That unions exist is true, that they are indeed an expression of the collective power of the workers is also true. But there’s a certain uncertainty over exactly who it is they stand up to and for. We can imagine that it’s the top-hatted capitalists being dealt with, the unions making sure that they don’t immiserate the faces of the workers into the dust. Except, of course, we don’t really have many unions in the private sector. Most union activity is over in the public one.
Which is odd really. The left continually tells is that government must do more, must be responsible for more things, that we both can and must trust government to do those right things rightly. Yet the very same people tell us that the workers need protection from said government. As, say, the average voter or consumer doesn’t require said protection. Odd that.
And then we’ve got hos this all actually plays out:[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Mind the gap: Tube drivers on £100,000 fly past pilots[/perfectpullquote]
Hmm. It’s possible to make the argument that Tube drivers should make more than pilots. You’re not going to get many takers for it outside public sector pay negotiations but you can make it all the same. Except that’s not quite it, it gets worse:[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Some London Tube drivers have broken the £100,000 pay barrier, overtaking many airline pilots, according to data released under freedom of information (FoI) laws. Their pay packages have gone into six figures even as their jobs have become easier: trains on five of the Tube’s 11 lines are automatic and the driver simply opens and closes the doors. Another four lines will be automatic by 2023.[/perfectpullquote]
And that’s union power. We as taxpayers are being ripped off by that union power over the limited workforce trained and licenced to drive tube trains. Sure, there’s that mythology of the capitalists, but this is us getting dinged for the cash.
In reality, the only thing those drivers are there for is to provide someone to traumatise when the train runs over a suicide. It’s really not worth being held to random for that now, is it? And thus the urge to break that union power.