I don’t purport to know anything about the inner machinations of either LuL, the relevant unions or TfL, but to me this latest strike of the tube drivers seems to hark back to the bad old days of union power being omnipotent.
In the days of Red Robbo, who single handedly got Rover eventually closed down, the miners strike and the all powerful unions who ruled their members with an iron fist until Maggie curbed the power of the unions, it didn’t seem to matter what the bosses of companies did, the unions held sway and could ransom the country to a standstill. The offer on the table from Boris seems quite good: extra payments for working a night shift, no extra working hours overall, and a pay increase for all staff involved in night running. So what did the union do? Why call a strike of course. No matter that a days tube stoppage can cost London £billions, so long as the poor dear driver (salary circa £50k) is not inconvenienced all is well. But as soon as any change is introduced that might mean a slight (very slight) change to the cosseted drivers routine, well that’s tantamount to wholesale change and worthy of huge increases in pay. No matter that the London tube system is heavily subsidised by government, or that 3 million passengers use the system every day, so long as the pampered driver is kept happy, the rest can go to hell. Aside from the odd driver having to put up with some idiot who wants to jump in front of a tube train, what is so difficult about driving the things that warrants such a high salary? There is already the technology to do away with drivers altogether, DLR had already proved that, and the whole tube system could be easily run from a few control rooms. But do away with drivers? The unions would never stand for that although they did get rid of guards, and there doesn’t seem to be any detriment because of that. So no driver trains would be easily achievable, just as driverless cars are being developed now, driverless trains are the next step. Many city subway systems are driverless, so getting rid of them in London shouldn’t present a problem technically, but the unions wouldn’t have it. It would certainly stop these ridiculous, financially crippling and unnecessary strikes.
The same is happening with First Great Western, who are introducing new trains for their mainly west country routes in 2017, the trains being built by Hitachi in Japan; the drivers and other train staff are going to strike because the new trains will have slightly different operating procedures. They also have a spat about not providing a buffet car, introducing a trolley instead. Petty, petty, petty. With all these drivers/train staff, the training can’t be that difficult, so why not get rid of the lot and employ people, who are out of work but are willing to do anything. After all Ronald Reagan did it with air traffic controllers in the USA, it can’t be beyond the wit to train drivers etc to replace the union lot who think it’s great to go on strike for any reason. They should all be grateful they have a job.