Boris has been at the Conservative Party conference this week. On a day which saw tube strikes cripple London, Boris showed his support for Londoners having to find alternative methods of transport by starting his day at the Conference with a run.[Do you think someone should point him in the direction of a sports shop so he can buy some proper gear? – Boriswatch sports Editor]
The Mayor used his speech to call for changes to the law to prevent 3,000 people holding ‘the city to ransom’. As The Guardian reports, Boris launched his attack as thousands of members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) downed tools in a 24-hour walkout on the underground. They are striking over Transport for London plans to cut 800 station jobs and the resultant threat to safety on the network.
Boris is having none of it, mind.
After accusing the unions of making a ‘nakedly and blatantly political gesture’, the Mayor said: “It cannot be right that 3,000 people should be able to hold the city to ransom, stop people getting to work and jeopardise the economic recovery when the measures we are taking to reform ticket offices are an inevitable consequence of the success of the automatic Oyster [smart card] system … and when we are able to make these changes with no compulsory redundancies, with no loss of earnings and with no station unstaffed at any time.
“So I must tell the union leaders that the time has come now to ignore their lackeys in the Labour party who seek to foment unrest for their own dismal political ends. It is time to come to the negotiating table and sort this thing out.”
Bozza also called on his colleagues in government to “consider a law insisting on a minimum 50% participation in a strike ballot”.
The leader of the RMT union, Bob ‘the’ Crow, and Gerry Doherty, of the TSSA, told Prime Minister David Cameron: “This strike is not about ‘irresponsible militants’ taking on the coalition â€“ it is about London Underground staff giving up a day’s pay to put safety first.
“Indeed, if the mayor simply kept to his election promises regarding adequate staffing on London Underground, there would be no dispute.”