Striking tube drivers earn twice as soldiers and nurses


As news comes in that we have been spared the pain of three further tube strikes we compare the wages of London Underground workers with their public sector comrades

So the three 24-hour Tube strikes planned for the next two months have been called off. Commuters travelling around London on 16 January, 3 February and 13 February will be saved a merciless stack of stress and propelled to and from work by the London Underground as per usual. Merciful modus operandi.

The proposed dates for further strike action were to follow the walkout on Boxing Day, action over a dispute concerning train drivers working an increased number of public holidays.

The strike on 26 December caused widespread disruption on the underground network after the high court rejected London Underground’s attempts to injunct the strike.

Aslef, the union which represents 2,200 for the network’s 3,500 drivers had called for £365 and a day off in lieu for working on December 26th.

Aslef announced that the halt on the proposed 2012 strikes has come in order to allow “meaningful talks to take place later this week.”

For many Londoners this is the latest battle in an on-going war between TfL and the unions, a normally functioning capital city the oft blood-splattered victim.

But how bad are things for London’s tube drivers? As far as other public servants are concerned – not too bad at all.

Back in October all three tube driver unions, Aslef, RMT and TSSA came out on top following a tussle with London Underground and secured a £52,000-a-year basic pay deal. The deal meant that 15,000 London Underground (LU) staff received a 5 per cent increase last year, backdated to April. This year and for the following two years annual increases will be based on the Retail Price Index (RPI) – currently running at five per cent – plus 0.5 per cent.

£52,000 is double the national average wage of £26,000 and a mere £13,738 off the annual wage of our MPs.

If you compare the annual wage of our tube drivers with that of their fellow public sector workers it makes for some fairly unsympathetic reading.

Entry level fire-fighters can expect a wage of £21,157 – this would be expected to rise to £28,199 after five years.

The nurses tending our NHS hospital wards can look forward to a starting salary of £21,176, rising to £25,472 and the soldiers risking life and limb on the front lines receive an average of £15,573, eventually reaching £24,615 after five years.

You can almost guarantee that the majority of these public sector professions weren’t sitting on the couch on Boxing Day eating turkey sandwiches and the last of a box of roses. Food for thought no?