London Underground workers belonging to the RMT union have overwhelmingly accepted a deal on pay and conditions for working on the new Night Tube service.
The service, which will run on Friday nights and the early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings on five lines, was originally due to start in September.
City Hall says it would make getting home after a night out easier and cheaper and has suggested the service could boost London’s night-time economy by up to £360 million.
Plans to extend the Tube’s opening hours were first announced in November 2013 by Mayor Boris Johnson and then Tube boss, now Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown despite London Underground not having reached agreement with unions about changes to pay and working conditions for staff being asked to work later.
Unions say LU were wrong to expect existing staff to work beyond their current contracted hours, complaining that this would have an adverse impact on their work/life balance.
Staff belonging to the RMT, Aslef and TSSA unions have been locked in dispute with LU, delaying the service’s introduction. However on Tuesday the RMT said 84% of those taking part in a ballot had accepted London Underground’s latest offer.
As a result staff will receive a one per cent pay rise backdated to April 2015, plus a £500 consolidated increase for all pay grades for 2015 as well as an RPI or one per cent, whichever is the greater, increase in 2016 and 2017 followed by an RPI plus 0.25 per cent, or one per cent, whichever is greater, rise in 2018.
All operational staff will also get a £500 payment upon the successful launch of Night Tube.
General Secretary Mick Cash said: “I want to pay tribute to RMT’s members across London Underground who have stood rock solid throughout the long campaign of industrial pressure to secure a fair deal from the company over pay and night tube operation.
“Those members have now voted to accept the most recent offer from the company – an offer that was only made after the hard work by union reps in the negotiations backed up by the loyalty, determination and militancy of the workforce right across the tube network.”
The RMT’s announcement removes a major barrier to introducing the Night Tube but LU will need to secure the support of other unions before services will commence.
Chief Operating Officer Steve Griffiths said: “I’m pleased that RMT members have voted to accept our offer. This is a fair and affordable pay deal, which includes complete protection of employee work/life balance.
“We are seeking agreement with the other unions and continue to focus on the recruitment and training of part-time drivers to deliver the Night Tube for London as quickly as possible.”