Politicians, Strikes, and Wage Gaps

*NOTE*

I started writing this back in June—but then American politics reared it’s ugly head, and all this got put on the back-burner. Plus, while trains in Scotland have been on a reduced timetable for several months now, the rail strike only lasted a week, as far as I know. So, this article might not be as relevant now, but I’m posting it anyway. Because there’s still valid points here regarding working people and politicians.

Introduction

For those of you who don’t know, the UK is dealing with a rail strike. So, the entirety of the UK’s train lines are down for certain days, limiting travel options. Here in Scotland, only 5 train lines are running on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Which isn’t a lot. And when the train lines don’t run, it means people have to turn to other options. While walking home from a shop on Thursday, I saw a bus with standing room only.

Some might not understand why this is a big deal. In the US, public transportation isn’t a big thing. In the US, cars dominate. But in the UK—and in Europe—rails are a big thing. Plenty of people don’t drive and don’t have to rely on driving to get places easily. That’s how good the public transportation is.

So, to have train options be so reduced is a massive problem. And, well, I’m one person. I can’t solve the rail crisis. But it has made me want to rant a little bit—and that is something I can do. Get ready for a rant session about society and politics, baby!

Society

Listen. The world is big and complex—and we human beings make it even more complicated. But there are some things are just good for society. Taking care of the planet and simplifying things both seem like they should be high priority. Trains do both of these.

You want working people? Do we want people to have multiple options for getting to-and-from work and play—both of which contribute to benefits in society and the economy? What about minimizing emissions from cars? Public transportation helps with these things.

And I feel it’s a valuable service, one that should be prioritized more. Public transportation has been such an important part of my time living in Scotland. As difficult as it might be for Americans to imagine, you really don’t need to have a car out here. Sure, it has it’s conveniences, but for working and living, it’s not a need.

In watching this strike and the government responses to it—and this was a UK-wide issue, so it was left to the MPs in Westminster—I was left quite annoyed at the Members of Parliament, who seemed to be once again showing how little they understand the needs of the citizens.

Remember when I said I was ranting? Here it comes.

Politicians

(Remember, reader, this was all written the week of these strikes. So, it is a bit outdated. But I’m keeping it in, so the rant remains intact.)

Can you DO something about this? I’m pretty sure it’s your job. And last I checked, meetings weren’t even happening.

What’s your issue that you won’t try and find a solution? It certainly can’t be your pay, considering MPs get paid more than double the national average. (Why, I’m not really sure. I don’t really see them doing much work, and yet somehow every year, there’s a pay increase.)

But I suppose the real issue must be that they’re unaffected by it. When MPs earn £84,000 a year and can write any expense of theirs onto the taxpayer, they’re definitely not taking the train or the bus. When they can write off petrol costs on the taxpayer, it doesn’t matter to them that the cost of petrol is increasing—and it doesn’t even impact their salary.

And when they’re done with that, they’ll go on television and tell the citizens that they are problem. It’s that the people don’t buy the cheap food or know how to save money.

Members of Parliament: it’s pretty easy to live within your means when you’re out-earning everyone else. And I know that annual salary doesn’t even include added speaking fees you might receive. And being able to write so much off onto the taxpayer—which I’ve seen plenty of evidence being abused all the time—should also be considered a pay bonus since that’s how it’s being treated.

Biggest Rant

People need—DESERVE—to get paid for their work, and that pay SHOULD increase with costs of living. It hasn’t. And people are struggling. Not just the rail workers, but everyone. Why shouldn’t nurses, doctors, retails workers, food servers, and everyone in between get a pay increase when they’re working hard to serve everyone and the cost of living is going up?

Before anyone comes at me about skills, EVERYONE SHOULD SEE AN INCREASE IF THE COST OF LIVING IS INCREASING.

CEOs and executives get pay increases all the time. So, why not the workers? Why not the people in the trenches who make everything work and run? Why is the gap between the highest earners and lowest so great?

Politicians, CEOs, executives: you wanna solve the issue—YOU take the pay cut. And, no, I’m not joking. If you can afford to get a raise every year, but the citizens cannot, then you do not deserve a pay increase. Because in those positions, you’re meant to be taking care of the people below—and if the people below you cannot live comfortably, which they cannot, you are not doing your job.

Final Thoughts

Politicians: if people cannot afford to live, if food banks are a necessity, if the cost of everything is going up but people are not receiving an upgraded salary, you are failing at your job. CEOs and executives: if your workers are not being fairly compensated for the amount of work you expect from them, if you receive pay increases and they do not, or their pay increases are not nearly as high as yours, if your workers are struggling to get by in life, you are failing at your job.

And last I checked, if you’re failing at your job, you do not get a pay increase. And if things don’t change or shape up, you lose your job. If you wanna put those stipulations on citizens and workers, you need to do the same to yourself.

Fix this.

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