The Night Tube is seemingly back on track with London Mayor Boris Johnson announcing that the ongoing dispute with trade unions which derailed the scheme last year and led to a series of strikes, would be remedied with the creation of 180 part-time jobs.
The all-night service, set to run on Friday and Saturday evenings, was due to start on 12 September 2015, but in August London Underground postponed it. Two months later, in October, it was announced the service would not happen in 2015.
On Tuesday Johnson announced that the creation of the new jobs would resolve the dispute. He told radio station LBC: “We're doing a new approach, which is a no-brainer. I can't see any way it would fall foul with our friends at the trades unions. We have 300 new part-time drivers for the night time (Transport for London later corrected the figure to 180)."
Johnson said that existing drivers could apply for those jobs, and some of them had. More than 4,000 applications had been received, he said.
Despite the announcement, Johnson refused to put a new date on when the Night Tube would be launched.
He told LBC: "What I won't do is pay an unreasonable price for it, which Londoners would feel in their fares."
Night Tubes would run on the Victoria and Jubilee lines as well as most of the Piccadilly, Northern and Central lines.
In October 2015, when plans for the Night Tube were sidelined for the year, Finn Brennan from the train drivers' union, Aslef, said: "We have made it clear to London Underground that we want to keep talking and develop a solution that delivers Night Tube while protecting and improving work life balance for our members.
"We have put forward a number of proposals to resolve this dispute in a way that is fair and benefits both sides.
"London Underground have rejected them all. Most disappointingly of all they have decided to blackmail their own employees by refusing to make a pay offer unless staff agree to worsen their working conditions.
"That is not something we are prepared to accept. Underground management have completely mishandled these negotiations. They have wasted every opportunity for a settlement and seem to have been determined to provoke confrontation rather than resolution."
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Workers had been set to stage two two-day strikes before August's postponement, but they were called off at the last minute as a “goodwill” gesture, according to Unite.
In July, unions staged their biggest walkout in 13 years over the introduction of the Night Tube.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) has previously described the service as a "vanity project" of Johnson's claiming it was "fundamentally flawed from top to bottom".
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