Opinion

Charlie Mullins: I'll be dusting off my loud hailer and picketing the unions

5 min read

01 September 2015

For the last few months London has had a gun poked in her back by the unions, which have tried to evoke the spirit of the 1970s by grinding the Tube network to a halt.

The capital breathed a collective sigh of relief when the transport unions, led by the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), Unite and Transport Salaried Staffs Association, decided not to pull the trigger on the two back-to-back 24-hour strikes set to take place last week.

Are we supposed to be happy about this and thank them for not dumping our lives and businesses onto the dung heap? I for one refuse to grant these union dinosaurs any good will whatsoever. 

I have always said strikes don’t solve anything. No amount of not working is going to turn public opinion the way of the unions.

In fact, in this modern world where social media allows everyone to broadcast their opinion, a groundswell of Twitter-based disdain for their actions was evident from among the thousands of people trying to get to work to earn an honest day’s pay and those running the businesses that fuel our economy.

The more they persist with antiquated actions, the greater the belief the unions are the enemy of decent hard-working people and not the defenders of the faith each portray to be.

It’s about time we turn the tables on these guys using the only way they know to get their message across – picketing. The next time a strike is called, which have been muted to be on the 8 and 10 September, I’ll be dusting off my loud hailer and leading a fleet of Pimlico Plumbers vans to union HQ at the RMT or Unite.

I think a load of placards and me on the megaphone protesting about each can call a strike with a minority of their members voting for it, might make the unions think twice before forcing another strike on us and members. I’m sure that plenty of other Londoners feel the same and will stop by on the next strike day, on what will already be a delayed journey into work, to express their feelings on the matter.

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It is this frustration, that we are held to ransom by trade union leaders who have the ability to hijack the country by calling a strike when only a handful of its members are moved enough to cast a ballot, that has caused me to take this action.

The sooner the law is changed, as is being proposed, to a requirement that at least half of union members actually bother to vote for a strike to be legal, the better.

I can’t see anyone having a problem with that, including union members who will have joined their organisation because they believe in fairness and equality. Unfortunately, for too long, union bosses have been able to call on a small band of militants to do their bidding.

Of course, this is not just an issue that is only affecting businesses and their employees within the M25. Across the country the unions can take advantage of the system to cause their members to down tools and head for the picket line. 

This is why the legislative wheels have to turn more quickly to take the power out of the control of union leaders and firmly back in the hands of a much larger proportion of their members.

Only then will we see if the unions truly have the interests of memberships at heart and understand the importance of living in a democracy which, for too long, each have avoided.