Trade unions are incredibly adept at seizing an opportunity and squeezing it for all it’s worth. Supporters would argue that’s what they’re there for. After all, there’s nothing like a good headline about downtrodden workers fighting against evil employers to boost union membership.
But in this emotive battle over the local government pension scheme, the unions are not letting common sense get in the way of a good argument.
Trying to halt these reforms is rather like King Canute attempting to hold back the tide. For public sector employers, these changes are inevitable and necessary. That’s why they are refusing to buckle under what they regard as “selfish” strikes.
The cost of a union victory – £6bn over 15 years – is far too high a price to pay. If the private sector had this kind of pressure, businesses would simply collapse.
There may be a long and weary run of strikes ahead, but haven’t the unions made their point? It’s time to move on, get real, and let common sense prevail.