Saturday 26 September 2015

At the risk of using a railway metaphor the talks on pay and Night Tube seem to have hit the buffers.  According to both unions management have adopted the tactic of discussing everything but agreeing to nothing, they are prepared to consider changes to our terms and conditions but not to actually commit themselves.  At the same time they are not prepared to discuss the pay deal as a separate issue which means that unless we agree to sign a blank cheque on Night Tube there will be no pay rise this year.

For their part management continue to put out memos repeating the mantra that they want the pay deal to be affordable and fair while emphasising that other worker haven’t had a pay rise but failing to acknowledge that in the railway industry above inflation pay rises are the norm in both private and public sectors.  Both unions are now consulting with the reps and the branches to decide what if anything to do next but frankly I don’t think management care what we do, the passengers and workers can rot so long as their extremely well paid jobs are safe.

And how safe are they?  On Thursday Mike Brown was enthroned as Peter Hendy’s permanent replacement as Transport Commissioner having stepped into the role in a temporary capacity three months ago.  His new job comes with a basic salary of £354k plus a £178k performance bonus which I’ve no doubt he will be judged to have warranted.  To counter suggestions that perhaps this was over generous Boris insists that it you want the best you have to pay for it although it would be interesting to know who else, if anyone, was considered for the job.

Mike Brown joined LU in 1989, worked his way up the greasy pole until he became Chief Operating Officer but further progress was blocked when Ken appointed an outsider, Tim O’Toole, as Managing Director.  His ambitions thwarted Brown deserted LU to run Heathrow Airport in 2008 but when O’Toole quit “to spend more time with his family” less than a year after Boris became Mayor the path was open again.  Brown replaced the Transatlantic usurper and added the title of MD of London Rail, the body that oversees all TfL train/tram operations, shortly after his return to the fold.  Finally he has succeeded to the ultimate London transport throne, living proof that persistence has its rewards.

All hail our new Dark Overlord!

Tuesday 1 September 2015

After all the turmoil of the last couple of months last week was quite placid, the only thing that stood out was the number of times I had to go into Coded Manual because ATO couldn’t cope with the rain.  Anyone who tells you that the Central Line could run driverless with the current stock and signalling system is talking rubbish.

On the subject of rubbish I’ve started moderating comments due to the number of depressingly witless and in some case downright insulting messages that have cropped up in the last few weeks.  If you are going to comment on my blog try to offer some intelligence, some wit and insight.  I’m bored with childish inanity, “you're all lazy/greedy wankers” or similar tedious nonsense isn’t going to be accepted.

Unfair?  Yes, completely but it’s my blog, as Al Murray’s Pub Landlord says “My gaff, my rules”, if you feel that the world desperately need to be told that “ASLEF are shit” then start your own blog.  Am I worried that a few individuals might stop reading because of this?  Not really, last month I received 21773 page views, my previous highest total was 16473 in July and before that 10591 in February when RMT were embroiled in the Alex McGuigan dispute.

I’m on ATOR this week, unless something develops at ACAS I’m not expecting to have much to write about and next week I’m on Annual Leave so the Central Line will have to get along without me.