Saturday, 17 September 2011

Olympic Madness

My opinion of trade unions is regularly met with derision by my friends who know I take their exclamations of 'how could you?' with a calm dignity only conveyed by those who sincerely believe they know the truth.  Now, I'm quite sure few of you believe I accept derision with dignity, and calmness is not an emotion I could ever associate with mention of trade unions, having seen so many colleagues let down by those who profess to be there to support them.

Yesterday I was with one of my most politically minded friends who originally hailed from London, although she came to Scotland over 50 years ago to work, fell in love with a Scotsman and has been here ever since.  She was a loyal trade union member all her working life and contributed towards her own union's success in no small way.

'What did I think about the latest nonsense - I'm paraphrasing - to do with the London Olympics?' I was asked. 'Could I see more tourists coming to Scotland next year?'  My answers were 'very little' and 'no', yet I was interested in knowing why she had asked and she wasn't slow in giving her response.

It appears the good people of London and other UK taxpayers are paying London underground drivers bonuses not to go on strike during the Olympics.

A spokesman for Transport for London said: “London Underground (LU) has reached agreement with train drivers’ unions over temporary changes to working arrangements and payments during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games.
"The agreement follows six months of constructive discussions with union representatives, and will allow LU to meet the demands of extended services in the most efficient way.
“In return for agreeing to these temporary changes to existing working arrangements during the Games, all train drivers employed by LU on July 26 2012 will receive a one-off payment of £500.
"In addition, shifts of a certain duration or which finish after 01:30hrs will attract extra payments.” (source)

Having read the above I understood my friend's outrage, particularly when the £500 is a basic bribe bonus and many could receive up to £1800 in addition to their basic annual salary of £42,750.

The consequences of this largess from Transport for London may be far reaching and other workers associated with the Games may feel they too should benefit for working normally during the jamboree.  Who could blame them and who would blame their unions if they too jumped on the bonus bandwagon?

Not me.  For once I would support such union action.


Oldrightie said...

£42,750. Is that not the threshold over which 40% tax is recoverable? If so then these bonuses, (bribes) will be taxed at 40%. Or will there be a loop hole to exempt these bribes?

Like socialism, trade unionism is a noble concept, hi-jacked by self-interest, greed and hubris. Not dissimilar to Councillors in local government either.

subrosa said...

I think it's anything over £35,000 OR. We are cynical thinking there may be a loop hole...

Hamish said...

I think you're forgetting the personal allowance SR.
On the subject of the £500 bonus, I have to admit my reaction was: is that all?
Sounds like London Transport have done a canny deal.

Edward Spalton said...

There is a great opportunity in the Olympics - for Scottish tourism.

If broadcast reports of the games could be kept to a very small (say 10 minute) slot and newspaper reports to a few column inches of prize winners with, perhaps, a special TV channel for Olympic junkies allowed only between consenting adults in private, you could declare Scotland AN OLYMPIC FREE ZONE.

I am sure that you would be crowded out by OLYMPIC REFUGEES trying to get some blessed relief from the whole hyped-up nonsense. I guess that they would probably be rather thoughtful and well-behaved people.

JRB said...

The 2012 Olympics will be the biggest cash cow this country will see for a generation.

Not only will the train drivers be milking it for all its worth, so will all levels of transport management who will require to put in endless hours of overtime, or will have to work extra anti-social hours in order to supervise the said train drivers. They too will require additional payments.

As, no doubt, will the police and other emergency services who will require to work extra hours and shifts, just in case anything should happen.

And I’m sure council workers will require to put in additional hours, at double time off course, so that the streets can be kept clean and tidy for all the tourists.

In fact, anyone working within the circumference of the M25 will have thought of a lucrative scheme to milk the cash cow that is the 2012 Olympics.

Observer said...

''working normally during the jamboree.''

Err the article you quote says “London Underground (LU) has reached agreement with train drivers’ unions over temporary changes to working arrangements and payments during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games.''

So they are not working normally, & the unions have negotiated what seems a fairly modest bonus to acknowledge that.

J. R. Tomlin said...

JRB that statement should be "e 2012 Olympics will be the biggest cash cow London will see for a generation." What is the rest of the country getting out of it? And I don't mean just Scotland.

subrosa said...

Ah ok Hamish. That's the figure quoted by HM government with no mention of personal allowance. But yes, you'll be right.

subrosa said...

Edward, you're jesting - surely? Can you see the BBC giving up their 24 hour coverage? Only today I was reading staff in London are to be accommodated in hotels near the arena (although the BBC insist it's student accommodation).

But you paint a pretty picture Edward. If only...

subrosa said...

Exactly JRB, well said. This 'negotiation' is only the beginning.

subrosa said...

It seems rather strange that it's necessary for tubes, which don't normally run through the night, to do so or to run after 1.30am Observer. Surely there are other occasions when that would be helpful to Londoners. How often will it happen? Every night?

To have an extra £250 a week on top of a good salary just in case one, or a few, drivers have to work later than their usual shifts until 1.30am seems excessive. But then I'm a pensioner and £250 a week is a fair amount of money.

Others will jump on the bandwagon now. There's no doubt about it. And as I said, their unions should get a move on and ensure their members get a slice of the cake.

subrosa said...

I'll leave JRB to answer that one Jeanne.

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