|Waterloo Underground station is closed during the summer industrial action of 2015 which crippled the |
capital in a dispute over rostering of the 'Night Tube'.
The result of all this- the government is taking action to quash the unions and make it far more difficult for members to strike. New limits on the turnout required at strike ballots could cripple the unions and spark a prolonged conflict between the unions, the industry and the government.
Surely there is an alternative? I believe there is. The rail industry and trade unions need to work together for the good of union members. Right now it seems that the unions are prepared to stick their foot into any conflict in the interests of their members- and that foot will not budge. The primary role of the unions is of course to protect the interests of their members, and this should be supported. However this cannot be at the cost of progress, reform and improvement. The rail industry is being held back because every time a change, or improvement is proposed the trade unions oppose it. Why- because the unions have the power to hold the industry to ransom with their demands. The result stagnates the industry and forces the continuation of archaic practices in the interests of job security. It should be remembered that this is a growing industry. Jobs are being created and while some job roles will change in the course of industry developments there is the opportunity to retain staff within the industry- and in good jobs. The whole industry, trade unions included, needs to embrace the future. I am not suggesting for one moment this should be at the expense of employees, but a balanced approach needs to be taken. Unions need to take a holistic attitude. To protect their members while not showering the industry in unreasonable demands that stifle growth and ultimately prevent job creation- not to mention preventing improvements for the travelling public.
|First Great Western passengers faced disruption over the|
summer as strikes over future duty changes in relation to the
new Hitachi 'Super Express' trains hit services.
Public support for the unions right now is at a low. After all these people have had their lives disrupted by strike action by employees whom they consider to be well paid and in good jobs. Surely the unions need to work on their public image. Their considerable clout could be used for the good of the railways and in campaigns the public will support- Staff at stations, a member of customer service staff on board all trains for example (and as long as they are employed and paid does it really matter if they are a guard or a 'train manager'?). We need to end the situation where every union demand can stop the country. Strikes are a tool of last resort and I don't advocate restrictions to prevent them- but the right battles need to be picked. Sometimes job roles will change. The unions should be mediators to the industry not dictators.
I return to my opening- I am not anti-trade union. I agree with much of what they stand for. However until a union can, pun intended, 'strike' a balance between protecting its members and allowing the industry to move forward I'm afraid I'll not be signing up.