Extortion ensures the event.
Posted by Big John on September 15, 2011
Many years ago I was in charge of setting up an exhibition stand at London’s ‘Olympia’ exhibition centre. The exhibition stands were built by specialist contractors, and the exhibiting companies laid out their own product displays.
One of my colleagues picked up a broom and started to sweep some sawdust into the aisle so that he could position an exhibit. Suddenly, as if by magic, a man appeared and asked to see my colleague’s “union card”. Of course, he didn’t have one, and so the union man stormed off, and within a few minutes all construction work came to a halt throughout the building, and was not restarted again for almost two days and not until a new agreement on overtime pay and other concessions was made between the trade unions and the exhibition’s organisers to ensure that all would be ready for the grand opening.
“I hope they finish on time”.. I said to the manager on the next stand.
“Oh, don’t worry”.. he replied .. “They always do. This happens every year”.
Now although I had never been a member of a trade union, I had been brought up in a working class family and my father had been a member of the Labour Party and was proud to wear the badge of The National Union of Railwaymen. He had told me tales of the Great Depression of the 1930’s and the National Strike of 1926, which meant that I had always felt empathy toward those workers who had banded together to achieve common goals such as fair pay and better working conditions, so it came as quite a shock to be confronted by a bunch of “brothers” looking for their usual bribe.
Since those far off days most of British industry has “gone down the tubes” and the trade union movement has lost much of it’s power and some good men, but some of those “brothers” are still around as can be seen from this story of what can only be described as ‘bribes’ being paid to train drivers to avoid disruption to London’s transport system during next year’s Olympic Games.
I bet the “Tolpuddle Martyrs” (and my dad) are …
… turning in their graves ! ;-)