Thursday, 28 April 2011

Andy Slaughter MP backs tube strikes

Our MP backed the RMT on tuesday in their ongoing series of strikes against Londoners when he opposed a Tory proposal to ban strikes in the emergency and transport sectors unless a majority of workers actually supported them. What this means is that the Tories think a majority of union members should both take part in a strike ballot and then support the proposed strike before a strike is allowed.

Andy Slaughter it seems thinks the present rules are OK - which only require a majority of those taking part in a ballot to be in favour.

This might seem like an anoraks' argument but it is serious stuff for those of us repeatedly stopped from getting to work by the RMT, whose leader is a former active member of the Communist party. Get where his politics and agenda are?

At the moment all Bob Crow has to do is get a majority of those who can be bothered to take part in a ballot to support him. Since those people are generally the more active members of the union and likely to support the leadership the result is never really in question. So one of two things happens next - either Transport for London gives way and awards them more money (the usual outcome) or there is a strike. And then Transport for London gives way and awards them more money.

Surely it is not too much to ask that a majority of workers actually have to back a strike before it's called? The RMT often allege that "management" at TfL or London Underground are bullies - but trades unions are no strangers to bullying, intimidation and harassment themselves. So how do you know those votes or numbers who come out on strike aren't victims of bullying by their own union themselves, particularly when Bob Crow himself is a football hooligan who likes to scream what has been described as "diabolical abuse" at people? I once saw a tube worker being called a "c*nt" by his colleagues as he crossed a picket line - nice.

I am not blind to the real Tory agenda here either - they basically don't like unions full stop. But frankly when you have so many people being put in fear of losing their jobs or having lost them already in London the sight of Bob Crow calling for yet more strikes for yet more money is sickening. Particularly when he so blatantly uses Londoners as his pawns in a much bigger political game.

So Andy Slaughter, in my humble opinion, should have supported this ammendment. You may feel the same when you're fighting to get on a number 94 from Shepherd's Bush Green to get to work on a strike day, knowing you've got it all to look forward to on the way home. I wonder how MPs get to work on a strike day?


  1. I saw Andy Slaughter yesterday doing a spot of campaigning...

  2. This is a pretty weak argument you're advancing much like the sponsors of the bill.

    I don't hold any torch for Bob Crow. I think he's a bad choice for his members and for the union in general. But there's a point there that they are his members and he was democratically elected. I think a piece of legislation directed mostly at an individual in that position is unlikely to have been well thought out.

    You also have to admire the hypocrisy of the people pushing this bill. Both Boris and Phibbs were elected with less than 50% of the support of their overall electorate. Phibbs I'm sure was probably elected with less than a third. The overwhelming majority councillor and most MPs would fail the democratic test that they are seeking to impose on unions. You also can't help but note the confluence of the people pushing the bill and their alignment to the 'No to AV' clowns. So, quite happy to suggest other groups need to command majority support, but actively campaigning to ensure that they are never subject to such a test.

    Most importantly this will not improve improve industrial relations at TfL. Rather than obsessing about the cartoon villain Bob Crow, the people promoting this would have their time better used trying to work out why the majority of staff on the Tube are so apathetic and jaded about their workplace. So jaded that they cannot be persuaded to put a cross in the right box and tell the unions where to stick their strikes. Solving that problem shouldn't require any legislation.

  3. 1) The Bill was defeated. Even the Government didn't back it.
    2) Members from five parties opposed the bill, including Tories and Liberal Democrats.
    3) You should be ashamed of yourself.

  4. Dear Anonymouse

    I always think it amusing when people who want to have a real go at me hide behind anonymity - it means they must be very weak and sad people probably typing in a bedroom with the curtains closed.


  5. Look here's the deal. Strikes of essential monopoly services (like public transport) are holding innocent people to ransom for a) a pay increase or b) to prevent staff being accountable (and sackable) if they misbehave.

    Striking because something is unsafe is performing a public benefit. Striking for a pay increase is using the public as hostage.

    If someone were to tell me they were from the RMT and they go on strikes for pay I would put a knife to their chest and order them to give me their wallets. Because that's EXACTLY what RMT strikes are all about. Stealing from innocent people to get richer. They don't care if you get fired from your job because you were absent without leave! They don't care!

    Striking for money is robbery. Striking for safety is a public good. Think about it.