Boris Johnson is set to condemn unions for what is expected to be the biggest train strike in three decades.
Around 50,000 Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union members at Network Rail and 13 rail operators will go out for the whole of Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in the dispute over wages, jobs and working conditions.
Only every fifth train runs on strike days, mainly on main routes, and then only for around 11 hours.
Network Rail has warned of industrial action six days of disruption because of the knock-on effect on the services on the days in between.
Ahead of a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the prime minister will argue that unions are “harming the very people they claim to be helping” and call for a “reasonable compromise”.
There will also be a strike by RMT and Unite union members on the London Underground on Tuesday, in a separate row, which will cause significant disruption to the tube.
conversations to prevent this rail strike were held until Monday afternoon but remained unresolved – both sides blaming each other for the lack of a breakthrough.
The RMT union is demanding a 7% wage increase, which is lower than inflation but higher than what employers are offering.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said the dispute could drag on for months, adding: “It is clear that the Tory Government, having cut £4billion in funding from National Rail and Transport for London, is now actively seeking a settlement prevented this dispute.
“In addition to the fee freezes of recent years, the railways have now proposed tariffs that are massively below the relevant inflation rates.
“At the behest of the government, companies are also trying to cut thousands of jobs and have given no guarantees against redundancies.”
The Prime Minister is expected to accuse unions of “squeezing out commuters who ultimately support rail workers’ jobs” while meeting with businesses across the country.
He will say: “Excessive pay demands will also make it incredibly difficult to cope with the current challenges facing families around the world with the rising cost of living.
“Now is the time to find a reasonable compromise for the good of the British people and rail workers.”
Downing Street said ministers would discuss the rail strikes and also the country’s difficult economic climate at Tuesday’s meeting.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Prime Minister are expected to argue that wage discipline and restraint are important to manage downward inflationary pressures.
“We have a responsibility to fight inflation and prevent it from taking hold,” No. 10 said.
“To do that, we need to ensure that wage settlements are reasonable and do not adjust for inflation, and consequently push up prices as the cost of goods and services increases to accommodate wage increases.”
Ahead of the meeting, Mr Johnson said: “It is right that we reward our hard-working public sector workers with a pay rise, but this must be proportionate and balanced.
“Persistently higher levels of inflation would have a far greater impact on people’s wages in the long run, destroying savings and prolonging the difficulties we face.”
Rail strikes: Boris Johnson condemns unions and calls for ‘reasonable compromises’ as travel chaos looms | News from politics
Source link Rail strikes: Boris Johnson condemns unions and calls for ‘reasonable compromises’ as travel chaos looms | News from politics