Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Where is the next Ronald Reagan?

Nothing like a good strike to remind people what life is like when elites try to cripple industry for producer interests huh? Sometimes I really wish I worked in a unionised business just so I could tell the local shop steward to bugger off and cross a picket line. It would, for me, be the ultimate expression of individuality to ignore the collective 'lemmingnisation' of my colleagues.

The next most annoying thing about striking is the utter nonsense arguments of secondary action. When one lots of sheep strike and another lot of sheep at a completely different business who have no grievances with their bosses decide to strike too to show their solidarity with their comrades in the struggle - thank God such lunacy is illegal in the UK.

However, it doesn't stop the possibility or threat of secondary action abroad, and that appears to be what people are concerned about now given the news that Unite have started talking to their "brothers and sisters" (yes, they do actually use those terms without a hint of sarcasm or mouth-breathing retardedness) in the US trade union the "International Brotherhood of Teamsters".

Thankfully, the US is a little more sane with it's labour laws, the Railway Labor Act is quite prohibitive on strike action by airline workers in the US, to the point that the business that faces strikes is within its rights to replace any striking workers and then fire them for misconduct or simple eliminate their jobs.

As I've always believed , yes you can have the right to strike, but the employer should retain the right to fire you too. If you don't like it, don't take the piss - this got me into lots of arguments with card-carrying SWP lecturers at University.

The wider concern of course with the meeting between Unite and the Teamsters is that another super-merger may occur, and there is talk of Unite wooing European trade unions too. What a joyful prospect global strike action by a mega-global Union would be!

Let's hope, should it ever happen, that we'd have leaders in charge who were like Ronald Reagan, who infamously, and quite rightly told striking air traffic controllers that if they "do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated", and then promptly fired 11,345 of them a few days later.

Let me be particularly blunt. If you're going to go on strike collectively, the risk to your employment should be clear. If you don't like the way an employer is treating you then go and get another job. Simples!

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