London Underground: Tube to run 24 hours a day at weekends - but job cuts lead to union strike threats

As LU and mayor Boris Johnson announce package of changes to provide a ‘21st century tube service’, 'hypocritical' cuts to ticket offices could lead to industrial action

The London Underground will operate 24 hours a day at weekends from 2015 as part of plans for a “21st-century tube service”, it has been announced.

The company which runs the service, London Underground (LU), says it also plans to close most ticket offices and move to a system of direct, contactless bank payments to pay for journeys.

But bosses also said around 750 jobs will be cut as part of the package of changes, and those members of staff who remain will be based in halls and on platforms rather than in ticket offices - all of which could go.

While many in London will be pleased by the extended service, unions have hit out at the mayor for a series of measures which they branded 'hypocritical'.

The plans are designed to help slash Transport for London's budget by around £50 million a year, or £270 million over the term of Transport for London's business plan to 2020/21.

And the Rail Maritime and Transport union warned of industrial action, adding that staffing levels will be “decimated”.

General secretary Bob Crow said: “The mayor must believe he is some sort of magician if he thinks he can slash jobs and still run safe services when everyone knows that staffing has already been cut to the bone while passenger demand continues to rise.

We will work with sister unions and the public to fight these plans and that means using every campaigning, political and industrial tool at our disposal and our executive will be looking at a timetable and a strategy for that campaign, including a ballot for industrial action.”

Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, accused Mr Johnson of being the “hypocrite of the decade”, saying the announcement would lead to the closure of all 268 Tube ticket offices by the end of next year.

“It beggars belief that the mayor who was elected in 2008 on a pledge to keep open every ticket office is now planning to close every single one, with all that means for safety and jobs.”

LU said that from 2015 travellers will be able to take the Tube home at any hour of the night on Fridays and Saturdays.

Weekend services will run through the night on core parts of the system, initially the Piccadilly, Victoria, Central and Jubilee lines and parts of the Northern line.

Wi-Fi coverage is also set to be extended, and the investment of billions of pounds in modernising lines will continue, London mayor Boris Johnson and LU managing director Mike Brown said.

“LU is committed to delivering the reduction in operational staff numbers without any compulsory redundancies,” said a statement.

Mr Brown said: “People are at the heart of this vision - our customers and staff. My commitment to London is that all Tube stations will continue to be staffed and controlled in future, with more staff visible and available to help customers buy the right ticket, plan their journey and keep them safe and secure. We will continue to make the Tube more accessible and provide assistance at stations for all our customers who need it.”

Shadow London minister Sadiq Khan said: “The mayor of London has today ripped up his manifesto promise to the people of London. As a result of his plans, Londoners will feel more anxious travelling at times when stations may be deserted.

“We support looking at the way TfL staff work so that it reflects the changing needs of the modern underground system, but the mayor is using this as an excuse to cut staffing levels, which is reckless and irresponsible.”

Mr Johnson said: “For 150 years the Tube has been the beating heart of London, its tunnels and tracks providing the arteries that have transported millions of people and helped to drive the development and economic growth of our great city.

“Now it is time to take the Tube to the next level and so for the first time in London's history, we will provide a regular 24-hour Night Tube service at weekends. This will not just boost jobs and our vibrant night-time economy, it will further cement London's reputation as the best big city on the planet in which to live, work, visit and invest.”

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam