How did the tube strike affect you? Please send us your comments

The Tube Strike made me slightly late to work. Therefore the right to strike should be abolished.

Nah, not really. I cycled. But this appears to be the tone of the comments I’ve seen today. Twitter and the strike liveblog have both been stuffed with me-me-me tales of mild inconvenience and anti-union rage.

This has been encouraged by the press’ standard strike narrative: these selfish bastards are striking, this is bad, and it will affect you in this awful unacceptable way of maybe making you slightly late for work. The reasons behind the strike are barely mentioned, if at all. The framing of the debate has shifted.

I feel the media’s approach (which begins right from when a strike is first mooted) – reinforced and multiplied by the self-absorbed nature of blogging and social media – is part of a process that seems to be delegitimising the right to protest.

And in such an environment, it’s barely surprising that our Tory mayor talks about wanting to suspend the right to strike if less than 50% of union members vote. Adam Bienkov points out the hypocricy of this position far more succinctly than I can.

And what does Red Ed have to say about all of this? Nothing. He won’t comment on the strike because he’s scared the press will call him a communist.

How did we get to this position? It’s insane. I need a cup of tea.


~ by jamboshoeshine on October 4, 2010.

11 Responses to “How did the tube strike affect you? Please send us your comments”

  1. I’m always shocked and disappointed by the Guardian comments about how mild inconvenience = no-one should strike. They’re striking over SAFETY issues, ffs.

    I’ve got to take a train, a boat and a bus to my shift this evening, but I don’t care. It looks like the Victoria line is partly running, but I’m not going to cross a picket line.

    • This was another thing I was going to mention but didn’t – how even the Guardian is actively encouraging the crossing of pickets. “Oh, this line isn’t too bad… etc etc”. It’s almost as if it’s a latte-drinking centre-right newspaper or something…

      • presumably to cross a picket line you actually have to see one. I didn’t see anyone tube workers out making themselves heard or trying to get their point of view across. I just saw the ones who bothered to turn up to work. Although it is raining and a bit cold, and the golfs on, which probably explains it.

  2. Leaving aside that they’re striking for H&S reasons, of course they have the damn right to strike, removal of labour is sometimes the only option. It’s not like the 70s when you could just walk out, organising a strike is a complicated, expensive, annoying business (ask the BA cabin crew and UNITE how petty mistakes in strike-calling can stop a strike).

    taking two hours to get to work twice a year vs getting stabbed on a tube platform because there are 800 fewer staff around, I know which I’d take…

    • Agree entirely.

      By the way, after moaning about the commenters, I must now say that there are still a couple of sane ones. Like this chap/chappess:

      “I would also add the omission of the media to mention Boris Johnson’s mayoral election manifesto pledge to fight against planned cuts to station staff. I dont think a single reporter has even asked him to explain himself on this U turn. Too busy demonising the workers I guess.”

  3. Personally I feel very cynical about these H&S reasons – they are always used as the supposed principal behind the strike and then surprise surprise in small print it is about job cuts, pay freezes etc. As someone who has had a pay freeze for 2 years now I have little sympathy. Times are hard and there are ways to strike and make your point without making innocent people suffer. How many of us have lost money and are having wages docked because we had a nightmare journey? How many struggling companies have been put at greater risk by these actions? By all means strike but if you really wanted to make the point why not just open the barriers and not take payment. (I pay in advance so wouldn’t benefit so this isn’t about selfishness) then their point is made but those of us struggling to make ends meet don’t have to suffer. It’s tough for everyone but there are ways to make your point without acting like children.

    • are you calling the Tolpuddle Martyrs children? do you have any conception of what people have gone through to get us the frankly outrageously limited union rights we have today? really i can’t even conprehend how anyone who works in today’s safe, relatively enlightened workplaces cannot understand the massively important roles unions played in getting us what rights we have today. Or would you rather be working 60 hour weeks with no holiday pay, sick leave, pension etcetc?

      What’s selfish about wanting to keep the job you like?

      And if you’ve had two year’s pay freeze, why don’t you go on strike? unionised workplaces have better terms and conditions…

  4. do you even know why they are striking? They are striking over the fact that TFL need to cut 800 ticket office jobs and re locate them to other parts of the service. There are no redundancies. You are all talking about security but what security does a person behind glass bring? They are moving people out of the ticket offices into new positions because NO ONE USES THE TICKET OFFICES ANYMORE! Change in consumer behaviour has made the need for ticket office staff redundant. 800 people being given new jobs. Damn fucking straight I’m pissed off I’m gaving massive issues getting to my job because these lazy twats don’t want to work. They don’t even provide a good service when they are at work. the RMT and Bob Crow are disgusting selfish humans and should all be ashamed of themselves.

  5. James, I’m afraid your blog has turned into BBC HYS.

    • I got mentioned by the Grauniad’s liveblog, hence the speak-your-brains nature of today’s comments section. It’s nice to hear some conflicting views, though. I can’t live in my socialist bubble forever. Sooner or later I’ll have to join the real word and get a job in the city.

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