Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Road signs – the union knows best

Bilingual road signI don’t mind admitting I have little time for unions – and one of their own TV adverts shows why. Presumably intended to show the evil boss ignoring the single downtrodden worker, it went on to show the good worker and union members clearing their throat to gain attention, but that throat clearing was depicted as an earthquake, as it was echoed by all the the other good union members.

If unions merely provided representation, I wouldn’t have a problem, but strikes, political affiliations, and involvement in things that are none of their business cause me concern.

A little over year ago, I noted that eight Caithness councillors had tried to stop bilingual road signs being installed in their area, and while they failed in their attempt, the issue highlighted a potential hazard as there was evidence from research which suggested that bilingual signs may cause accidents and that a report from a review of existing trunk road signage was due in 2011, and transport minister Stewart Stevenson noted that it would include the effect of current signs on roads controlled by local authorities.


It seems that “the union” knows better, and there is no need for this report.

A union has urged Highland Council to end “politically correct” initiatives such as bilingual Gaelic signage rather than cutting jobs. Unison spokesman Shane Manning said bilingual signage was one area where cuts could be made without job losses: “Unison Highland branch have a mandate from our membership to oppose bilingual signing. It may not be a vast amount of money but it’s one example of where money could be saved just now when there are more important things to be spending the money on.”

Since when does a union of office workers have a say in how the country’s road signs are deployed?

Is there really any significant cost saving in reducing the content of a road sign that s going to be produced anyway? the English only sign would presumably still be being manufactured and installed anyway, and I’ve nothing that indicates the existence of a scheme to remove and replace English only signs with bi-lingual version – which clearly would add to costs (and create jobs).

There’s another consideration – unlikely as it may be, that the report finds bilingual road signs actually have a positive effect, so the union would be calling for something that created a road hazard.

In reality, the 2011 report will most likely confirm that bilingual signs are a hazard, and the union could have won more Brownie Points if it had waited for the outcome of the report, and supported it with mandate to end the use of such signs, and the potential danger they present.

Guess we’re headed for the union blacklist now, and the pickets will be flying in.

03/07/2009 - Posted by | Civilian | , , , , ,

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