A better economy at the cost of its people is nothing to be proud of, but this is what can happen if workers keep quiet
‘Another tube strike is being held at …’ is a sentence we are hearing all too often on the news recently, this followed by a huge sigh as you realise you have to be at work that day and the busy commute on a strike day is something many wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy.
So as the RMT, Unite, and TSSA confirm two 24-hour strikes: from 18:00 on Thursday the 25th of August until 18:00 on the 27th of August, many questions arise about these tube strikes and the reasons behind them.
So why are the union members striking?
As I skimmed through Twitter, I realised that a large number of people were confused about this, and all too often the main argument against the strikes was in regards to the pay. Many suggested that £50,000 was more than what they get paid and that they’d be happy to swap jobs. Firstly however, being a tube driver and earning £50,000 only happens after you have worked at stations and thus the £50,000 package is something you work towards and earn eventually. The pay and work package tube workers currently have is also due to the unions’ involvement and action. Secondly, this strike is not about pay. This strike is about working hours, living standards, and is in response to TFL’s plans for a 24-hour tube service, which will disrupt work and life balance of underground staff.
Isn’t there another way?
There are other ways to show retaliation to TFL’s plans for tube staff, but they aren’t as effective. Strikes are often the last resort for unions and can come at a cost to not only you but also to those involved, but with management refusing to offer a suitable compromise, a strike is necessary. Yes it causes disruption to Londoners, and it is inconvenient which is exactly why the strike needs to happen. The fact that London cannot cope without our tube workers, shows why they need to have their voices heard and not be dismissed by management and London Mayor, Boris Johnson who has not yet spoken to union leaders regarding this strike.
According to the TFL Twitter page the night tube is predicted to ‘boost our economy by £360m’, this of course is very positive for Britain as a whole if implemented properly, with the rights and demands of tube staff taken into consideration. If not, tube workers will suffer and as a result the efficiency of our underground service will decrease, their being little motivation to work long hours for an employer who simply does not care.
The night tube as it stands may provide a bigger boost to the economy but at what cost? Living conditions cannot be compromised. What is the point of a growing economy if it exploits its working class and is unwilling to compromise?