Let’s call it what it is
We’re coming up to just one month to go until the start of the Olympics, the time period in which the work should be complete, the major testing of facilities and procedures should be over, and the bugs in the process of being ironed out. We’re all well aware of the fears raised over how London’s transport infrastructure would cope but, perhaps naively, I feel that the infrastructure will hold up well, and get everyone to where they should be. Of course, there are two parts to any service; the other part is of course the staff. And this is where things most likely will fall down. You’ll know no doubt about the “bonuses” that have been awarded to the staff of various transport operators in and around London for working during the Olympics. Now, whenever I’ve been given a bonus, it’s usually for a job of work done that goes over and above what’s expected of me. The emphasis there should be on the word done. So what precisely have people done to warrant the “bonuses” they’ll get for the Olympic period? To me, it seems that all they’ve done is agree to come to work and not take industrial action. Which in another context could be called a bribe. But that’s not the crux of it. This coming Friday, the 22nd June, will see the first city-wide strike by London Buses for thirty years, on account of the fact that bus workers have agreed no bonus with their employers. So, not only are they wanting £500 each for their “bonus”, but they’re saying that £100 will be added to this for every strike day, to recompense the workers for losing a day’s money. Again, last time I checked, you don’t get paid if you go on strike. So another word for what the Unite union are doing could be extortion. And to me it shows yet again that the current leadership of a number of public sector trade unions, particularly those in the transport sector, are out of touch with fiscal reality. Admittedly, those at the top of the private sector are equally out of touch. But it’s the broad mass of us in the middle that are the ones who get fucked over when this happens. And that’s what’s fundamentally unfair.