Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Tackling Tube Strikes

So, to put it simply, here are some of my favourite comments about this month's tube strikes in London.

1) Boris Johnson signed a petition in 2008! Boris Johnson promised this in 2010! 

Awesome! Let's base all our arguments on decisions, facts, and opinions that are 4 - 6 years out of date. That'll work like a bloody charm wont it. I presume the same people complaining about this make all of their life decisions on information from that long ago as well do they? Not to mention taking extra special effort to completely ignore ANYTHING that has happened since, or any more recent evidence to the contrary. You know, in the standard intelligent manner.

Run along kids, you're no longer qualified to use sentences. On the plus side there are some brightly coloured balls in the middle of the road for you to play with if you've nothing more useful to add.

2) Empty ticket offices will make life harder! 

How exactly? We've Bob Crow himself pointing out that he rarely, if ever, needs to use one any more. Personally I actually tried to use one the other day for the first time in about 18 months, only to find that, after explaining the problem 4 times to the guy at the counter, that he couldn't actually do anything, and I needed to call someone else. Someone not in the station.

That was helpful. Maybe we should do a quick software update to the machines instead to improve their accessibility and be done with it? Hell, we could even get the machines to work 24/7/365. But then someone would probably complain that they were being over worked, underpaid, and deserved better digital conditions

3) It's to protect the workers jobs!  

To a degree this is true. But after about 10 seconds thought you realise something else. Tube workers are VERY well paid for their work. Which is nice. Unless you're a teacher, a nurse, or one of countless other professions who get sod all for much more valuable work. But the problem is tube work isn't exactly the most highly skilled of professions. The Daily Mash's parody article about passengers discovering that they can learn to drive a train themselves in 5 minutes isn't exactly far from the mark. Instead what the workers are actually worried about is simple. Currently they get paid a lot of money for not having very many skills. Certainly not having many transferable skills at least. Losing their job on the Underground means that, assuming they get another job, they won't likely get anywhere near the same salary, as, put simply, they're not qualified. As such the RMT's constant demands for more pay have created little more than a self fulfilling prophecy of strikes and problems for them.

4) It's about safety. 

No, it's REALLY not. I'm not even going to make the point here, I'll just link you to this amazing blog post about the real impact of what happens in London when the tube's on strike to "protect Londoners safety". Be warned, you will not rest easily when you read it.

5) It'll turn tube stations in a muggers paradise.

No. Again, this is beyond moronic. Unless of course all thefts in tube stations take place under the watchful eye of the staff who are sitting in exactly the same position all day, and not, say, when there are lots of people moving around away from the ticket office.

The reality of this is simple. The world is moving on, new things are coming in, the old is being replaced. It started with the industrial revolution, and it hasn't stopped yet. It never will stop until the world does. To claim that you didn't see this coming, or that you need more time to adjust isn't good enough. We've been happily buying tickets from machines for over 10 years. We've had driverless trains for longer than that. Just how much notice do you need exactly?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes you are right! We dont need ANY human beings on the tube at all! After all, people never need assistance or guidance when there is a machine there right? Disabled passengers don't require help ever! Also, things always go swimmingly on public transport don't they? We certainly didn't need visible safety critical staff on 7th July 2005 did we? Regarding your blog, don't give up the day job.