After over a week of striking on the National Express East Anglia (NXEA) rail line, we seem to be in worse situation than before. During last weeks strikes, only 100 out of the scheduled 1,800 trains ran, causing huge amounts of travel chaos and wasting many worker hours, as tens of thousands of commuters were late for work. All too often commuters are attacked from both sides, by the government and the unions, when it comes to rail travel.
The RMT’s Bob Crow has blamed National Express for the problems:
This strike has been caused by greedy National Express bosses who have soaked up £2.5bn in taxpayer subsidies in the past 10 years and who have milked every penny out of this franchise while offering their staff peanuts this year,
The average salary for a train driver in the UK is £35,000 – not quite ‘peanuts’ as Bob Crow would like us to think. This is reminiscent of Alan Duncan being ‘forced to live on rations’. However much the unions are given, they always seem to want more without any consideration for the impact for the disruption. With so many in the private sector having faced wage cuts and redundancy in the past year, it is madness for the unions to be demanding wage increases for shorter working weeks.
Currently, disproportional levels of union control in the labour market are artificially forcing prices up for consumers who have no other options but to pay. At the same time, top-down inefficient government intervention is burdening the taxpayer at incredulous rates.It is time for the public, politicians and the private sector to make it clear that enough is enough.