Today ASLEF members on Croydon Tramlink are on strike in a dispute over fair pay for the job they do.
For most of them, it will be the first time they have ever been on strike. Like most working people they have turned up every day and just got on with the job. While senior managers come and go, they have put up with what ever they have had to deal with.
But today they are doing something different. They are showing that they are not just prepared to accept what ever is given to them. They are insisting on being properly rewarded for the difficult and stressful job they do.
There will be the usual stream of abuse that comes every time workers go on strike. “How dare they demand more than the minimum wage ! Don’t they know how lucky they are?”
ASLEF make no apologies for fighting for decent pay and conditions at work. The Chief Executive of FirstGroup, who operate the Tramlink system, is on a basic salary of £635,000 plus a pension contribution of 15% and an “annual bonus opportunity of 150% and long term incentive award of 200%” of his salary.
FirstGroup have closed their final salary pension scheme, saving millions for their shareholders at the expense of the women and men who deliver the services that provide their profits and bonuses.
If they can afford to provide generous rewards to senior directors, they can afford to pay a decent salary to their workforce.
I understand that the strike will cause inconvenience to many people.But working people insisting on decent pay and conditions at work makes the world a better place for all of us.