutes, with some by more than an hour. London's night-time economy will be opened up to a host of new opportunities, with the new 24 hour services supporting around 2,000 permanent jobs and boosting the economy by £360m.
However, the unions are striking again today, disrupting the journeys of many readers. I am very sorry that our customers have been affected in this way again. It didn’t need to be this way, as we have made every effort to reach agreement with the unions to avoid this unnecessary disruption.
After last month’s strike the unions told us they had concerns over work-life balance. We listened and have acted. No-one will work any extra hours than they do now, and we have employed hundreds more staff for the Night Tube so that Tube drivers will have at least the same number of weekends off as now and will be able to choose whether they work Night Tube shifts in future.
In the meantime they’ll receive an extra £200 per Night Tube shift that they work. Everybody remains entitled to two days off in seven, and leave each year remains above average at 43 days for a train driver and 52 days for station staff.
Alongside this, we’re offering an above-inflation average two per cent salary increase this year, inflation proof rises for the following two years, and a £500 payment for staff on Night Tube lines or stations paid once the service is introduced. Station staff will also receive a £500 bonus in February next year for the successful completion of the modernisation of customer service, currently being carried out.
This as a very good deal, but the unions rejected it outright. Instead they are demanding more money, the hiring of even more staff – including for ticket offices that customers no longer use – and a 32 hour, four day week.
No employer can afford to meet those sorts of demands.
We’re working hard today to help London’s workers, residents and visitors get around. I thank customers for their patience as they make their journeys, and I would urge the union leaders to rejoin talks and deliver what London needs – a 24 hour Tube at weekends.