Monday, 12 September 2016

Being paid to go out on strike

seems a little excessive to me.
The railway staff in this state are still "negotiating" over a pay deal with the government. They have had "stop work" meetings before. Some of them worked recently - just so that people could go to a football match. Now they expect to be paid for time off to go  to another stop work meeting - because they worked to get people to the football match instead of going out on strike.
What's more the government appears to be happy to give them their pay to go to the stop work meeting. What in the heck is going on?
When I was a teacher I would have gone out on strike for just one reason - the children I taught would have had to have been in danger. 
Our local railway line is what is known as a "single track working". The other line is a different gauge and only for interstate trains. It's all to do with the history of rail in Downunder.  There are two platforms at the station and when the single track working was first put in place some years ago we never knew what platform the train would come in. More than once I, and many others, missed a train because it would come in on the platform we didn't expect and we couldn't get through the underpass in time. It was also extremely  confusing for two young men with intellectual disabilities who had been taught "you get on the train here".  I took the matter up with the railways and, after months of argument, they sent someone out to look. The head of the union came to look too. 
I was prepared to argue my case but there was no need for that. The union man took one look at the situation and said, "It's dangerous. If it's not fixed we'll strike."
The situation was fixed the following day. It was fixed because he was right. He had recognised something I hadn't even thought of - someone trying to cross the tracks from above instead of using the underpass.  
He was right to threaten strike action in those circumstances. But, to be paid to strike simply because the pay offer isn't high enough? (From all accounts it is a pretty generous offer in a state which has the lowest economic growth in the country.) If you want to go out on strike for something like that why should you be paid for it? I don't get paid to work so why should you get paid not to work? I know people "love their footy" and they wanted to "get to the game" but to say "we didn't go out so that people could go to the footy so pay us to go out now" is something I find unacceptable. Are we going to start paying everyone to go out on strike? Who will bother to go to work?

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