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Ali is an economist and political analyst, working at a private UK-based company. He worked previously at the World Health Organisation and has an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS. You can follow him on Twitter (@alialsaffar).

On strikes and stupidy

In about an hours time, I will be leaving the office and heading home. On a normal day, this journey is pretty ordinary and usually goes off without hitch. Today though, we have the strikes. This means that after a tiring day at the office, I will probably have to spend around 45 minutes or so shoved into another human being’s armpit.

This is all well and good. But I think we tend to forget that using public transport is a privalege we actually pay for, and so when the workers strike and tell us we can no longer use a service we have already paid for, and to suggest that we take an overcrowded bus instead, this is pretty much like  going to a restaurant,  asking for a meal, paying for the meal, being refused the meal…but being told that its ok…because the waiter pointed you in the direction of the nearest pot-noodle stockist.

Now I consider myself to be ever so slightly left of centre, but I still don’t really see why train drivers can hold an entire city at ransom. Bob Crow, the head of the RMT, got paid over £145,000 pounds, so its ok for him, he doesn’t have to take the train to work. I think the fact the strikes are held on a Wednesday (humpday) is an indication of just how vindictive this strike action really is…when the accumulated stress and fatigue really pique and the weekend is not yet close enough to be any sort of solace.

I suppose, rather than make this into a rant, I want to ask the question: how do you feel about the strike? Is it a legitimate way for the workers to ensure that the rights of the noble proletariat are protected against the grubby hands of the bourgeoisie ? Or are the greedy, good-for-nothing workers using us as fodder in their war to keep jobs that don’t need to be done?

5 Comments on “On strikes and stupidy”

  1. Fatema November 3, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    very funny to read

    but crying was going on in my room for days

    God knows best

  2. Sand Storm November 3, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    I’m living in Iraq. Probably not the right person to speak about it since we can’t do strikes here. One the first sight of a human crowd a terrorist would run into the masses and blow up himself :).

    However I think that it is a privilege that we don’t have here. Unions are a way of practicing democracy on the ground.

    On the other hand however I would think that not all unions have the right to do what they do. They should account for the impact of their strike on others since it is not all about them. Their decision to go on strike affects the whole society. It might be a good way to make it remember what important the members of a given union play in it and make it appreciate it, but if it means getting what they want and ignoring what happens to others…I don’t think this is a right thing to do.

  3. Fatema November 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    “Luke, I am your father.”

  4. Yasser Alaskary November 4, 2010 at 10:03 pm #

    Instead of striking by not working, why don’t they just let everyone on the trains for free and close down the ticket offices and ticket machines? That way they make their point to the company, everyone loves them for it and people still get good transport.

  5. Fatema November 30, 2010 at 7:33 pm #

    we wish that can happen

    but in this day and age that will never happen

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