‘This is no way to behave,’ transport secretary tells unions – live

‘This is no way to behave,’ transport secretary tells unions - live
Passengers have been warned not to travel by train during the disruption

The transport secretary has told unions planning widespread train strikes it is “no way to behave” ahead of next week’s industrial action.

Grant Shapps said this was a “huge mistake” and accused the unions of being “gunning for this strike”.

“It is going to inconvenience millions of people – students doing their GCSEs and A-levels, people trying to get to hospitals to try get operations that have been postponed, perhaps, during coronavirus,” he told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme.

“It is disastrous. It is no way to behave on the railway. There is no advantage to this.”

Unions have announced strikes next weet in a bitter row over pay, job and conditions. RMT union said it “cannot be passive” as its members face cuts to jobs and real pay.

Industrial action will hit Network Rail and 13 train operators on Tuesday, Thursday and next Saturday, as well as the London Underground on Tuesday.

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Union boss says members are facing ‘crisis’

Mick Lynch, the RMT boss, said his union did not want to be the “cause of disruption” for people.

“But we are facing a crisis for our members,” he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday as he explained what lies at the centre of the dispute.

“We’re faced with thousands of job cuts, despite what Grant Shapps says. There has been no guarantee these redundancies won’t be compulsory,” he said.

“We’ve seen four or five thousand jobs already go from the railway. They’ve told our maintenance staff on Network Rail that 3,000 jobs will go.”

The union boss said: “They are going to cut back on the safety regime. They’ve told us that every single booking office in Britain will close. They’ve told us they are going to extend the working week from 35 hours to 40 – or possibly 44.

“And for new entrants, that will mean lower wages. So they are actually proposing pay cuts, not a pay rise, and an increase in working time on the railway.”

Zoe Tidman19 June 2022 12:13
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Transport secretary asked why he hasn’t met union since last month

The transport secretary has been asked why he has not met with the RMT union – which has called the strikes – since the middle of May.

Grant Shapps said negotiations needed to take place with the employers. “Those are the people who have the power to settle this,” he said.

Zoe Tidman19 June 2022 11:20
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‘Isn’t that just code for job cuts?’ Shapps asked

Grant Shapps also told Sky News the government wanted “modernisation” on the railways in return for pay.

Presenter Sophy Ridge asked him if that was “code” for job cuts.

Here is his reply:

Zoe Tidman19 June 2022 10:17
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‘This is no way to behave,’ travel secretary tells unions

Grant Shapps has warned the RMT union that this week’s rail strikes will be “disastrous” for the industry.

The travel secretary accused union boss Mick Lynch of “gunning” for industrial action that will inconvenience millions of people through the country.

“It is a huge mistake. The unions have been gunning for this strike throughout. This strike is completely unnecessary,” he told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme.

“It is going to inconvenience millions of people – students doing their GCSEs and A-levels, people trying to get to hospitals to try get operations that have been postponed, perhaps, during coronavirus.

“It is disastrous. It is no way to behave on the railway. There is no advantage to this. I know Mick Lynch says he is ‘nostalgic for union power’ but this is no way to behave.”

Zoe Tidman19 June 2022 09:11
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Starmer accuses government of ‘pouring petrol on fire’ of rail strike dispute

Sir Keir Starmer has accused Boris Johnson and the transport secretary Grant Shapps of “stoking divisions” over nationwide rail strikes set to take place this week.

The Labour leader will accuse the government of “pouring petrol on the fire” over its handling of the dispute with unions, instead of attempting to take the heat out of the row.

Ashley Cowburn reports:

Keir Starmer accuses government of ‘pouring petrol on fire’ of rail dispute

‘They want the country to grind to a halt so they can feed off the division,’ Labour leader will say

Zoe Tidman19 June 2022 00:57
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What are the strikes all about?

Here is a reminder of what rail workers are fighting for.

Union boss Mick Lynch said thousands of jobs were being cut across the rail networks and workers were facing below-inflation pay rises.

“In the face of this massive attack on our people the RMT cannot be passive,” he said.

Other issues at stake are outlined here:

Zoe Tidman18 June 2022 20:09
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ICYMI: London mayor blames government over one of next week’s strikes

London’s mayor has accused the government of “inciting” one of next week’s rail strikes, as more workers are set to be balloted for industrial action in growing disputes over pay and jobs.

Full story:

London’s Mayor accuses Government of ‘inciting’ Tube strike

More railway workers are to be balloted for industrial action in growing disputes over pay and jobs.

Zoe Tidman18 June 2022 19:09
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Rail industry body criticises strike

A Rail Delivery Group, an industry membership body, as criticised the strike action confirmed today.

A spokesperson said: “No one wins in the event of a strike. The action next week will affect the millions of people who use the train each day, including key workers, students with exams, those who cannot work from home, holidaymakers and people attending important business and leisure events.”

They added: “Working with Network Rail, our plan is to keep as many services running as possible, but significant disruption will be inevitable and some parts of the network will not have a service, so passengers should plan their journeys carefully and check their train times.”

Zoe Tidman18 June 2022 18:11
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Union boss met with cheers as she addresses crowd on rail strikes

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress has been met with applause and cheers as she gave a speech to the crowd in Parliament Square.

She said: “I have seen the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has threatened rail workers that they will strike themselves out of a job.

“Well you are wrong Mr Shapps: if you keep stirring, come the next election, you will be out of a job.”

PA

Zoe Tidman18 June 2022 16:10
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Rail strikes next week could ‘cost tourism, leisure and theatre sectors over £1bn’

Next week’s rail strikes could devastate the UK’s post-Covid recovery and cost key industries over a billion pounds, the government has been told.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of industry group UK Hospitality, warned tourism and leisure businesses were already fragile after pandemic lockdowns and would take a “big hit”.

“At the best, we think it’s going to take a hit to hospitality revenues of over half a billion pounds,” she told Times Radio.

“But that presupposes that many people will travel on those shoulder days when the trains and the Tubes will still be disrupted – it could be more significant than that.

“And if you look across the whole tourism, and leisure and theatre industries as a whole, you are definitely looking at an economic hit of over a billion pounds.”

PA

Zoe Tidman18 June 2022 14:47

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