Strike for strike sake

The unions leaders that called strikes today have not only caused serious disruption but in some cases have put lives at risk.

At the Metropolitan Police Authority meeting this morning we heard that front line police officers had to cover call centres because many of the civilian support staff had not come in to work.  I have a serious issue with strikes that put lives at risk.

The fact that these strikes were called while pension negotiations were still taking places shows that for some union leaders this is more about the fight than the victory.

I wrote a little while ago that the unions are in danger of showing themselves to be obsolete and out of touch.  The recent strike threats by the RMT are a case in point.  Two Tube workers were sacked by London Underground and their cases were taken to an employment tribunal.  Before the tribunal had even reached its conclusions Bob Crow threatened to strike and demanded the two employees were reinstated.

The tribunal found in favour of the two sacked workers and they were given their jobs back.  There may be questions to answer about why London Underground sacked them in the first place but the more important point is that their rights were protected by the law, not the union.

Changing demographics and longer life expectancy means that the current model of public sector pensions is unsustainable, most people understand that.  The solution will be found through negotiation not a few militant union bosses jumping on the first excuse they could find to call a strike.

8 responses to “Strike for strike sake

  1. Has this Government learned anything yet?

    The question remains that if we constantly attack and reduce the living conditions of workers do we still expect them to trust us and vote for us at any forthcoming election?

    You can say that you applaud the service given by the Teachers, Ambulance workers, Nurses, Police Officers, Firefighters, Customs and Excise, Refuse Collectors etc. But the fact remains that in order to shore up some very poor mistakes that have been made in the Banking area the public servants are going to pay the price.

    I must mention that we can afford to foot the cost of a couple of Wars, and one or two limited conflicts but we find it hard to justify allowing a poor to moderately paid worker to enjoy a pension that they already pay a sizable contribution to.

    Good luck at the next election, you had a wee bit of trouble at the last one, and I think you are about to be “stuffed” at the next. We reap what we sow.

  2. Mr Cleverly.
    I must enquire if you have ever been involved in a union or Strike?
    As your comments appear to be the typical drip-fed rhetoric from Conservative HQ.

    Whilst you are entitled to your opinion, as soon as you publish then you are open to criticism and debate.

    Your opinion is very typically anti union (a very “blue” trait) and sadly quite laughable for all the wrong reasons.

    Let me educate you on blame control. In some very recent industrial actions(it appears to be happening every other week now, perhaps a sign of discontentment)the Government were very quick to blame the unions and not the workers, but the unions are the workers and vice-a-versa.
    By blaming the unions you are attempting to create the illusion that there is a greater power at work (the left) and that everything is Politically motivated.

    When workers strike it is because they have very little option, they have been forced into a non contractual or difficult position.
    Do you honestly think a Teacher or Police Control Officer wishes to lose a days pay to score a Political point?

    Strikes are about People not Politics.

  3. Ah yes pensions, pensions, pensions.

    If one is truly committed to getting a fully balanced moved try looking at this wonderful document available online:

    http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/briefings/snbt-01844.pdf

    It describes in some depth that an MP can still retire at the grand old age of 60, hmmm some double standards there.
    It goes on to mention the now “infamous” 20 year rule where MPs can contribute the max of 10% of salary and retire with full benefits after only 20 years service.

    I bet this post gets left on the cutting room floor, James. 😉
    Perhaps it doesnt matter due to lack of readers…………

  4. Dear Anon,

    The reduced levels of union membership and the low turn out in strike ballots say to me that the union leaderships are increasingly detached from their professions and industries.

    I do believe that in many cases these strikes are politically motivated.

  5. Mr Cleverly.

    I hope Anon 1 does not mind me stepping up. But the big questions are:

    “if you were a public sector worker (earning a very moderate wage) would you like your pensionable age increased, with no further benefit”

    “would you like to pay more contributions with no additional benefits?”

    Of course your answer is no, unless you are a moron.

    And whilst the Pension debate is still ongoing I have a fantastic number for you:

    15.4

    (the average amount of years service an MP serves before retiring)a nice job if you can get it.

    And before you accuse me of being a bit “left” field, I am not.

  6. 15.4 YEARS ARE YOU SERIOUS.

    OMG THEY HAVE THE CHEEK TO RIDICULE THE TEACHERS, POLICE OPERATORS, CUSTOMS WORKERS ETC.

    WOULDNT IT BE FAIR FOR AN MP TO WORK AND PAY INTO A PENSION FUND FOR 40+ YEARS, THE SAME AS A TEACHER?

  7. Charles & Anon

    MPs don't only work 14.5 years in total. Most MPs have other jobs either before or after their time in the Commons, that 15.4 years is their time as an MP not their total time as an employee.

  8. Oh James come on now. They only join the MPs Pension scheme when they become an MP not when they are building duck houses or moats.

    The point is they accrue a full and very healthy pension after an average 15.4 years of service. It can now take 40 years plus for a teacher to accrue full pensionable rights.

    Please dont act as devils advocates for these devils, they may well have to make un-palatable decisions but that doesnt leave them immune.

    Another ridiculous decision I saw in the news today was the awarding of a train building contract to a German company instead of the last British train manufacturers. 1400 jobs have been reported as being cut. You could argue that we have a responsability to award the contract to the cheapest quote. But you only see German trains in Germany and French trains in France….

    Can anyone see the sense in this?

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