courtesy of Reuters
Bob Crow claims to be the leader of the fastest growing union in Britain. Yesterday he was calling for general and co-ordinated strike action across the public and private sectors to stop the coalition's "savage assault on jobs, living standards and public services".
Other unions have promised to fight government plans to freeze public sector pay and curb pension benefits in what could be a tense autumn.
However, this morning on Radio5Live, Mr Crow seemed in a much more conciliatory mood. "We need to debate the effect this will have on public sector workers. The unions should work together on this".
Why the overnight drop in his usual militant manner? He's at a conference in Aberdeen. Did some people have a quiet word with him last night telling him his constant militant attitude turns the public away or was it the sea air?
I have little time for the modern unions as I think the majority of the bosses are bully-boys who are far more concerned with their own personal power than protecting their members. Almost immediately any change in the public services is muted, these loud-mouths are on the media insisting their members will vote to strike. We need unions but those which protect and assist their membership. There are some around today which are not militant and are listened to far more closely for that reason.
If Bob Crow and his ilk are prepared to talk reasonably with government I'm all for that. If all they do is turn up in radio and television studios day after day, shouting 'strike' at every turn, then they will never gain the trust or empathy of the general public. Has anyone ever heard Willie Walsh deride the union reps he has been dealing with during the months of the BA turmoil? He has kept his dignity and been courteous at all times to those involved in the negotiations. Maybe Bob Crow, the Unite leaders and others could take a leaf out of his book.
Note: That's not to say I agree with Willie Walsh's policies.