Is it time to introduce driverless tube trains? Is it time to allow non Union staff? Is it time to privatise the running of the underground?
What about the supply of labour to become a tube driver? Well, the unions have stopped that as well. Vacancies are not offered to the general public so all drivers must come from the ranks of ticket sellers and customer services staff.
Are these the best people to drive the trains if it is such a skilled job, so dangerous and requiring a certain apptitude to demand such high salaries? Can you imagine letting a check in attendant fly your plane?
This industry is union controlled and like history has shown before is being abused by the unions. Remember the print workers? Remember the coal miners? The unions are leading another industry to a radical shake up and it isn’t one they are expecting.
Have the unions pushed too hard too often and priced their staff out of the market?
Unions have brought the tube system to a grinding halt. Calling their members out on strike is causing massive unnecessary disruption to our capital.
Why? Because staff are being asked to provide a sensible 24/7 service that the public need. Is this unfair on the staff? Well, not really. Tube drivers are extremely well paid already with benefits some people can only dream about.
On Monday they rejected a 2 per cent pay rise for tube drivers and a £2,000 bonus for working on the all-night service.
A newly-qualified tube driver starts on a salary of £49,673 a year. This can rise after five years to anything between £50,000 to £60,000.
Their starting salary easily dwarfs the starting salaries for workers in other sectors – like health and education. They can earn more than some hospital doctors. Meanwhile, the average salary for the British worker is £26,500.
A newly-qualified soldier starts on around £17,945, while a tube driver rakes in nearly three times as much. The capital’s tube drivers make about twice as much as nurses, policeman, firefighters and teachers. In order to become a tube driver – if you’re wondering – GCSEs in Maths and English are needed, with some medical or electrical knowledge being useful too.
What about time off? Tube drivers get 43 days in annual leave, significantly more than soldiers (30), firefighters (28), nurses (27), teachers (28) and police officers (22).
Tube drivers don’t work long hours. They work an average of 36 hours per week, which pales in comparison to how many hours a nurse will work on average (37.5), a police officer (40), a secondary school teacher (55.7) and a firefighter (56).