Plans for the Tube to run through the night are back on track after Transport for London suggested hiring part-time staff to drive the services in a bid to break a deadlock in negotiations with unions.
Part-time drivers, estimated to number around 140 at this early stage, would be hired to work the night shifts which unions have argued would disrupt the work-life balance of full-time drivers.
The new offer also extends a previous three-year pay deal of a two per cent pay rise followed by a RPI or one per cent in the second and third year, into a fourth year of RPI plus 0.25 per cent. A £500 bonus is also on offer as part of the deal while the £200 bonus for drivers working nights will be scrapped as it will be optional to work.
“We have listened to union feedback and have made absolute guarantees which mean no existing driver will have to work the Night Tube, unless they choose to do so. Instead we will hire part-time train drivers specifically to run the service," Said London Underground chief operating officer Steve Griffiths.
“We have also been working hard to secure a long-term pay deal in order to provide certainty for our staff and for London, so we are now adding a fourth year to the deal. This does not come at any additional cost to the taxpayer as it will be covered by our business plan. The first three years of the deal remain unchanged. I urge the union leaders to put this offer to their members so that London can get the modern night-time service it wants and needs.”
However, a spokesperson for drivers' union Aslef said the offer still doesn't deal with the issues of work-life balance.
City A.M. understands the offer does not include enough detail on how the new staff will be used and the type of contracts they will have.
The date of the Night Tube launch was pushed back to March 2016 and talks between the two sides broke down last month. It had originally been slated to launch on 12 September. The two sides returned to the negotiating table in November, but an agreement and a new start date remain some way off as union reps take the deal to drivers to consider.