Could Boris Johnson be any more thick than he already is? Yesterday, the Emperor of London told the Tory Party conference that the Tube strikes organized by the RMT and TSSA unions was a “nakedly political gesture”. Well, duh! Strikes are by their very nature political.
He told delegates: “It cannot be right that 3,000 people should be able to hold the city to ransom, stop people getting to work and jeopardise the economic recovery when the measures we are taking to reform ticket offices are an inevitable consequence of the success of the automatic Oyster [smart card] system … and when we are able to make these changes with no compulsory redundancies, with no loss of earnings and with no station unstaffed at any time.
Johnson has never had to fight to keep his job; he tends to walk in and out of them on a whim. But for someone with an expensive and classical education, he is a remarkably thick man.
The CBI also chimed in with some dubious calculations,
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) claimed only 33% of those balloted supported the tube strike, with the organisation proposing legislation that would require 40% of balloted union members to be in favour of a strike.
Johnson naturally called for a change in trade union legislation.
“I say to our legislators at Westminster that it cannot be right that a ballot can lead to strike action when less than half the members of that union take part.”
So what does he want? A blanket ban on trade unions?
Brendan Barber of the TUC reminds us of the UK’s restrictive trade union laws,
“The UK has some of the toughest legal restrictions on the right to strike in the advanced world. Already the courts regularly strike down democratic ballots that clearly show majority support for action.”
I get the feeling that the likes of Johnson and Hannan won’t be content until they see this country run like Pinochet’s Chile.