The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

The Media Never Takes The Union’s Side

Posted by The Futility Monster on March 22, 2010 @ 23:03

There's two sides to every story...

Whilst perusing the Metro this morning, I was struck by the cartoon that appeared on the front.

For those that didn’t see it, it showed two air traffic controllers having a discussion about the latest figures from Unite, which talked about how many union members were on strike, how many phoned in sick, etc. The caption read:

I’ve got a flight BA0124 from Bahrain preparing to land but I don’t know whether to believe him…

That is very revealing. These days, the media is very much trained to treat the union’s point of view as suspicious at best. Meanwhile, the management side of the dispute is frequently portrayed as the dispassionate observer, because they are the poor ones who are being forced to suffer so much from the strike.

It puzzles me when this change happened. When did the media decide that telling the story from the point of view of the workforce was not interesting to us? Or maybe they’ve always been that way.

Union officials are always interviewed in a hostile manner. They are accused of not caring about the business’ future. They are shown as backward, as unwilling, and inflexible to the demands of the global world. Luddites in a modern age where “progress” is rendering them out of existence.

This is usually contrasted with the interview with the bosses, who say it’s not their fault, and these are the times we live in. They sigh and say they’ve done their best to work with the unions, but they just cannot afford to meet the “unreasonable” demands.

Then some film of picket lines, of strikes, some rather rough looking workers. Then, usually, a few vox pops from Angry of Tunbridge Wells, who has missed their flight because of a callous and selfish workforce.

This may be an exaggeration, but it’s not far off the truth from what I’ve witnessed.

Why is the media so unquestioning of business when it comes to industrial disputes? Why has no one investigated the strong-arm tactics of Willie Walsh and BA? Why do we never find out exactly what it is that makes train drivers want to strike so often? So too of the Royal Mail. And, inevitably, of the civil service.

We’re expected to assume that the managers are indeed acting in good faith, and that their figures can always be trusted.

That doesn’t seem fair to me.

One Response to “The Media Never Takes The Union’s Side”

  1. Peter Reynolds said

    Well you can’t really expect anyone to take the same side as the nutters in charge of Unite can you?

    There are industrial disputes and then there’s just plain idiocy. There’s no rational basis on which this dispute can continue. These are “Spanish practices” of the very worst kind. The only difference is that most of the BA staff will actually have been to Spain (and caught too much sun, I think!)

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