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Stuff the Tube Drivers, All Hail the Bin Warriors of Hackney!
It’s Boxing Day, and the tube drivers in London are on strike again. Opinions among Londoners canvassed by local news reporters are usually split between support and contempt, although for obvious editorial reasons they’ll only show a couple of balanced responses and won’t give you a proper survey indicating what the majority feeling is. While no one would disagree that it’s a dull and sometimes stressful job being a tube driver (a bit like 99% of the other jobs they could be doing - perhaps they should try some of those instead), the fact is that they are very well compensated for it, earning far more than the nurses, police officers and countless other important workers who rely on public transport to get to work.
I could rant about them and their unions for quite some time, but I’ve got better things to be doing, like making a cup of tea and planning my dinner. Instead, I’d like to spare just a moment to honour someone else. Lying awake at some unsociable hour this morning, feeling smug that I wasn’t a tube driver or attempting to get to work in some other crappy job via whatever public transport was actually running, I heard the comforting sound of the local recycling team and their truck working their way down the road, picking up and sorting through all the crap that was cluttering our doorsteps.
Unlike the tube drivers, the fact that it was a bank holiday apparently didn’t matter. I’ve noticed this at other times of the year as well, whether it’s May Day or the August bank holiday, come rain or shine, Hackney’s bin collectors and recyclers will be out picking up everybody else’s shit in order to keep our little corner of suburbia clean and tidy. Although they are also paid a fair wage (I checked) they aren’t paid anywhere near as handsomely as a tube driver, they don’t get to sit on their arse all day, and I imagine they invariably finish their shift smelling of rotten eggs and kippers. (I know which job I’d prefer, choo - choo!)Without transport workers, people reluctantly get on their bikes or phone a cab. Without the bin men, we would rapidly descend into a war-torn hell of rats and foxes scavaging the wreaking waste mountains, fighting with the tramps and pykies over scraps of rotten meat and cardboard boxes for nesting. (Tramps make nests, right?)
Traditionally Boxing Day was the day wealthy people and homeowners gave a box of gifts to their servants. In this day and age, most of us don’t have servants (unless you’re a Tory). Now it’s the day when the bin men recycle the box from that 75 inch plasma screen the tube drivers bought on their over-inflated salaries. The tube drivers are not our servants, they have become our oppressors. If I had thought about it in advance, I might have made some Boxing Day offering to the bin men (I might be exagerating here but let’s just go with the sentiment).
Furthermore, I’d like to propose that every time a tube driver whinges about their salary or their working conditions or considers going on strike, that they are instantly and forceably given a job and salary swap with a refuse worker. Especially if it’s the middle of winter. And for a minimum of 12 months. And they should wear a naughty hat so that they can be singled out from the regular bin men, then I’d gladly cycle to work occasionally just so that I could swerve around their truck while laughing in their fat little faces.
That’d teach them for being such a bunch of over-entitled money grabbing little so-and-sos. Like I was saying, enough about them, stuff the tube drivers, all hail the Bin Warriors of Hackney! At least until the council cut their hours and wages and they go on strike. Until then I’ll be putting the finishing touches on my fox-and-tramp-proof bin design…