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London Underground Tube drivers are set to see their pay increase by 5%. In a deal negotiated by the Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and London Underground, Tube drivers can expect to see their average pay rise from £46,000 to over £50,000.

The Four-year deal gives London Underground staff a 5% rise in the 1st year, followed by the headline inflation rate +0.5% in the following 3 years. It is estimated that the deal may be worth £10,000 to many workers.

In light of the current economic climate the deal is seen as a victory for union bosses and staff. Union leader Bob Crow said his members might not find a better offer in the public sector.

Industry insiders are claiming the deal was sweetened to ensure tube drivers did not strike during the 2012 Olympic Games. However, the RMT union reiterated that the pay deal as separate from the negotiations on staff pay during the Olympics. It is estimated that London Tube staff will receive a bonus payment of £500 for working during the London 2012 games.

Don’t worry you can still listen to Metallica on your iPod whilst traveling on the tube, the ban relates to a poster for the bands recent collaboration with Lou Reed.

TFL ruled the poster could not be displayed on the Underground network as it ‘looks too much like graffiti’ The album cover features a limbless mannequin with a realistic expression on a photograph and the album name ‘Lulu’ written across it.

Lou Reed complained about TfL’s stand, asking: “What would Andy Warhol or Jean Michel Basquiat say of this type of frivolous censorship?”

This is not the first time a poster has been banned on the Underground, in 2010 a digital poster for the London Dungeon was banned by the ASA. Merlin Entertainments, which runs the London Dungeon, said that in order to “avoid causing fear and distress” it had followed London Underground’s guidelines in “avoiding flames and excessive, dripping or running blood”.

TFL seem happy for the London Dungeon poster to be displayed at Tube Stations but the ASA pulled it following a number of complaints from the general public.

The latest art commission by ‘Art on the Underground’ for the front cover of the Pocket Tube Map, is now available from Tube stations. The work is a tracing of the artist’s own hand in pencil; the creases and lines of the hand are represented by lines drawn in the various colours of the Tube map. In this way, Landy makes a direct relationship between ‘the artist’s hand’ and the Pocket Tube Map. We can read his palm and see how his personal journeys have left their mark there. Reproduced as a pocket artwork for millions of Tube travellers to hold in the palm of their own hands, the work has a humorous yet uncanny quality.

Head of Art on the Underground, Tamsin Dillon, said: “I like the way that Landy brings us back to the physical workings of the Tube Map. His reference to the way that people write on their hands as an aid memoire is very much in contrast to current handheld technology – like GPS and Google Maps. We like to provide travel information to passengers in as many different formats as possible. The Pocket Tube Map is a traditional, ‘hands-on’ guide, which is still a great way to get around the London Underground system.”

A brand new Geographical London Tube Map has been designed. The new map is the work of Mark Noad and he has posted the map online and plans to launch an iPhone app in the coming days. We think the map is genius! It greatly improves on the original tube map.

You can view the new map in all it’s glory at Mark’s website www.london-tubemap.com. You can also download a large PDF version of the map.

Mark Noad added ‘There are twice as many lines with London Overground and the DLR. When Beck was drawing up his map, the Circle line was the focus but that has now moved away and you have places such as Canary Wharf. This is not intended as a replacement to the official version – it is simply another way to look at it.’

The original London Underground diagram, designed by Harry Beck is one of the greatest designs of the twentieth century. He rationalised and clarified a complex system to produce a simple, easy to follow piece of information graphics. The principles he established for the diagram are still in use today.

However, in 1931 when it was first used, there were only seven lines so the compromises Beck made on geographical accuracy did not matter greatly. Today, with the constant development of the diagram now accommodating twice as many lines, these inaccuracies are more of a problem. Indeed, they form the basis for a major criticism of the diagram, that it bears little or no relation to London at street level.
This is particularly the case with newer lines especially London Overground which has been shoe-horned in leaving stations nowhere near their neighbours, for example: Watford and Watford Junction; Archway and Upper Holloway; Seven Sisters and South Tottenham; South Acton and Chiswick Park.

The map illustrated here is an attempt to see if it is possible to create a geographically-accurate representation of the underground system while still retaining some of the clarity of Beck’s original diagram.