Thursday, 27 December 2012

When exactly do we get our revenge on blackmailing tube drivers?

(Warning: spectacularly filthy language!)

I may have posted this video before – but the temptation to share it once more is simply overwhelming.

Yesterday, my wife had to go and minister to one of her sisters who has the rotten luck to be stuck in a hospital in Whitechapel, following an operation on Christmas Eve to repair her shattered pelvis. Normally, that’s a one-hour trip by tube across town on the District Line. Even on Boxing Day, with a reduced service, that would have been no biggie.  But because the tube drivers were – inevitably - on strike yesterday (third Boxing Day in a row), the journey had to be made by car.

Okay, that’s a minor inconvenience – my wife’s a much better town driver than I am: I love motorways and country lanes. But I don’t think Mrs. G – or anyone else – should have been asked to suffer any form of inconvenience at all. The RMT Union, led by sour-faced commie thug, Bob Crow, was demanding triple pay and a day off in lieu for drivers for working on bank holidays. Well, excuse my French, but – fuck ‘em!: Jim Callaghan isn’t Prime Minister any longer and it’s a while since the Sex Pistols reached Number One.

Remember all the nonsense we went through before the start of the London Olympics? Transport for London were throwing money and other sweeteners at the drivers to ensure that they didn’t disrupt the event. They were paid a £500 bonus for agreeing to do their jobs while the games were on (evenb though they were already being paid wages to do those jobs) and ended up with a new a four-year pay-deal will see average salaries rising to over £50,000. For occasionally turning a handle and pressing the odd button now and then. 

When those ludicrously generous deals were inked, I expect we all gritted our teeth and accepted that these overpaid, bone-idle, lead-swinging wreckers had us over a barrel – after all, the games were already costing taxpayers a bloody fortune, and a grid-locked London would have proved a huge international embarrassment.

But I suspect I wasn’t alone in assuming that a day of reckoning would swiftly follow, on which these prehistoric blackmailing sociopaths would be made to pay for their greed. Indeed, I even harboured fantasies of a repeat of Ronald Reagan’s decision to fire 11,345 illegally striking air-traffic controllers in 1981, which, one suspects, led to Margaret Thatcher’s decision to crush the National Union of Mineworkers in 1984. (Did any decent Briton not laugh out loud last week upon hearing that the courts had ordered former miners’ leader Arthur Scargill to be thrown out of his £34,000 a year union-owned Barbican flat? As the union’s current leader put it, “I would say it's time to walk away, Mr Scargill. You've been found out. The NUM is not your personal bank account and never will be again.")

The Olympics are long past, the danegeld has been paid – now, surely, is the time for settling scores. The next time these deluded knuckle-draggers decide to award themselves an extra day in bed at our expense in their fight for a £200,000 annual salary, a one-day week and retirement on a full pension at 45 or whatever, I suggest that any driver who doesn’t turn up for work be instantly dismissed, with no compensation and loss of all pension rights. (I trust that TfL are already training  chimpanzees to take over from the "drivers" as I write this.)

Londoners really have had enough of this nonsense.


  1. For once, Crow had nothing to do with this one - it was ASLEF drivers who struck. Even so, your post is spot on. When are these scum going to get their come-uppance? I'll tell you: if those who appear on TV representing TfL are anything to go by - never!

    TfL and Boris are forever deploring ASLEF - or more usually Crow and the RTD (whose cleaners are to strike on New Years Eve BTW) - but always (in the end) cave in. Even if those in charge don't pay up immediately and "provoke" a strike, the scum might lose a day's pay but, so well paid are they, and taxed at 40+% on their marginal earnings, that they can afford to be stroppy.

    As you write, these guys are grossly overpaid for doing something that requires, oh, an afternoon's training. The heroes of the tube - and more or less irreplaceable (although computerisation threatens their potential stranglehold) - are the guys who control the signalling system. OTOH you could replace the drivers in a week if you had the guts.

    Unfortunately neither any TfL executive nor any politican (local or national) has the guts to take them on. Politicians like Maggie come along once in three or four generations and there's not one on the present horizon with balls larger than a pea. Get used to it: this country's f*cked and the failure to deal with Crow and friends is just one symptom of a very sick polity indeed.

    1. I'm always forgetting that the tube drivers divide into two demented Marxist sects - thanks for the correction. My only excuse for regularly making this mistake is that Bob Crow is such a perfect universal symbol of everything we loathed about the unions in the '70s: sour-faced, mean, thuggish, bullying, sociopathic, and almost inconceivably stupid.

      Given that pretty much every Londoner, having suffered decades of misery thanks to them, doesn't feel an ounce of sympathy towards the "drivers", there wouldn't appear to be many difficulties for Tory politicians willing to call their bluff once and for all. Indeed, it would be a very popular move - the miners (weirdly) had a lot of support, but this lot don't. And it would cause no end problems for Labour, who'd find it very awkward supporting lazy, greedy sods on £50K without annoying the hell out of their core London vote.

  2. Spot on. I was once waiting at Waterloo Station hoping for a train home during one of the many work-to-rules of the mid-1970s. After a while, the crowd started to greet the appearance of any one in a train drivers uniform with a round of booing. After the third time, an announcement from the management came over the Tannoy to inform us that any repetition would lead to the cancellation of those few trains still running. That tells you all you need to know about the balance of the relationship between management, the unions and the public.