Friday 6 August 2021

Normality beckons - Tube Strikes ahoy

 Cancelled this week but threatened again for the August Bank Holiday, Tube Strikes are back!

I am not sure I can be sure the RMT are on a strong wicket here, the Government are going to have to fill  TfL with a £500 million shortfall again this year due to Covid. This means they have the Mayor over a barrel and many of the long sores that have been welling can be lanced. 

One of them is the pensions for TfL staff, the final salary scheme is very generous. Staff retire at 65 on nearly 50% full salary if they have been employed long-enough. The cost of this is eye-watering for the Government and no wonder, with the private sector having ended these schemes 20 years ago now, that the Government wants to manage this for new starters at least. 

It does not surprise me the RMT want to strike over this, it is the right thing to do to protect their members from their perspective. I just don't think they can win when the Government is already having to subsidise their wages directly to say they should also keep their superior pension benefits.

However this makes a strike quite likely, but having been up to London a bit of late, I doubt too many people will notice and all the buses are empty anyway!


dearieme said...

How to deal with Trade Unions - screw the bastards whenever the chance arises.

And I write that as a former member of a branch committee.

About the only thing that united the committee members was a loathing for the Union's officers.

Hans Funk said...


Transport For Lenin

E-K said...

They have no hostages .. I mean... passengers.

Final salary pensions... yes. Let's get rid of all of them forthwith. Especially all public sector pensions.

Don Cox said...

How much of a TfL worker's pay is put toward the pension fund ?

The usual arrangement for public sector workers such as teachers is that a percentage of the salaries of current workers is taken out to pay the pensions of the retired ones. This works provided the retirement age is kept high enough. It should be set so that the average worker lives for a certain number of years after retiring.

Don Cox

Anonymous said...

Now is an excellent time to deal with the RMT and bring them to heel.
First, announce that we are in pain sharing mode. Any pay increases have to come out of operational improvements and efficiencies. Even inflation linked ones. Any pension shortfall has to be made up with increased contribution from members. No government support.
Then let them strike. Anyone who doesn't turn up for his shift is deemed to have dismissed him/herself. Might mean a skeleton service for a couple of months, but it has been that way for a while now.
Next step, open recruitment of replacements. End the ridiculous requirement that only station staff can be promoted into a drivers job.

E-K said...

You can't sack people if they are on strike through a legal ballot.

Station staff-to-driver only applies on the London underground. Open recruitment has applied everywhere else for decades.

Timbo614 said...

I went up to town yesterday to the London Bridge area, off peak, and it was anything but empty. Not super-busy but the train and underground were quite full (I had to stand on the tube to Waterloo at approx. 3PM).

Scrobs. said...

One of my daughters was a regular commuter, paying £5,000 a year. She now has been told that she can work ftom home, so doesn't need any 'blessings' from the RMT.

Gonna happen to may thousands more, so it's last gasp for the unions, and Khan isn't bright enough to do anything about it!

I still have my bus pass somewhere, and often went from deepest Kent to London for free - it took a while but who cared? I didn't, because I was usually staying over!

jim said...

Waste of time getting sweaty over a few quid to the tube drivers. We will have a choreographed dance of threats and then pay up. Hardly worth bothering to do otherwise.

The overall situation re transport and offices is still too fluid for any long term plan. Up or down, we don't know yet.

The notion of driverless may rear its head again, just take a look elsewhere - has any other major city found it worthwhile - not really. Perhaps time for a little chipping away at the marble, time to pull the statue down will come eventually.

E-K said...


I did have a go at one TFL unionist using up all our (mainline) political capital.

The fact is that younger TFL drivers are most certainly not living living the life of Riley living in London. Even at circa £60k the average house price (a shit hole in Mitcham) is £500k.

jim said...

TBF £60k does not sound a lot for a London tube driver. Is that all there is to it?

lilith said...

Jim, £60k is twice as much as a hospital doctor earns after ten years training...I think they start at @24k?

Anonymous said...

@lilth - no way a doctor is only on £30k after ten years! My best mate is a doctor, anyone with that level of experience will be on six figs minimum or they are not really trying.

@Jim - £60k for a London tube driver has to be set against an average London wage of £35k. And you only do a 4 day week with a lot of holiday, good pension and rock solid job security for that £60k.

E-K said...

I have experience of both. A junior (F1 - unlicensed) doctor is on £24k. Qualifed (post F2) is about £45k rising in increments. 7 years of training.

A tube driver takes about ten months.

Look. Having worked jointly with tube drivers over underground infrastructure in my distant past I know that tube drivers are very limited in their training and knowledge... unlike my own which would take at least three years to achieve (12 different train types an ability to locate switches and cocks quickly in order to rectify faults and apply rules 'n' regs) and six different signalling systems (and able to apply rules 'n' regs when they go wrong) two of the largest depots in the country and their local instructions and a whole region of routes and diversions which must be driven to time in pea souper fog...

I found it hard to defend my own, let alone tube driver pay but all I am saying is that if you got on the housing ladder 20 years ago in London £60k is a lot of money. If you got the job ten years ago then it isn't and the chances are that you may well still be in your childhood bedroom saving for your deposit - or if you do have your own place it's probably a tiny flat in Muggers-ville.