Des Jenson/ Bloomberg News.

London Underground Halts Night-Tube Start to Aid Union Talks

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London Underground Ltd. postponed the start date for a 24-hour weekend subway service, citing progress in talks with unions three days after the scrapping of back-to-back strikes over the plan that were set to take place this week.

Transport for London, which reports to London Mayor Boris Johnson, had been aiming to begin the Night Tube on Sept. 12. The new goal is to commence the service some time this autumn, it said in a statement Thursday. While revised strike dates of Sept. 8 and Sept. 10 still stand, talks with the Rail, Maritime and Transport, Unite, TSSA and Aslef unions are continuing.

“We are not far from an agreement that protects the work-life balance of our employees and is affordable, sustainable and fair,” LU Managing Director Nick Brown said in the TfL release. “We have decided to defer the introduction of Night Tube to allow more time for those talks to conclude.”

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said the TfL decision proved that members had been right to stage a series of strikes and that the outcome amounts to a “massive embarrassment” for Johnson, while providing an improved opportunity for an accord.

“I’m not interested in a staring match over September 12th,” the mayor said in an e-mailed statement. “Further strike action isn’t going to benefit anyone and I’d urge the unions’ leadership to keep talking.”

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