In a few decades’ time, in a post-apocalyptic Great Britain run by cats and cyborgs, historians will finally find the capsule we left earlier this year. The contents won’t amount to much more than our Oyster cards with a note saying “2015: the year of the strikes”. Not to be overly dramatic, or anything. But most Londoners just haven’t learnt to drive. Why would we have? We need the Tube, and without it we have to bloody cycle and compete with lorry-drivers and their never-ending blindspots.
The most infuriatingly confusing element of this all is that we sort of get why staff (note: not just drivers) are striking, we wouldn’t like to be writing this at 3am while some drunk guy pole dances and throws up all over us. If that wasn’t clear, that was a reference to the devilishly named Night Tube (of dreams). Regardless, people are obsessed with dissecting Tube drivers’ pay (you know, the one that starts at like £49k and gets a trillion days of holiday). It feels like an apt time to remind ourselves of a bit of research conducted by the Trades Union Congress, who some six months ago, published a list of the 10 worst-paying jobs in the UK. Here is that list:
- Waiters and Waitresses – £12,507
- Bar staff – £12,948
- Hairdressers and Barbers – 13,373
- Kitchen and catering assistants – £13,396
- Launderers,dry cleaners & pressers – £13,767
- Retail cashiers and check-out operators – £13,911
- Playworkers – £14,023
- Cleaners and Domestics – £14,164
- Nursery nurses and assistants – £14,305
- Other elementary services occupations – £14,575
Makes for stark reading, doesn’t it? Almost half the occupations on list, in full-time iterations, are lower than the Living Foundation’s suggest ‘living wage’. And that’s for areas outside of London. When you delve a bit further you can also see that other essential occupations such as teachers, nurses and police positions have starting salaries that are in the low 20s. That wage is far, far lower than what Tube drivers earn. But, listen, we can’t really begrudge them that. We should all seek a fair wage for what we do. Fight the power!