Thursday, September 27, 2012


Progress takes many forms and often leaves  certain groups of workers behind in its wake. That's often why a flexible attitude in the jobs market will help, after all these days there's not much call for blacksmiths, steam train drivers, Roman legionaries etc save in very small specific areas of hobbies or pastimes.
Tube workers are to be balloted for strikes in protest at plans to test driverless trains.
Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT) members will vote on industrial action ahead of preparations to test trains without drivers.
The union said it would initially ballot its members who are set to take part in the trials.
Transport for London (TfL) said any call for action at this stage was "ludicrous".
London Mayor Boris Johnson said during his election campaign driverless trains would be operational within a decade.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "RMT reiterates this union's complete opposition to driverless trains. Every train must have a driver to ensure the safe and effective running of the Underground.
Now I don't know how the public will react to driverless trains, they may not be too keen on the idea. After all the thought that there's at least a last resort of a guy on the brakes is quite comforting. That said it has to be put in the same consideration of a union who appear to be willing to strike at the drop of a hat and get paid well above the national average with less working hours per man than than the average commuter.
Perhaps the unions have (as ever) priced themselves out of the market and technology is ready to take their place. Wouldn't be the first time after all, look at Wapping and the print unions, they got greedy and paid the price. Same can be said about the RMT, they have got greedy, called strikes at the drop of a hat, held TfL to ransom over the Olympics and now look as if they are about to find out the cost of the ultimate freedom, that of taking the consequences for your actions.
I guess in the end it depends on whether the price will come down, the system keeps running and that people are happy with unmanned trains.
I do know it was bound to happen though, the actions of the RMT made it inevitable...

7 annotations:

Fred said...

The latest metro in Paris is driverless and this gives no problems. Isn't the DLR on London also driverless? It's all just another step on the way to saying byebye to the idiot Crow.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the Victoria Line was designed to be driverless.

John M Ward said...

Yes, Anonymous in the second comment is correct; and indeed the Victoria Line trains do drive themselves and have done since 1967 (45 years ago!)

It was only as a sop to the Unions that a "train operator" sits in the cab, operates the doors and presses the two buttons simultaneously that start the train's auto-running mode.

At the depot, there is some use for a human driver, to be fair, but very little justification during normal running. The station staff can deal with the doors and telling the train it's time to start moving...

banned said...

The world has yet to recover from London Transports reckless decision to remove Conductors from the buses.

Do you remember when the London dockers used to strike against the introduction of Containers? They sort of won since mass containerisation never did come to London, it went to Rotterdam instead and so did their jobs.

Restoring Britain said...

This is their downfall and the way in which they have perverted their rationale. Too many times they have become like a virus that does nothing but eats everything around them. The only logical endpoint is that they will devour the very thing which keeps them alive.

The minute they set off on this road their end point can only be their own destruction.

If only their members could see that their leaders are only interested in keeping their own nests feathered. Their determination to not have to rejoin the plebs knows no bounds.

James Higham said...

I'm told that though they're "driverless", they're watched over by a guy who does nothing. Interesting concept.

Anonymous said...

James I would have thought that was a union's definistion of nirvana