The Inequality at the Heart of LU

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Wed, 08/06/2016 - 18:24,

Our long-awaited back pay has finally been paid, giving our June pay packets a bit of a boost.

We all know we're relatively well paid compared to a lot of other workers, but we also need to keep that in perspective. If you work on stations, it's likely that you're now being paid at least £6,000 less than you should be for the job you're doing, as LU has forced us all into unpaid promotions that have seen us take on the work previously done by the grade above us.

And let's remember that we still work for a company characterised by grotesque wage inequality. The gap between the pay of frontline, entry-level staff (CSA2s, on £23k, or an outsourced cleaner on less than £10/hour) and that of senior managers has been steadily growing for some time. Is this fair? As Tubeworker often notes, if some "consultant" from 55 Broadway didn't turn up for work, who'd even notice? But if we don't turn up, stations don't open, or don't get cleaned, trains don't run, signals don't operate, repairs don't get done, etc. etc.

There was a particularly cartoonish illustration of the inequality at the heart of LU recently when top bosses treated themselves to a celebratory black-tie dinner in the Royal Air Force Club in Mayfair.

And what, precisely, were they "celebrating"? The successful implementation of "Fit for the Future: Stations". And for whom, precisely, has it been a success? Not for us, the frontline staff facing cuts, mass displacement, and forced regrading. Not for the passengers, facing a poorly-staffed service with no ticket offices. Ah yes... for the bosses themselves, insulated from the effects of their own cuts by their position of power and privilege.

As the old French revolutionary slogan puts it, "les patrons ont besoin de nous, mais on n'a pas besoin des patrons": the bosses need us, but we don't need them!

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