A move by London Underground (LU) bosses to cut out the unions following a walkout from negotiations over the Night Tube has angered the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union (RMT). A source from the union, which represents workers and drivers on the network, told IBTimes UK that the proposal was a "stunt" and claimed it would "do more harm than good".
A negotiator from tube drivers' union Aslef also questioned Transport for London's (TfL) plan. "I am looking forward with great interest to find out exactly what they mean," Finn Brennan told IBTimes UK. "Do they mean that they plan to have managers and white collar staff vote to decide what drivers' working conditions will be? Our members already had a vote: It was 96% 'yes' on an 83% turnout."
The comments come after IBTimes UK exclusively revealed that the Night Tube talks had hit the buffers after optimism from Underground unions died down. Unite, Aslef, the TSSA and RMT subsequently walked out from the negotiations over the new service, which was originally planned for 12 September and then pushed back to autumn 2015.
The move meant it now looks like London will not have a Night Tube until sometime in 2016. But TfL reacted by saying the company would "seek the views" of staff across the organisation on the 2015 pay offer, the implementation of the Night Tube and its operation.
Underground bosses also blamed the unions for the breakdown in talks over pay and work conditions, while claiming their 2% average salary hike and £200 ($308) per Night Tube shift offer for drivers was "very fair".
"Our offer has been reworked considerably from where we were when the trade unions balloted their members for strike action, which is why we now feel we must seek the views of our staff, as the unions haven't," said Steve Griffiths, the chief operating officer of LU.
"Not only are the unions at risk of depriving millions of customers of their Night Tube service, they are depriving employees of a very fair pay offer and longer-term opportunities to improve work life balance even further."