Picture: REUTERS/TORU HANAI
Picture: REUTERS/TORU HANAI

So the farcical, soul-destroying bus strike has ended. And, predictably, a fare hike follows. At the end of the day, who scores? Certainly not the commuters, many of whom had to beg, borrow and steal to afford alternative transport.

Collective bargaining looks good on paper, but the reality is different. While discussions between union bosses and bus owners take place in comfort, the drivers and commuters have to be content awaiting the outcome.

Union leaders, who undoubtedly earn a fair whack compared to the workers, are the only ones who score. And they keep their jobs.

A fairer solution would be for drivers to keep working while their fate is being decided. If the union bosses can’t persuade the employers without mass action, they’re not worth their salt.

Evidently a recent bus strike in Japan is an example of an effective system of "striking". While the workers and bus owners talked, the drivers kept working — with one major difference. The commuters rode buses for free, until a wage agreement was reached.

Commuters got to work, drivers were happy and treated like heroes, and it was in the interests of the proprietors to reach a settlement. The government will have to come with a workable and sustainable solution to stop the rot.

Cliff Buchler
George

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