Strike while the iron is hot
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OPPORTUNITIES to increase business have not been too much in evidence in recent years. When they do appear they should be grasped with both hands. Possibly the most topical illustration of opportunism has resulted from the miners' strike and the support the National Union of Mineworkers has received from the National Union of Railwaymen and others.
To some, the solidarity of the NUR and NUM is a highly principled action. To others, it has presented an opportunity to increase their business turnover. Coal has moved by road haulage and small non-union ports are discharging imported coal which they never handled before.
Britain is now faced with the possibility of yet more industrial action by the rail unions. Yet more opportunities will be presented to road operators to increase turnover. Passengers will turn to coaches and buses, industry will turn to haulage and parcels carriers will find their traffic increasingly dramatically.
There is nothing unethical in taking the opportunity to increase business through the actions of others.
The road transport sector should be preparing for the possibility of a rail strike now. Indeed, operators should be out selling their services to rail users now. Road transport should be sold on the basis of its reliability, flexibility, speed and cost.
Once the traffic is won over it must be retained on a contract basis. Why should road operators be content to act as stopgaps in an emergency?
Now is the time to go for it. Road transport serves the nation very well, but does not sing its own praises loud enough.
If the rail unions want to throw traffic out of the window, let them do so. Road operators'as always will be there to pick it up — this time round they must keep it.