In these times of austerity, job insecurity and falling real incomes, tube drivers in London appear to have on the table a relatively generous-looking offer from their employers London Underground. A four year pay deal will be put to union members that could take the gross pay of Tube drivers, currently around £46,000, to over £50,000, while some staff could receive a £10,000 pay rise over the four years.
Union density has been falling for a long period in the British economy as a whole but remains high for drivers most of whom are members of Rail Maritime and Transport union under their media savvy leader Bob Crow. The tube drivers would appear to have genuine clout in their collective bargaining negotiations especially with the London 2012 Olympics less than a year away. The authorities will be desperate to avoid or at least minimise the risk of industrial action as the Games come into focus and the eyes of the world are on the capital.
In return for agreeing to temporary changes to existing working arrangements during the Games, all train drivers employed by LU will receive a one-off payment of £500.
Gross annual earnings of £50,000 will include overtime and un-social hours payments and would take senior drivers comfortably into the higher echelons of the wage and earnings distribution in the UK. Indeed using the excellent IFS income distribution calculator “Where do you fit in?” this would place the highest-paid tube drivers comfortably in the top ten per cent of income earners in Britain.
More here on wage negotiations for London Underground drivers: Tube drivers’ salaries to rise to more than £50,000 (Guardian)