Every blogger who resides in London must surely have blogged at least something on the series of strikes by now. Fortunately I only moved to London a little over a month ago, so perhaps I can offer a little fresh perspective on it all!
Having moved here it became clear that getting an oyster card was going to be the way to operate. Season tickets, automatic top up, cheaper prices.. The initial outlay of a couple of pounds was more than worth it. Judging by the statistics, 80% of tube journeys and a staggering 90% of bus journeys use one, it’s clear everyone else has also cottoned on.
Apart from the Unions. Who want to maintain staffing levels at ticket offices. Without compromise. Everyone else in London recognises that paying to keep on staff who are no longer needed is a waste of time and money. RMT in their negotiations have insisted it’s all to do with safety – these people are trained in how to evacuate the tube stations in an emergency. This is a fair point, but you’re counter negotiation shouldn’t depend on hiring someone to sit in a ticket office solely in case of an emergency. Pursue this in a different manner, ask for guarantees on security staffing, staff on gates and staff on platforms.
Until then I suspect there won’t be much sympathy as the strikes continue to disrupt London. Of course, it isn’t really about safety. That’s just an excuse – really it’s about job protection. Unions have a vested interest in keeping staff on who are members – they pay the bills. So fighting to not fire people in the face of economic and logical realities naturally results. This is an unpopular opinion, but it’s seldom you see any organisation argue to become smaller. Bigger BIGGER – more power!
Another day another strike. I’m off for bed soon, so I can get up early tomorrow morning and find out what method to use to get in to work. Last time I was very lucky, the lovely northern line train drivers turned up to work and drove me down to Euston. Fortunately even if that’s not the case I can get in, I picked my flat with alternative rail routes in mind although it’s a slightly longer journey. I shall report back with how I fare!
Edit: No problems. Northern Line drivers kick arse and actually turn up to drive trains. Much of the rest of the network was down – definitely worse than previous strikes that I have experienced.
My view at 6:32 this morning. Northern Line supremacy!