Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Thought for the Day

My journey to the studio in Bristol made that much easier by the teachers' strike, and observing the Breakfast team managing to avoid all the pitfalls available because the show was discussing gay marriage and cruises on the same day, here is my thought about workers' rights:

'There are certain jobs where striking should not be allowed. Public sector workers should forfeit the right to strike.'

This comment from the BBC Radio Bristol Facebook page yesterday. On the face of it it makes sense.

Some occupations can make life dreadful by striking. Tube drivers can hold London to ransom. I remember the winter of discontent in the 1970s. Refuse remained uncollected. Bodies unburied.

Airport baggage handlers. Nurses. Fire fighters. Ambulance drivers. Employees in the power industry. And, of course, teachers. Each can cause misery.

Christians should not be in the business of shouting for their own rights. But we should shout loudly for the rights of others. Have we taken the trouble to listen to the grievances of our teachers?

A strike is a last resort. All lose. The employer loses its workforce. The workforce loses its pay. The customer loses the service.

Asked to comment on the development of a Trades Union for armed forces personnel, Lord Dannatt, when Chief of the General Staff, said:

'In my book, looking after individuals should naturally be a principal duty of the chain of command, and I was determined to make the group's existence superfluous.'

I love that. I will make my employees pay and conditions so good they will never need their union.

We don't notice that the crematorium staff are getting quietly on with their work, or that the electricity flows when the kettle is turned on.

Maybe we should notice our service-sector employees more?

Seven centuries before Jesus the prophet Amos spoke out that his people trampled on the heads of the poor and denied justice to the oppressed.

So if there are certain jobs where striking should not be allowed, who should decide?

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