Monday, 17 December 2018

The Annual Christmas Tube Strike


In very recent months, if I recall correctly, an airline pilot lost his job for failing a single drugs test. This guy was earning just about as much as a hairdresser or forkift driver, despite the fact he was responsible for hundreds of lives, trapped in a pressurized cannister filled with terrified farts, brought on by shrink-wrapped and microwaved airline food, hurtling through the sky at 35,000 feet at 900kmph, with any number of variables that if not handled correctly, could end in unimaginable disaster resulting in the death of every single person on board.

And then we have London Underground drivers. They essentially drive stick, on a train on a fixed route, on fixed rails, using a mostly automated system, essentially using the same amount of effort and skill of a 13-year-old on an X-Box.

Some of them take home to thier families - three, in some cases four times as much as someone that flies an airplane, or a guy that drives a taxi for 14 hours a day; for fiddling a joystick, pressing a button to open and close doors, and occasionally addressing their hapless customers on a PA system in some incoherent mumble, that you're going to be late for work and how much they regret the inconvenience. NOT.

One such genius failed a drug test; not once, not twice, but THREE times. While sanity should have kicked in after the first failed test, the powers-that-be decided to wait for a third go. He was then duly fired. Better late than never, you would think.

Except, it's not fair. A mere mortal would lose his driving license and therefore in all probabilty his job for being two pints down.

The union he is a member of are going out on strike in protest of his sacking. The strike is of course perfectly timed (like they do every year on one pretext or another) for the busiest, most festive time of the year - so as to have the most impact, affecting thousands of commuters going out shopping for family and friends, and those trying to get to jobs where these customers will be served. The losses to the economy, just for this one day runs in the hundreds of millions.

That these joystick-jockeys have so much clout, such eye-watering wages, and holiday entitlements that are the among the best in the world, is seen by many as the collective bargaining power of unions.

It isn't.

It's the power of a monopoly.

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