London's Night Tube won't launch this year as talks between TfL and unions RMT, Aslef, TSSA and Unite stall (again)

 
Catherine Neilan
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London has been locked out of the Night Tube launch (Source: Getty)

The launch of London's Night Tube will not take place in 2015, after talks between Transport for London and the transport unions broke off today, it has been confirmed.

TfL has been in discussions with unions RMT, Aslef, TSSA and Unite over work and pay conditions for London Underground workers for several months.

The Night Tube had been scheduled to take place on 12 September but City A.M. first revealed more than a month ago that the launch was unlikely to happen before March next year.

Today it was confirmed that the much-anticipated 24-hour service could not begin in 2015.

Finn Brennan, Aslef’s organiser on London Underground, said: "We have made it clear to London Underground that we want to keep talking and develop a solution that delivers Night Tube while protecting and improving the work-life balance for our members.

"We have put forward a number of proposals to resolve this dispute in a way that is fair and benefits both sides. London Underground have rejected them all. Most disappointingly of all they have decided to blackmail their own employees by refusing to make a pay offer unless staff agree to worsen their working conditions. That is not something we are prepared to accept.

"The management of London Underground has completely mishandled these negotiations. They have wasted every opportunity for a settlement and seem to have been determined to provoke confrontation rather than resolution."

RMT's general secretary Mick Cash added: "This crisis management of the Night Tube could have been avoided if LU hadn't chosen to try and railroad through imposed rosters and had stuck to the agreed negotiating framework from the off.

"No one wins from this situation - neither Londoners or tube staff. RMT supports the principle of a Night Tube with properly agreed reward and rosters and the union remains available for further constructive talks.

"RMT is frankly astounded that Boris Johnson has rung his officials from Japan and instructed them to kick the Night Tube into next year. RMT is seeking further urgent talks at the most senior level to get this process back on track."

A TfL spokesman said a response would be forthcoming.

Sadiq Khan, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London, waded into the row, claiming incumbent Mayor Boris Johnson could "get the Night Tube up and running tomorrow if he chose to".

Khan added: "This is yet another sign of his failed approach to industrial relations, which has led to more strike days under his time at City Hall than under the previous Mayor.

"Boris needs to pull his finger out and get round the table with the unions to negotiate a solution to this sorry state of affairs.”