Saturday's strike on the Night Tube called off by Aslef and RMT unions

Night Tube drivers had been in dispute with London Underground
Night Tube drivers had been in dispute with London Underground (Source: Getty)

Train drivers' unions Aslef and the RMT have recommended calling off a Night Tube strike planned for Saturday, after improved proposals in their dispute with the London Underground.

Read more: Here's when the next Tube strike will be

Night Tube drivers in the Aslef union had voted for strike action in a row over "fair access to full-time jobs" and were planning to strike on the nights of Saturday 8 April and Saturday 29 April.

The RMT also called off its strike, set for Saturday and Sunday, after London Underground agreed to end an employment policy it deemed unfair.

Both unions had been protesting what they described as obstruction of drivers' career progression. They said "a blatantly discriminatory" policy meant Night Tube train operators had been prevented from moving into vacant full-time positions for a period of at least 18 months.

Members of Aslef voted in favour of a strike and action short of a strike last month. As they represent the majority of the drivers, it would have caused significant disruption to the Night Tube services if an agreement with London Underground wasn't reached.

Aslef's organiser on the London Underground Finn Brennan said the union had since received "additional clarification" from LU management on its proposal to resolve the dispute.

Read more: Night Tube passenger numbers have been 50 per cent higher than forecast

"Our aim has always been to make sure that Night Tube drivers were not forced to remain in the role indefinitely, while new recruits took up full time positions," he said. "The new proposal means that LU will fill full time vacancies from waiting lists in line with agreements and Night Tube drivers will not be 'jumped' by new recruits."

He said that recruitment of new part-time staff had already started to backfill positions, allowing Night Tube drivers to move to full-time roles, and training will commence this month so that they can then be called to full-time positions as soon as they reach the top of the waiting list.

Brennan has recommended the proposals now be put to the union's Night Tube members with a recommendation to accept and called on the executive committee to call off the strike.

Meanwhile RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “I want to congratulate our members for standing firm and delivering a massive vote in favour of strike action over this discriminatory policy. It forced London Underground to see sense and stop discriminating against Night Tube drivers over their career progression.

It was a senseless and damaging policy that picked out one group of staff for negative treatment and of course the drivers were angry, which is why our members voted overwhelmingly for action.

He added: “Now that the dispute has been resolved we have called off the strike action and instructed our members to work as normal.”

Peter McNaught, operations director for London Underground, said: “We are pleased to have resolved the issues raised by the unions and to have clarified our agreements with them. When we introduced the service we promised to provide career progression for Night Tube train drivers and we remain committed to doing so."

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

I’m pleased that once again we have managed to avoid unnecessary strike disruption for Londoners thanks to our new approach to industrial relations.

While my predecessor refused to engage with the unions, we’ve now seen a number of strikes averted because we’re prepared to talk constructively to the people who work for TfL.

Read more: Get ready for a Night Tube strike as drivers vote for walkouts

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