It is a blessing that the remaining three RMT strikes have been called off, because many Londoners were suffering badly from the strikes. Small business owners were on twitter, pleading that one more strike would break them. Zero contract workers were losing pay. Freelancers were unable to get out and seek work. Mums couldn’t get child care so lost a day’s pay.What was Ed Miliband, self styled “caring” defender of the people, doing to help these people? A big fat nothing, that’s what! Far from remonstrating with the strikers that these strikes were without merit, (job losses were never a consideration), and were hurting the poorest, he didn’t give the havoc caused to Londoners a thought. Did Nigel Farage leap before the media to point out the unfairness to Londoners caused by these strikes? No he did not.
Step forward the champion of the common man, Boris Johnson. Boris has frequently battled for social justice, opposing cuts to legal aid and cuts to disability benefit. The education he has had has instilled him a passionate love of social justice and an instinctive anger when the rights of the individual are abused. The concept that a tiny number of militants could affect the finances of millions, when those millions have no say whatsoever in what is happening is anathema to him.
By calling for strike laws to be beefed up, Boris is defending the rights of the working man, who suffers bitterly during these strikes. At the moment, the strike vote turnout can be 30% or even lower, it could be 10%. As long as the majority of that ballot vote Yes and return their papers, the strike can go ahead. This means that handful of militants, two thousand or less, can hold London to ransom and cost London up to £150 billion in lost retail sales.
Boris is the only politician who immediately understood the intrinsic unfairness of this. He has lobbied the goverment since 2011 for a change in the strike vote threshold. Londoners are sick of pandering to the “rights” of the selfish RMT. They have rights too. Now David Cameron has finally understood how very unfair the strike laws are to working people, and has agreed to changes in the law.
Voters expecting Ed Miliband ever to stand up to the unions to defend the rights of the working man affected by strikes, are likely to be bitterly disappointed. Ed has sat by watching Londoners endure huge financial losses, without a word of protest, or the slightest demonstration of sympathy or support. Londoners can lump it, is Ed’s attitude. Everyone can vote in the mayoral elections. But if 4 million people lose money in a dispute that is nothing to do with them, in which they have no say whatsoever, tough! Let’s pretend the two votes are the same, chaps!
Ignore the fact that the RMT turnout has plummeted from 50% to 30% and even many union members and Ken Livingtone think it is unfair!
His callous silence during the RMT strikes proves that in a choice between his union paymasters and the working man, ordinary people won’t stand a chance.
UPDATE: 7th August 2015. Green Jenny Jones acknowledges the contribution Boris Johnson has made to equal pay.