I can’t help feeling that Unions are stuck in a time warp. Once upon a time their role in helping to protect workers was not only desirable but essential.
It is a fact that many industries were dangerous, badly run and lacked any sort of control in law. The industrial revolution brought about massive changes in the work place some of which required regulation.
By bringing staff together with a single voice it became possible to help improve things. But in the UK I am casting my mind back to the early 20th century not today.
We now have robust, some might say too robust, employment laws all supported by tribunals, courts and quangos.
So why are is the RMT striking in London? Why is our economy being damaged by their actions? Why are commuters, fellow workers, having their working days disrupted?
Perhaps the RMT have discovered a group of workers being beaten on a regular basis or not being paid? Maybe they gave found a large section of the staff are children and being exploited.?
No. On this occasion it seems the RMT are prepared to use the nuclear option of striking because tickets offices are to be replaced with ticket machines. This is not exactly ground breaking.
Many areas of life have been replaced by machines and the sky does not fall in. Many underground systems across the world have automated ticketing systems which work perfectly well.
You would think that its in the interest of everyone that TFL are able to use technology to help balance the books as grants reduce. More automation, less cost, less tickets price rises.
The RMT are striking because they want to save their members jobs. Job creation schemes that most industries have seen the back of a long time ago. The tube is not there for the benefit of the staff but for the customers.
The trouble for the RMT is that striking focuses minds on the industry. I question why tube drivers get paid way over £50k a year? I would have thought automating the trains would be safer as it eliminates human error and I’m sure it’s technically possible.
For £50k you could have a customer service staff member on £20k constantly walking up and down the train and save £30k. Improved customer experience for less money.
Old fashioned union thinking and not condemned by the Labour Party leadership.