Politics, not pensions, were at the heart of this week’s strike by Bob Crow’s band of merry men
Bob Crow is one of the few public figures around today that can inspire passion, which for the commuting public and transport bosses is usually hatred. Most men and women it the public eye are prepared before speaking to the media with heavily scripted sound-bites - with Crow there’s no doubt he’s giving it to you straight. He’s probably one of the last of his types when it comes to union men – staunchly left wing, anti-bosses, with no regard to PR in his appearance or speech.
And as we commuters and public and private sector bosses have found to our cost Crow is not someone to underestimate. The fact that he knows it makes our frustration at him even more intense. So why the strike, which was curtailed last night? Ostensibly it was about getting undertakings about salaries and pension conditions from the Metronet administrators and London Underground bosses when new owners for the collapsed PPP contractors are found. But as our readers and many other have spotted, this, to pardon the expression, is bollocks. “No administrator can legally give undertakings over future job security and financial arrangements in an insolvent company. The strike is completely pointless,” as reader Nigel Mcdonough points out.
I’m not sure it was that pointless. In striking, the RMT was making a political point, and I think it’s going to work. Remember Railtrack? The collapse of the former infrastructure outfit in 2001 led to responsibility for rail maintenance work passing from the private sector to public. The RMT, in its ham-fisted way, is making sure the same thing happens below the ground as it did above.