Apparently, I am supposed to be happy, well that seemed to be the message from the BBC news reporting I was watching earlier! Happy, with the news that another court ruling has once again blocked strike action, this time for the RMT. Even the LibDems are happy, with our transport minister, Norman Baker, saying:
“This is good news for passengers who would have been the innocent victims of the strike. However, this is a temporary reprieve. It’s time for Network Rail and the RMT to get back round the table.”
So why aren’t I happy? Well, it is simple. The current mass protest by the government, political parties, self-interested companies and ultimately the public, against any form of strike action, is undermining democracy as it is removing the democratic right that trade unions have to make their voice heard over what are very important concerns – people’s livelihoods – their jobs, wages, conditions and so forth. What is happening now is saddening, all political parties seem totally oblivious to the interests of the workers and are too freely taking the side with the money and political capital view.
And so much for all these requests from MPs such as Baker above, for RMT and Network Rail to get back round the table. Well that was exactly what was happening. There was news that they were going very well, actually. So, do you think today’s events are going to help the talks progress? Oh, sorry, I took you to court, but hey, lets sort it out anyway. I hardly think so. Is all this petty legal malarkey getting us anywhere but towards an increasingly bureaucratic obsessed society. To say that the three main parties are against bureaucracy, they seem to be relying on that good old political tool a lot recently. First with BA and now with RMT. Even if a strike goes ahead with the maintenance workers, Network Rail seem to be pretty smug with themselves.
A Spring of Discontent? More like a ‘Spring of Democracy Discontent’! Whatever happened to the right to protest? A society poisoned by Thatcher’s New Right ideology, seems poised to further undermine any hope there is in furthering whatever democracy we actually have left in Britain. One thing after another, our democracy is crumbling before our eyes. Something the LibDem’s are supposed to support – but recently their attitude has been worrying.
I have to agree with Bob Crow’s words that the injuncture is “an attack on the whole trade union movement” and further ”twists the anti-union laws even further in favour of the bosses”. Furthermore, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber is also spot on when he says:
”It’s becoming increasingly easy for employers, unhappy at the prospect of a dispute, to rely on the courts to intervene and nullify a democratic ballot for industrial action on a mere technicality.”