Friday, 12 June 2009

Tube strike

Things have been quiet in my blogosphere as I have been in Italy on holiday. The purpose of the trip was to attend a friend’s wedding and we decided to make it our summer holiday. Harold Wilson once said “A week is a long time in politics”. This week certainly was and I will comment on some of the very negative departmental changes in a later post.

I have lived in London most of my adult life and much as I love holidays I usually love coming home to London. Not this time – the thought of arriving back during a Tube strike put a real dampener on the last couple of days. Fortunately both Gatwick Express and our local minicab company were efficient and spreading the cost of the cab between four of us wasn’t too bad.

I was appalled to read Bob Crow’s triumphalism this morning “I’m really pleased, it was a solid success. The whole city ground to a halt and the disruption it caused was all over the papers”. Good for you Mr Crow. Who are these people you are preventing from coming to work – they are the millions of people who are facing bankruptcy (business owners), redundancy (their staff), pay reductions, four day weeks and pay freezes. I imagine they are solidly behind your demand for a 5% increase and no guaranteed redundancies. Newspapers are not always accurate so perhaps the report of 43 days holiday (for most of the real world 25 is standard); 36-hour week and free travel on Tubes and buses for staff and partners (worth thousands depending on where you live) is wildly off the mark – so we should not be envious.

Some of the people affected when the “whole city ground to a halt” are those doing research to save lives, or even treating those people whose lives are at risk today. A big vote of thanks to Breast Cancer Campaign staff most of whom managed to get into work at considerable inconvenience and those who couldn’t took a day’s leave or arranged to work from home.

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