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Britain's Perfect Strike

Public-sector union workers show how essential they truly are.

By Petrarch  |  December 5, 2011

 Most Scragged readers will be aware of the ongoing battle over public-sector unionism, public employee pensions, and exactly how much blood can be extracted from longsuffering taxpayers.  Wisconsin suffered weeks of often-violent strikes and protests prior to Gov. Walker's successful legislation to prevent unions, living on enforced dues, from blackmailing state and local governments into unaffordable wage contracts.

As noteworthy as that was, the situation is far worse in Europe.  The Greeks have been rioting and looting for months now over the very idea that their early retirements and public sinecures might be cut, despite the manifestly obvious fact that the Greek government cannot afford to pay them, in large part because apparently nobody in Greece troubles to pay taxes.

In England they don't have that problem - the rule of law as pertaining to taxpaying still applies.  But they do have the same trouble we do, with outlandishly greedy public employees who have no intention of losing one single iota of the perks they think they deserve.

As unconservative as the current British government is, at least they know how to count: they simply cannot concede to the union's demands, so they won't.  And what happens when a union doesn't get what it wants?  A strike!

Now, each and every human being has an absolute right not to go to work if they choose not to; we don't hold to slavery anymore.  Of course, their employer has (or ought to have) an equally absolute right not to pay employees who don't show up, and to sack them forthwith.  Sad to say, union-funded politicians have largely destroyed the second half of that right if not the first.

Nevertheless, in principle a strike reminds employers just how important their employees are.  When the UAW walks out, the factory line stops, no cars are made, thus no cars can be sold, and the car company makes no money.

All of us want our employers to appreciate our contribution and reward us appropriately; a strike is merely a more dramatic, damaging, collective way of making that perfectly legitimate point.

No unions = No lines, no waiting!

The Big Union Oops

Unfortunately, all this is based on one fundamental assumption: that the workers do, in fact, do something useful and productive.  As inefficient as UAW workers tend to be, they really do produce the occasional car that at least some people freely choose to pay for.

We've long argued that this doesn't extend to the public sector: most public sector jobs do not in fact need doing - by anyone - or, if they do, can be done far more efficiently by others.  The British PCS union has just proved our point in the most spectacular possible fashion, for all to see on the world stage as the London Daily Mail reports:

Passengers who had been warned of lengthy delays at Heathrow due to striking workers today said border controls were 'better than usual'.

As Border Agency bosses were forced to take on regular airport workers to man passport control, delighted passengers said queues had been shorter than normal. [emphasis added]

The lesson was not lost on the Brits:

Noel West, 58, from Brighton, who came into Terminal three from Miami, said: "It proves that we do not need half of these people if you can go through as quickly as I did when there is as strike on.

"It was the fastest I have ever come through passport control. They were really prepared and there were lines showing you where to go depending on what passport holder you are way before there usually is." [emphasis added]

The British public sector unions went out on strike to demonstrate to the British people just how vitally important they are.  They have accomplished this goal: just as we suspected, they are, in fact, entirely useless and a complete waste of money.  There should now be no obstacle to sacking them all forthwith and replacing them with others willing to actually do the job.

If only this story would be reported in American media so we could do the same, starting with the TSA!