Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Over in New York yesterday there was a strike of bus and underground workers. The MTA says it offered pay rises of between 3 per cent and 4 per cent over three years. But it wants to raise the pension entitlement age for new workers from 55 to 62 years old. Under state law, the action ordered by the Transit Workers Union is illegal. Lawyers for the MTA were in court seeking a contempt order and heavy fines not just against the union but all its employees, which could be as much as two days of pay for each day they do not work.

This I feel is out of order from a country that claims to be democratic and free. Everybody should have the right to withdraw their labour at any time and not face fines for doing so from a government they elected. OK, let the striking workers face the chance of being sacked for breach of contract by their employers - a gamble the strikers must be prepared to take. How can the state be allowed to act as though everybody is under martial law when the country is now at war on it's home turf? I have sympathy for the strikers as 3 to 4 per cent over 3 years is peanuts and a insult. I hope the bus and underground workers hold firm and united until a reasonable settlement is reached in their favour.

The New York Times has provided a good coverage of this strike as it has now entered it's second day. This newspaper informs the readers about everything they would want to know about this strike and how it affects the people and city life. It is good to get such a clear picture of real life across the pond.
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