Fun and Games – for some
London bus drivers are fighting for an Olympic bonus to top up their pay. And it’s only fair that they get it. Other transport people have been promised their bonuses. Tube drivers will be getting an extra £850 each for working during the busy Games period. So why should bus drivers be missing out?
Even without taking pay into account, it is easy to see that out of all the transport personnel, it is the bus drivers who will be getting the raw end of the Olympic deal.
Tube drivers don’t have to deal with any passengers. They are safely ensconced in their cocoon-like cab where they will remain unhassled by the massed multitudes who will flock to the capital. For the tube drivers there will be no face to face confrontation with drunks, no bother from the tourists who can’t figure out where they are going or what to do with an Oyster card.
And the tube drivers don’t have to worry about the inevitable gridlock of London’s streets either. Their lungs won’t be filled with the fumes of a thousand creeping cars in the long queue ahead. The tube drivers need only drive their train forward along the straight, one-way track that they have run on since the Tube began.
If they deserve an Olympic bonus then the bus drivers deserve at least the same, if not an Olympic medal too.
Where is the sportsmanship, the fairness in all this? If public transportation was an Olympic event, the tube drivers would be halfway towards the finish line before the race had even started.
Competitive sports’ saving grace, the single good point that raises it up above an exercise in redundancy and a wholesale waste of time is the element of fair play that it engenders, the idea that it makes its participants that little bit more considerate and mindful of other people.
Competitive sports must be played on a level playing field. No-one should have an unfair advantage over anyone else. Men are not pitted against women, Paralympians against Olympians.
But the pay imbalance for bus drivers and tube drivers is grossly unfair. It isn’t a level playing field. It isn’t playing by the same rules. If the Olympic bonus injustice is allowed to continue it will be a travesty for the reputation of the Capital and the Games, a hypocrisy that goes against the very spirit of fair play that the Olympics are meant to exemplify.
Give the bus drivers the bonus they deserve, at least as much as the other transport workers get.
Because if they don’t get it, well, it’s as big an incongruity as if they had just built a giant fast-food restaurant outside the stadium. Enjoy the athletics while you munch on a cheeseburger and fries.
Whoops, they’ve already done that.
29 June 2012
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