Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has slammed union barons as ‘extreme left-wing activists’ and pledged to end their ‘forever strikes.’
The Transport Secretary told GB News this morning: “I’m accountable to the parliament and taxpayers and we have to make decisions between, for example, how much money goes to railway workers, whose medium average salary is £44,000 or the train drivers whose average salary is nearly £60,000 or to out nurses whose average salary is £31,000.
“So of course we have to make those decisions, and it’s absolutely right that we do. That’s our job but there is more money available in return for reforming. These union barons who are extreme left-wing activists, they’ve stopped modernisation going on and we have this situation. There’s never not been strike action called or a strike ongoing in the three years that I’ve been Secretary of State for Transport.
“It’s unacceptable and we’re going to have to use the power of the law to bring this to a close if they don’t stop striking.”
Mr Shapps was speaking in an interview during Breakfast with Stephen Dixon and Rosie Wright on GB News.
He said: “When people go home they are probably wondering why they stumped up £600 from their own household income to keep everyone in the railway industry in work, and then find they can’t get to work themselves because the unions are striking.
“So what will I do? Well, specifically, there are 16 different measures that I think we should now be taking to end what I call these forever strikes. They’ve been 160 different disputes – 60 this year alone – they’ve always got something else that they want to open a dispute about.
“I’m going to make sure that we bring this to a conclusion by both moving ahead with some of these modernisations which will be better for safety better for passengers. But by also ensuring we pass laws to ensure these strikes can’t go on forever, that they can’t hold a ballot and then just carry on striking, that they have to re-ballot their members and actually ask their members what they think as well.”
Asked about an 8% pay offer made to rail workers, Me Shapps said: “In the private sector, that would look very generous.
“To be clear, that’s 8% over two years, and it’s only in return for modernising parts of the railway.
For example, maintenance teams for Network Rail aren’t allowed by the unions to walk the five minutes between Euston and Kings Cross to do maintenance work, because Mick Lynch and the unions claim they’re in different regions.
“This nonsense has to come to an end but yes our concern is they didn’t even put that offer that 8% to their members.
“They took it away to what they call their executive committees, which are even more extreme sometimes the union bosses themselves, and rejected it.
“The membership hasn’t even had a chance to have a say about any of this and it makes no sense.
“I want a railway that runs for passengers but the unions have been taking these passengers for a ride for far too long.”