It’s often the balance of bargaining power in a deal that governs the parties’ attitudes. That is certainly the case in the London transport tube strike.

Where the aces are very evenly poised it means that neither side can browbeat the other into submission by sheer weight of bargaining power.

Sometimes this can be very positive as it encourages each party to pursue a win/win approach in order to get a deal done.

However, in highly ritualised negotiations where win/win is not a traditional approach, the opposite can happen. The two side get frustrated by their inability to force a solution. A deadlock ensues and the parties start to play “lose/lose”, a self- destructive attitude where it’s more important to make sure the other guy loses than to secure a win for yourself.

That’s what’s happening in the London transport dispute, as you can recognise by the rather shrill and negative rhetoric on either side. Certainly both sides seem to have forgotten what the dispute was originally about and the general public has no idea what they are fighting about.

It’s very difficult to break this cycle, and hence the succession of strikes (including today’s), which shows no sign of abating.

This will only stop if one side is able to force the other into submission (which may take some time), or the two parties come to a realisation that they have more to gain from granting a win to each other than by continuing with the present stand-off.

Meanwhile the commuter, who pays for all of them, will continue to suffer. Mind the Gap….