Metro letters, November 25, 2022: Strikes are timed to maximise grief

These are the topics that have got readers talking (Picture: Getty/Shutterstock/

‘Train strikes’ are the words on everybody’s lips today, and Metro’s mailbox is brimming with disgruntled readers hitting back at the RMT’s Christmas walkouts.

But not everyone is against the unions, and one rail worker has written in with a passionate plea for people to think twice before they blame Mick Lynch for the situation.

Meanwhile other hot topics include empty egg shelves, Britain’s wind power and the death of guitarist Wilko Johnson.

Read on to see what readers are really thinking.

■ The RMT has defended its decision to hold strikes in the run-up to the festive period, with its leader Mick Lynch denying he is the ‘Grinch who stole Christmas’ (Metro, Thu).

The union’s members are walking out December 13/14 and 16/17, as well as on January 3/4 and 6/7.

Is it not time for legislation for there to be at least a five-day gap between rail strike days so that unions can’t have a day or so in between strikes and then go again, which means they in effect cause several days of grief for only a couple of days of lost wages? Jim, London

■ Why not Michael Lynch? Is it because ‘Mick’ has a certain tough edge to it – don’t mess with Mick! Mal, Bridgend

■ How many of those supporting the striking rail workers would support a resulting rise in fares? George, Hainault

RMT leader Mick Lynch was accused of being a ‘Grinch’ over the timing of December strikes (Picture: Ben Cawthra/REX/Shutterstock)

■ The country is sliding into recession. But as always, the rail unions think they should have more than their fair share of the cake just because they can hold the rest of us to ransom. Mike, Croydon

■ Given the extensive disruption that will be caused by the rail strikes in the run-up to Christmas, is there a risk that the accounts teams that process the strikers’ salaries won’t be able to get to the office – and miss making the payroll? G Edwards, Chelmsford

■ To all those having a go at 
the RMT – please bear this in mind. During the pandemic, we were classed as key workers and called 
‘heroes’ for keeping the country moving.

We lost several of our colleagues to Covid while putting ourselves out there. Now we are ‘militants’ who are striking for no reason.

We don’t get paid when we strike and some of us haven’t had a pay rise in more than three years.

They want to close ticket offices and get rid of platform staff. New staff will be on lower wages and have poorer terms than existing staff.

The train companies still get paid by the government when we strike, so they’re probably making more money than when we’re at work as they don’t have to pay us. It’s no wonder the train companies/government don’t want an agreement. KR, Train Guard, Hampshire

Plenty of readers support industrial action (Picture: Getty Images)

■ Mick Lynch is fighting for passengers as well as rail staff. He fights to maintain safety and customer service, and to keep a respected and valued workforce. No guards on trains means potential violence and thuggery, as we have already seen when guards are not present.

If the bosses have their way and put profit before everything else, it will end up like so many other sectors: low wages, high turnover of staff, low morale, lack of adequate training and so on. To those who condemn strikers: be careful what you wish for. Barbara, South-West England

■ Any lack of trains can be traced back to the Tories breaking their election promises to level up society, not union leaders becoming Grinches.

Workers are fed up with being bullied into accepting deteriorating levels of pay and worsening working conditions. To paraphrase that great song by Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin, ‘Workers are levelling up for themselves’. Mick Larkin, London

Why do they block doors?

■ My public transport peeve is people who spend their journey standing in front of the exit doors, often with a case. Mostly it’s young people. Steve Mitchell, Deptford

■ To Chikamso (MetroTalk, Thu), who says Good-Looking Bob, the bus driver, has a ‘sad little life’ because he enjoys driving past people at bus stops who haven’t noticed him approaching because they’re looking at their phones. It’s not sad at all, it’s super funny. Strawhat, London

Blame shops for egg drops

Eggs-actly what is causing supermarket shortages? (Picture: Getty Images)

■ Eggs are in short supply because supermarkets are not paying farmers a going rate for their produce. Avian flu does play a part too. Andrew, London

■ Don’t worry, it’s Christmas soon, so Easter eggs will be on the shelves. Fred, Hampshire

Wilko: A tribute for a guitarist who did it right

■ What a terrible shame that we have lost Wilko Johnson, that guitar-playing maestro from Dr Feelgood.

Although having left Feelgood many years ago, Wilko had been performing live in a three-piece named the Wilko Johnson Band with numerous drummers and his partner-in-crime: the godlike Norman Watt-Roy from The Blockheads.

Wilko’s unique and manic guitar-playing was a joy to behold and his party piece of pretending his instrument was a machine gun and spraying the audience with ‘bullets’ was pure rock’n’roll.

Wilko Johnson died this week aged 75 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2013 (Picture: Robin Little/Redferns)

I have never felt the need for role models but I can honestly say that Wilko is the only person I’ve ever asked for an autograph. It was when my friend Mike and I went backstage (we were drunk) and accosted Wilko and Norman in their dressing room.

After telling Norman he was the best bass guitarist since John Entwistle (not sure how he took that) I asked Wilko for his autograph, which he signed on a guitar-string paper bag.

When the dust settles, I hope the BBC broadcast a programme they put on once before to remind us what a legend and great man he was. Martin Lawrence, South Croydon

And another thing…

■ On ghosts (MetroTalk, Tue), I’ve never experienced them and so I
don’t necessarily believe in them. However, if energy cannot be created or destroyed – only changed from one form to another – what happens to that life energy when we die? Olivia, by email

■ Mike Dixon (MetroTalk, Thu) rightly says the government should invest
in alternative energy. Just as North Sea oil and gas secured Britain’s
future in the 1970s, support for space-based solar power, wind and other renewables point to a bright future for Britain. As someone once said, ‘just as the Saudis have oil, Britain has wind’ – and there’s plenty of sunshine in space. James B, Chelsea

■ I am waiting for a bus to Cambridge. I think we have more of a chance of going to the Moon than getting there on time. Harry John, Linton

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