Following on from this news about yet more tedious, forthcoming tube strikes I decided to Contact the Mayor (I have contacted TFL about this, but I'm not sure they really understood what I was going on about!).
Here's what I wrote:
I see, with some regret, that yet again, the Tube unions feel the need to strike. It remains to be seen if this next strike goes ahead, but if it does, it will doubtless cause the usual levels of inconvenience to Londoners across the Captial. The cynic in me wonders if we have generally more Tube strikes as the ambient temperature goes up...?
That aside, I am writing to you with a more pragmatic intent. I have approached TFL about this, but suspect my request was not properly understood by whomever dealt with it. I would like you to arrange that I am fully trained as a Tube train driver (or other critical role that would be impacted by strike action). In return for this, I will volunteer my time to work that job function on strike days. It is my hope that I can do my part in keeping London working, even if there are those who would try to disrupt us.
I will also make this pledge to you: I make all reasonable efforts to resist joining any union, I will not require payment for my volunteered time on strike days, and, even though I am employed full-time, I will make all reasonable efforts to be available to you on strike days, such that you can gain maximum advantage from me for the expense you will make in training me.
I offer this as a single individual. However, I strongly suspect other Londoners may be willing to do the same thing. I would even go as far as to suggest some employers would prefer to see their staff arrive late, having helped their colleagues get to work, than not at all. It would take some 'selling', but it's possible employers may even help sponsor such an effort.
I will leave this matter in your hands. However, I would urge that you give it some serious thought. I generally deplore strikes such as these, and I'm sure other Londoners feel the same way. If I can help a few of them avoid the disruptions strikes cause, I'm sure that would be of surprising benefit to London as a whole.
I'll let you know what happens...!
Update June 21st: I've had a few utterly useless replies from the Mayor's office. The first was a long diatribe about how the Mayor doesn't like the strikes and how he's put on lots of buses and the like for the strike days. Since this didn't actually answer any of my questions, I asked again. Next reply said that I could apply to TFL to be a train driver (and gave me a link), so I tried again. Finally, I received a proper response saying that the Mayor doesn't deal with TFL operational matters directly, so I'd have to take it up with TFL. I'll give that another try...