Thursday, 27 January 2011

A word of warning for Bob Crow - Don't mess with us Welsh Rugby fans

The on-going dispute between the RMT Union and Arriva Trains Wales took another dramatic, ridiculous twist yesterday when the former turned down a 12% pay increase over 2 years for its train drivers from the latter as reported in today's Western Mail.

If accepted, Arriva state that the offer would've taken the basic rise of an Arriva Trains driver up to £39,117 for a 35-hour four-day week. The RMT Union however claim that in all actuality, the rise is closer to 8% with an extra 2.5% in addition by making it compulsory for drivers to work occasional Sundays.

Either way, the offer in the current difficult economic circumstances nevertheless looks more than generous.

The annual average pay in 2010 for a Teacher for example was £31,852, for a Nurse was £26,184 and for a Social Worker was £25,712. So an increase in pay to the upper £30k pay bracket for Arriva Train Drivers at this moment in time should not be sniffed at.

RMT Strike on Wales Vs England Day
The RMT members voted to strike in protest on December 28th and of the 600 Arriva Trains drivers, some 120 are members of the RMT Union. Of those we are told,  52 decided to strike. But because it's unlikely that drivers from other unions will cross the RMT picket-line, Arriva's entire rail operation on the day of the strike is likely to be affected.

So, what day have the RMT Executive and leader Bob Crow opted for to strike? For maximum impact, quite incredulously, they have chosen Friday, 4th February to do their deed - the day of the opening Six Nations Match between Wales and England in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

It is likely that some 20,000 fans will be using the rail to travel to the game and whilst First Great Western and Cross Country services should remain unaffected, this will nevertheless cause great inconveniance to many rugby and sporting fans.

Don't mess with the Welsh Rugby fan Bob
The Western Mail's editorial today hit the nail on the head. It said:

"...strikes are generally doomed to failure unless there is at least some degree of public solidarity with the cause of those taking action. A society gripped with unemployment, inflation and rising prices, and hit this week with yet more dire economic data, will struggle to find sympathy for a group of already well-paid train drivers offered a rise of a mere 12%.

"These people should be grateful that they have jobs, not to mentiion the offer of any kind of pay rise. They should certainly not be targetting the enjoyment of Wales' loyal and enthusiastic rugby followers in a bid to line their pockets.

"It is about time that they accept the generous offer rather than risk creating chaos on one of the biggest nights of the year for Welsh sport".

Don't Take the Proverbial
There isn't much bigger an opponent for us Welsh than the English at Rugby Union. But if Bob Crow and his 52 voting strikers don't back down, Welsh rugby fans may well have found themselves a new opponent to challenge.

Bob Crow is a bully-boy tribalist who gives the Trade Union movement a bad name. If this strike on February 4th is carried out, he'll only be making more Welsh rods for his own back.

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