Brian Coleman says tube drivers should be phased out for driverless trains
PUBLISHED: 12:57 14 January 2011
BRIAN COLEMAN has called for the ‘phasing out’ of tube drivers, in a statement backing Boris Johnson’s speech last night which hit out at striking Underground workers.
In his State of London address, the Mayor told the Local Government Dinner in Mansion House that Northern and Jubilee line upgrades reduced the need for skilled tube drivers.
He added that only one member of staff would soon be needed to operate trains and unions should take note when considering industrial action.
“It is a fact that as we speak most of the Jubilee Line runs under automatic operation,” the Mayor said.
“The driving of the train is done by computer, rather than manually.
“It is a fact that anybody in this room could in a matter of a few weeks acquire the qualifications to supervise an Underground train.
“The huge implications of that change will be obvious to all of us.
“I hope they [the unions] will recognise the patience of Londoners is not endless. They should abandon the recent pattern of strikes.”
Fresh from his fiery exchanges with the Fire Brigades Union in his role as Chairman of the London Fire Authority, Brian Coleman has gone further than the mayor and called for the drivers to be ‘phased out’.
It comes just days after the politician, who also represents Totteridge ward on Barnet Council, was criticised for the fire authority’s report threatening to sack and re-hire firefighters if they continued to oppose new shift patterns.
It now seems Cllr Coleman has turned his ire towards the RMT.
“The tube unions constantly hold my constituents to ransom with their reckless strikes, demanding outlandish pay and conditions,” he said.
“While my residents have to tighten their belts to do their part in reducing the deficit, it is a disgrace that the RMT and ASLEF threaten to ruin big events like the Royal Wedding in a bid to receive triple time and a day off in Lieu. The Mayor should start looking immediately at how drivers can be phased out as the new technology comes online. When other services such as the Met and the Fire Service must make efficiencies, this is the right policy to implement.”
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