Letters: Public-sector strikes are an insult to the country's hard-working self-employed taxpayers

Railway cleaners stage a protest outside the Transport Department (DfT), London, calling for an end to poverty pay - Yui Mok/PA Wire
Railway cleaners stage a protest outside the Transport Department (DfT), London, calling for an end to poverty pay - Yui Mok/PA Wire

SIR – I am self-employed. If I do not work, I do not get paid. It is now too easy for people in the public sector to strike and withdraw their labour. Time for change.

Jack Marriott
Churt, Surrey

SIR – It seems clear that Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT, and his acolytes believe that the only “working” people are those represented by their union and the others that are planning strikes over the next few weeks. But the reality is that there are many other working people outside the public sector who understand that, due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, many of the wage demands are unrealistic, and we all have to tighten our belts accordingly.

The posturing of Mr Lynch and others is frankly disgusting and these politically motivated strikes should be a source of shame. Those who are planning to strike should be asking themselves who pays their wages. It is not the Government but hard-pressed taxpayers – the genuine “working” people.

Nigel Hindle
Tytherington, Wiltshire

SIR – I am on the side of the railway workers when it comes to changed practices. For older people, the physically challenged and those suffering from poor eyesight, closing ticket offices is a disaster. Removing guards from trains is also a risk to the public. What happens if someone is taken ill?

I am over 90 and, if I travel, use customer care to help me on and off the train. The guard is told where I’m sitting and when I need help to alight. Without this I will have to rely on other passengers who, though generally helpful, are not obliged to assist me.

On different occasions I have had to get the guard to deal with rowdy and drunken travellers, a stolen suitcase and a young woman passing out.

Not all the travelling public are young and tech-savvy. Disabled access is more than a wide doorway.

Angela Lanyon

SIR – Do all those who are conducting “Operation Deny Christmas” and ruining yet another festive season after Covid did for the last two realise what a boost this is giving to Vladimir Putin, whose defeat is key to getting inflation down and their pay up?

But let them not worry: we can always bring in the military, who cannot strike. For the pay these strikers are on, even before a rise, you will probably get two or three soldiers.

Col Hamish de Bretton-Gordon (retd)
Tisbury, Wiltshire

SIR – On Christmas Day in the 1950s, I went home after being on call at the hospital where I had worked overnight, a duty for which I was not paid. I trust that all the striking workers are not getting paid for killing the Christmas spirit in 2022.

Dr Robert J Leeming
Coventry, Warwickshire

SIR – When I retired from general practice in 1983, bed-blocking by patients who could not be discharged from hospital because they had nowhere to go to convalesce was a serious problem. Since then it has become infinitely worse – to the extent that ambulancemen and women are having to spend large parts of their days and nights with patients as they wait for beds to become available in hospitals. Meanwhile, patients in the community in desperate need of their help go unattended.

No wonder ambulance crews are fed up, demoralised, disgusted and exhausted. Good luck to them. They deserve a pay rise.

Dr Andrew Norman
Poole, Dorset

SIR –  The current strikes and their planned dates confirm my belief that union leaders are not concerned about their members, or the general public, but use strikes to beat the government

Mike Aston
Stourbridge, Worcestershire

Pain-free knees

SIR – I read with interest the report (December 6) on faulty knee replacements. In May 2021 I saw a consultant, who confirmed that both my knees were “bone on bone” but advised against replacement joints as he said they were not always satisfactory. The following week, I saw an item in the Telegraph about Professor David Barrett, who, rather than replacements, specialised in resurfacing the knee joints.

That October I had both knees resurfaced in a life-changing operation. I was in hospital for only two nights after the surgery and, within days, was able to walk without crutches or a stick, and was pain free.

Surely if this was done on the NHS, much of the backlog of the waiting lists could be avoided.

Barry Barnes
Fakenham, Norfolk

SIR – Dr Alison Cave, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency chief safety officer, suggests “speaking to your implanting surgeon” (report, December 6), if you think you have a faulty knee implant.

I had a Zimmer NexGen implant – both unfaulty and life-changing – installed in 2014, by the excellent Dr Rudolf Pardubsky and his team at the St Cross Hospital in Rugby.

If I needed to talk to him, I would have to travel to the French Riviera, where he is now in private practice. Though it has its appeal, I don’t think it’s really practical.

Alan Mordey
Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

Organ failure

SIR – One disappointment, for me at least, is that the suspension of church services during the pandemic (Letters, December 5), and of singing once they resumed, meant that I was not able to play the organ at our country church

Sadly, as a result of this lack of practice and the onset of arthritic old age, I no longer feel able to volunteer. For all concerned, it is better not to play at all than to play badly.

Peter Clark
Ash, Kent

Posh port

SIR – Letters on bad sherry (December 5 and 6) reminded me of my father. As a boy, he was taken by his father to the cellar, where he was solumnly told that the port bottles with white splashes on them were for friends, while those with labels were for tradesmen and councillors.

Bill Marsh
Bicester, Oxfordshire

Wind farm reversal

SIR – You report (December 7) that Rishi Sunak has lifted the ban on onshore wind farms in the face of a rebellion by Tory MPs . But not only are they a blot on our landscape, has no one told him that they also don’t actually produce electricity when the wind doesn’t blow? It’s a bit like how when the RMT is on strike, the trains don’t run.

There is still potential for fracking and it needs further exploration, but why isn’t the potential for tidal power also being explored and put into action? It is constant, it doesn’t go on strike and it still has energy even when the wind stops blowing. Even turbines on rivers in hilly regions are better than wind power.

It is well past the time when our governing body took positive action for the good of society rather than prevaricated to the benefit of no one.

Austin V Matthews
East Claydon, Buckinghamshire

SIR – Steve Window (Letters, December 7) has not seen any dead birds beneath wind turbines because they have been hoovered up by foxes during the night.

Michael Skuse
Ruthin, Denbighshire

The Lords and Labour

SIR – The Labour Party has been threatening to abolish the House of Lords (report, December 5) for decades. It is sheer propaganda. This is because they have no idea how its replacement may affect the running of the government, especially if both Houses are of one mind.

Hyder Ali Pirwany
Okehampton, Devon

SIR – Is it not time our Parliament’s Upper House was referred to as the House of Peers rather than the less inclusive House of Lords? Ladies first took their seats in the House in 1958 and now comprise almost 30 per cent of its membership. Whatever the future may hold for this important aspect of our government, surely its title should at least be uncontroversial.

Keith Edwards

Deportation ace

SIR – The Home Office apparently has an early removal scheme to deport legally offenders such as Boris Becker (report, December 6).

So why cannot they do the same with illegal Albanians ?

Martin Henry
Good Easter, Essex

Murder she wrote: Agatha Christie books published by Fontana in the 1950s - alamy
Murder she wrote: Agatha Christie books published by Fontana in the 1950s - alamy

The greatest crime is spoiling a Christie mystery

SIR – As an avid reader of Agatha Christie’s detective novels, I have been enjoying Lucy Worsley’s BBC 2 series (Arts, November 26) on the author’s life and works. However, when discussing The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which has a particularly clever twist, Ms Worsley revealed the story’s denouement.

Surely giving away the secrets of an ingenious Christie plot is the greatest crime of all.

Kevin Paton
Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire

It is time to strip the Sussexes of their titles

SIR – Surely the time has come to demote the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and remove their titles (“How will the Royal family react to Harry and Meghan’s latest tell-all TV show ‘attacks’?”, report, December 7). They hold these courtesy of the British Royal family, which they clearly despise. Ergo the trappings that go with that association should be removed.

It would be a huge relief to many to have some means of demonstrating our disgust with how they are portraying our monarchy and by association our country. Enough is enough.

Victoria Cockburn
Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire

SIR – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have given a new perspective to the term “self service”.

The irony of being able to trade solely upon the Duke’s royal heritage, while denouncing the very institution on which they rely, seems to be lost on them, but not to the rest of us.

Tony Greenham
Macclesfield, Cheshire

SIR – I do not intend to watch the Harry and Meghan Netflix series. Nothing in the recently released trailers (“Prince Harry accuses Palace of playing ‘dirty game’ in second Netflix trailer”, report, December 7) attracts me to it.

I have, however, found something to say to Meghan’s credit: she is a much better actress than I realised.

Susan Wilson
Sheffield, South Yorkshire

SIR – Surely there is no couple more admired and beloved than the Prince and Princess of Wales, nor one more disliked than the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Ged W Calveley
Lytham, Lancashire

SIR – If Prince Harry had been first in line for the throne, would he be making such a fuss about the treatment he and Meghan are supposed to have received from the Royal family and the press?

Ken Harris
Reydon, Suffolk

SIR – Presumably, in time, staff leaving the household(s) of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will tell their truths, gag or no gag.

Simon McIlroy
Croydon, Surrey   

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