November 3, 2010
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There is a hashtag currently on Twitter where people can post their feelings about the tube strike. It is depressing, with the primary emotion appearing to be #SafetyMyArse. But do you know who I blame? In an apparently counterintuitive move, I blame the RMT.
This set of strikes does, for once, have an arguable logic behind it. Closing ticket offices will affect people, from those who have problems using ticket machines (disabled, those with learning difficulties) and people who, for whatever reason, don’t use Oyster (an old commute of mine out to Milton Keynes, for example, could only be done using paper tickets incorporating a TfL travelcard). And I can say from experience that using a station where the ticket office isn’t open half the time can be unnerving. I presume there are staff at Hither Green somewhere, but I have no idea where they are. On the other hand, economic realities and all that… London Reconnections have a good summary of the arguments for and against, which is worth a read.
But there have been so many tube strikes, so many interviews with Bob Crow’s belligerent face peering out of our TV screens, so many disputes that should have remained local that have resulted in total network walkouts, so many strikes called and then called off when negotiations were held… The RMT have cried wolf too often. A strike is a valuable tool and I’ve often felt that the transport unions have devalued it; the outpouring of public bile during these strikes seem to confirm it. Hardly anybody believes what they say. I’m not sure all that many people know what the strike is about. For once the RMT could have a point, but they’ve pissed everybody off to the point where nobody wants to listen.
Can we have a round of sarcastic applause, please? Thanks.