Monday, February 28, 2011

More strike banter

So, it seems as though Arriva Trains Wales’ drivers have decided to enjoy a long weekend at the beginning of half-term

On the face of things, the fact that they (allegedly) get paid less than train drivers elsewhere may not seem that fair, and the remark by Peter Leppard (ATW Operations Director) was probably a bit stupid.  But let’s be realistic about this.  M. Nelson’s comment on this site makes for good reading – “surely a Checkout Operator at Sainsbury's does not have the right to Strike because the are paid less that an equally trained one at Tescos.”

And whilst we’re thinking about pay discrepancies, should I get upset because those living in London get paid more than me?  I’ve not heard of anyone boycotting their local pub because beer in Wales is cheaper.

Furthermore, whilst ASLEF’s members enjoy their holiday, the entire rail network in Wales is crippled, causing misery for thousands of hard-working people. 

So either you can take the view that Arriva is a private company, and go with Mr Nelson.  Or you can take the view that the railway is an essential service.  In which case, train drivers – like NHS staff – should not be allowed to strike.

At the end of the day, even in the recession, there are other Train Driver vacancies available elsewhere at this very moment.  So Arriva’s drivers are afforded more choice than most, and should either move or shut up.

4 comments:

Chuck Revel said...

At the risk of stirring up more trouble...

They wouldn't have this problem if it were nationalised!

JP... said...

I'm not sure. I think that the real motives for the strike are political, and a nationalized railway would probably make no difference. The Unions would still kick off.

Tim said...

What if it were nationalised and classed as an 'essential service', thus preventing strikes?

Risk of going off topic, but yes or no to re-nationalisation?

JP... said...

Whereas I'd agree with the idea of it being classed as an essential service, I'd tend to say a resounding "no" to re-nationalisation.

Privatisation may have been botched, but in many places the level of service is far better than it was under BR, and it is my understanding that much of the 'Union' attitudes stem from BR days. In my observation, where things have not gone well recently, it has usually been the fault of the DfT (i.e. the government) and their micromanagement, not the Train Operators.