Union demands would cost £1.4bn and hit Londoners with an extra 6.5% fare increase

12 August 2015

New demands made by certain trade union leaderships over the modernisation of London Underground (LU), including the introduction of the Night Tube, would lead to significantly higher fares for LU customers or spell wholesale delay to vital improvements to London's Tube service.

Every penny of LU's income is reinvested to run and improve the Tube, so ultimately it is fare payers who would bear the cost if LU management were to give in to these demands. No responsible management could ever agree to do that.

The cost of these demands would be around £1.4 billion over the life of the TfL Business Plan to 2023/24. This would demand either an immediate extra fares increase of 6.5 per cent on top of the annual increases already assumed or a wholesale scaling back of vital plans to modernise Tube lines, including the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines

The current union demands include:

  • Guaranteed above inflation pay rises into the future
  • A reduced 32 hour, four day week for the same full time salary, and no Night Tube duties, even though LU staff are already employed on contracts requiring 24-hour working
  • Bonus payments to cover a short transitional period to be paid forever, even when drivers have the individual choice whether or not to work Night Tube shifts at all
  • Payments to be made to staff on lines where the Night Tube will not even be operating
  • Re-hiring hundreds of staff for back office jobs that Oyster, contactless payment and other modernisation mean no longer need to be performed

The extra 6.5 per cent fares increase would, for example, mean:

  • An annual Zone 1-2 Travelcard immediately rising by an extra £83
  • An annual Zone 1-6 Travelcard immediately rising by an extra £152

Steve Griffiths, Chief Operating Officer, London Underground, said: `Having previously argued that it was all about 'work-life balance', certain unions have now made a whole series of unaffordable demands for more pay, shorter working hours and the reversal of the modernisation of the Tube. The £1.4 billion cost would either mean our customers being hit with an extra 6.5 per cent fares increase on top of the annual increases already assumed or wholesale cuts for plans to modernise the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. No responsible management could even contemplate such demands. Our customers and London's businesses want to see this dispute resolved and, instead of threatening strikes, we call on the unions to engage in calm and realistic discussion with us to achieve that.'

The affordable and sustainable pay offer made by LU is:

  • A two per cent salary increase this year and inflation protected rises in 2016 and 2017
  • £500 bonus for all staff on Night Tube lines
  • £200 extra per Night Tube shift for drivers and then freedom to decide whether or not to work Night Tube shifts at all
  • £500 bonus for the successful completion of the modernisation of LU stations by February 2016

LU has shared draft Night Tube rosters with staff to demonstrate how work-life balance has been protected. These rosters will not be 'imposed' but are the basis for negotiation with the unions. The guarantees include:

  • No-one will work more hours than they do today to run the Night Tube
  • Every driver on the Night Tube will have the same, if not more, weekends off
  • After the transition, they will have a choice about whether or not they work Night Tube shifts or not
  • Everybody will remain entitled to two days off in seven
  • Annual leave will remain significantly above the national average - 43 days for a train operator, 52 days for station staff

The Night Tube will operate on Friday and Saturday nights on five of LU's eleven lines - the Jubilee, Piccadilly, Central, Northern and Victoria lines. To minimise the impact of Night Tube on shift patterns, 500 extra staff have been recruited. Customer Service Assistants in stations will have to work a maximum of three extra Night Tube shifts per year, with many not affected at all.