Friday, 21 December 2012

Email to Mike Brown of Transport for London

Dear Mr Brown


Had you limited yourself to sending me a note informing me of the ASLEF strike, while I might have tutted at your unsatisfactory level of literacy, that would have been that. I would have been grateful for your assessment of the likely disruption.

However, you went on to say

“This Trade Union is making scandalous demands. Staff have already been paid to work on Boxing Day and I cannot spend your money paying them again for this.”

I did not sign up to this email service for you to abuse it by sending me such unhelpful and apparently misleading statements.

I found what you said offensive so I went to the ASLEF website to see what they had to say.

They say: “Last year [TfL management – you] said they would begin talks ‘in the first quarter of the year’. They did not open discussions until a few weeks ago. "

Is this true?

I would be surprised if they would make such a statement if it were not substantially true. (As opposed, for instance, to the lie of omission of which I suspect you) If it is true, then you have failed to mention something rather importantly relevant. You have lied. So please do clarify that point. I want to know if a man in your position, paid with my money, is a liar.

ASLEF say: “And at those discussions [TfL] offered precisely nothing. They have put forward no proposals. Every initiative has come from the union side – and been rejected.”

What do you say to that Mr Brown?

They say: “What we are asking for is not complex. We want a volunteer service on Boxing Day with those working getting more than flat time. An enhancement for this day will ensure members will be able to swap duties with someone who wishes to work.”

What about that?

And what about the following? “We have also offered to join a Joint Working Party to look at other Bank Holidays and service levels required for the future. Management has sat on its hands and offered nothing constructive to resolve this dispute, which is why we will take action on Boxing Day. It is because of their failure.”

That's an awful lot you have failed to tell us.

It makes your email to me rather scandalous, to use your word. You seem to be trying to substitute calumny for negotiation. What do you say?

Lawrence Upton