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by | 30th, June 2004

‘FOR millions of Londoners and commuters into the capital, life just got better.

The RMT offers its full support to Tim Henman

Mornings routinely ruined by surly station staff, overpriced tickets and the chance to catch any number of diseases as they sit in a metal Tube while technician Bob and his large hammer try to realign the stuck points are over.

Bob Crow, the general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, has heard the muffled cries for help, seen the weather forecast, noted the television schedules and decided it’s time to act.

So, as the Telegraph reports, he and the 7,500 RMT members he represents have walked out on strike for 30 hours.

That should leave plenty of time for the workaholics, sun worshipers and Henmaniacs who operate the Tube network to recharge their batteries, top up their tans and watch all of Tim Henman’s quarter-final match at Wimbledon on the box by the time the strike ends at 6:30 tonight.

More power to your tennis elbows, brothers and sisters.

The only flaw to the plan is if Henman’s match goes to an epic five-setter. What other course of action will be open to Crow than to immediately call another strike?

Sure, Londoners and Tube riders will understand the RMT’s voting for an emergency extension to the industrial action – the Henman-induced wild-tiger strike – but will the powers that be prove as supportive?

Well, here goes nothing. As the Times says, Crow and his ilk have started demanding conditions that will surely never be agreed. The impasse will lengthen the strike.

Under the deal proposed by Transport for London, workers would receive a 3.5% pay rise this year, 0.5 above the rate of inflation next year and the promise of a 35-hour week for all staff by 2006.

To most workers this sounds generous. But to the Henmaniacs at RMT HQ, it’s an overhead smash in the teeth. So the RMT have now called for a four-day week.

Impossible, says TfL. It would lead to “crippling fare increases for Londoners,” says London mayor Ken Livingstone. “Britain cannot be held hostage by outdated militant unionist tactics,” says the British Chambers of Commerce.

And that’s just perfect for the RMT and Mr Crow who will now surely not lift the threat of more strike action until the four-day week is made law – or Tim Henman is knocked out of Wimbledon.’

Posted: 30th, June 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink