So once again Bob Crow has served his customary crippling blow to the London economy with the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry estimating that the RMT’s decision to strike for 48 hours could cost London up to £100m in lost productivity.
At a time when small businesses are facing extremely tough challenges and many forced to sanction pay freezes, it is quite galling that the RMT are asking for not only a 5% pay rise but also a shorter working week. With the UK on the verge of deflation, there is little justification for an increase in pay in any case – and any further disruption to London businesses and the economy at a time of recession gives the impression of the RMT’s political compass being badly out of touch with general public opinion. It is of course small businesses such as ours that will suffer the most. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, a total of 675,000 businesses employ less than 10 employees – although that accounts for 40% of London’s employment. Faced with these numbers it is not hard to see why the cost of this strike is likely to top £100m.
We are based in London and so no doubt will suffer in terms of staff attendance/punctuality – although as an online business with distribution centres throughout the UK our customers won’t suffer any impact to either the service we offer or delivery times that we promise. Whilst that’s some consolation – we won’t escape the impact entirely though – a quieter day will slow down sales for us, just as it will for virtually any other London-based company.
It does throw up the debate around home-working and where possible we will encourage our staff to work from home. In fact I was recently told that over 3m people now from home in the UK. That’s a statistic that would have surprised me before I joined Euroffice, but judging by the amount of fairly small order sizes we get on toner and paper I think we are noticing an increase in home working. Perhaps increasing unemployment is driving a higher level of self employed working from home? Perhaps we should lead the next revolution? With more home working there will be less people travelling on the tube everyday and as well all know, less demand = less revenue. What a sweet irony it would be if the RMT could no longer hold the London economy to ransom if we were all sitting at home emailing clients and colleagues from our kitchen table!
For the now though, it is time to dust down the London A-Z and plot out the best route to work on foot…