12 2 mins 12 yrs

LONDON is in the middle of a 48 hour tube strike, called by the RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers). Today and tomorrow hundreds of thousands of people will not make it to work. The cost to British commerce will be hundreds of millions of Pounds.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, as helpful as any government apparatchik can be, declined to suspend the toll charge for drivers going in to London. England play Andorra this evening at Wembley Stadium in the north west London suburbs. Overground rail companies, living up to Britain’s reputation for selfless public service, have announced their trains will not be be stopping at stations serving Wembley. The Football Association has announced refunds for fans who cannot make the match.

RMT leader Bob Crow (not as intelligent as he looks) called the strike on behalf of his poverty stricken workers. The drivers, for example, have to get by on a mere £40,000 pa. For pushing a lever. Some of them don’t even do that; Victoria Line and Central Line trains are automatic with the drivers expending their labour on operating the doors.

This is not good enough, particularly since the communist Bob Crow, I suspect, is limbering up for a spectacular when the 2012 Olympics roll round. Famously, Ronald Reagan sacked thousands of air traffic controllers who went on strike in (IIRC) 1981. I do not claim that workers have no right to withdraw their labour, but in a time of recession with almost zero percent price inflation, an unskilled worker on a wage close to twice the national average has no mitigation – none at all.

The Mayor must learn from the example of Ronald Reagan and the great union buster Margaret Thatcher. Time to start handing the boys their cards.

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12 thoughts on “Time To Strike Down The RMT

  1. That photo is priceless Pete.

    I think Boris did a terrific job considering. 1000 extra buses. Boats up to 4000. Cycle guides for people, and there were thousands – all those extra tits on bikes trying to get themselves killed were aided in part from mass suicide today. He should have suspended the congestion charge for sure.

    I walked home and forwent my tickets to the England match tonight. Gave them away.

    But yes they are total shitheads. Apparently they were fighting over an annual 5% payrise which is in line with inflation. Oh really? I never got no 5%. Mine was in line with inflation but it sure as s*** wasn’t 5%.

    I hate them. They should all be killed.

  2. Boris was right to not to suspend the congestion charge. If he had, many more drivers would have driven into the capital today, and the bus service (including the additional service) would have not run efficiently.

    As for Wembley, the train and bus companies refused to run services for the Scotland games in 79 and 81 due to over exhuberance from the tartan hordes. It didn’t stop thousands of Jocks descending on Wembley on both occasions. Today, football fans want it all handed to them on a plate. A bit of walking harms no one. As it is I’m told the jubilee line is operating a reduced service tonight so we worried about nothing.

    As for Bob Crow, he is heading up the Spanish bid for the 2018 World Cup!

  3. When I was a young longhaired rock journo I nearly missed an interview altogether because of a wildcat strike, and on investigation noted that they were going on strike for a pay increase that was two thirds of my entire actual wage at the time.

    Nothing changes. They’re still Unionized bastards with a sense of entitlement as long as your arm.

  4. So what if the busses would have been held up behind extra traffic? Sod’em.

  5. Just out of interest, is Transport For London (or whoever ultimately employs the tube/bus drivers) a private company? Are these drivers private-sector or public-sector employees?
    It’s just that I can scarcely believe that the free market rate for a tube or bus driver is currently approx £40K. Even allowing for the fact that it’s London (let’s call it, say, £33K, adjusted down to non-London salaries). That seems like a very large salary for the actual work that I imagine it involves. Or am I underestimating the risks involved?

  6. TFL should have had the guts to tell the drivers publically before they went on strike that if they did then all talks would be off and even the current 1.5% pay offer would be withdrawn and then stick to that whatever Bob Crowe and his lemmings did about it.

  7. PS Tom, I believe TFL is a public authority oveseen by the mayor which effectively controls the tube although financially the tube is run and owned by one or 2 private companies including I think a company called metronet.

  8. With the extra busses plus additional cars (from tight arses too mean to pay the congestion charge), London could have been gridlocked and no one would have moved. Those too poor to pay the charge should walk and work harder until they can afford it. Boris was right. And tonight those poor people will be fitter after their walk.

  9. Metronet went bust. London Underground is a wholly owned subsidiary of TfL, which is accountable to the Mayor.

  10. Thanks, Pete. I wasn’t quiet sure whether Metronet were still in charge. Boris should do what Ken wouldn’t, get genuinely tough with the RMT.

  11. I do not claim that workers have no right to withdraw their labour

    But that’s exactly what you are saying. If they are fired for striking, they have no right to strike in practice.

    And let’s not forget that the mess that is the London Underground was caused by Rightworld’s pet project – PRIVATISATION! Remember the slogan guys: "Four legs good, two legs bad!" This is where blind dogma leads to.

  12. Peter

    I don’t believe they should be fired for striking, if they have followed the laws and regulations applying to ballots but I certainly don’t think there is any merit to their claims and the now annual (and more ) frequency with which they walk out is something that needs to be tackled firmly bu the managers. Do you honestly think they wouldn’t have been doing this if the Tube had always remained in public ownership. ?

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