London Underground tube drivers - we feel their pain

15 June 2009

Driving a train on the London Underground. It's a tough job, certainly. Not too much steering involved, mind, but well worth shelling out a starting salary of £40,000, 38 days holiday and free travel on public transport. You've got to wonder how they manage to put food on the table - no wonder the union is calling for a five per cent pay rise in the throes of a recession.

Some people just can't help themselves but whine about what a bunch of self-centred, selfish, arrogant pricks the union officials are though. Especially the commuters. And with more strikes likely, you can guarantee more will moan and whinge like girls about how they can't get to work and businesses across the capital are losing millions during said recession. Honestly, some people, eh?

For that minority of heartless commuters who care nothing for the plight of the penniless tube driver, here's a song (from 2006, when drivers were paid even less, if such a figure is imaginable) you'll no doubt revel in. So cruel.

[WARNING - LOTS OF POTTY-MOUTHED SINGING, USING ALL THE REALLY BAD SWEAR WORDS]

TOPICS:   Travel   Economy

38 comments

  • The B.
    Hold on now, there can't be another strike until September, that's when In Ger Lund are playing next.
  • MrRobin
    One of my mates works for TfL and took part in the strike last week. As a tube commuter I was as big a moaner and whinger as the next but getting the facts straight from an employee did help clear a few things up (although it didn’t gain any sympathy) when we all met up at the weekend for beers and gave him a thorough ribbing. The £40k includes the top shift allowance which means you could be working from 4am or until 2am regularly. Screw that, I say! The strike wasn’t primarily about pay but a change in contract clauses. As TfL has taken over some independent private contractor companies they have been put onto new contracts which does not have the ‘you cannot be redundant’ clause that frankly was ridiculous to have in the first place. They also chucked in at the last minute an argument about 2 employees getting the sack, one for stealing and another for opening the tube doors on the wrong side at a station. How anyone can defend either of those I do not know!
  • Andy
    Quote MrRobin: "The £40k includes the top shift allowance which means you could be working from 4am or until 2am regularly. Screw that, I say!" Hang on, its as if the shift work has been suddenly sprung on them. Its part of the job, its in their contract. If they don't like having to work early or late shift then why did they take the job in the first place? Oh yes, the 40K+ and 38 days hols. I work for the Police, get paid 15K less than than tube drivers, only get 23 days holiday a year and can be made to work 24hour shifts if and when required - Go figure.
  • Andy B.
    "I work for the Police, get paid 15K less than than tube drivers, only get 23 days holiday a year and can be made to work 24hour shifts if and when required - Go figure." Pretty easy to figure really as the Police is a pretty unskilled job. Isn't it just the job that people do who can't get a degree?
  • Mike
    The train drivers earning 40k chose to work shifts, no one is disputing that. Also you chose that by working for the police, however most people don't want to work shifts and don't earn 40k.
  • Will
    Isn't driving a train fairly similar to driving a car, just you don't need a steering wheel or gears? I'd say thats pretty unskilled. I'd go as far as saying a monkey could do it. Would you like that in writing? Their pay is ridiculous and the police should be paid far more *wink*. I work in Sussex and as I'm not on London waiting or whatya call it I'm on almost half that a f*cking train drivers on. What have I wasted the last 2 years on training for when I could spend all week pushing a couple of pedals. They'll be striking soon as they don't have guns to fend off the hundreds of terrorists that threaten their every waking moment.
  • Francis R.
    Will, there is a lot more to driving a train than "pushing a couple of pedals" you have to... and there's... no, can't think of anything else...
  • MrRobin
    I agree that the work is relatively simple and would only require a modicum of intelligence to be able to perform properly. It's the hours, the environment (working underground) and the monotony (you don't even 'steer' the thing really, it's a single track!) that probably drives the salary fairly high. I don't know why they don't develop a new system whereby the trains are controlled by computer, like the DLR. And the patform announcers... what's the point of them? "The next train is westbound to Stanmore", "Let customers off the train first", "Mind the doors"... surely all that can be automated with ease.
  • I m.
    Pretty easy to figure really as the Police is a pretty unskilled job. Isn’t it just the job that people do who can’t get a degree? They say that people who cant do teach, People that cant teach get jobs as binmen, and people who cant do binmen duties get jobs as policemen. Well maybe not all of them but this certainly is the case for the two pricks that gave me a total of 6 points in the space of 2 months.
  • Mike
    "Pretty easy to figure really as the Police is a pretty unskilled job. Isn’t it just the job that people do who can’t get a degree?" It is since the Police starting having degrees that things have gone to pot, only a graduate could come up with sending out CDs in romany to travellers with irish number plates on their vans, it did happen here. I was also told that getting a good score on the training exams (14 weeks) was the same as passing the 2nd year on a 3 year law degree. No, I am not a Copper.
  • MrRobin
    That's pretty harsh about the police... They do have a pretty bad rapport at the mo. I think it's down to things being so target driven these days. If theres a robbery and it falls into the too difficult category then they don't bother and write it up as 1 unsolved crime. If they can give out 100 speeding tickets on an A road in 1 day then it's 100 solved crimes.
  • Andy B.
    I beg to differ. What do you need to get in the police? A level 5.4 on the bleep test and some competencies that once learned can be easily repeated on their assessment centre. Hardly a probing benchmark into the calibre of a particular applicant. I would imagine that London underground has stricter entry requirements!
  • Lumoruk
    After you guys have mentioned your pay in the Police I might withdraw my application. With regards to the underground staff if they are so upset about their working conditions strike on working conditions, not over pay.
  • Shlonhg
    Or get a job as a teacher - 16 weeks paid holiday, complain that you do too much work and leave at 3pm everyday...thats the job for people who have a degree but in History... "Failed in the real world...become a teacher"
  • Lumoruk
    Shlonhg my Mum is a teacher and I can assure you she doesn't finish work at 3pm, often still at the school till 5 and when she gets home she has to mark all the work the kids have done at school, set lesson plans etc it's a lot of work. I think she works extremely hard, and she worked her arse off to get there as well. The 16 weeks holiday makes up for it.
  • user
    @ Andy B - I'm glad you seem to know so much about getting in the Police. you do realise their job is a lot harder than handing out speeding tickets. no i'm not a copper and i fucking hate the police, but it's not a job i would ever think - may i wish i could do that. "I would imagine that London underground has stricter entry requirements!" well you can imagine all you like but until you know the exact entry requirements your comment is speculation and therefore worthless. both are not jobs i would chose, but i'm pretty sure in this climate there are people who are willing to drive a tube any hours of the day for less money than the current salary, and probably less holidays.
  • Shlonhg
    Lumoruk My girlfriend is a teacher (head of Spanish) she left today at 3:10pm and granted she sometimes works "hard" the marking of books consists of placing a tick on a page spread over 30 books its not hard work just tedious. She showed some initiative (which is all you need in education) and got to the position. In the holidays so does fack all apart from get up late and put "ahhhh another relaxing day off" on here facebook status...
  • Andy B.
    Well, mr anonymous, the point is that if london underground have ANY entry requirements then by definition they exceed that of the Police. A policeman's job is actually quite easy, it involves treating members of the public in a surly manner (along with calling them "mate" or "fella", instead of "sir" or "Mr B" as one would expect from a public servant), getting abused (which many deserve due to their surly treatment of law abiding members of the public), doing large amounts of paperwork and from what I have seen, writing statements containing remarkably poor grammar. Somewhere along the road, however they need to find time to either: a) Put in a claim for occupational injury usually down to stress. b) Pursue an extra marital relationship, become a target for blackmail and then commit suicide c) Take industrial action against their respective constabulary for racial discrimination if they do not receive a promotion.
  • Daniel
    I have been a teacher for 3 years now, pay isn't great but i love my job, I have great holidays and always have a smile on my face. Also I don't get to go home normally until about 4:30 and then I will spend a couple of hours marking. I'm not complaining though its what i'm paid to do and i'm very happy with it. If all you want to do all day is moan about how easy other people have it, why not apply for their job and see if they will take someone with your limited brain cell activity.
  • Daniel
    Just to add Shlonhg, if that is how your girlfriend feels about her job maybe it's time for her to move on.
  • Lumoruk
    here here Daniel :)
  • me
    I have to defend (decent) teachers. Those that work hard can spend their life marking, planning and the rest of it. Whoever was talking about their girlfriend being head of Spanish, firstly it is true secondary school teachers do have it much easier than competent primary school teachers. My mother is a primary school teacher and I can tell you she works 24/7, even in the long holidays. Having said that she teaches year 6 and the majority of her classes always excel in the SAT tests, obviously a reflection of her hard work. Fair enough, shitty teachers (and trust me in secondary school and sixth form I had many), do not mark books, dont plan lessons, go home at 3 and generally couldnt give 2 fucks about their students. Rather selfish in my opinion but there we are. If there were no teachers, no police AND despite their apparent lack of skill (God knows how they can cope with the constant heat of the underground mind) no tube drivers, Id not like to experience the consequences. PS Daniel - well said!
  • Gus
    Stop moaning about police and teachers! I want to crucify the fucking cunts from the London Underground!
  • matt
    fucking tube drivers its hardly a difficult job they are just stuck in the 1980s from someone who commutes i reckon they are the scum of the earth
  • Brad
    How about do your job what your paid to do, if you dont like it, find a different job that pays as much for sitting on your arse. The thing that makes me laugh is did anyone else notice that Bob Crowe didn't let the strike happen BEFORE the elections that we recently had and waited after, mmmmm oh yeah thats right your in one of the partys that was on my voting form, No2EU - Yes to Democracy. Yeah I didn't vote for them either.
  • Amzmalhotra
    Lol, I remember that song from when it came out! Brilliant!
  • pauski
    Nice one Gus - I think it sums it up. Underground workers - all I would do (if it were my buiness) is "take it or leave" for 30k year - no perks (on starting).
  • Schlong
    Humm - Daniel on the contrary - she loves the job - she has just got a new job as head of languages at a private school in Manchester - shes one of the few teachers that takes the job seriously and like 'me' said there are quite a few piss takers when it comes to Secondary Education (eg. "We do to much work", "god I cant wait for this 2 week holiday I deserve it" etc) granted she'll do work in the holidays but right at the end - If you've been in education for 3 years you'll probably be on £25k - £30k (depending if you've pushed yourself for promotion) and your saying thats a crap wage? I know alot of people would like to do on that
  • Gus
    Teachers and police= irreplaceble. Fucking tube drivers can be replaced by an automated system like the DLR.
  • Jeeves
    @Gus Until of course the automated DLR forms an alliance with the automated underground to overthrow humanity and rule the world. THEN WHAT BUDDY?
  • Gus
    john connor will save us!
  • Spelling p.
    Jesus Schlong, maybe your girlfriend can give you some spelling / grammar lessons then.
  • Caught B.
    [...] There’s a lot of love felt by BW readers for the tube drivers who fought for their right to an unjustifiable pay rise last week. Yet Transport for London is siding with the thousands of commuters who spent hours trying to reach work! Outrageous. [...]
  • B.
    Some people crack me up, the majority of coppers are good people or at least tryers hampered by the current governments urge to wrap everything in red tape and yet no one has anything good to say about them because they got a ticket once. I speed in my car whenever I think I can get away with it safely, but if I get caught speeding its not the coppers fault for being there is it, its mine for speeding...Though I admit my last brush with the law a copper ten years younger than me kept calling me fella and I didnt much care for it.... And who of all those who have posted here is going to volunteer to not get a payrise this year or take a paycut or give up some of their holiday time so their boss can have a better holiday, a bigger yacht, another mistress? Didnt think so, twats. Good luck with your automated underground too and good luck escaping a blown up / derailed / simply broken down train with the assistance of the fucking computer currently fritzing out at the front....Would you put your very life in the hands of a computer? A computer running Windows 98? If you would you are in a very small minority. A minority I add of complete morons. Face it, most of the bitter idiots who write here slating teachers, police and transport staff are 9-5 office boys who seem to think the world revolves around their paper shuffling uselessness, they produce nothing, create nothing and think that the world should fall at their feet because they work in the city and wear a cheap suit. Want more money? Get a real productive job and get rid of the superiority complex your stupid little office jobs seem to inject into your very bloodstream. You hate these people because of their working conditions seem so much better than yours? Apply for their jobs and see it from the inside, then come back and write here about what its like to actually work for a living.
  • B.
    P.S. If you dont like public transport, get a car, a motorbike or a pushbike and then getting to work is all your responsibility, no one else to blame if you are late and traffic is no excuse, leave earlier is the solution. Dont like the police? Obey the law and dont go out of your way to get involved in other peoples business, stay out of trouble kids, I have had only one brush with the law of late and it was my fault because I wasnt strictly speaking doind the right thing. Dont like teachers? think they are lazy and useless? Withdraw your kids from school and home school them, then when they turn out to be utter idiots you have only yourself to blame, not the system and not the teachers. Of course 99% of those who criticise all of the above are slaves to it really and will never consider the alternatives because then it would shift all the blame a lot closer to home, its easier to put all your responsibilitys for timekeeping, law and order and education on to the shoulders of others and then blame them for every little hiccup than do it all yourself and realise you couldnt do any better and in fact were not even equal to those you profess to hate so much for their inadequacys.
  • Tube D.
    If driving a tube train is so easy then why don't you apply for the job? - dealing with people puking all over the place every Friday & Saturday night, working on Sunday afternoons, working on Boxing day, New Year's Eve etc, etc....fools, don't complain until you have put yourself in our shoes - & we also have to deal with totally incompetent and vindictive management every day, but we still get you home on time 99% of the time. You only remember the 1% when things go wrong due to no fault of ours, years of under investment by successive governments, even now they are only pretending to fix the tube - big bucks are going into some already rich person's pockets, but in reality they are only painting over the cracks....ain't privatisation great?
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  • Tash W.
    As the wife of someone who is currently training to be a 'tube operator' please accept my point as valid. This is an extremely complex job... Would you expect a pilot to operate an aircraft without the concise knowledge of his fuselage and how exactly to fix it should a fault occur? No, me neither. As someone who has had a look at the mechanical diagrams and info that tube operators are required to memorise I would say to all who assume this is an easy role to perform day day.. And to everyone else.. You're obviously jealous of the salary.. And green baby, is NOT your colour!!

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