I was accused of being a fascist today on Twitter for claiming railway renationalisation only offers benefits for greedy unions who can call crippling national strikes making greedy demands that us the tax payer would be forced to pay for. Furthermore I believe it is decades of state underinvestment in infrastructure and rolling stock by British Rail that is the cause for so much required investment (and subsidy) today and not as pro-nationalisers claim, a need to line private firm’s stakeholders pockets! Of course railways need subsidy. They don’t make any money but are hugely importance to social equity. The state should provide subsidy and direction to socially necessary services but I don’t believe the state should run industries. The state lacks the skills, innovation and common-sense to run industry. Do we really want centralised civil servants running the country? I would go so far as to introduce more of the private sector to health, education ( albeit with some regulation) and would start to dismantle local authority monopoly, waste/abuse of council tax funded services tomorrow if I ran the country! (Thank goodness I don’t run the country!)
I welcome debate in 140 characters on Twitter and don’t expect everyone to agree with me. I don’t however expect a reply from @140ron calling me a facist, scum, prick and arsehole! This is rude and a bit personal from somebody I have never met! (But possibly true from anyone who knows me). I did however out trump Ron’s expletives with my reply of #cunt which I quickly deleted once I knew he had read to maintain the moral highground!
The reason I see unions (especially the railway unions and public sector unions) is because of my background in both the retail and railways industries where I have worked at many rungs in the ladder. I’m actually back in retail now as a Christmas temp at the very bottom of the food chain whilst I’m taking a career break and back at uni. I could hand over £4 a month to USDAW and get absolutely nothing in return except a 10% discount at Nandos.
In retail the hours are crap, the pay even worse and the USDAW Union is quite possibly the biggest waste of £4 a month subs ever! The reason they have no power is because the public won’t tolerate Asda going on strike. They won’t starve. They will go to Tesco, Morrisons or if they get really desperate they may even consider Lidl! The problem is when nurses, firemen, refuse collectors or train drivers go on strike it’s harder to find alternatives. If we’re about to give birth that second we need a nurse, fire is indiscriminate to waiting for firefighters to finish their strike, it’s hard not to generate rubbish the amount of bloody packaging everything comes with and can you imagine if we all drove to work in the centre of London at the same time, instead of taking the train?
The result is shop workers remain on minimum wage but train drivers get £60K a year, 4 day working week, allowance every time a new bit of technology comes into operation and a week of paid rest days off once a month. Marx would probably disown the average train driver deeming them part of the bourgeoisie. They have the power to make greedy demands because of their power to bring the country to a halt! That’s why the unions want nationalisation of the rail network to bully the state as they did in British Rail days. That’s why technology such as driverless trains or at the very least driver only trains to cut the cost of the guard are not implemented because of union interference. The unions have a lot to answer for the huge fares, the result of the huge wage bill they create. On my first day in the industry a seasoned roster clerk told me “the aim of the train driver is to spend as much time as possible not driving a train but getting as much pay as possible for not doing so” unions like the RMT and ASLEF hide behind words like fatigue and safety to cover up huge greed! This isn’t for the good of train drivers as a whole, it’s greed because they can get away with it whilst other workers get nothing because of the lack of power they have!