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General Comment

Boxing Day Strike – Negotiation or Blackmail?

The London Evening Standard 14/12/2011

There is always a strange anti-climax to Christmas! Never was this more obvious than when ASLEF called a strike on boxing day over a dispute on pay. The strike caused widespread disruption, as people lamented the damage caused to the boxing day sales and the undoubted effect that would have on the businesses that depend on such revenue.

It makes me wonder what the motivation is for such a strike. Surely it’s not concern for the workers’ pay or conditions.  The reported demand for triple pay on boxing day is surely unprecedented, and in my opinion unwarranted and therefore, nothing more than blackmail! The drivers’ reported pay of £45,000.00 is well above the London average and any demands for more is more than greedy, it’s criminal!

Unfortunately, London Underground were unable to challenge this in court, because the law obviously never anticipated greedy union leaders and cannot intervene in what is essentially a contract negotiation. When I watch documentaries and historical films that remind me of what working conditions used to be like, I’m glad for the advent of the unions.  When I visit museums and historical land marks, like the mine on the Isle of Man that was so small, only children used to go down it, I’m glad that we have laws that protect workers and allow them an opportunity to make a fair bargain for their wage.

But when my boxing day is disrupted, as it was last year when I had to take a taxi (an unnecessary expense) to go church on Sunday, something is very wrong.  When I read headlines that scream, ‘Boxing Day Travel Misery…’ which are read all over the world, it makes me wonder what planet these people live on! They seem to live in a void where the only thing that matters is how much power they wield and how they wield it! It’s obvious there is no concern for the people, the city or the economy and if we were Americans they would be accused of being unpatriotic!

The pendulum has surely swung too far the other way, when it’s possible to make demands using the staging of an international event as leverage. The government needs to look again at the legislation governing unions and strike action and take some action of their own! Londoners need to be protected from greed, wherever it rears its ugly head!

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About Gillian King

Passionate about being black, British, Christian and a Londoner,(not necessarily in that order). Other passions flow from this, football, politics and smiling! I write what I'm passionate about.

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