Archive for Switches in capitalisation

Balls Out Bravery

Posted in And thus the Mystery was solved Watson! with tags , , , on March 13, 2010 by awickerman

Whatever you think of the RMT you have to admire their balls out bravery. Striking over the vital importance of guards to trains running, they get the guards to go out on strike. Given the essential ScotRail argument is that guards aren’t needed the RMT are risking proving their point for them.

What’s worse is that the RMT in Scotland has always been a minority pursuit practised in secret by consenting adults, just look at the regularly updated website. That’s not to say their isn’t trade unionism in the Scottish rail industry, there is, it just isn’t organised by the RMT. The drivers prefer ASLEF who, naturally enough, aren’t bothered about the guards in a different union particularly when they will be getting extra responsibility (i,e. more pay, more ‘days off’ on training courses and more clout when they strike). The remaining staff go with the TSSA who really are interested in this one as they don’t have any members who are guards, a throw back to the days when there was a lot more social stratification in Trade Union movement (discrimination by class is terrible! But by grade? That’s fine!)

Above all that the thing I find particularly brave is that First ScotRail is seemingly bullet proof on this one, based on last time the strikes will cause minimal disruption on most routes and almost nothing on the main ones. But what makes them particularly safe is that they have a ‘strike breaker’ clause in their franchise. As long as they make an effort to avoid a strike and try to run a good service any losses are covered by the taxpayer. Quite why the Lib Dems, for it was the Yellow Peril that did this, agreed to that clause I can’t say for sure, I am forced to agree with Bob Crow that it must have been a condition of anyone bidding on this one due to the risk of strikes.

Frankly I hope that was the reason, as the RMT faces it’s Scottish Götterdämmerung, and make no mistake if they lose this half their membership (or more) will be made redundant and their whole Scottish rail branch probably dies, it would be amusingly ironic if they were brought down by their own constant threats of strikes.


Another Day in the Life of a Tunneller

Posted in The Underground, Tunnels with tags , , , on March 1, 2010 by awickerman

Today I returned to the finite element mines, for many tunnellers a grim and confusing fate that leaves them bewitched and angry.  Personally though I quite like it down there, as no-one really trusts computer modelling (and rightly so given you can prove almost anything with modelling) it operates on a ‘I know the answer lets produce that’ basis. This leads to the perfect combination of low pressure (unless you make the mistake of producing an unexpected answer) that management have no idea about how long it takes or what is involved.There is an xkcd comic that describes this situation perfectly.

So much of today was spent ideally reading books, browsing the net and answering any question with ‘Model cycling’ when question what I’m doing. All in all not a bad day, I’ve certainly had worse.

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