Bob Crowe may have passed on but his spirit lives on. The militant Marxist’s Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) trade union is on a 24-hour strike today in a dispute over changes to drivers' rotas as Sadiq Khan seeks to bring back the night Tube. Union heavies on the Jubilee, Victoria, Piccadilly, Central and Northern lines started a 24-hour walkout at 4.30 a.m. in a move that has brought much misery and strife to London’s long-suffering commuters. According to RMT general secretary Mick Lynch, the Tube strike action is solely down to ‘management failure to recognise and address the anger of their staff at the imposition of damaging and unacceptable working practice.’
So just how ‘unacceptable’ are the Tube drivers’ practice and conditions? Mr S has done some digging into the salaries of the hard-pressed Tube staff, to find out just how much the horny-handed sons of toil are paid for their labours. As it turns out, the answer appears to be rather well, as Transport for London has now admitted that Tube staff are paid up to £100k a year in salary, pension contributions, allowances and perks including season ticket reimbursements. Three London Underground train operators or instructors are listed as being in the £80,000 to £99,999 category of total remuneration, with an impressive 3,085 between £70,000 to £79,999.
Daniel Pryor of the Adam Smith Institute think tank told Mr S: ‘Commuters will find it baffling that Tube drivers on such salaries are striking because TfL is bringing back the night tube, a service that helps Londoners — especially women — get home safer at night. These changes will help them avoid about four night tube shifts a year; such action will lead many to ask: why haven’t we automated the Tube right?
These figures do not include another group of TfL staff, with Test Train Operators receiving a different basic salary and adhering to a different contract which allows voluntary overtime. The Freedom of Information response notes that the figures, which cover the most recent 12 month period from January 2020 to January 2021, have seen more Tube drivers move from a lower to a higher band owing to the basic salary increase over the past two years. Kerching!
The RMT: striking quicker than Harry Kane, with a salary to match too.