Tube strikes 2016: TfL blasts "absurd" Tube strikes by Aslef

 
Lynsey Barber
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Tube travel will be disrupted id strikes go ahead (Source: Getty)

Update: Aslef has now confirmed three days of strikes will go ahead, as has RMT.

Transport for London has branded three days of fresh walkouts by London Underground drivers over the Night Tube "absurd".

Aslef is tomorrow expected to decide that strike action will go ahead, disrupting Tube travel for 24-hours on three separate days over the next six weeks.

“These latest threats to London show that the Aslef leadership is trying everything to stop the Night Tube - a service which will mean easier night-time journeys for our customers, a boost to the economy of £360m, and the creation of around 700 new jobs at London Underground," said chief operating officer Steve Griffiths.

“The truth is that they are making excessive demands for more money, fewer hours and a four day week and expect fare and tax payers to pick up the bill. That is the real reason they plan to disrupt Londoners. No employer could possibly meet such demands and strike action will change nothing. There is no more money," continued Griffith.

The long-running dispute over working hours and pay has resulted in deadlock between the two sides.

Read more: Union insiders think the Night Tube will "wither on the vine"

Unions claim talks broke down in November and that TfL has refused to return to the table despite repeated requests.

Griffiths said: "We continue to offer to work with the trade union leadership to reach a realistic and affordable resolution to this dispute to deliver the Night Tube for customers and a fair and sustainable pay settlement for our staff.”

TfL's latest offer of hiring part-time drivers, as well as extending a previous three-year pay deal of a two per cent pay rise followed by RPI or one per cent in the second and third year, into a fourth year of RPI plus 0.25 per cent was rejected by unions. A £500 bonus was also on the table.

TfL is going ahead with recruiting hundreds of part-time drivers, receiving 6,000 applications. However, Aslef is calling for a fair deal for existing and new staff.

“Our four year pay offer is extremely fair," said Griifiths.

"As a result of hiring new drivers, who will be on permanent, part-time contracts with the same rates of pay and the same benefits as existing drivers, we’ve made absolute guarantees that no current driver will have to work the Night Tube unless they want to. This total protection of work-life balance is precisely what Aslef leaders asked for, so it is astonishing that they are now once again threatening strike action."

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