I was on the receiving end of a transport strike the other day. Or, industrial action, as it’s rather euphemistically called, as I attempted to get into the UK nation’s capital.

Industrial action. It should be called industrial inaction. It’s people who are providing a service – sometimes a single point of failure service – deciding not to provide that service, to do nothing.

Who suffers in this protracted battle of wills between the employer and the union? Other employees of supporting businesses who have to try and take the strain, but mainly the end customer, who funds – partly, I suppose – the service that’s supposed to be delivered but is being withheld.

A hundred thousand working people delayed, inconvenienced, frustrated and stressed. Wedged into late, irregular trains of a skeleton service like passengers on a Japanese commuter train, but with none of the punctuality. Hundreds of thousands of hours in lost productivity, lost contributions to national GDP, per day.

I’m not sure what the answer is, but it can’t lie in the antediluvian practices of outdated bodies, chaos, and meaningless apologies.

 

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