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.