Since March 2020, the night tube had ceased to run in London. But this weekend, it’s due to make its return, with service planned to resume on both Central and Victoria lines.
However, it’s still not smooth sailing, with strikes potentially going ahead in protest over staff rotas for the late service’s return. Ahead of the planned reopening on November 27, passengers have been warned that “severe disruption” could hit multiple lines.
Action from the RMT is scheduled to begin at 4.30am this Friday (November 26), with a 24-hour walkout across five lines: Victoria, Central, Northern, Piccadilly and Jubilee. These are all the routes that previously ran night tube service, although this weekend would only mark the return of the Central and Victoria services. As of today (November 25), the 24-hour strike action IS still due to go ahead, after insistence from Union bosses. TFL say this will results in “little to no service” in multiple locations, so it’s advised that passengers check before starting their journeys.
The planned strike would also lead to a knock-on effect on other lines – including Bakerloo, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines – which would see a strain to services as passengers aim for an alternative route.
TFL said that a strike could mean “significantly reduced service on these lines all day with little or no service in places.” Both Mayor Sadiq Khan and TFL have stated confidence in being able to restart the night tube, but conceded that fewer trains may run than initially hoped.
Strike action is also planned across the same lines on December 18, the final Saturday before Christmas. Plus, each weekend between now and Christmas could face disruption, with plans for Central and Victoria Line strike action from 8.30pm to 4.30am on each intervening Saturday and Sunday. Talks between TFL and RMT are ongoing, but a resolution has not been reached thus far.
TFL asked the RMT to back down, calling action “unnecessary” with all other Tube unions agreeing to changes in May. However, the RMT have said the changes results in “unacceptable and intolerable demands” on work-life balance for their members.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This strike is about the ripping apart of popular and family friendly agreements that helped make the original Night Tube such a success. Instead the company want to cut costs and lump all drivers into a pool where they can be kicked from pillar to post at the behest of the management.
“We have made every effort in ACAS and direct talks since the off to resolve this dispute but it is clear that London Underground bosses are driven solely by the bottom line and have no interest whatsoever in the well-being of their staff or the service to passengers.”
TfL described the strike as “unnecessary” and called on the RMT to back down. It says all other Tube unions agreed in May to the change in the rosters, which came after Night Tube staff were integrated into TfL’s “day Tube” workforce.
Updates on any outcome from talks between TFL and RMT will follow.