Rail strikes will ‘punish millions of innocent people’, warns government | UK News




The RMT’s decision to carry out train strikes next week “will punish millions”, the Transport Secretary has said.

Grant Shapps has warned that the UK is ‘now on the verge of major disruption which will cause misery for people across the country’.

He also claimed the RMT union had been repeatedly urged not to pursue the “damaging” industrial action – and instead focus on negotiations.

Mr Shapps said teenagers preparing for their exams will face the added stress of changing their travel plans, while patients may have to cancel hospital appointments.

He added: “Many people who don’t get paid if they can’t get to work are at risk of losing money at a time when they just can’t afford it.”

The talks failed to resolve a bitter row over wages, jobs and conditions – and next week’s railway strikes are set to be the biggest in decades.

They will take place on Tuesday 21, Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 June.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said thousands of jobs were being cut across the rail networks and workers were facing pay rises below inflation.

Network Rail has warned the strikes will result in six days of disruption due to the ripple effect on services on the days in between.

The government “pours gasoline on the fire”

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer criticized the government’s handling of the dispute – saying the Tories had “poured oil on the fire”.

During a speech at Warwick on Sunday, he will accuse Boris Johnson and Grant Shapps of actually wanting the strikes to continue, saying: ‘They want the country to stop so they can feed on division.’

“Instead of spending their time this week around the negotiating table, they’re designing attack ads.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said the government had committed £16billion to keep the railways running throughout the pandemic.

They added: “The railway is still on life support, with a 25% drop in passenger numbers and anything that takes it further away risks killing services and jobs.

“For millions more people, traveling by train is now a choice, not a necessity. Strikes are preventing our customers from choosing rail and they may never return.”


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