Labour Market

Rail unions are gambling with the industry’s future

Professor Len Shackleton writes for CapX

Professor Len Shackleton, IEA Editorial and Research Fellow, has written for CapX on the recurring issue of rail strikes.

Commenting on the many discrepancies between union demands and economic reality, Len writes:

“There is a common feature, however, of unions resisting or slowing changes which may already have been adopted by other companies or other parts of the network – and opposing redundancies in what remains an overstaffed, low-productivity industry.

“In a situation where revenue has fallen by at least a fifth, Inflation-busting pay increases can only realistically come from massive cuts in services – which the TOCs may not be allowed to make by the terms of their contract – and/or redundancies, which unions won’t wear, or by yet more government funding, which our caretaker government can’t offer.

“The unions themselves are museum pieces, with long histories and hoary grievances to match. Many of the non-pay issues they are concerned about long predate the now-largely-reversed privatisation which union leaders incessantly complain about.”

Read the full article here.