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Londoners were warned to expect severe disruption on Friday as hopes of averting a 'Black Friday' Tube strike were dashed.Transport chiefs said union officials had failed to respond to an offer of fresh talks at the conciliation service ACAS.The 24-hour walkout by drivers at 4.30am will hit five lines - Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Northern. Other lines are expected to be busier than normal.The strike - the first of 10 planned by the RMT - is in protest at changes to the way drivers are rostered on the Night Tube.
The RMT was angered by TfL’s decision to make night shifts compulsory for all drivers on the five Night Tube lines. Before the pandemic, the overnight trains were driven by dedicated drivers.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This strike is about the ripping apart of popular and family-friendly agreements that helped make the original Night Tube such a success.
“Instead the company want to cut costs and lump all drivers into a pool where they can be kicked from pillar to post at the behest of the management.
Nick Dent, Director of London Underground Customer Operations, said: "While every other union has agreed to these changes and our staff have been enjoying the benefits of the changes since August, we're willing to work with the RMT and review the changes after Night Tube services have returned.
"This review can only be successful if the RMT agrees to meet us for talks and withdraws its proposed action so we can all see how these changes will work in practice."The Night Tube is due to return tomorrow on the Central and Victoria lines for the first time since the COVID outbreak in 2020 but Transport for London said services were likely to be affected.Passenger numbers are running at about two thirds of pre-pandemic levels. Around 2.7m people used the Tube last Friday.