My opinion of trade unions is regularly met with derision by my friends who know I take their exclamations of 'how could you?' with a calm dignity only conveyed by those who sincerely believe they know the truth. Now, I'm quite sure few of you believe I accept derision with dignity, and calmness is not an emotion I could ever associate with mention of trade unions, having seen so many colleagues let down by those who profess to be there to support them.
Yesterday I was with one of my most politically minded friends who originally hailed from London, although she came to Scotland over 50 years ago to work, fell in love with a Scotsman and has been here ever since. She was a loyal trade union member all her working life and contributed towards her own union's success in no small way.
'What did I think about the latest nonsense - I'm paraphrasing - to do with the London Olympics?' I was asked. 'Could I see more tourists coming to Scotland next year?' My answers were 'very little' and 'no', yet I was interested in knowing why she had asked and she wasn't slow in giving her response.
It appears the good people of London and other UK taxpayers are paying London underground drivers bonuses not to go on strike during the Olympics.
A spokesman for Transport for London said: “London Underground (LU) has reached agreement with train drivers’ unions over temporary changes to working arrangements and payments during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games.
"The agreement follows six months of constructive discussions with union representatives, and will allow LU to meet the demands of extended services in the most efficient way.
“In return for agreeing to these temporary changes to existing working arrangements during the Games, all train drivers employed by LU on July 26 2012 will receive a one-off payment of £500.
"In addition, shifts of a certain duration or which finish after 01:30hrs will attract extra payments.” (source)
Having read the above I understood my friend's outrage, particularly when the £500 is a basic
The consequences of this largess from Transport for London may be far reaching and other workers associated with the Games may feel they too should benefit for working normally during the jamboree. Who could blame them and who would blame their unions if they too jumped on the bonus bandwagon?
Not me. For once I would support such union action.