Shapps accuses union of ‘punishing’ the general public with crippling rail strikes

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, has accused the nation’s greatest rail union of punishing tens of millions of harmless folks after it confirmed it should go forward with collection of crippling strikes.

He mentioned the travelling public confronted per week of distress as a result of the RMT Rail, Maritime and Transport union had refused repeated appeals to name off their motion on account of begin on Tuesday. But Labour accused the Transport Secretary and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of intentionally “pouring petrol on fire” as a result of they wished the nation to “grind to a halt’ in order to stoke political divisions.

On Saturday, the RMT confirmed that strikes at Network Rail and 13 train operators will go ahead on Tuesday, Thursday and next Saturday, and on London Underground on Tuesday. General secretary Mick Lynch said: “Despite the best efforts of our negotiators no viable settlements to the disputes have been created.”

Grant Shapps
Grant Shapps: ‘By finishing up this motion, the RMT is punishing tens of millions of harmless folks’

Mr Shapps mentioned sufferers could be compelled to cancel hospital appointments, employees would lose pay as a result of they might not get to work, and pupils taking exams would face the additional distraction of getting to vary their journey plans as a result of the motion. “Sadly they have ignored these requests time and again, and we are now on the cusp of major disruption which will cause misery for people right across the country,” he mentioned. “By carrying out this action, the RMT is punishing millions of innocent people, instead of calmly discussing the sensible and necessary reforms we need to make in order to protect our rail network.”

However, in a speech to the Labour Local Government Association conference in Warwick on Sunday, Sir Keir Starmer will claim Mr Johnson and Mr Shapps want the strikes to go ahead for their own political purposes. “They want the country to grind to a halt so they can feed off the division. Instead of spending their time this week around the negotiating table, they are designing attack ads,” he will say. “Instead of grown-up conversations to take the heat out of the situation, they are pouring petrol on the fire. Instead of bringing people together in the national interest, they are stoking division in their political interest.”

Mick Lynch: 'In the face of this massive attack on our people the RMT cannot be passive'
Mick Lynch: ‘In the face of this large assault on our folks the RMT can’t be passive’

The motion by tens of hundreds of rail employees – in a dispute over job losses and the union’s calls for for a pay rise that retains tempo with inflation – will cripple companies for a lot of the week. Mr Lynch mentioned hundreds of jobs had been being lower throughout the rail networks and employees had been dealing with below-inflation pay rises. “It has to be restated that the source of these disputes is the decision by the Tory Government to cut £4 billion of funding from our transport systems – £2 billion from national rail and £2 billion from Transport for London,” he mentioned. “In the face of this massive attack on our people the RMT cannot be passive.”

Tim Shoveller, Network Rail’s chief negotiator, expressed shock that RMT was dismissing talks “before we’ve even finished” with additional discussions deliberate for Sunday. “I’m serious about trying to find a solution and work out a compromise that gives our people a decent pay rise, but it has to be affordable for taxpayers and fare payers,” he mentioned.

“Our offers have so far been rejected, with union demands far from being affordable. We will continue to talk and to try and find a way through and avert this needless and damaging strike.”

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