Cojones a la Plancha

So, the Spanish Air Traffic Controllers have been forced back to work at gun-point, by the military, after staging an illegal strike. Under the declared State of Alert, strikers were forcibly escorted to their work stations by police.

Can you imagine our lot having the balls to see Bob Crowe off like this?


Richard said...

Can you imagine flying in a plane controlled by someone who has been forced to his workstation at gunpoint?

That aside, no I can't see us dealing with the unspeakable Crow like this. And I'm glad we wouldn't. Everyone should be free to withdraw their labour whenever they wish. Where I differ from the Left is that I don't think they should be able to rely on having the same job afterwards (breach of contract etc). But I wouldn't use coercion to get people back to work. Just tell them they're sacked by their own actions, hire and train some new people and it's lesson learned. If the interim period was a bit inconvenient, well that's the price of building a society that is fair to both employer and employee.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Richard I take your point. Yes, everyone should be free to withdraw their labour in a civilised way, but don't forget, this very small number of tyrants was holding many thousands of people to ransome, causing major upheavals, including severe financial strain and distress. One might argue that the air traffic system is a vital part of societal infrastructure, and as such, bringing it to a standstill without good cause is an act of industrial and public sabotage.

How would you feel if ambulance drivers suddenly walked out, or power station workers? What if someone loses their job because they are stranded in Spain or fails to make an appointment with a dying relative?

This action impacts on hundreds of thousands of lives. It is the world we live in. You either buy into it and behave responsibly or become a hermit.

As for your solution, that would go a long way to solving the problem. I still don't think our Government would have the bottle to sack wildcat strikers though.

Richard said...

Tyrants, moreover, on £300K p.a. They don't have a lot of sympathy from the Spanish public, either, from what I hear.

The right to withdraw your labour may be voluntarily given up (presumably in respect of a monetary inducement), and for vital occupations I think this is reasonable. I don't know if such an arrangement was in place here. I'm still a little uncomfortable with the idea of forcing air traffic controllers back to work at pistol-point, though: the scope for spiteful sabotage is huge, and it's the innocent travellers who would pay the price. Just a thought, really.

Jim said...

Richard. The Spanish Air Traffic controllers haven't gone on strike. They all phoned in sick at the same time. This avoided them having to lose pay or go through proper strike procedures. I doubt if they got much sympathy from the 15 % unemployed in Spain.
I must admit I don't have much sympathy for the folk on tv moaning about their week in Magaluf being wrecked. They should try living in a tent in Haiti with cholera and no food. That might sort them out and make them thankful for their good fortune.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Richard, I am a libertarian at heart, like you, as you know. Heart being the proper word. My heart requires me to live and let live, but not when it hurts other people. My feeling on this is that it was an act of sabotage. As far as I can make out, this was an illegal strike by very key workers. Perhaps the Spanish government over reacted but as I said, you either buy into the system or not. Opting out and destroying the well-being of thousands of people is not being a libertarian, it is being a despot.

A delicate arguement though, and one that is not easily resolved.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Jim, they were de facto on strike. I wish I could have a week in Magaluf. I have had a grand total of three weeks in the (mostly)sun in about 15 years. If I had worked and struggled to take my family on a cheapo holiday at a hotel that has hot and cold running norovirus, and then found I had to spend all my available cash in order to get home, I would feel a bit peeved. As for the rest of the world, most have rejected our way of doing things, such as democracy, favouring oligarchies and tyrants, and they only have themselves to blame. Haiti has been reduced to poverty by a succession of dictators. The natural disaster is atrocious, but linking it to Spanish air traffic controllers is, I think, stretching it a bit.

Jim said...

WW. Yes fair enough. Although most travellers in winter aren't really the average Joe who heads off for a break in the summer with his family in tow.
Magaluf is a bit rough so you haven't missed much.
What do you think of Michael Buble ? Watched the documentary about him tonight. What a voice..

Richard said...

Jim, WW - I don't think we are disagreeing here. I'm not defending the ATCs at all. That kind of action (better called 'inaction', of course) is wrong, and for the reasons you give. I was thinking more from the perpective of the poor buggers who were waiting for a plane. One minute you are sleeping on a bench in the departure lounge, the next you are in a metal tube, and your immediate future is in the hands of someone who has been forced to his desk by someone waving a gun, and who is in a very poor frame of mind.

In thosse circs, I'd be walking to Heathrow.

Jim Baxter said...

Re Haiti, let's not forget this (from wikipedia):

... the still-new nation's future was literally mortgaged to French banks in the 1820s as it was forced to make massive reparations to French slaveholders in order to receive French recognition and end the nation's political and economic isolation. These payments permanently affected Haiti's economy...

In recent times, anybody remember the name of the Egyptian businessman who managed to rip off Papa Doc for a tidy sum in the sixties and get away with it? nName escepes me for the moment.