Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Behold The Power Of Unions – Tube Drivers On £100,000 On Automatic Trains

That unions exist is true, that they are indeed an expression of the collective power of the workers is also true. But there’s a certain uncertainty over exactly who it is they stand up to and for. We can imagine that it’s the top-hatted capitalists being dealt with, the unions making sure that they don’t immiserate the faces of the workers into the dust. Except, of course, we don’t really have many unions in the private sector. Most union activity is over in the public one.

Which is odd really. The left continually tells is that government must do more, must be responsible for more things, that we both can and must trust government to do those right things rightly. Yet the very same people tell us that the workers need protection from said government. As, say, the average voter or consumer doesn’t require said protection. Odd that.

And then we’ve got hos this all actually plays out:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Mind the gap: Tube drivers on £100,000 fly past pilots[/perfectpullquote]

Hmm. It’s possible to make the argument that Tube drivers should make more than pilots. You’re not going to get many takers for it outside public sector pay negotiations but you can make it all the same. Except that’s not quite it, it gets worse:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Some London Tube drivers have broken the £100,000 pay barrier, overtaking many airline pilots, according to data released under freedom of information (FoI) laws. Their pay packages have gone into six figures even as their jobs have become easier: trains on five of the Tube’s 11 lines are automatic and the driver simply opens and closes the doors. Another four lines will be automatic by 2023.[/perfectpullquote]

And that’s union power. We as taxpayers are being ripped off by that union power over the limited workforce trained and licenced to drive tube trains. Sure, there’s that mythology of the capitalists, but this is us getting dinged for the cash.

In reality, the only thing those drivers are there for is to provide someone to traumatise when the train runs over a suicide. It’s really not worth being held to random for that now, is it? And thus the urge to break that union power.

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Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
5 years ago

It’s possible to make the argument that Tube drivers should make more than pilots. I’m struggling to think what that argument might be. It’s true that there are more lives in the hands of the person at the controls (and there’s only one such person) in the case of the tube. But the worst tube crash in living memory (Moorgate – when the train ran into the buffers at the end of the line at more or less full speed) caused less than 50 fatalities. And in terms of the skill and experience needed to do the job, the pilot… Read more »

5 years ago

Bet they are all male drivers as well as overpaid. So isn’t it just a bit ironic that the Unions are adding to gender imbalances and income inequality? And given all the hot air they emit every time they open their mouths, which is too frequent, then we can add climate to their charge sheet.

5 years ago
Reply to  GR8M8S

They are not all male: Ken Livingstone demanded that TfL and all its contractors used women to do “men’s jobs” which is probably why you can be surprised by a female toilet cleaner when you least want one. The first female tube driver was in 1978 and the great equalisation since then has 21% of the drivers on the less popular night shift being women and 79% men although recruitment has been open to both sexes for a working lifetime. You are utterly correct about unions increasing the gender inequality because their principal purpose is (like that of the… Read more »

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