Saturday 15 March 2014

Unkle Bob has gone.  Those who a few weeks earlier condemned him as a political dinosaur from the 70s that should be locked in the Tower and questioned whether he should be sunning himself on a beach in Brazil (or wearing those shorts) with a strike looming are now shedding crocodile tears while declaring what a great loss he is, how he stuck to his principles and how respected he was.  Now they reveal that he wasn’t the rabid Marxist bully boy he was portrayed as but a polite if determined negotiator with strong principles, it seems all you have to do is die and everyone loves you.

For myself I admired what he achieved at RMT but not the methods he employed to achieve it, whoever his successor is will find him a hard act to follow and no doubt they will suffer the same character assassination attempts that he was subjected to.  Bob was four months younger than me, a reminder that we all have a date with the undertaker and none of us know when it is.

Saturday 1 March 2014

Richard Tracey says “Accelerating driverless trains on the underground would cut the huge £141M annual tube driver wage bill. Ultimately this will help bear down on fares for Londoners and pay for vital progress like 24 hour trains and flexible ticketing.”

All very nice except we’ll be running Night Tube from autumn next year and the first line to go fully NoPO won’t be until ten years after.  As for the cutting the wage bill…..

If by 2033 30% of trains will be driverless let’s assume there will be a proportional reduction in TOps, cutting the wage bill to around £100m which is a fairly impressive saving.  However Mike Brown has said that while trains will not have drivers they won’t be unstaffed, there will be the new grade of Train Attendant who will carry out the same function as the PSAs on the DLR.  PSAs get around £36k, roughly 75% of what TOps get so let’s say that TAs will be on a similar salary which means that the wage bill will only be cut by 7.5% to £130m.

So every year LUL will save what Wayne Rooney makes in 8 months.  Terrific.