The major problem with big institutions is that when they fail, they go tits up big time. Usually over something fairly petty. So it is with the current wave of strikes fucking up the UK. Southern Rail are a case in point. There is currently a dispute between Conductors, Drivers and Management over demarcation, specifically who closes the doors on Southern rail trains. Go figure. The Guards / Conductors claim it’s a safety issue. As do the Drivers. As for demarcation, I thought the UK had left that kind of silly crap behind in the 70’s and early 80’s.
Then there’s threatened strike action by postal workers, Airline cabin crew, Pilots, baggage handlers and even Weetabix production staff (Does anyone still eat that shite?). Right at the busiest time of the year. Although Weetabix is no biggie, the rest will interfere with a lot of people’s travel plans.
Now I’ve never been on strike. Not once. I’ve walked a few times when I felt a job wasn’t worth the candle, but never actually struck. I’ve been on rest days when strikes have been called, but never actually gone on a picket line or been a part of any industrial action. I’ve been on the receiving end of a strike many times, which is a given if you’ve ever lived in the UK, but never actually reciprocated. Funny that. I’ve even crossed a few picket lines in my time. No fuss, no bother, just looked straight ahead and kept on walking. I think some twat tried to spit on me once. Saw it coming and lengthened my stride at the last second. They missed. Another couple of times I just rode my motorcycle straight on through. Strikers may call you ‘scab’ or ‘blackleg’, but I’m no-one’s ‘brother’ and think striking never solved anything. If I don’t like a job I’ll move on. In my eyes, strikes are the last (and often the first) resort of the incompetent negotiator. Why? Because they’re a lose-lose scenario. Political strikes doubly so. The workers never get what the Union says they want, nor do the managers, and the company they work for loses business because people go and buy their goods elsewhere so jobs are lost anyway. A strike is always a Pyrrhic victory. Quod erat demonstrandum. Rinse, repeat. Ad nauseum. Fuckwits.
Well, let me tell you it was a bloody mission last night. Youngest had planned to catch the train out of London to catch her rebooked flight. The strike by the Southern Rail Conductors / Guards pretty much screwed up her timetable and we’re still not sure if she made her flight, despite rousting her out of bed at 6am (10pm our time) and telling her to get moving. We even hired a taxi for her with Eldest organising a London based private hire car for yer younger sister all the way from the fabled land of Oz. We stumped up around a hundred quid for the extra journey via e-transfer from our UK accounts, on top of the cost of the airline ticket she lost after the problem with her Canadian ETA visa. No refund from the airlines for that, the bastards. Which means that so far it’s cost us about a grand (GBP not dollars) extra to sort that out. Then there’s the extra ferry costs, there’s another two hundred dollars (around a hundred and twenty GBP) we won’t see again. We may even end up waiting forlornly at Vancouver Airport for someone who isn’t going to be with us for Christmas.
All over who gets to open and close train doors. Jesus H fucking Christ on a bike. Never mind about automated cars, a far more practical use of the technology would be to fully automate the UK local rail network.
Update: Happy ending. Youngest is currently sleeping off her jet lag in the second bedroom bless her cotton socks. She got to the airport a little late, and there were a few humps and bumps along the way, but to misquote Shakespeare; “Turned out nice again, in’t it?” She wants some slippers for Christmas. We can do that.