I was rather hoping to post a story about how much fun Boxing Day was, but instead it was a bit of a disaster. It has been a bit of a tradition that we take the younger generation skating at the Tower of London ice rink on the day after Christmas and we had dutifully booked some time and an ice guide. In the mean time the train driver’s union ASLEF called a strike on the London Underground for Boxing Day.
The nub of ASLEF’s complaint seems to be that they want their drivers who work on Boxing Day to get triple pay and an extra day off for working a day, which has to a large extent lost any of its religious context in Britain’s secular society. I’m sure it’s not quite as simple as that, but many people, like health workers, policemen, firefighters and people in the retail and leisure industry work on Boxing Day, so quite why tube drivers (who are already some of the best paid public sector workers in the UK) think they are a special case other than their ability to cause major disruption to people’s plans eludes me. Frankly I think their attitude is no different to that of the unrepentant bankers who still think they deserve massive bonus payouts despite causing the present financial crisis.
So being determined not to let ASLEF stop us we set off to get to town by whatever means we could. This involved two bus journeys to find the nearest functioning tube station and a long walk from Bank station at the other end only to discover that the ice rink was closed, because a generator had broken down. Naturally no one thought to e-mail ticket holders to tell them. Getting home proved no less of an ordeal. Despite London Transport’s promise of extra buses there seemed to be very few on the roads although they had had plenty of time to plan for this particular contingency.
Well roll on the 2012 Olympics!