Tuesday 4 October 2011

Despite what the papers say I will not be making £50k this year.

The deal is a 5% rise which will bring us up to £44.5k and then which ever is greater of RPI + 0.5% or 2% for the next three years. Sadly I lack the Daily Mail’s crystal ball because I don’t know what RPI is going to be in February or beyond but over the last year various financial institutions have forecast that it will be anywhere between 1.2% and 5.7% with opinion on 2012 and 2013 equally varied.

If we got the 2% for the rest of the pay deal we’d be on £47.3k the next time unions and management start all this palaver again. Admittedly we do get more than some train drivers on the mainline but we are still behind others, Arriva Cross Country are currently on £48.7k, Eurostar on £49.5k, Virgin West Coast £49.6k, and East Coast Mainline £50.8k. And they have guards on their trains while we have to do both jobs.

The deal was done after a meeting at ACAS where both sides accepted their recommendations; how that constitutes the unions “blackmailing London” is beyond me.

Other than that we suffered a small degree of late running but no major incidents on Tuesday though it felt decidedly odd starting work at 9am and then going home around 5pm.


  1. I'm a layman who has nothing apart from mild interest in the industry, and I found your post. Thanks for clarifying the actual figures.

    Even so, from the perspective of people who read about this in the papers - after weeding out the hyperbole - it still seems mildly unjust to compare the LU salaries with train drivers who have a more complex job that what is done on the tube. Logic would say that, with a free market at least, where complexity is a natural barrier to a technical job, then if the job becomes easier there will be less scarcity, meaning salaries fall. But apparently, LU drivers' salaries haven't fallen, they have risen. Meanwhile the job has become less technical (or more bluntly, less "skilled")

    Is this a fair observation, in your opinion?

  2. I’m not sure that other train drivers “have a more complex job” than “on the tube” or that “the job has become less technical” The majority of trains are still manually driven, only three lines operate under ATO and as I’ve documented in this blog it fails on a regular basis on the Central. Nor will it get the train in and out of sidings or depots.

    When a defect appears on the train we have to be able to get that train moving to the next station and be able to do so without compromising safety. Despite never suffering a main line air burst since becoming a TOp next week I will be asked to explain how to get a train moving in the event of one occurring as part of my ATOR.

    We are paid for what we might be required to do rather than what we actually do day-to-day.

  3. Well it's kinda hard to walk down the side of the train in a tunnel especially the side with the juice rail and there's not much clearance between track and train. Isolate the unit, cut out the compressor and the governor, vent off the remaining air to release the brakes and then pull it through the spring-applied.

    Unless the burst is on the lead unit in which case you won't get a brake release in the cab so you need another TOp in the rear cab driving on your instructions. Just don't get the wrong handle when isolating the unit otherwise you'll end up with a break-away. Whoops......

    It's quite fun having the IOps and trainers simulating the various defects on a train in the depot, having to identify what's wrong and then getting the bugger moving again.

  4. I have to do it every year to renew my licence. Some old sorts still talk fondly of the Westinghouse, a bit before my time.

    Is it true that all Eurostar drivers have to be fluent in French so they know what the the signaller is going on about on the other side of the tunnel, or were those Eurostar managers yanking my chain?

  5. well there you go training is a wonderfull thing