Shock, Horror, Abscence of Surprise!

So the RMT strike has (just) got a vote for strike action. Closer than I expected, maybe the signallers aren’t as stupid as Bob Crow hoped. Anyway to the beginning of this tale;

The maintainers strike was never going to go anywhere, if nothing else who’d notice? Last time they went on strike a 100% service ran. This is a shame as they have something of a case, while their working practices are terrible and they do have an abject fear of technology sadly neither of those things are uncommon in the rail industry. Everyone is scared of change, because change might mean an increase in liability and while the RMT is legally immune from prosecution (well as long as Labour are in power anyway) no-one else is. Given a choice between risking court and spending someone elses money what would you choose?

However this massive and endless rise in costs has finally gone too high, hence these cuts which probably are needed. What is dodgy is the pace and planning of these changes, for a good (if pro-RMT) summary go here. While this may seem out of character given the above fear of change remember the key here is to avoid liability not safety. No-one, not Network Rail and certainly not the RMT is that bothered about accidents, if it was really important there would have been big changes years ago (yes individuals do care but as organisations they don’t.) These changes, while they may be rushed and ill-planned, do not increase the liability of management and so are fine.

So that’s the background. What happened today was that the RMT announced the signallers were going to come out as well. Sure it was close, with just 54% in favour on a 71% turnout you could argue that in fact most members either didn’t want to strike or couldn’t be bothered to vote, but such facts are frankly irrelevant. The important thing is the strike is legally supported and happily coincides with the the ineffectual maintainers strike, almost like it was arranged. Which it was as Bob Crow has near as dammit admitted, thus making it technically Secondary Action and therefore illegal.

Will the police investigate this breach of the law? Of course not! As we’ve seen above the RMT is immune from prosecution, the pesky laws only apply to management and other people. Instead I predict a climbdown from Network Rail on both issues and Bob Crow grinning triumphantly. It will not be pretty, it will not be cheap and it will still end in misery for the travelling public because these things always do.

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