Sunday, September 05, 2010

Autumn of Wrath 2: Autumn Harder!

So, nearly a year late - it is the tube after all - the strikes are kicking off and will paralyse London. For what? Because the RMT and some other bunch of TSSAs think it's a bit unfair that they shouldn't be paid to sit around reading novels and want 250 unfilled and demonstrably-redundant jobs to be filled rather than being part of a 5% headcount reduction which will not cost anyone their job and will simply be natural wastage.

Wonderful, eh? Doesn't it make your heart sing that Bob Crow is going to fuck up the week of several million people over a manufactured and practically non-existent "dispute". We all know what this is really about - it's not the ticket staff, it's not the union members, it's purely to test the will of the coalition government. "The issue is not the issue". For that reason, it'll keep rolling on with one petty grievance after another trotted out as a pretext for what must be the last hurrah of unions in the public sector. We have a precedent - Lord Scarman ruled against the unionisation of workers at GCHQ, for the fairly obvious and sensible reason that some services are too important to allow union activity to interfere with them. When millions of people can be held hostage for the benefit of a few hundred, half of whom don't exist and none who would lose their jobs in any case, the system is broken.

I'm not going to be affected by it, of course - as soon as talks broke down, I called in some hotel points and booked myself a room within walking distance of the office. There's a bit of an opportunity cost there, but no alternative.

The point is that unions have a stranglehold over the public sector (and the Labour party) and simply cannot be allowed to disrupt vital public services on a whim. As I've said before, strikes only make sense when there is a functioning market and a company can lose customers to its competitors; when the "company" is a state monopoly, they are simply extortion with menaces.

In any field other than industrial relations, blackmail will get you jail time.

Time to step into the 20th century, eh? Forget about all those abusive Victorian mine owners and deal with the fact that, for nearly four decades, we've had adequate protection for workers in potentially-dangerous environments and bans on discrimination on the grounds of race or sex and, for approaching five decades, protection against arbitrary dismissal.

The battle was won half a century ago, it's time to stop fighting it.

The government should ban something useful for once: unions in monopoly services.

- KoW

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home