It’s time to get tough with the rail unions


The full impact of next week’s planned strike on the railways is becoming apparent with the publication of emergency plans to keep at least some of the network open. More than 40,000 RMT union rail workers are set to walk out on June 21, 23 and 25, threatening significant disruption across the country.

Revised timetables indicate that little effort is being made to retain even a semblance of normality. Any services that do operate on strike days will only run between 7.30am and 6.30pm. Some areas such as Cornwall or South Wales will see no passenger services at all and the problems will continue on non-strike days, affecting commuter lines but also major events such as Glastonbury and the Headingley Test match. The knock-on effect is likely to hit schools, hospitals and the hospitality sector which suffered so badly during the pandemic.

The RMT is in dispute with employers over pay, pensions and changes to working practices, though the latter say they have made good offers that union bosses have spurned. Their claims also disguise a more political motive behind the strikes which is to scupper modernisation of the system as part of the creation of Great British Railways. This is the Government’s future model for the network, whose revenues were decimated by the pandemic, to tackle costs and promote efficiency. The RMT sees this overhaul as a threat to jobs though no specific proposals have yet been tabled.

How political this has become was clear in the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions. Boris Johnson challenged Sir Keir Starmer to disown what he called “Labour’s rail strikes”. The Opposition leader said that he did not want the strikes to go ahead but accused the Government of encouraging them in order to feed off the divisions. Labour MPs accused ministers of refusing to meet the unions and employers.

However, this is pure sophistry. Sir Keir and his MPs could urge the RMT, a union aligned to the Labour Party, to call off the strikes and hold talks; but they haven’t and nor have they condemned the action. The public will take note. Ministers could do more, for instance by fulfilling the 2019 election manifesto promise to legislate for minimum train services to run during industrial action. With a majority of 80, the Government could introduce emergency laws tomorrow. It should also stop the strikers making up their losses through overtime. It is time to get tough with the RMT.



Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Vigour Times is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment
Enable Notifications    OK No thanks