By threatening to inflict more economic damage with strikes next week, unions are threatening human damage too, says Mark Dolan
Let’s be honest, who doesn't deserve a pay rise?
Let’s be honest, who doesn't deserve, a pay rise? Factory workers, they deserve one. Nurses, hospital porters, bar staff, security guards, waiters, taxi drivers. Name me, one of those groups, that don't deserve a bump, in their pay packets.
And what about cleaners, supermarket workers, or police officers, who haven't seen a raise for years, and yet put their lives at risk, on a daily basis.
What about babysitters, nursery workers, people toiling in care homes? The list goes on. Try looking, at any of those groups in the eye, and tell them, THEY don't deserve a raise. I detested the idea of, essential and non-essential, workers during the pandemic.
ALL workers are essential, in my book, if they contribute to the economy. ANYONE, that worked through the pandemic, is a hero to me. Funny word that, “hero”, isn’t it.
Used very selectively – because it’s the latest fashion, to divide people up into groups, based upon a moral hierarchy.
We had the deification of NHS staff who were amazing – but how many millions of other British workers made their contribution during the pandemic? Prison guards, refuse workers, farmers, sales people, the military. I’m not keen, on this FETISH-isation, of any particular, workforce.
And so as the economy emerges, from the greatest trauma since the Second World War, although this time self-inflicted as a result of the disastrous failed experiment of lockdown, sadly talk of pay rises, is off the table for everyone. The country, is on its uppers, - we are skint, with two trillion pounds worth of debt and a deficit, which means, more goes out, than comes in. Britain is broke.
Finito. The end.
Which is why, we must call time, on the proposed rail strikes next week, which are not just bonkers, foolish and wrong.
They are deeply unethical. Any strikes, during a time of severe economic crisis are reckless, dangerous and deeply irresponsible.
These strikes are in fact, deeply immoral, because they will prolong and amplify the suffering, that so many, are going through now.
Do you honestly, think, our economy, can weather, yet more damage next week? Given that rail, is a critical part, of our infrastructure, for the transport of goods and for getting people to work and to the shops, the cost of next week’s strikes, could run into billions.
That’s billions more, being added to the national debt, to be paid for of course, by future generations, upon whom, we have ALREADY, s*** from a great height, with school closures and other covid measures.
It was the unions, who threatened, Britain with bankruptcy, in the 1970s, and for her many imperfections, it was only the bold leadership of Margaret Thatcher who stood up to them, and said “no more”.
Trade union, reform, in the 1980s, TRANSFORMED Britain, from being the sick man of Europe, permanently on strike, with unburied bodies in the graveyard, and going to the International Monetary Fund with our begging bowl, to becoming an economic, military and diplomatic powerhouse. In 1979 Britain was broke and broken.
By 1987, we were on top of the world. Transforming Britain into a modern, efficient, competitive economy was a legacy largely preserved under New Labour
Yes they made mistakes but were business friendly, aspirational and kept taxes low.
The legacy of fiscal responsibility, strong trade relations and a sensible role for the unions, remains to this day, as we enjoy the status of fifth biggest economy in the world. If we'd allowed Britain, to continue being dictated, to by out-of-control, we would probably, be a few notches above Venezuela, by now. Paying for loaves of bread, with suitcases of cash.
Which brings me to inflation. The worst tax of all. One which annihilates, everyone's pay packet. And inflation is something, that disproportionately impacts the poorest in society.
Which is why I can’t understand why Labour won’t condemn the strikes. Maybe they are in the unions pocket. Its’ been reported that five Labour MPs, who have supported the strikes, have received funding from the RMT, totalling £20,000.
And Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, who I do like, told a BBC Question Time audience last week, that he would be out protesting with the rail workers, if he were in their situation.
But to give in to the rail unions next week, will spark copycat strikes across multiple industries, and will simply feed the monster of inflation, because pay rises, will involve the printing of more empty billions and will further stoke the national debt, which leaves us exposed to higher interest rates.
Anyone responsible for a household’s finances, will tell you, debt is a noose around your neck. If left unchecked, it is economic quicksand.
Once you stark sinking, you may not get back up again. Ask Greece.
We must HAVE trade unions, and without them we would be living in Dickensian Britain. It’s disgusting how workers have been treated by greedy bosses over the years, whilst enriching shareholders.
I want all brits, to get a great wage, for a great day’s work. And work must pay. But the unions, have picked the wrong battle, at the wrong time.
Next week, is a test case for economic good sense. It's time for economic prudence, and the strikes are anything but.
In fairness to the government – and I’m horrified, by the damage they’ve done, with the lockdown experiment – but they ARE currently, practising, what they PREACH.
Michael Gove said this week, that there won't be tax cuts, for the next couple of years, until we get on top of inflation. Not a palatable, or popular message, but it may be the right one.
Inflation, is the common enemy now, and must be defeated, closely followed by the likes of the RMT, who are in my view, overplaying their hand, with next week’s action. The public, struggling to make ends meet as we speak, will be furious if they can’t get to work or go about their lives.
By threatening, to inflict more economic damage, with strikes next week, they are threatening, HUMAN damage too. The Health Secretary Sajid Javid said lives will be lost, as health workers are unable to get into hospitals. Do the unions really want blood on their hands?
And young people, punch drunk, from two years of needless school closures - requested by teaching unions, I hasten to add - may now, not be able, to sit their exams.
And I won't take any lectures, from the unions, about inflation.
The cost of living, is in fact the cost of lockdown, and it was the unions across-the-board, who pushed, for work from home measures and strict, Covid protocols and who sought policies, like test and trace and furlough, which cost all those billions.
I always, said the experimental covid measures, would come at a price, and here we are. If you're partly responsible, for smashing the ECONOMY, with the measures you asked for, you are at this point in no position, to further plunder, its scarce, resources.
The unions, once threatened, to bankrupt Britain. They are now having a good go, at doing it again. It’s the worst sequel, since the hangover two. But the headache from this one, will be far worse.