I think that ASLEF were perfectly reasonable in calling for a strike in order to get a proper reward for giving up their Boxing Day in order to run the London Tube service. Who wants to be away from their families over Christmas time? The Rail Authorities were being mean and confrontational.
Nonsense, ASLEF were actually demanding triple pay and a free day in lieu. That was sheer greed in action.
On the contrary. The Church’s social teaching is quite clear about the right for collective action through the trades unions. Strikes are “morally legitimate when it cannot be avoided, or at least when it is necessary to obtain a proportionate benefit”. That’s what was happening here.
You mean that even if they were demanding quintuple pay and three days in lieu, the strike would be legitimate?
Now you’re being absurd. They were going for a proportionate benefit. And a proportionate benefit is what they were after.
What you really mean is that they were going for the largest amount they thought that their power could get. And, incidentally, another condition for a strike is that it is not against the common good. And the strike certainly breached that.
That was the sort of argument the employers always used in the bad old days when the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. It’s certainly for the common good that the working man should have and use his collective strength to defend himself against the capitalists.
Well, the tube drivers are not the poor any longer. Their average pay, even before the promised rises, is £45,000, while the average full time worker gets £26,000.
And deservedly so. Would you feel happier if your tube driver was underpaid for such an important and skilled job? People’s lives are in their hands at every moment.
Tosh! Anyone who can drive a car safely can learn to drive a tube train. The drivers are being paid for at the expense of people who are much worse off than them. Why should the tube drivers be exempt? And think of the harm done to the recovery by damaging just those kinds of sales which could get the economy moving. And of course the weapon they’re using is the inconvenience of the general public. It’s a kind of blackmail. Make enough people miserable and they’ll force the Authorities to act. And they’ve got three other dates already planned to magnify their threat.
On the contrary. Their fight is with the Railway Authorities. The inconvenience to travellers is simply a side effect. And any moral theologian will tell you that the law of “double effect” allows you to accept a secondary side effect which results from a legitimate action like a strike.
Ah, but it has to be proportionate. And, in any case, the travellers’ inconvenience only looks like a secondary effect. But in reality it’s the major weapon. The union can claim that it’s sorry for the travellers but that’s just crocodile tears to make themselves feel good, and head off public opinion from turning against them.
I can see that you’re going to twist the argument every which way to prove that ASLEF protection of workers’ rights is in the wrong.
I can see that you’re going to twist the argument every which way to prove that ASLEF’s uncaring greed is in the right.
Quentin asks: what do you think?
Catechism 2426 ff, especially 2435
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Paras 304 to 307
Today’s Reading from 1 John. “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the dark.”