Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Morning Quickie on the Threatened Tube Strikes

It's been a long time since my daily commute was hit by a Tube strike having not lived in London since the mid 90s. However, I understand that the Underground Drivers are considering striking over the 1.5% pay rise that they have been offered. They are saying it is not in keeping with those in similar jobs.

Maybe they should look over their shoulder at those they are transporting, not so much the bankers, but the shop workers, administrators, call centre workers, whoever. Ask themselves how many of them, often on lower salary than the train drivers, even managed to get as big a raise as 1.5% last year and are expecting the same again next.


Dave Corby said...

SO let me get this... because some people get paid less than tube drivers , tube drivers shouldn't attempt to maintain their living standards? An argument that surely extends to the "shop workers, administrators, call centre workers, whoever" who should obviously be looking over their shoulders before trying to get any more money... So no one should ever try to use industrial muscle to improve their wages? That would be wonderful, and an idea I'd fully endorse ... had I not spent a working lifetime watching employers using employees lack of collective action to keep wages down.
Could you maybe explain when it might be permissible for Tube Drivers to try and do something (other than say "Please, please pretty please Mr Johnson")to maintain their living standards.

Incidentally, I am currently living in London , and a Tube Strike is a massive pain in the neck for me..but I'm not so witless as to think my lot in life will be improved by tube drivers losing out.

Stephen Glenn said...

You mention that the tube drivers are merely seeking to maintain their standard of living. Yet the Consumer Price Index is currently 1.1%, whereas the Retail Price Index is currently -1.4% therefore under the circumstances they are getting a more than genrous offer and yet still want more. They earn £40,000 already and drivers get 8 weeks (40 days) holiday, station staff 10.5 (52.5 days).

Yes they have industrial weight to throw around. Many of those I mentioned don't have that strength in number. In the current climate it is a matter of like and lump it or lose the job all together. As an ex public sector worker now in the private sector it flabaghasts me just how little that old public sector mentality of what is an acceptable pay rise overlooks the current situation that many of the rest of us have faced.

The RMT have called 100 strike ballots this year! While many of the rest of us are looking over our shoulder hoping we still have a job come Monday.


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