A fresh attempt to break the deadlock between transport unions and TfL over the Night Tube dispute will begin today in an effort to avoid yet another Tube strike.
The two sides will meet at conciliatory service Acas today, with the unions threatening yet more industrial action unless there is a significant improvement to the current offers being made around the new 24-hour service.
Update on London Underground night tube dispute: Acas talks will continue on Monday 10 August. Talks are expected to start at 10.40am.— Acas (@acasorguk) August 7, 2015
So far all four unions involved– RMT, TSSA, Aslef and Unite – have rejected all deals put forward by Transport for London and London Underground.
The unions say they want guarantees around staff “work-life balance”, and are also seeking a cast iron promise around pay rises, which at least one union wants to be in line with house price growth.
RMT has even gone so far as to call for the Night Tube – which is scheduled to launch on 12 September – to be suspended, dubbing it a “vanity project”.
But LU managing director Nick Brown has hit back, saying “no employer can afford to meet those sorts of demands”.
Today TfL staff were sent an email from chief operating officer Steve Griffiths, which set the tone, highlighting that 500 additional staff members were being brought on ahead of the Night Tube launch date to "minimise the impact on your shift patterns".
He added: "I’m pleased that today we are back at Acas meeting the trade unions. Our intention is to keep talking and keep listening to achieve a settlement which focuses on your work-life balance whilst delivering Night Tube.... We have put forward a very fair, revised offer, which recognises not only the introduction of Night Tube services, but the work-life flexibility that we know is important to you.
"We will continue to consult on rosters and you will be able to swap your shifts around. This means you can plan the shifts that best suit you. More importantly, no one will be asked to work more hours than they do today. Everybody remains entitled to two days off in seven, and annual leave entitlements are unchanged."