RMT members working on the Night Tube service have “overwhelmingly” voted for industrial action, including strikes, in a row over pay and career progression.
Drivers working on the service are blocked from moving into vacant full-time positions for at least 18 months, a policy the union describes as “blatantly discriminatory”.
In addition the RMT is unhappy that Night Tube drivers are ineligible for overtime rates until they exceed 35 hours in a week, despite only being contracted to work 16 hours.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “It is outrageous that London Underground have decided to discriminate against their Night Tube drivers.
“This is a senseless and damaging policy that picks out one group of staff for negative treatment and of course the drivers are angry and that is why our members have voted overwhelmingly for action.
“RMT would call on LU to see sense, stop these stupid attacks on career progression and fair reward for overtime working and confirm that this discrimination against the Night Tube drivers has been lifted.”
Any strike action could prove embarrassing for London Mayor Sadiq Khan who has seen passengers endure several waves of disruption despite his election pledge to end strikes.
In addition, the Mayor has repeatedly claimed credit for resolving a block preventing the Night Tube service, originally unveiled by his predecessor, from launching.
In July he told the London Assembly:
“Let us also not forget that it was my predecessor who allowed the Night Tube to be delayed for nearly a year. I made the launch of the Night Tube a priority in my first weeks in office and, in my view, refusing to meet with the unions makes industrial action more, not less, likely.”
Two months later he boasted:
“Under my predecessor the implementation date for Night Tube was delayed and delayed again. I am delighted to have been able to deliver this important service for London before the end of my first summer in office.”
Having sought to take credit for the service’s launch, the Mayor may find it difficult to distance himself from the current dispute.
Commenting on the threat of strikes, Peter McNaught, Operations Director for London Underground, said: “Night Tube services have been running since August last year in line with agreements reached with the unions.
“We’ve met with the RMT to discuss and resolve the new issues that they have.
“We have invited the RMT to more talks later this week and I encourage them to continue discussions with us rather than threaten industrial action.”
Conservatives on the London Assembly have called on TfL and City Hall not to give concessions.
Transport spokesperson Keith Prince said: “TfL are entirely in the right on this issue and should not give an inch to the RMT.
“Let’s hope that, unlike over the ticket office strikes where he completely undermined the TfL negotiators, Sadiq Khan stands firm on this occasion.”