Train strikes LIVE: Boris pulls rug from under RMT – new plan to scupper ‘selfish’ action (Image: GETTY)
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Ministers intend to revoke laws banning businesses from using temporary workers to replace staff who are on strike. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng presented the plans, which will enable agency staff to be used, following a ban that’s been in place since 1973. It comes as the RMT union confirmed the strikes this week would go ahead, despite last-ditch talks to resolve the issues. Tory MPs have heavily criticised the industrial action, with Dartford MP Gareth Johnson calling them “totally selfish”.
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More from Grant Shapps
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he cannot tolerate a position “where rail workers exercising their right to strike can do it without any regard for how the rights of others are affected”.
Speaking in the House of Commons, he said: “We are looking at a variety of different options for the railways in order to maintain services amid the disruption in both the medium and the longer term.
“We can longer, I think, tolerate a position where rail workers exercising their right to strike can do it without any regard for how the rights of others are affected.”
He added: “Minimum service legislation is just one part of that. Minimum service levels are a Government manifesto commitment, and will require train operators to run a base number of services even in the event of future strike actions.
“It’s a system which works well in other countries, including Belgium and France, and so we will be bringing in the legislation to protect the travelling public if agreement can’t be reached when major disruption, as with the strikes this week, is expected.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (Image: PA)
Strikes could mean student miss exams
The rail strikes are set to have a huge impact on students about to take their exams in the coming days.
Jessica Pinkett, head of youth insights at Student Beans warned that some students may miss A-Level and GSCE exams.
Ms Pinkett said: “The cancelled rail services also will not be replaced with bus replacement services, and many students will have to get driven to school or will have to learn remotely again.
“Our concern is that many students will not be able to attend school as a result of the strikes resulting in some missing important exams which may leave them at an unfair advantage, and students deserve reassurance that their will be special consideration for these cases where students are unable to travel to the exam hall.”
Do you back the train unions’ demand for a 7% pay rise?
As we have been reporting the RMT will stage the biggest train strike in 30 years this week in a bid to secure a seven percent pay rise.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the union had “no option” but to act after train operators appeared to have remained stubborn in not offering a pay increase.
‘Avoid travel unless absolutely necessary’, says Grant Schapps
ransport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Government is doing everything it can to minimise disruption during the rail strikes.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Shapps said: “We are doing everything we can, despite these strikes, to minimise the disruption throughout the entire network.
“We are working with the civil contingencies secretariat, the Government’s emergency planning team, to keep critical supply chains open wherever possible.
“Operators will keep as many passenger trains as possible running, though of course with much disruption to the timetable that is going to be very difficult on strike days.
“And it’s estimated that around 20 percent of planned services will operate, focused on key workers, main population centres and critical freight routes.
“But there will be mass disruption and we advise passengers to avoid travelling unless absolutely necessary, which of course for many it will be.”
New legislation will repeal ‘1970s-era restrictions’, says Business Secretary
Kwasi Kwarteng said new legislation to allow companies to bring in agency workers to replace staff who are striking would repeal “1970s-era restrictions”.
Responding to the proposal, the business secretary said the legislation is “on its way”.
Downing Street: Strikes are ‘deeply disappointing
Downing Street said it was “deeply disappointing” that the strikes are going ahead, arguing that they will not resolve the issues faced on the railways.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “This is deeply disappointing, that these disruptive, these self-defeating strikes will take place this week.
“Striking does nothing to address the long-standing issues that we need to sort to make sure our railway, that the public use and treasure, is fit for the long term.”
When will the strikes begin?
Thousands of members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at Network Rail and 13 train operators will walk out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in the biggest outbreak of industrial action on the railways for a generation.
Services across the UK will start to be affected from Monday evening, with just one in five trains running on strike days, primarily on main lines and only for around 11 hours.
London Underground workers are also on strike on Tuesday.
Services will be affected from Monday evening (Image: PA)
Government plans to change law to let agency staff to job of strikers
The Governent plans to change to law to replace “selfish” striking staff.
Ministers intend to revoke laws banning businesses from using temporary workers to replace staff who are on strike.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng presented the plans which will enable agency staff to be used, following a ban that’s been in place since 1973.
The plans are expected to be tabled this week and come into effect in mid-July and apply across all sectors.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng (Image: Getty)
Rail strike to go ahead- RMT
The RMT Union has confirmed that the rail strikes will go ahead despite last minute talks to revolve a dispute over pay.
Good afternoon I’m Francesca Edwards , I'll be bringing you all the latest developments on the train strike for the next eight hours. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.
Email: [email protected]
Minister calls for reforms to 'outdated' railway practices
Chief Treasury secretary Simon Clarke called for reforms of the country's "seriously outdated" railway practices.
He said: "We need to see reform of some of the practices that make our railway a very unsustainable entity at the moment.
"It cannot be the case that we have put in £16 billion during the pandemic as taxpayers, worth £600 per household, and still have a railway system where some of what goes on occurs and where, frankly, fares are higher than they need to be and efficiency is lower than it should be because of the way the trade unions operate."
Chief Treasury secretary Simon Clarke (Image: GETTY)
‘Monumentally selfish’ industrial strike action ‘must be defeated’
The rail strikes are “monumentally selfish,” according to Nile Gardiner, policy analyst and former aide to Margaret Thatcher.
He said: “Britain’s far Left trade unions are monumentally selfish and care nothing for the British people. Their destructive agenda must be defeated.”
Workers prepare industrial action until CHRISTMAS as tensions erupt
Rail unions have threatened to continue striking until Christmas as they prepare for the biggest shutdown of the train network in almost 30 years.
The RMT union stressed it had a “mandate” for six months of industrial action after talks aimed at averting the strike action fell apart on Sunday.
Asked if passengers should expect a “long fight”, Mr Lynch told the i newspaper: "That may have to be the way that is, I hope that's not the case, but there doesn't seem to be much evidence at the moment that it's going to go any other way.”
Meanwhile, a Network Rail source told the Telegraph: "It is very unlikely these strikes will be a one-off.
“The RMT will meet after the strikes and decide what comes next and we assume there will be more disruption and more strike days.
“Then that moves the dispute into a battle of attrition. We are looking at paying RMT signallers extra money to break the strike.
“Nothing has been decided but there have been discussions about doing that."
More than 40,000 rail workers will walk out from Tuesday, crippling Britain's transport network and threatening GCSE and A-level exams, hospital appointments, and key workers’ ability to reach their places of work.
Workers prepare industrial action until CHRISTMAS as tensions erupt (Image: GETTY)
Government will not attend Monday’s strike talks
Downing Street has said the Government will not take part in Monday's talks aimed at averting the rail strikes.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "Talks are continuing today but the Government won't be taking part in them.
"You've heard from train operators themselves who have said that it isn't the Government's place to be at the table and it wouldn't be helpful to the ongoing discussions to insert the Government into the negotiating process at this stage."
‘No point in giving false hope’ strikes can be avoided, says Government minister
Treasury minister Mr Clarke told BBC Breakfast there was “no point giving false hope” the strikes could be avoided, adding it is “important to be realistic” about the difficulty of the negotiations.
“We absolutely don’t want them to go ahead, I recognise this is going to cause misery for millions of people and I am profoundly sorry about that,” he added.
Mr Clarke also ruled out the direct involvement of government ministers in the talks and said the railway would have to “financially sustain itself”.
‘Explosive' closure of England’s train ticket offices to save £500m may spark more strikes
Railway strikes may intensify as ticket offices across England could be closed and physical train tickets axed to save the rail industry up to £500million.
The move would see the closure of all 980 railway station ticket offices, and its suggestion has further stoked tensions between railway unions, industry bosses and the Government.
The rail industry has drawn up a confidential strategy to close or "repurpose" all ticket offices in England, in which around 12 percent of railway tickets are still sold.
The closure programme would commence in September, with a union boss warning that it could lead to more worker support for strikes, the Sunday Times reports.
Online ticket-buying and mobile apps enable travellers to purchase rail tickets remotely and forego the need to print out a physical copy, with a Department of Transport spokesman saying physical ticket sales had seen a "significant decline".
Union leaders are reportedly seeking urgent talks over the plan, with the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) describing the report as "explosive".
What do union bosses want?
The RMT is calling for every worker to receive a pay rise that reflects the cost of living crisis.
It wants favourable negotiated terms on pay, working conditions, and pensions for the workers who keep the UK's trains moving.
But not everyone is behind the strikes and concerns have been raised over people who rely on trains to get to work at places, such as the NHS and schools.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News yesterday that he was concerned for everyone's income and also the people who won't be able to go to work due to the strike action.
Express.co.uk looked at salaries for railway workers and found some earn much more than nurses and care workers.
The median salary for railway staff is £43,747 according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
By comparison, nurses take home £31,093 a year on average and care workers £16,502.
The RMT is calling for every worker to receive a pay rise that reflects the cost of living crisis (Image: GETTY)
Railway workers have been treated ‘appallingly’
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has accused the railway industry of treating its workers “appallingly”.
He said: “Railway workers have been treated appallingly and despite our best efforts in negotiations, the rail industry with the support of the government has failed to take their concerns seriously.
“We have a cost-of-living crisis, and it is unacceptable for railway workers to either lose their jobs or face another year of a pay freeze when inflation is at 11.1 percent and rising."
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch (Image: GETTY)
Network Rail ideas ‘fallen on deaf ears’
Network Rail has said its ideas for modernising the railway have fallen on “deaf ears” in discussions with RMT.
A spokesperson for Network Rail said: "The modernisation proposals we've put on the table would help our workforce be more flexible, enabling us to avoid compulsory job losses.
"The ideas would also help our workforce be safer because they won't work on live tracks as often. So far our ideas have fallen on deaf ears."
Why are there train strikes? Union demands explained in full
The RMT was in talks with Network Rail and train companies this year over staff salaries and job cuts in the railway network.
Union bosses announced that they were not able to secure a pay proposal or a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies in their announcement of the strike.
They also said workers had been subjected to multi-year pay freezes and thousands of jobs were at risk of being cut.
A report by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in May accused Network Rail of planning to cut 2,500 safety-critical jobs.
It claimed axing the roles would increase the risk of major accidents on Britain’s railways and called for alternatives to be found for saving money.
Network Rail refuted the claim and said its plans to modernise the railway were being ignored.
The dispute reached boiling point earlier this month when the two sides failed to make progress and rail workers voted in favour of strike action.
How to claim compensation for delayed or cancelled trains
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has confirmed industrial action will begin this week, affecting Network Rail and 13 train operators on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The London Underground network is also expected to be affected by staff shortages due to strikes this week.
People have been advised not to use the rail network while strikes are taking place, but compensation is still available for people affected by delayed or cancelled trains.
One nationwide rail compensation scheme is Delay Repay, and it is used by some of the following train operators, among others:
West Midlands Railway
How to claim compensation for delayed or cancelled trains (Image: GETTY)
Unions ‘bribing’ members to strike as top Tory says they want ‘maximum damage’ to Britain
Two of Britain’s largest unions are accused of offering workers an “effective bribe” after they doubled daily payments for taking part in industrial action.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng alleged Unite and Unison were incentivising their members with increased strike payment rates.
It comes as Britain braces for a week of near-total rail strikes that look set to cripple the nation's transport infrastructure.
According to the Telegraph, Unite has been putting posters in local government buildings advertising their new, higher rate of £70 a day.
Unison meanwhile has now upped its rate to £50 from £25 a day, paid from the first strike day rather than the fourth, according to financial statements.
It said: "Unison must put itself and our members in the best possible position to win disputes."
This is double what the unions could respectively offer just three years ago, and are said to be funded by massive "strike funds" Mr Kwarteng said gave them "dangerous" sway.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng (Image: GETTY)
COMMENT: Government needs Thatcher’s courage to smash this hateful rail strike
British journalist and author Leo McKinstry comments on the biggest shutdown of the train network in almost 30 years:
Rarely in modern history has there been a more reckless, irresponsible strike than the one which will paralyse the railways this week.
The stoppage by the transport unions is a gigantic exercise in industrial blackmail without a shred of justification.
At a time of profound economic uncertainty, the militants' demands are unaffordable and their actions indefensible.
With the network facing huge losses because of the decline in passenger numbers since Covid, this is a moment for reform, not generous pay settlements and the continuation of outdated working practices.
Inhabiting a world of Marxist fantasies, the rail union bosses like to see themselves as the champions of the proletariat engaged in an epic fight against the Conservative Government.
Government needs Thatcher’s courage to smash this hateful rail strike (Image: GETTY)
Tube strike schedule: All you need to know about industrial action this week
The main London Underground strike will take place on Tuesday, June 21, 2022.
About 10,000 workers are antiquated to walk out, according to the Evening Standard.
This action coincides with the national railway strike set to take place on Tuesday, June 21, Wednesday, June 23 and Friday, June 25, 2022.
In a statement, TfL said: “TfL services and national rail will be affected by strikes from Tuesday 21 to Sunday 26 June.
“London-wide strikes affecting Tube and other TfL services on Tuesday 21 June and services until mid-morning on Wednesday 22 June.”
London underground, Elizabeth line and trams will all be affected with a reduced service on the London overground.
The main London Underground strike will take place on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 (Image: GETTY)
About 10,000 workers are antiquated to walk out (Image: GETTY)
How much are rail workers paid?
Railway workers are striking this week after pay negotiations between union bosses and train operators turned sour.
Members of the RMT union are walking out for 24 hours over three days to cause chaos on Britain’s railways.
On Sunday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a Sky News interview that the rail sector is "not a badly paid industry".
The average salary for train and tram drivers in 2021 was £59,189, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
That puts them well ahead of workers such as nurses, whose average salary is £31,093.
While the average salary for care workers and home care workers is £16,502.
Railway workers are striking for three days this week but services across the week will be affected (Image: GETTY)
‘You're letting down working people!’ Labour MP skewered on criticism by RMT boss
Labour MP Louise Haigh was quizzed by BBC Breakfast host Jon Kay on Monday over criticism from RMT boss Mick Lynch.
Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh joined Jon Kay to discuss the biggest rail strike facing the UK for 30 years.
Although the Labour MP urged the Government to meet with the RMT for last-minute talks to try and avoid industrial action.
But Mr Kay pointed out union boss Mick Lynch has hit out at the party for its lack of support.
Kay said: "Mick Lynch of the RMT union thinks Labour has washed its hands of working class people.
"He says you've lost contact and connection with working class people.
"He says you've got to think less about what the Daily Mail thinks of its lead column and need to be fighting for better pay and jobs.
"He feels that you as the Labour Party are letting down these striking workers."
Jon Kay grills Haigh on Labour’s support for ‘working class people’
Good morning from London. I'm Tara Fair, I'll be bringing you all the latest developments on the rail strikes. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.
Email: [email protected]
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