Wednesday, 5 February 2014

What I Think About This `Strike Or Not To Strike' by Louisa Pawsey

Personal Opinion Of A City Resident:

As I sit at home curled up under my duvet, trying to work out how to get to work when the only underground line to Wood Green is closed from Tuesday evening, my mind starts to think about the whole purpose of going on strike.

For those of you who don’t live in London or who don’t travel into the city on regular basis, the idea of trains not running must seem like such an alien thing. I mean, how does it matter if the underground is running a half service? Well believe me, the underground network is the heart of the city and without it, we grind to a halt.

Let me first tell you, as a conservative I don’t agree with strikes. I will never think its a good idea to allow workers to hold their employers to ransom and, and if I had my way I would sack every person that goes on strike on Tuesday and, hang the instigators on the nearest lamppost.

But I don’t, so I just have to put my faith in Boris Johnson that he will go all Maggie Thatcher on the RMT and then I could watch them go the way Arthur Scargill and Miners did in the late 1980s. I don’t see that happening in the near future though and if I am honest, that makes me very sad.

I think that the best way to deal with strikers is with head-on offensive measures and I am so glad that Boris Johnson hasn’t given in to their demands.

Now lets get this straight, I don’t really understand the purpose of this strike, or what their 'grievance' is this time. But from what I gather, it has do with ticket offices closing down, and people loosing their jobs. But at the same time, I have been made to understand that nobody is being fired or being forced out of a job, or even being made redundant. So what’s the issue about?

Ticket offices are closing because they aren’t being used, those staff effected are being asked to take voluntary redundancy, and if they say no, then they are going to be found other jobs within the underground network. Where is the problem with that?

And from conversations with members of the underground staff network, there seems to be quite a lot that appear happy to take the voluntary redundancy packages being offered. I mean lets be fair, most of them will be getting a very decent pay off.

But what I don’t really understand is what all this have to do with the train drivers. They will still have to drive the trains even if the ticket offices are being closed, so surely their jobs must be safe?

Nor do I want to hear the stuff about unions sticking together, on the guise of showing solidarity and support for their fellow workers!!! That seems to be just propaganda crap, especially as 70% of the union members either voted against strike action or abstained from the vote.

Which means that only 30% of the union actually supports the strike. To me that just says it all really. It's a totally irrelevant strike and is going to get the strikers no where, except for loosing two days pay.

If you work in a job where you can afford to do that, then I would say you have got it pretty cushy. Most people can't even afford to take a day off sick as they won’t get paid.

I am led to believe that this ticket offices closure scheme is more to do with the modernisation of the underground network, and they are only closing offices that are unused. That seems to make perfect sense. I travel through the same two tube stations on a daily basis, and have done for the past four years. Most of the time, I see the ticket offices open and the staff just sitting there doing nothing.

Of course we would all like a job like that, but is it really viable for a company to keep paying someone to do that kind of job? And lets be fair, this whole restructuring has come because of the enormous success of the introduction of the Oyster Card, which has made the ticket offices redundant.

But that was the whole plan, to make the underground system more efficient and productive, which it appears to have done. So really, it can't come as any surprise to those affected that their jobs are no longer needed, and they have had years to find themselves alternative employment, since the oyster was introduced.

And lets be honest, the truth of the matter is, being more probably to the point, these people who up until this time, have had relatively easy jobs in the ticket offices, are worried that they now will actually have to work harder if they are given an alternative job. Could that probably be what is getting on their nerves?

Well I think there are people who work a lot harder, have longer hours and normally have to deal with a lot worse than the LU staff. Trust me, some of them are being paid less than half of what the LU staff get, but are not allowed to strike.

There are even people that are doing a lot more dangerous jobs - the military being the obvious example - that can't go on strike and, who have to watch friends die. Feeling guilty about the strike yet? No, of course you're not, because you only care about yourselves.

What made me so angry on my way home last night was the sign from underground staff, apologising for any inconvenience caused by the strike!!!! If you are that sorry then get up off your backsides and go back to work, that way there wouldn’t be any inconvenience would there?

I truly think they don’t understand the disruption it causes and how much impact it has on other peoples lives. In my own experience the amount of customers that have cancelled their appointments for the next two days is ridiculous. And that means I am going to suffer, my boss is going to suffer and my company is going to loose business.

In fact, experts suggest as much as £50 million per day will be lost because of the strike. This is might surely be a lot more than the jobs being faugt are worth, but does it matter to anyone of the strikers? Do they worry about the millions of others that are suffering or who are worse off than them?

As you can probably gather I don’t agree with strikes or strikers. If I had my way I would privatise the LU network and get rid of the unions, and see how much the union leaders would like living on JSA. Maybe they would appreciate their jobs a bit more.

But as much as I hate strikers I am so glad that Boris Johnson hasn’t given in to them because it will only result to encourage more strikes and more disruption.
Stand firm Boris because 80% of Londoners don't want this strike and actually support you.

Lets be honest though at the end of the day, if London can survive the blitz, it can survive two days without a full underground network, even if it is an inconvenience.

And even though I have to leave for work half an hour early, it seems the only thing it is really doing is making more people turn away from the RMT. I don’t think unions should hold the power, that should belong to the employer.

And anyway, I can't wait for the day that all underground trains are fully automated.

But I want to say one positive thing - to all the underground staff going to work over the next two days, whether they are train drivers, platform staff or ticket office staff, I thank you for your morals, work ethic, sense and common decency.

If I see any of you during the strike, then you will get a friendly smile and a wave from me, because I will be one very grateful commuter and that you chose not to bow down to your union means a lot, and for that, I have total respect.

So thanks for going to work and for getting me to work safely.

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