Yesterday Boris announced that in 2017 Night Tube would be expanded to cover the Met, Circle, District and H&C along with the Overground and the DLR, all of which seems a little presumptuous given that he won’t be mayor by then but also somewhat premature as there’s no guarantee that Night Tube will even go ahead in September. Amid all the fanfares and photo opportunities what no one at City Hall or TfL has mentioned is that under our current agreement Tube staff are only required to run a service overnight twice a year; on New Year’s Eve and on any other occasion deemed necessary, the last instance being the Queen’s Jubilee in 2012. Or at least that is what I've been told.
If LUL want to run a 24 hour service two nights a week then they are going to have to negotiate with the unions. When they finally do you can guarantee that RMT and TSSA will have a few things to say about station staffing, especially all those stations outside Zone 1 where there will be a solitary member of staff left to deal with the drunks staggering back from the West End and especially as Boris’s announcement came hot on the heels of the news that assaults on LU staff have gone up 44% in the last five years.
TfL’s laughable attempt to suggest the rise was due to their recent efforts to encourage staff to report assaults that previously would have gone unreported is as much nonsense as Boris excusing his U-turn on ticket office closures on advances in technology since 2008. Even when I was on stations back in the last century everything got reported, all belittling the level of assaults does is reinforce the perception of “them and us” between staff down in the Tubes and the suits in their comfy offices.
In addition to negotiations on Night Tube there’s the issue of our next pay deal, the last one in 2011 was for three years so at the moment there is no agreement. The first meetings took place earlier this month with LUL pleading poverty as they do every time, even recycling the "fair and affordable" mantra they used in 2011. ASLEF conjured up a wishlist that would have the average Daily Mail reader seething with anti-union outrage, I could go into detail but it seems somewhat pointless as I don't think we've much realistic chance of getting any of the things listed apart from some items on parental and maternity leave which won’t affect me unless its extended to goldfish.
I expect we will end up with something pretty much like last time, a 3 or 4 year deal at RPI plus 0.5% or 2% whichever is greater, which seems to be pretty much standard for the rail industry regardless of whether they are publicly or privately operated. The big difference is that the last pay deal wasn't agreed until October, this year LUL might have to settle things a little earlier than that.