Management on trains side recently tried to pull a fast one on Night Tube drivers, saying that New Years' Eve working, for which there is a bonus, would be allocated to existing full-time staff, and Night Tubers (who will be rostered to work, as NYE falls on a Saturday) would have to take annual leave! Aslef initially backed this position.
RMT trains reps argued that this would be unfair to Night Tube drivers, and that they should have the first choice of working what are, after all, their own shifts. RMT eventually won this position, and LU sent out a letter saying that Night Tube drivers could work NYE. The letter omitted to mention, however, whether they would get the additional NYE bonus.
Rather than focusing their fire on management and demanding clarity, Aslef, having done a 180 from their initial stance, put it about that the RMT had argued that Night Tube drivers should be forced to work NYE, but that they shouldn't receive the bonus!
Meanwhile, RMT sought, and got, clarification from management that Night Tube drivers will be paid the NYE bonus.
This rather unseemly episode shows the pitfalls of division between unions, and between workers. We do better when unions work together. The train grades have big disputes ahead and to win, workers need to unite, not just as a grade, but as an industry. Union members should get involved in their unions too, pushing for more information from representatives, and giving their view.
There are still debates to be had on this issue. The episode also poses some questions: why would a "drivers' union" want to stop Night Tube drivers getting the bonus their colleagues get? And why, in an all-grades union, isn't there a bigger push for other grades to have a similar bonus for working New Years' Eve or other events? And are bonuses for working specific shifts the way to go, or should remuneration for antisocial working be a part of a flat-rate increase in our pay, and therefore pensionable, with all of us getting the same pay and all of us working our fair share of the better and worse duties?