Unions Threaten Strikes at London Olympics

Unions Threaten Strikes at London Olympics

With the Summer Olympic Games set to open in London next week, several unions have announced plans to strike or engage in “industrial actions.” The Daily Mail is reporting that a union representing London area train drivers announced its members are planning to take an “industrial action” during three days at the climactic end of the games–August 6, 7, and 8. Their union, known as Aslef, is unhappy over employer plans to reduce pension contributions.

The train drivers aren’t the only union members planning an “industrial action.” The union representing airport immigration clearance workers announced a one day strike to be held on July 26, a day before the Olympics open on July 27, to be followed by several weeks of “industrial actions.”

Members of Prime Minister Cameron’s government weren’t impressed with the plans of these unions. Transport Secretary Justine Greening said that “[i]f there were an Olympic sport of self-interest, Aslef union leaders would win it hands down,” and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the unions were “completely out of tune.”

Even opposition Labour Party leader Ed Milibrand was critical of the unions:

“People should not be striking during the Olympics. People should not be disrupting the Olympic Games.”

Transport Secretary Greening, however, criticized Milibrand for not doing more to stop the strikes:

This [train] strike threatens Team Great Britain’s ability to plan travel from their UK base in Loughborough and would disrupt journeys for thousands of commuters and spectators. 

Ed Miliband needs to get a grip on his union paymasters so they call off this damaging and unnecessary strike.

The Los Angeles Times reported that game organizers were downplaying the significance of the threatened strikes and industrial actions:

Sebastian Coe, chairman of the Games, defiantly told the BBC on Friday that Britain would offer “a safe and secure” international event. . . “We have got the numbers, courtesy of the military and our police services.”

The heightened labor unrest adds another dimension of uncertainty to the London Olympics. Earlier, the private security company hired to provide 10,000 security guards announced that it would fall far short of that goal, and thousands of military troops have been mobilized to fill in the resulting security gaps.

Michael Patrick Leahy is a Breitbart News contributor, Editor of Broadside Books’ Voices of the Tea Party e-book series, and author of  Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement.