The High Court is today expected to rule on whether or not to grant Network Rail an emergency injunction against the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) in its attempt to prevent strike action being called on Tuesday. The very day Gordon Brown is expected to call the next general election.
Bur whatever the outcome of the case or the general election, Brendan Barber, the General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), has warned in an interview with the Times that more industrial unrest will follow.
So far he said that the troubles at British Airways (BA) and Network Rail did not amount to a 'Spring of Discontent'. He pointed out that 29 million days were lost in the 1979 'winter of discontent' 27 million in the 1984 miners strikes but only 455,000 last year. But this may change when the new Chancellor, of whichever party, takes the reins and has to start making and implementing those tough decisions.
The RMT strike alone, if it goes ahead is expected to halt some 80% of train services and prevent trains running for the twelve hours between 7pm and 7am. The most a season ticket holder can expect in compensation will be an extension on their ticket and only if all services on their route are cancelled.
The BA dispute over staffing and rostering is also grinding on. This has already resulted in the grounding of hundreds of flights from the seven days of action last month.
Mr Barber claims that none of the current actions are politically motivated and that he stands behind Labour saying that the Tories are "in the wrong place on the economy and employment". I think he'll find that the three main parties are within a hairsbreadth of each other on most things. It's just the exact timing they are arguing about.