February 2013 New rail jobs - writing pointless reports!

01 June 2013

Have you noticed that the rail industry is active in job creation? Unfortunately the extra employment is for people already in over-paid jobs to carry out meaningless tasks. The work in question is writing reports about the railway.

After the fracas of the West coast mainline franchise, not one,but two bodies were created to examine franchising. Their conclusions were predictable beyond belief. Eurostar chairman Richard Brown’s outfit found that no member of the government could possibly be criticised for the West coast debacle; while Centrica boss Sam Laidlaw’s committee decided that no part of the government’s rail franchising policy could be censured to any degree.

Equally remarkable is the government’s Rail delivery group (RDG). It is made up of the very people who are the heads of the franchise firms, charged with examining how they’ve been getting on. They can either conclude that the system that gives them untold wealth is a good one and that no changes are needed – or that they are vultures living off a wasteful franchise system. I wonder which they’ll opt for?

It’s also interesting that neither Laidlaw nor Brown nor the RDG have mentioned director’s salaries or associated remuneration packages. In fact McNulty, the instigator of the RDG, told the Commons select committee he did not consider them a factor - but everyone else apparently has had ‘wages drift’!

The RDG ‘brings together the owners of Britain's train operating companies, Freight operating companies and network Rail to provide leadership to Britain's rail industry’. They are charged with considering reducing costs,improving efficiency and improving services.

I’d be happy to see them skip these tasks and instead answer two straight forward questions. One, what on earth have they been paid for in the rest of their careers?

And two, is it sensible to appoint foxes to head up the chicken coop’s security operation?

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