Strikes are effective. Don’t believe me? Then look at the BBC website

Is it any surprise that London Underground workers walk out when the media - and the BBC of all places - ignores the issues until there is a strike?

Is it any surprise that London Underground workers walk out when the media – and the BBC of all places – ignores the issues until there is a strike? asks James Bloodworth

The media, especially the print media, are often extremely negative about striking workers, who are said to be “holding the country to ranson”, “causing chaos” or “making commuter’s lives a misery”.

“Travel chaos as services halt in latest walkout over ticket office closures,” boomed the Evening Standard on its website this morning. Even the BBC can at times spend a disproportionate amount of time focusing on the minor inconveniences caused by strikes (and let’s be honest, a tube strike is annoying but being slightly late for work is a minor inconvenience) rather than the issues which have prompted workers to walk out in the first place.

Indeed, it’s worth remembering that people don’t choose to go on strike because they like losing pay. They do so to defend pay and conditions – and in the case of the tube strikes, the services that the public rely on.

And yet, if the media don’t like strike action, then perhaps they ought not to only give media coverage to trade union issues when strike action is proposed. Because as a cursory look at the BBC website demonstrates, in the case of London Underground’s dispute with the RMT the corporation is not particularly interested in ticket office closures and job cuts unless a strike is threatened.

Don’t believe me? Then go to the BBC News website, look at the tube strike story, and then look at ‘related stories’ – the only time ticket office closures seem to feature on the BBC is when a strike is threatened:

BBC strike coveragej

Is it any surprise that London Underground workers walk out when the media – and the BBC of all places – ignores the issues until there is a strike? As a friend who is on strike today phrased it to me this morning, perhaps if they [the media] covered our issues during ‘peacetime’ then it wouldn’t have to come to strikes so often.

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