New brass

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Mon, 29/07/2019 - 18:45,

LU will have a new Managing Director from November 2019, as Andy Lord joins the company.

His previous role was as Executive Vice President of Menzies Aviation, a logistics firm serving the aviation sector. Prior to that, he worked at British Airways for 25, and he’s also a Non-Executive Director for Defence Equipment and Support, which is a trading entity set up by the Ministry of Defence to handle the procurement and transpiration of military vehicles such as fighter jets, battleships, and submarines.

Plenty of experience working on public railways, then.

Yet another hire from the commercial aviation sector tells us a lot about LU’s strategic vision. Our bosses want to further entrench a profit-driven, corporate culture on the Tube. The idea of the Tube as a public service, where the needs of the passengers we serve and the staff who serve them come first, rather than profit margins and budgets, is alien to these people.

On a certain level, Tubeworker isn’t overly concerned by who occupies senior management positions. Whichever individual is in post, their role will be to ensure our labour power is exploited as effectively as possible in order to deliver the service at minimum cost. Exactly who sits at the MD’s desk in a comfortable air conditioned office in Palestra is of very little material relevance to a CSA doing SATS duties on a roasting hot platform, or to an outsourced ABM cleaner working for £10.55 per hour in a dust-ridden station.

We won’t waste our time demanding that LU hire better or nicer bosses; we want our unions to fight for an entirely different way of running the Tube, based on elected committees of workers’ and passengers’ representatives to ensure London Underground is democratically and accountably run in a way that puts workers’ and passengers’ needs first.

But the cultures imposed at the very top do invariably trickle down, so they’re worth paying some attention to. The fact that LU is looking to the commercial and private sectors for their managerial staff is revealing. We also hope Mr. Lord didn’t learn too much from his former BA colleague Willie Walsh, the former CEO, who is a notorious union buster. British Airways workers struck against policies imposed by Willie Walsh; a response we should not hesitate to replicate should Mr. Lord emulate Walsh’s example on LU.

Mr. Lord will be handsomely rewarded for his efforts at LU, with a basic salary of £285,000 per year. That’s the equivalent of about 10 CSA1s or 14 ABM cleaners. We leave it to readers’ judgement as to whether paying one person this much money is a sensible use of resources.

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