Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Another Bad Day

Bob Crow
A Shaved MonkeyBob Crow
It's not only David Cameron having a bad day. Over at the other end of the political spectrum the union movement has been inflicting some self-inflicted wounds on itself.

The day started with Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, making a completely fatuous comparison between working conditions for migrant workers, and the slave trade. It was idiotic at best, and I suspect to some would be considered offensive had it been uttered by someone who happened to espouse the most moderate of right-of-centre politics.

He was quoted by the BBC:
"This study reveals systematic abuse of migrant workers, which is tantamount to modern day slavery," said TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber.

Source: BBC News

I won't comment on the stupidity of comparing slavery with a system where someone comes of their own volition to accept a paid job which they can leave any time they like, as Croydonian has done an excellent succinct job of doing so already.

Meanwhile in London, public transport been seriously disrupted by a strike by arch-prat Bob Crow's RMT, closing most of the underground system. Let it not be forgotten that the roots of the dispute are that the RMT are seeking assurances over jobs and pensions following Metronet's collapse, assurances that have, erm, been given, and given from the offices of none other than Ken Livingston, hardly a capitalist lackey. Even was this not the case, would the non-specific hypothetical possibility of changes in employment conditions in the distant future ever justify a four day all out strike?

I suspect part of the RMT's behaviour might be simple incompetence. The England football game is on Saturday, and unfortunately it looks like someone at the RMT, whose strikes have an odd habit of coinciding with major sporting fixtures, can't add up properly, as their strike ends on Friday.

There have been a few strikes recently that have had a degree of public sympathy, and there have been signs of sensible modernization of attitudes in a number of major unions. The RMT will be unlikely to see any significant support for today's actions, and in terms of understanding the modern workplace Bob Crow remains stubbornly neanderthal.

Actions like Bob Crow's can only set the union movement back, and diminish any sense in which it might once again be seen as a voice of reason. Judging by government reaction, Mr Crow can rest assured that if there was even the slightest chance of unions receiving new rights under Gordon Brown, that probability has almost certainly become zero as a result of his actions; he'll be able to play his pathetic persecuted minority line for some time to come.

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