Opinions: Who do you blame for the rail strikes?

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Indy Lifestyle Online
MOSS EVANS, retired General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union: Sir Bob Reid doesn't seem to have any sympathy with his employees at all, he doesn't appear to understand their dreadful fear for their jobs and compulsory redundancies. British Rail have adopted a Rambo approach to the problems of the railwaymen and have been helped by the hidden hand of the Government. There doesn't seem to be any constructive relationship between management and their employees these days.

MIKE CAVANAGH, security guard: This rail strike is a joke. It angers me, I can't understand it, I don't know what they are trying to achieve. It's trade unionism at its worst: all they do is inflict injury on people like me who are trying to earn a bob. I live near Aylesbury and I have to get the first train into London at 5.43am to get to work at 7am and I get home at 10pm. I can't get in when there's a strike so I just lose a day's pay and they get someone to replace me. All this business about wanting a job for life - I wish I had one.

JOANNE MCANDREW, secretary: I blame the Government. The railmen are striking because they want a guarantee that they won't lose their jobs when privatisation goes ahead - that makes the Government ultimately responsible. I sympathise with them - my dad lost his job as a result of the buses being privatised.

DR DAVID STARKEY, constitutional historian, LSE: I blame the unions in the first place, weak management, and nationalisation because a government strapped for cash can't invest. There is gross under- investment and over-manning at present. The sooner we get British Rail into the private sector the better.

MARTIN CALVERT, taxi driver: The Government - they want to break people up and make them work for less. I support their right to strike. The rail service is probably over- manned but so what? What are they going to do with them? Who pays for the dole money? In the end you pay for it one way or another.

BOB HOLNESS, Blockbusters presenter: I blame both sides. The management and the unions need their heads knocking together. They should be able to sit around a table and negotiate like grown-up men instead of calling each other names.

RICHARD WARBURTON, teacher: I can see why they are on strike but I don't think they will achieve anything. Bob Reid is being held over a barrel because the Government is going to privatise the railways, no matter what happens.

ALLYSON EGGERISON, travel agent: I suppose I blame British Rail. I'm beginning to get used to it, though. Anybody who can't get to work has the day off. I think they enjoy having the extra long weekend.

CHRYSTAL ROSE, television presenter: I blame the Government for trying to privatise an industry that some people have been working in for 30 years or more. You can't take that away from them. The Government never seems to go to the grassroots to solve problems. But these strikes are making us better citizens - because we ask colleagues if they'd like a lift. Why travel on your own? I brought two other people in with me.

JULIE COLLINO, antiques dealer: They are jolly lucky to have jobs at all in a time of recession. To demand jobs for life is just ridiculous, they have their heads in the clouds. The union is asking for the moon: they should negotiate on a sensible basis instead of being so stubborn. It is stupid to be so greedy and demanding when there are millions of people unemployed. If they aren't happy then the management should give their jobs to people who want to work.

(Photograph omitted)

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