This is a thought that has been exercising me (and some of my colleagues) today. In comparison to some of my commuting co-workers (particularly those training in to Waterloo) I had a fairly smooth journey in; not that I want to seem smug about it you understand. It took Nicola, our trainee solicitor, two hours to get from Waterloo into the City. She wasn’t alone with nightmare tales to tell. Reading over someone’s shoulder at the station I saw that the London Lite newspaper has also been questioning it given the travel chaos the RMT has foisted on us today. On their letters page they published a selection of readers’ comments which were 4 – 3 against the RMT. The general consensus around my office was that tube workers shouldn’t be allowed to strike, given the amount of chaos and severe disruption it causes. Is it just me or do the RMT always seem to call a strike when there is a major sporting event on (the Lions tour to South Africa and the ICC Twenty20 World Cup spring to mind and the Ashes Test series starts next month – are there any strikes planned for then?). At least the weather isn’t that brilliant for them this week.
The days of hard-left Union bosses holding the public to ransom should be long over. I have distant memories of the winter of discontent in 1978/79 and then the tanker drivers strike gave us a few days off school: I was all in favour of industrial action in those days! Those days though are long gone; tube drivers are paid pretty reasonable salaries in comparison to other public workers and I would support a ban on them being allowed to strike. Firemen too. Particularly firemen.
I fully accept that Unions once had a vital role to play in protecting employees’ rights – I’m thinking of the appalling deprivation suffered by the Tolpuddle Martyrs and the railway workers involved in the Taff Vale case in the early years of the last century. The RMT workers aren’t the Tolpuddle Martyrs though.
What do you think? Here is another poll.