It seems like lately, we cannot go a single day without a protest. From the Canadians and the Freedom Convoy over COVID restrictions to the protests across the U.S. over perceived racial injustices to the protests for a free Ukraine. Now, the public transportation workers in London are having their day.
Thursday marked the second day this past week that 10,000 public transportation workers just walked off the job. This resulted in almost all of the capital’s subway lines being inevitably suspended or severely interrupted. Members of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport union have been on strike to make changes after the problems created by COVID.
Subway stations became the home for their picket lines, as massive queues built up for taxi stands and bus routes. These people trying to find alternate ways to work were largely inconvenienced and many were unable to make the commute to work, or back home after. As a result, Transport for London asked anyone who could work from home to do so.
Tuesday’s strike saw the London underground network known as The Tube brought to a grinding halt during the middle of rush hour. The number of London workers being stuck as a result is not certain but given their reliance on public transportation, it is certainly well within the thousands.
At the root of these protests is the transportation union to be assured that the spending cuts in a government funding deal won’t be targeting the loss of hundreds of positions, a crunching of their hard-earned pensions, or the creation of more negative working conditions. However, the department has not been holding up their end through no fault of their own.
Britain’s government has been responsible for bailing them out before. The pandemic caused massive losses in their revenue, and the government ensured they didn’t completely go under. By giving them this lifeline, the network was able to remain open and they have been seeing a resurgence since. To make this happen, London officials specifically needed to source millions in savings and give a thorough audit to the pensions on the books.
Here in the U.S., we see these kinds of strikes at dairy processing plants, automotive factories, assembly lines, and even from state employees. As more difficulties in finding the proper balance for the budget occur, more managers are stuck with making difficult decisions. These kinds of moves are often not popular, and they usually cause the most disruption on the lowest-paid workers.
Still, these workers are the gears that make the entire machine work. Without them, nothing functions. That’s not to say they need to be paid the most but given all the desk positions that exist with a nice salary but no real work being done, these workers have a reason to be upset. They have put years into their pensions, they have earned every pay increase they have received. To attack those first is just grabbing for the lowest fruit to try and make a quick buck.
It’s not right to do that to the public transportation workers in London. It’s not right to do it to the assembly line workers in a Mexican factory. It’s not right to do it to the precision machinists here in the US. The people at the top need to look at the larger picture and realize how important these people are. In the meantime, thank God for those who are willing to speak out when injustice is being served. Without them, these workers would not have a fighting chance to work against the system that is out to cheat them.