British minister condemns rail strikes as ‘huge mistake’

By Elizabeth Piper

LONDON (Reuters) – British transport secretary Grant Shapps has condemned deliberate rail strikes as a “enormous mistake” that may cease individuals attending hospital appointments, sitting faculty exams or attending to work.

The motion this week comes as British airports expertise chaotic delays and last-minute cancellations and as many Britons additionally face an enormous backlog on the workplace which processes passports.

It additionally highlights pressures on British households, that are experiencing the most important cost-of-living squeeze because the Nineteen Fifties, with rail employees saying they’re going through cuts within the worth of their pay at a time when inflation is spiralling.

Responding to criticism that the federal government ought to step in to attempt to power an settlement and stop a strike, Shapps mentioned on Sunday it was for the employers to barter with their employees.

“I feel it is a enormous mistake, sadly the unions … have been gunning for this strike all through,” Shapps informed Sky Information. “It’s disastrous, and it is no approach to behave on the railway.”

Greater than 50,000 rail employees will strike on June 21, 23 and 25 in a dispute over pay freezes and job cuts in what the Rail, Maritime and Transport Employees (RMT) union has billed the most important industrial motion within the sector in additional than 30 years.

Mick Lynch, normal secretary of the RMT, mentioned his union was simply on the lookout for a pay rise that displays the price of residing, however mentioned practice operators have been making affords “nowhere close to that” and he feared hundreds would lose their jobs.

The principle opposition Labour Social gathering mentioned the federal government ought to become involved within the negotiations to attempt to discover a answer.

“It is a authorities that in 2019 got here to energy on a promise to stage up,” Labour’s coverage chief on tackling regional inequalities, Lisa Nandy, mentioned, referring to a said goal to cut back regional financial imbalances.

“As an alternative, what they’ve presided over is absolute chaos, chaos on the ports, chaos on the railways, chaos at airports, chaos in all places you go, and that’s as a result of it is a authorities that isn’t doing its job.”

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Modifying by Louise Heavens and David Holmes)

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