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Olympic Strikes

Posted by James O'Brien on July 23, 2012 at 14:02PM

Bon mots don't generally become figures of speech unless they contain a kernel of truth.

And everybody knows that you are supposed to strike while the iron is hot. In terms of convincing the Government to come to the negotiating table, it's hard to imagine the iron ever being hotter for the PCS union than on the day before the Olympics open.

So while it rankles for emotional reasons among people who are enthused and excited about the Games, it is hard to resist the rational conclusion that Mark Serwotka and his members would be daft to pass up this opportunity to secure maximum impact for their cause and, accordingly, maximum chance of a result.

And what is that cause? To put it simply, he is trying to protect his members' jobs and pay. So ask yourself this: if you had been told that you had a, say, one in five chance of losing your job next year - at a time, of course, of epic unemployment and dismal prospects - and your union leader said that striking (or threatening to strike) would give him a proper chance to possibly save your job, what would you do?

See? Simples.

Do bear this in mind when you next hear Tories who are happy to secure City Hall or Downing Street with it criticise precisely the democratic model which delivers strike decisions they don't like.