Tuesday, 23 June 2009

RMT doing the day job

The London Living Wage for Underground cleaners?

Seems fair enough, it's a dirty shitty job and £7.60 an hour in London is not unreasonable.

Especially when it's already been promised...

More of this please RMT and less of the Cuba nonsense.

Talyllyn restructures

***UK.Railway reporting that the Talyllyn has lost its General Manager due to the railway's "serious ongoing financial problems"***

Cuban heels

Good news from 'Crow Bar' Bob and the RMT:

RMT GENERAL secretary Bob Crow will be joined by Alabama 3, Aleida Guevara (Che Guevara’s daughter), Labour movement legend Tony Benn and a host of other... (windbags? Ed) this Wednesday evening for the 7th Annual RMT Cuba Garden Party which this year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution.

And what a celebration it will be.

Just look at what 50 years of communist dictatorship have achieved on Cuba's railways.

Note the high level of crashworthiness and train crew protection afforded to RMT's brothers and sisters in Fidel's island paradise.

Presumably Bob and co will take the opportunity to speak out about this scandal at Wednesday's do?

Nah, thought not.

UPDATE: This from the Velopodist...

The RMT of course won't be raising any issues about Cuba's problems because, like so many of my less imaginative fellows on the left of the political spectrum, they attribute them all to the US economic embargo.

It's kind of a back-handed compliment to the robust health of capitalism when you think about it, isn't it?

But the thing that really stinks about their event is the presence of a real-life Cuban citizen who has, presumably, travelled to London specially for the event.

You can tell she's a member of the country's elite because they let her leave.

Her less fortunate counterparts are so desperate that they'll use any leaky raft to try to get to the United States, whose supposedly inferior system Ms Guevara will presumably be roundly criticising.

UPDATE: This from Graveshafter...


Crashworthiness and traincrew protection?

At least that Cuban rustbucket doesn't carry passengers.

Unlike Pacers.

Where are RMT with these a mere ten years after the event?

Network Rail Public Membership

Applications to join NR's 'Stepford Wives' closed on the 12th June.

The Membership Selection Panel (MSP) hopes to write in the week commencing 27 July 2009 to inform applicants whether or not they have been invited to the Candidate Workshops.

Our man at 222 Marylebone Road, the Independent Expert, Dreadnought, Leo Pink, The Major, etc... all await the call with anticipation.

Unsurprisingly none have rushed to clear their diaries yet...

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
What a soft job speech writers have at the Department for Transport.

All they have to do is dig out an old speech and change a couple of initials around.

This top secret draft of Lord Adonis' talk to the Fourth Friday club has reached the Eye from an anonymous source:

"As an organisation, XX combines the classic shortcomings of the traditional nationalised industry.

"It is an entrenched monopoly. That means too little responsiveness to customers' needs, whether passenger or freight; no real competition; and too little diversity and innovation.

"Inevitably, it also has the culture of a nationalised industry: a heavily bureaucratic structure; an insufficiently sharp awareness on the part of employees that their success depends on satisfying the customer - indeed, on attracting more customers; and an instinctive tendency to ask for more taxpayers' subsidy and to feel that public subsidy will always be there as a crutch whenever things look difficult..."

Can Eye readers guess which of Lord Adonis' predecessors first uttered these words and when?

A new era unfurls #3

Good news for the West Coast Main Line.

According to Transport Briefing yesterday:

Network Rail is to pump a further £50m into the West Coast Route Modernisation amid mounting embarrassment that the line is the most unreliable in Britain despite a £9bn upgrade.

Interestingly a reader suggests that as at 15:30 yesterday Virgin's press office were completely unsighted on the plans.

No matter.

Meanwhile delays look set to get worse before they get better.

Apparently Network Rail are to replace 290 sets of points that were not replaced during the original upgrade!

The announcement of the extra spend is perhaps unfortunate, especially as NR has already committed £2.4m on a splendid advertising campaign to tell us how the project had been succesfully completed.

All of which inevitably draws attention back to the thorny
issue of Network Rail bonuses.

The Eye gave credit to Coucher for surrendering his annual bonus, but now fears that this may not be enough.

As the WCML Upgrade is turning into a costly farce for TOCs and taxpayer alike can Network Rail really reward its already well renumerated directors with bonuses running into six figures?

Bonuses which will be seen, even if unfairly, as a reward for failure.

UPDATE: This just in from J Alfred Prufrock...

If Network Rail spends £50 million on the Worst Corporately Managed Line because people caused a fuss then perhaps ORR's fines need to be recalibrated to get serious action.

How about adding a nought to the number 1200 grade* first thought of.

*1200 grade is the smoothest and least abrasive Emery paper.

No good deed goes unpunished!

Telegrammed by Leo Pink
Chile, having stood by Britain during the Falklands War, is now being targeted for retribution by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office - which would rather the Islands had been taken off the bottom line and handed back to the Argies.

A crack team of accountants, lawyers and regulators is being sent to Chile to persuade them that they ought to follow Britain's example and privatise their railways.

Leading this elite force will be Michael ('Mad Mike') Beswick packing considerable 'heat' in the form of the Treasury's new Mk4A (enhanced) Power Point presentation which is alleged to provide a totally convincing explanation as to why paying five times as much for your railways is a small price to pay for the benefits of privatisation.

If this fails, no doubt the FCO will parachute in Lady Shriti (Grannies) Vadera to help explain why it is such a good idea to have "thinly capitalised equity profiteers of the worst kind" running Chilean rail services.

That will teach them!

Chinese take-away

***RMT saying MTR out of bidding for Tyne and Wear metro***