Rail strikes
Rail strikes

This week, countless commuters and residents trying to get into and out of London will be adversely affected by the current rail strikes. Most frustratingly of all for rail passengers, is that the Government could have avoided this.

Labour understands that strike action is always a last resort for workers, who are not paid whilst undertaking industrial action. The RMT union has been seeking to work with government and employers for almost two years to address challenges in the rail industry, including the jobs, pay and conditions for their workers.

In Wales, the Labour Government got round the table with the unions and struck a deal with workers to ensure they received fair pay and conditions. As a result, Transport for Wales workers are not striking this week. In the rest of the UK, strikes continue as Downing Street has chosen confrontation over negotiation.

The overwhelming ballot for strike action took place four weeks ago, which gave the Government another month to negotiate a resolution to the dispute. Instead, it appears they have shackled the rail companies at every step in order to hinder a settlement.

When asked why he wasn’t round the table hammering out a settlement on Sky News this week, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, in a remarkable effort to talk himself out of a job, said: “If I thought there was even a one in a million chance that my being in the room would help it sort it out, then I’d be there.” If the Minister for Transport is truly that redundant, perhaps he should resign.

The great experiment of privatisation has been an utter failure for our rail industry. Year after year passengers see their ticket prices hiked and are feeling the pinch during this cost-of-living crisis more than ever. Is that money being invested in improved services? Clearly not, ask anyone who relies on the trains. Is it used to give workers fairer pay and conditions? Again, no. It’s lining the pockets of wealthy shareholders.

In a sick twisting of the knife, the Tory Government have said they will use taxpayers’ money to bail out private train companies during the strikes and will legislate to ban the right to strike. How long before they come after other long fought for workers rights, such as bank holidays, weekends, minimum wage and sick pay?

This Government is even prepared to risk passenger safety by using untrained staff to run the railway during this industrial action.

Labour stands in solidarity with our rail staff and with the RMT union. Their staff deserve fair pay and conditions for their labour, and passengers deserve a Government willing to negotiate and resolve these issues.

In Wales, that’s been achieved. What a difference a Labour Government makes.

Link to Instagram Link to Twitter Link to YouTube Link to Facebook Link to LinkedIn Link to Snapchat Close Fax Website Location Phone Email Calendar Building Search