Sadiq Khan has attacked tube workers’ plans for strike action tomorrow as he said services help London women “get home safely at night.”
The Victoria, Central, Northern, Jubilee and Piccadilly lines will be affected as RMT drivers are urged not to clock in for work tomorrow from 4.30am.
Transport for London has said the action would result in “little or no service in places”, with the Waterloo and City line – which uses Central line drivers – also likely to be hit.
The Mayor of London hit back at the plans on Thursday evening and dubbed the action “unnecessary”, saying plans would “cause widespread disruption for millions of Londoners.”
Train drivers are upset over aspects of the re-launch of the Night Tube, which was set to resume a 24-hour service on the Victoria and Central lines tomorrow. It had been cancelled because of the pandemic.
The Night Tube’s reintroduction comes after women highlighted their fears about getting home in the early hours amid a wider conversation about women’s safety.
Although RMT has backed the return of the night service, it has said workloads being forced on drivers would “wreck their work-life balance by bulldozing through additional night and weekend working.”
However, Sadiq Khan said: “The Night Tube has an important part to play in our capital’s recovery and helps to improve safety for women and girls making their way home at night.
“This needless strike action will hit London’s retail, culture and hospitality at the worst possible time as people visit the shops for Black Friday and start enjoying the Christmas festivities.”
Khan said it was “extremely disappointing” the RMT had refused to meet with Tfl yesterday to try and find a resolution.
He added: “Every other union has agreed to these changes, and TfL have repeatedly made clear they are willing to talk with the RMT through conciliation service ACAS on this issue. I urge the RMT to come back to the table so we can run a full service on the Night Tube, help Londoners to get home safely at night, and avoid disruption at this crucial time for our city.”
Speaking on Thursday, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “We warned months ago that slashing two hundred Night Tube Train Driver positions would create a staffing nightmare and LU need to start facing up to that reality and soon.
“The union remains available for further talks even at this late stage.”
“No one has worked harder to ensure a safe environment for women on London Underground than the RMT,” said RMT’s Lynch said earlier this month.
“While Tube bosses have axed staff and left stations routinely unstaffed, with all of the obvious risks, we have campaigned relentlessly for the front line, physical presence of visible staff on stations and platforms.”