The Night Tube

Meeting: 
MQT on 2015-07-15
Session date: 
July 15, 2015
Reference: 
2015/2225
Question By: 
Valerie Shawcross
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor
Category: 

Question

Are you confident that you will be able to begin the night tube service on 12 September as promised?

Answer

Answer for The Night Tube

Answer for The Night Tube

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Yes.  I am not particularly hung up, as I have said, on the date of 12 or 13 or whatever date in September.  I do not mind when it is this autumn but I am very confident we will go ahead with the Night Tube for London, which will cut average journey times by 20 minutes and in some case by more than an hour.  It will play a vital role in opening up London’s night-time economy with 2,000 permanent jobs boosting the economy by £360 million.  It is something that is strongly supported by customers and by businesses in our city.

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  You are right.  People very much want this and, in particular, they would like it before the dark nights set in.  We certainly would like to see you doing more personally to try to end the dispute so that the Night Tube comes into play.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I do not want to be pedantic but the Tube runs considerably long after sunset.

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Mr Mayor, what exactly are you going to do in order to bring this dispute to a satisfactorily negotiated conclusion?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am interested that you think the advent of nightfall should be an important consideration.  I have to say the Tube at any of time of year runs long after sunset.  We do not live in Scandinavia.  That is not the issue.

I have every confidence that there ought to be a deal on this package because it is excellent.  The offer is an average of 2% increase this year made up of a rise of 1% and a consolidated £500 for all roles, Retail Price Index (RPI) or 1% next year and the year after, whichever is the greater; a £500 launch bonus to all staff and a £2,000 transition bonus to train operators.

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Mr Mayor, we all understand ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Do you think that is not good enough?

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  We all understand that people who are being asked to work all night would want to negotiate the terms and conditions.  I have some concern that there have been reports that there has been no informal contact at all between the TfL negotiators, you and any of the unions.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  That is nonsense.

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  That offer was made very late in the day.  We all want to see a negotiated solution to this and, indeed, there is no evidence at all ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Do you condemn their strike?

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  ‑‑ that anybody wants to block the Night Tube. 

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Really?

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  My concern is that you have personally applied a lot of time to going round the television studios, ramping up the rhetoric, being somewhat divisive and creating bad feeling ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Who, me?

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  ‑‑ when actually it would be so much more helpful if you could push along the negotiations by having some informal contact with the unions.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Do you think we should be offering more money?  Are you in favour of this strike?

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Are you going to make sure, Mr Mayor, that this deal is done because Londoners expect a deal to be done?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Are you in favour of this strike or ‑‑

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Mr Mayor, I would love to swap seats with you and you can ask me the questions and that would be a great situation.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  In that case why do you not stand?  Why have you not put yourself forward, Val?  If you want to swap seats with me, you have an opportunity next year.

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Mr Mayor ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Now is the moment.  What has happened?

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Mr Mayor, what are you doing to make sure that this dispute comes to a satisfactory negotiated conclusion quickly?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I will tell you what we will do.

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  What are you personally doing?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  What we are doing is making a very good offer, which I will repeat.

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM: Are you going to pick up the phone, Mr Mayor, to anybody?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am urging all sensible people to look at that offer and I urge the unions to put it to their workforce and it is quite untrue to say that this has all been rushed through.  On the contrary, there have been talks going on for five months.

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Mr Mayor, I did not say ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  There is nothing new about our plans.  Most people can see this is an entirely politically motivated protest against what is a Government that the union leadership may not necessarily like and, indeed, against proposals for union reform and reform of ballots, which are ‑‑

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Do you know that that is exactly the kind of rhetoric, Mr Mayor, that is ramping up the conflict?  It is not the approach we need in order to get a deal done and all we are asking is whether you have an inexperienced negotiation team in there.  That has been well aired in the media.  There has been no informal contact between TfL and any of these unions.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Rubbish.

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  You have not made any personal contact with any of these unions.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  You always say that.  You always say that.  You have said that for the last eight years.

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Could you possibly do something more to get a deal done?  I have run out of time.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Yes.  What I would like to do is I would like to hear from the Labour Party active condemnation of any strike that puts ‑‑

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  OK.  Have you finished?  OK.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  In order to get this strike averted, I appeal to the Labour Party to use its good offices and to denounce this strike.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  OK.  Let us go to the next question.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Will they?  Will the Labour Party denounce this strike?

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Mr Mayor, there is a next question.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  No.