I felt compelled to write this short article about the current Tube strike in London. Mainly because I am infuriated by how blatantly biased the reporting has been about the subject. Almost every news bulletin has been handed over to Mayor Boris to dispense his propaganda, whilst the workers who are striking (and losing their pay) are not heard from. Even the presenters can barely contain their partisan feelings. Just because we, as a nation, seem to have totally forgotten our working rights, does not mean the union is automatically wrong. That we now think we have to accept whatever our employers throw at us, because we have no other choice. Here are a group of workers who are demonstrating how important they are to London and are legally asserting their rights.
I do not know how ‘modernisation’ has become a by-word for cutting jobs or how making us wander deserted stations late at night is going to ‘help’ us, but this is the way of the modern world. As a traveller I like the idea of there being a place, a single point where I can contact staff. I don’t like ticket machines that swallow my money and like the bobby on the beat, seeing a staff member makes me feel safer. Equally, having travelled abroad, I have often wandered up to a booth with a confused look on my face and been helped out by a very friendly member of staff (often speaking better English than I hear in the UK!). At the same time I accept that things move on. Less people are buying paper tickets and need other help. But I fear that this is a slope where the end result is simply stations with no-one there to help if needed. Equally I regularly see people at ticket booths (often travellers) when I have been in stations.
People attack Bob Crow for going on holiday, before the strike. No doubt these are the same people who would not condemn David Cameron for doing the same. Equally, if reports are to be believed, Mayor Boris has failed to meet Bob Crow for some five years! And that really is the crux of the issue. For all the bravado of the Mayor, he simply is not showing the leadership needed to actually sit down with the unions and talk about their concerns, and those of Londoners. I have my issues with Bob Crow, but for me, he is running his union the way they should be run. Proving their importance and relevance in an ever commercialised world. Some commentators (including Boris) have questioned the legitimacy of the strike as less than fifty percent of union members voted. On that count we can dismiss many of our elected politicians, including the Mayor himself!
I am not affected by this current strike, but I have been in the past. Do you know what I used to do, walk. If I wanted to get somewhere, then I left a bit early and got a great view of this wonderful city of ours. Plus it probably helped with my health. Instead with have become a nation of moaners, desperate for any excuse to vent our frustrations as we take part in our favourite pastime of queuing. You may not want to keep your rights, but thankfully there are some unions who still do.