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Old March 23rd, 2011, 11:11 PM   #4461
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Thanks once again Tubeman for your comprehensive answer.
You're welcome
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Old March 25th, 2011, 01:42 AM   #4462
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Hi Tubeman, I've a question about national rail that I hope you can answer:

I live in Herne Hill, near the railway viaduct, and was woken at 3am this morning by what sounded like a massive vacuum cleaner. There was a brightly lit engineering train moving along the track and stopping incrementally, which is when the hoover kicked in - it sounded like it was sucking up the gravel from the trackbed.

Any idea what this bizarro train was doing?
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Old March 25th, 2011, 05:43 PM   #4463
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How big is London Undergrounds electricity bill? :P
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Old March 26th, 2011, 08:25 AM   #4464
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Is it true that tube drivers earn £40k a year and are still calling for strikes?
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Old March 26th, 2011, 12:41 PM   #4465
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Hi Tubeman, I've a question about national rail that I hope you can answer:

I live in Herne Hill, near the railway viaduct, and was woken at 3am this morning by what sounded like a massive vacuum cleaner. There was a brightly lit engineering train moving along the track and stopping incrementally, which is when the hoover kicked in - it sounded like it was sucking up the gravel from the trackbed.

Any idea what this bizarro train was doing?
I'm guessing a 'Ballast cleaner'

Ballast needs to be angular without finer particles in the voids between to aid drainage. Over time through wear, fine particles are produced much like sand is produced by the sea... if this is allowed to build up, ballast stops draining as effectively and also it encourages plant life by providing a better substrate for growth... So the fine particles need to be sucked up periodically...



Or possibly a Tamping machine?



...But these bang (to shake ballast into a more stable, compact formation usually after new track is laid), not suck!
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Old March 26th, 2011, 12:52 PM   #4466
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How big is London Undergrounds electricity bill? :P
Big!

We used to generate our own at Lots Road (Chelsea) and Greenwich power stations, but Lots Road was decommissioned a few years ago... I think Greenwich is still going, but most of our electricity comes from the National Grid now. Works out cheaper than maintaining our own power stations.

Found some 2004 figures:

Annual usage = 1,087 gigawatt hours (so over 1 billion kwh) of which 90% is for train traction.

The 2004 figures quote 5p per kwh, so the annual bill back then was £54.35million. I guess energy prices have risen since then to some extent, although usage would probably be the same give or take, as timetables are similar today to what they were back then (although they are about to be enhanced on several lines via the upgrades, off-set somewhat by newer stock and ATO operation).
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Old March 26th, 2011, 01:04 PM   #4467
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Is it true that tube drivers earn £40k a year and are still calling for strikes?
£41k, and sort of

The recent strikes (September - December 2010) were called by RMT and TSSA (the two main station staff unions) due to significant cuts to station positions / ticket office opening hours across the business. As a consequence, RMT drivers (about 50% of all drivers) also went out on strike in support, leaving the other 50% (ASLEF members) to come in and drive trains. So they weren't striking about their pay or conditions, it was in support of station staff colleagues.

ASLEF went on strike on Boxing Day on the pretense of demanding additional payment and time in lieu for working Boxing Day (knowing full well this was very unlikely)... Because to be blunt everyone likes having Boxing day off!

In the current climate, I don't think you'll find many LUL drivers who honestly have any gripes about their pay and conditions.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 09:55 PM   #4468
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Are the strikes allowed by the union?

Becouse over here, if you are in the/a union, you are not allowed to go on strike.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 10:31 PM   #4469
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Are the strikes allowed by the union?

Becouse over here, if you are in the/a union, you are not allowed to go on strike.
Sounds like a pretty pointless union then!

Strikes are called by the unions: they ballot their members to get the mandate, they simply need more 'yes' than 'no' votes irrespective of how many votes are returned. Once they have the mandate, they call dates.

You often have the situation, like the recent set of 4 strikes I mentioned, where a minority of members of each union votes 'yes' but the union still gets the mandate because so many didn't bother returning their papers so there were still more 'yes' than 'no' votes. Members then grumble about losing money; they should have voted 'no' when they had the chance!
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Old March 26th, 2011, 11:56 PM   #4470
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Sounds like a pretty pointless union then!

Strikes are called by the unions: they ballot their members to get the mandate, they simply need more 'yes' than 'no' votes irrespective of how many votes are returned. Once they have the mandate, they call dates.
Sounds good.
And you are absolutley right, we have a pretty pointless union. Sure, they discuss matters like pay, hours, etc. but without strikes.

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You often have the situation, like the recent set of 4 strikes I mentioned, where a minority of members of each union votes 'yes' but the union still gets the mandate because so many didn't bother returning their papers so there were still more 'yes' than 'no' votes. Members then grumble about losing money; they should have voted 'no' when they had the chance!
Sounds like they should have. But if they want to vote no, then return the papers!
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Old March 27th, 2011, 07:31 AM   #4471
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Quote:
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£41k, and sort of

The recent strikes (September - December 2010) were called by RMT and TSSA (the two main station staff unions) due to significant cuts to station positions / ticket office opening hours across the business. As a consequence, RMT drivers (about 50% of all drivers) also went out on strike in support, leaving the other 50% (ASLEF members) to come in and drive trains. So they weren't striking about their pay or conditions, it was in support of station staff colleagues.

ASLEF went on strike on Boxing Day on the pretense of demanding additional payment and time in lieu for working Boxing Day (knowing full well this was very unlikely)... Because to be blunt everyone likes having Boxing day off!

In the current climate, I don't think you'll find many LUL drivers who honestly have any gripes about their pay and conditions.
Never heard of ASLEF before, cheers!
So RMT & TSSA guys strike to say they want to secure their positions, and ASLEF people strike to say they want to take an extra day off?
I agree that everyone likes having Boxing day off, but again, to be blunt, when you're doing something for the society you have to make sacrifices. What would happen if all policemen/firemen/doctors etc. go on strike to get their boxing day off?
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Old March 27th, 2011, 12:19 PM   #4472
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Never heard of ASLEF before, cheers!
So RMT & TSSA guys strike to say they want to secure their positions, and ASLEF people strike to say they want to take an extra day off?
I agree that everyone likes having Boxing day off, but again, to be blunt, when you're doing something for the society you have to make sacrifices. What would happen if all policemen/firemen/doctors etc. go on strike to get their boxing day off?
ASLEF are a drivers / guards union and have a lot of members amongst main line TOCs also, it stands for 'Association of Locomotive engineers and Firemen'... I always use to think it was odd that Firemen were lumped together with train drivers, until someone explained it was the type of 'Fireman' that used to tend the fires on steam locos, not the kind who put out fires!

I'm not defending or criticising anyone's position here, it would unprofessional of me to on a public forum... I'm just saying it like it is!
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Old March 27th, 2011, 12:28 PM   #4473
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Sounds good.
And you are absolutley right, we have a pretty pointless union. Sure, they discuss matters like pay, hours, etc. but without strikes.
So what happens if they don't get what they want? They complain? Is there an independent body who makes a judgement when pay and / or conditions are being negotiated? Otherwise I can't see how it works:

Union: "Give us more money"
Employer: "No"
Union: "Ok then"

Can they do what is known as 'Action short of a strike'? This is basically the removal of all goodwill, primarily the refusal of overtime by workers. Obviously you're perfectly entitled to refuse overtime, but many employers rely heavily on it to run their operations, so all workers simultaneously refusing overtime can be very damaging.
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Old March 27th, 2011, 02:50 PM   #4474
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Quote:
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So what happens if they don't get what they want? They complain? Is there an independent body who makes a judgement when pay and / or conditions are being negotiated? Otherwise I can't see how it works:

Union: "Give us more money"
Employer: "No"
Union: "Ok then"
Acctually, i have no idea how they do it. From what my mom has told me they have a representative hwo talks to, i don't know if it's the CEO, of the company and if they don't get what they want they'll keep on negotiate.

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Can they do what is known as 'Action short of a strike'? This is basically the removal of all goodwill, primarily the refusal of overtime by workers. Obviously you're perfectly entitled to refuse overtime, but many employers rely heavily on it to run their operations, so all workers simultaneously refusing overtime can be very damaging.
No idea. I know they can, and sometimes do, stop going to work, but they are not allowed to call strikes.
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Old March 27th, 2011, 11:59 PM   #4475
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Without unions or the right to strike disenfranchised staff could simply co-ordinate sick days to make their point... Striking is the better of two evils as at least it's democratic, there's sufficient warning, and the strikers lose a day's pay for withdrawing their labour.

Every single employee could go sick tomorrow and take 7 days off self-certificated (i.e. don't need to see a doctor), the company would have no staff for a week and they'd still have to pay the wages... That would be disastrous.

I understand other countries conduct negotiations with trade unions differently... In France there's a system which I think is great where the two sides table their demand / offer and an adjudicator chooses either one or the other. It forces both sides to be reasonable and realistic, because the side which makes an unreasonable demand / offer loses out (e.g. if the union demands a 100% pay rise or the employers offers a 0.01% pay rise).
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Old March 28th, 2011, 06:47 AM   #4476
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Quote:
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ASLEF are a drivers / guards union and have a lot of members amongst main line TOCs also, it stands for 'Association of Locomotive engineers and Firemen'... I always use to think it was odd that Firemen were lumped together with train drivers, until someone explained it was the type of 'Fireman' that used to tend the fires on steam locos, not the kind who put out fires!

I'm not defending or criticising anyone's position here, it would unprofessional of me to on a public forum... I'm just saying it like it is!
Cool thanks for answering my questions!
I hope you won't mind me whining all the time about the tube!
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Old March 28th, 2011, 09:24 PM   #4477
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Cool thanks for answering my questions!
I hope you won't mind me whining all the time about the tube!
Haha no worries... why deprive yourself of every Londoner's favourite pastime?
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Old March 29th, 2011, 04:29 PM   #4478
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Any idea why the Dalston Curve was closed last Sunday? They've only just opened the bloody thing, and I fancied a pint at the Prospect of Mortimer.
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Old March 29th, 2011, 06:18 PM   #4479
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Any idea why the Dalston Curve was closed last Sunday? They've only just opened the bloody thing, and I fancied a pint at the Prospect of Mortimer.
No... seems strange as you say so soon after opening

Maybe some teething problem?
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Old March 30th, 2011, 12:50 PM   #4480
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So what happens if they don't get what they want? They complain? Is there an independent body who makes a judgement when pay and / or conditions are being negotiated? Otherwise I can't see how it works:
Tubeman outside of the UK (and most of mainland Europe) industrial relations work in very different ways with strikes as a very last resort rather than a negotiating tactic as seems to be the case in the UK. Unions still play a very important role in negotiating terms and conditions so still very much have a role but they cannot get away with absolute and utter bastardry like they seem to do in the UK.
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