Rail strikes threaten to disrupt trains carrying Christmas gifts

Will Mick ‘The GrinchLynch steal Christmas? Mass strikes in August threaten to disrupt freight trains carrying billions of pounds of festive giftsas it’s revealed walkouts last week stopped rail buffs from attending TRAIN convention

  • Mass rail strikes in August could disrupt freight trains carrying billions of pounds of Christmas gifts
  • RMT boss Mick Lynch has threatened further mass walkouts in July and August amid pay row
  • Last week’s strikes even forced rail buffs to miss a train convention in Stratford-upon-Avon
  • And student doctors had their exams cancelled at the 11th hour because of the national strikes
  • Rail bosses have warned that this 圣诞 could be leaner than usual if militant Mick Lynch goes ahead with more national strikes this summer.

    Industry chiefs fear that a winter crisis could be on the cards if freight trains carrying billions of pounds of presents, food and drink and festive decorations up and down the country in July and August are disrupted by further RMT walkouts.

    Last week the Government largely averted a freight crisis by prioritising freight over passenger services to avoid supermarkets running out of food.

    But with 1970s-style firebrand Lynch threatening further strike actionpotentially as early as next monthand a surge in shipping containers of goods from 中国 imminent, rail bosses warned: ‘If this strike escalates, then it might not be the Christmas our children are hoping for’.

    Sources told the Telegraph: ‘As the year goes on freight gets busier, particularly containers, so that’s the big worry. The China surge will come in. And those ships are sailing now.

    ‘It always gets busier as you go into August, particularly when we start seeing the Christmas stuff start to come through. Because obviously if you’re selling it in October, you’re shipping it in August, 九月. So the Christmas surge isn’t December, it’s well ahead of that’.

    Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association, said ports were bracing to be inundated with shipping containers from China in the coming weeks and hoping to avoid the supply chain chaos witnessed during the Covid lockdown.

    他加了: ‘Moving forward we are going to approach those busy pre-Christmas periods. It could be particularly unhelpful for further strike action then.

    It also emerged that last week’s strikes forced many rail enthusiasts to miss train convention Rail Live in Stratford-upon-Avon. One source told The Sun: ‘How stupid the RMT chose to strike when such a big exhibition was held for rail staff’. A female attendee added: ‘It was empty as no one could get there, which was ironic’.

    And dozens of student doctors had their exams yesterday cancelled at the 11th hour because of the disruption caused by Lynch’s rail strikes.

    Students were told by email at 5pm on Friday that post-graduate Practical Assessment of Clinical Examination Skills exams were postponed as a result of ‘short notice examiner unavailability due to a combination of Covid cases and travel disruption’. They had already made arrangements for travel and accommodation for the exams at Southampton General Hospital, the Telegraph reported.

    它来了:

    • Lynch yesterday threatened to launch further industrial action. The RMT boss has a mandate to launch strikes over the next six months. Ministers fear he could launch more strikes in two weeks;
    • Keir Starmer’s Labour fell into disarray today, after frontbencher David Lammy said he supported both the rail workers on strike as well as workers who could not get to work because of the strike;
    • A furious blame game broke out, with unions accusing Grant Shapps of causing the strikes by refusing to negotiate with the RMT;
    • Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is set to shoot down the prospect of militant unions holding electronic ballots.
    VICTORIA: Passengers waiting for trains at Victoria in London today as travel disruption continues after yesterday's strike

    VICTORIA: Passengers waiting for trains at Victoria in London today as travel disruption continues after yesterday’s strike

    VICTORIA: Passengers sit on seats in Victoria station in London waiting for their trains today as travel disruption continues

    VICTORIA: Passengers sit on seats in Victoria station in London waiting for their trains today as travel disruption continues

    KINGS CROSS: Mick Lynch speaking during a rally in solidarity with striking railway workers yesterday

    KINGS CROSS: Mick Lynch speaking during a rally in solidarity with striking railway workers yesterday

    VICTORIA: Travellers at Victoria Coach Station in London yesterday amid Lynch's train strikes

    VICTORIA: Travellers at Victoria Coach Station in London yesterday amid Lynch’s train strikes

    GLASGOW: Chris Mitchell, GMB Convenor for Refuse and Cleansing, joins protesters in support of the RMT yesterday

    GLASGOW: Chris Mitchell, GMB Convenor for Refuse and Cleansing, joins protesters in support of the RMT yesterday

    Strike that! Business Secretary threatens to shoot down electronic strike ballots for unions

    Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is set to shoot down the prospect of militant unions holding electronic ballots.

    An independent review of electronic balloting back in 2017, led by former chief fire and rescue adviser Sir Ken Knight, concluded the method should be ‘examined in test conditions before it is introduced under any live situation or fully rolled out’, and only for non-statutory votes.

    The Government said at the time it would consider the recommendations and consult with experts from relevant organisations before responding.

    Three years on, 在 2020, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) argued in favour of e-ballots, making the case the law as it stands ‘remains stuck firmly in the pre-digital era’.

    But Mr Kwarteng is now expected to formally reject the idea, the Telegraph reported, citing concerns the votes could be vulnerable to a ‘malevolent attackfrom foreign states.

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    多于 50,000 members of the RMT union walked out yesterday for the third time this week, with little sign of a breakthrough in discussions between the union and rail operators.

    Only a fifth of services are running and half of the lines are closed. Passengers have been warned by rail operators that they should only travel by train if necessary and to check their journey in advance.

    Lynch said the union has not ruled out further strikes given there is little sign of a breakthrough to the deadlocked row.

    Speaking to the PA news agency at a picket line outside Euston Station in central London yesterday morning, 他说: ‘We’re not ruling out strikes but we have not put down any dates for any strike action.

    ‘We’re going to review with our national executive next week, who have been all the way round the country this week on the picket line, so we’re all going to get together the leadership of the union and see where we are.

    ‘We are not going to name dates immediately and we’re going to continue working constructively with the companies to strike a deal, but that is a really steep challenge at the moment because of the agenda they’ve got and the effects they want on our members.

    ‘Strike action’s not ruled out and it will have to take place if we do not get a deal, but we’re hoping that we can get a deal and we get some compromise.

    ‘What we try to do is have the most effective strike action if it needs to take place. We’re not just pretending. It’s got to be a coherent and effective strike action because we don’t want to waste our membersenergy on something that doesn’t work. We’ll review that and see what we need to do if we need to take that action.

    Lynch also hit out at the Government, saying many ministers have ‘never done a hand’s turn’.

    他说: ‘They’re not using the system that they want and they’ve never worked in this type of work.

    ‘Many of them have never run a business, but they’ve also never worked on the tools. As my mother would say, they’ve never done a hand’s turn.

    ‘It’s quite odd. The people who are running this country are brought up on a diet of Latin and Greek and our members are brought up on a diet of getting up at ungodly times to run the transport system. I think there’s a bit of disconnect there.

    ‘If we had people who were used to doing work we might get a better deal out of them.

    后来, Mr Lynch spoke at an RMT rally outside King’s Cross St Pancras station, alongside Labour MP Diane Abbott and actor Rob Delaney.

    Several hundred people gathered with many holding placards reading slogans like: ‘Tories out’, ‘cut profits not payand ‘support the railway workers strike.

    Meanwhile songs like the ‘Internationaleworkers anthem and ‘Solidarity Foreverplayed from speakers on a makeshift podium.

    Ms Abbott told the crowds: ‘We’ve seen the private sector ripping off the public purse, bearing down on wages and conditions, undermining job security and we’ve seen a public sector that is increasingly demoralised.

    ‘But the RMT is drawing a line in the sand against all this and offering leadership to working people everywhere and that is why it is so important that the RMT wins this dispute.

    与此同时, Delaney told the crowds the strike was ‘inspiringand called RMT’s action the ‘tip of the spear’.

    ‘I offer my unwavering support and solidarity,’ 他说.

    多于 90% of office workers in London were forced to WFH on the first day of Mick Lynch's rail strikes. The average office occupancy in the capital was just 9% on Tuesday compared with 42% per cent last Tuesday - lower even than during the peak of December's Omicron scare. Yesterday occupancy levels rose to 23%, according to data from tech company Freespace

    多于 90% of office workers in London were forced to WFH on the first day of Mick Lynch’s rail strikes. The average office occupancy in the capital was just 9% on Tuesday compared with 42% per cent last Tuesdaylower even than during the peak of December’s Omicron scare. Yesterday occupancy levels rose to 23%, according to data from tech company Freespace

    KINGS CROSS: Kings Cross Station was deserted on Thursday as millions of commuters face a third day of chaos

    KINGS CROSS: Kings Cross Station was deserted on Thursday as millions of commuters face a third day of chaos

    MANCHESTER: An almost deserted Manchester Piccadilly station on Thursday, the second day of mass strikes

    MANCHESTER: An almost deserted Manchester Piccadilly station on Thursday, the second day of mass strikes

    Make your mind up! Labour falls into disarray over strikes as Lammy says he supports BOTH the strikers and the workers who can’t get to work because of them

    Keir Starmer’s Labour fell into further disarray today after David Lammy said he supported both the strikers and the workers who couldn’t get to work because of them.

    Speaking to broadcasters on the Sunday morning news rounds, the shadow foreign secretary said ‘it’s not for Labour to intervenein every issue that workers are concerned about.

    他告诉天空新闻: ‘There are a raft of issues that workers are concerned with right across the country. It’s not for Labour to intervene in each one and pretend that we can negotiate, or that we are on the detail of thatwe aren’t is the truth of this.

    ‘If we were in government, we would get around the table, we would not play union.

    Asked if he would support strike action by different unions, 他说: ‘I recognise that there’s a cost-of-living crisis, I recognise that workers are hurting and I recognise they’ve got a Government that’s not listening, but I do recognise it’s a negotiationget around the negotiation table and fix this problem.

    Mr Lammy also denied suggestions that Sir Keir has ‘lost control of his own MPsafter dozens joined RMT picket lines against the Labour leader’s order.

    Asked what the repercussions will be for those MPs, Mr Lammy told BBC News on Sunday: ‘I suspect the chief whip will be speaking to them next week and making it very clear that a serious party of government does not join picket lines.

    He later said: ‘We have just seen that the parties that have lost control are parties that lose votes, and I think that’s the Conservatives and the Prime Minister who’s lost his backbenchers.

    ‘The Labour Party is in a strong position with strong leadership and a clear direction of travel.

    Mr Lammy added that he had seen some photos of Labour MPs on picket lines, 但增加了: ‘There’s no suggestion at all of dispute within the party.

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    Speaking to PA after his speech, 演员说: ‘I ride trains like you ride trains and I would like the people who clean them to be fairly paid, or not have a pay cut in real terms or have their job removed.

    他加了: ‘We’re not asking for crazy things, these people are asking to be able to heat their homes, people who have jobs want to be able to heat their homes in winter.

    He added that he hopes the dispute gets resolved because those striking should not be out protesting in King’s Cross on a Saturday in June but should be outside or ‘on the beach’.

    It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the public has a right to expect reforms to rail services.

    他告诉天空新闻: ‘I would say, given the circumstances we’re in, I think what we want to see is reform and improvement in the way the railways work, and modernisation. When you’ve got a 25% fall in ridership, which we’ve got at the moment, we’ve got the Government putting billions and billion (into it).

    ‘We’re putting more into the railways than any previous government. I think the travelling public has a right to expect some basic reforms, like with ticket offices, like with walking time, and some of these other practices that really nobody defends except the union leaders.

    The Government is being accused of ‘misleadingthe public by insisting it does not have a role in negotiations to resolve the bitter rail dispute.

    The TUC said an independent legal opinion undermined the Government’s claims that the dispute is just between the train operators and unions.

    The union organisation said the legal opinion it has received clarifies that the contracts between rail operators and Government allow the Government to apply financial sanctions if operators do not follow its directions in the current dispute.

    The legal opinion, commissioned by the TUC from Michael Ford QC of Old Square Chambers, advises that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has ‘very extensive powersover what can be agreed between rail operators and unions, and ‘very significant contractual powerto direct how industrial disputes are handled, the TUC said.

    Rail operators are not free to agree terms and conditions with their employees without the involvement of the Transport Secretary, 格兰特·沙普斯(Grant Shapps), according to the advice.

    The legal advice given to the TUC added that before discussing any changes to pay, terms and conditions, redundancies, or restructuring with rail unions, rail operators must agree a mandate with the Transport Secretary.

    然而, the Department for Transport said it was ‘misleadingto say Mr Shapps should get involved in the talks.

    Train services were disrupted again this morning following the third strike of the week on Saturday by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union who are taking action over jobs, pay and conditions.

    TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘The Prime Minister and his Transport Secretary have misled the public. When they said the Government has no role in handling this dispute, that’s not true.

    ‘When they said negotiations are just for the employers and the unions, 我就像. We always believed that Conservative ministers had the power to pull the train companiesstrings, 在幕后, and this legal opinion on rail contracts confirms it.

    ‘The Transport Secretary could unlock this dispute. 代替, he has toured TV studios throwing fuel on the fire and trying to turn working people against each other. We deserve honesty from our Government. We deserve fair negotiation so we can make fair agreements.

    '本星期, Britain needs its Conservative Government to stop stirring and to start helping to solve this dispute. Rail workers, who the transport minister once described as pandemic heroes, deserve job security and the decent pay rise that they have earned.

    运输部发言人说: ‘It’s extremely misleading to suggest the Transport Secretary should get involved in these negotiations.

    Rail strikes DON’T bring the modern world to a halt: Tactic is less ‘effectiveas many staff can simply WFH, says Transport Secretary Grant Shapps as he taunts unions

    Rail strikes have become less effective because so many commuters can now work from home, Grant Shapps has said.

    The Transport Secretary said the RMT union was not achieving the impact it had hoped for.

    But he warned that the industrial action was still hurting small businesses, with some pubs losing half their takings.

    Mr Shapps added: ‘While their action is hitting some people at the worst possible time, this week has also shown that overall rail strikes are not as effective a tool for the unions as they once were.

    ‘Despite what the RMT may claim, we have not seen the level of overcrowding on buses or heavy congestion on roads some feared because the world has changed and many more people can now work from home.

    ‘We also haven’t seen freight impacted in the way they may have hoped – with 68 per cent more services running than had been anticipated for yesterday.

    Yesterday the Mail revealed that the TSSA rail union could team up with the RMT to target the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham at the end of July and early August. Visitors to the Games could also be greeted by piles of rubbish after trade unions began balloting bin men on strikes.

    Teenagers could face delays in receiving their GCSE and A-level results because staff at England’s largest exam board are being balloted over strike action.

    周围 160 AQA employees, including dozens who arrange the setting of exam papers and issuing of results, could walk out this summer. They are being balloted for strike action by Unison.

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    ‘His role is to protect the public purse, ensuring value for money for the hardworking people of this country.

    '因此, he’s required to set the limits of taxpayer support and ultimately sign off on any dealnot to be involved in negotiating oneand his contracts with operators allow him to do precisely that.

    ‘The union knows full well that negotiations over pay and working practices don’t happen with the Governmentthey happen with the employers of the people they represent. 在这种情况下, that’s Network Rail and the train operating companies.

    ‘We once again urge union representatives to get back round the negotiating table instead of calling further strikes which serve only to bring disruption to people across the country.

    Labour fell into disarray this morning after David Lammy said he ‘categoricallydoes not support a potential strike by BA check-in staff, as he sought to defend Labour’s position on industrial action.

    Speaking to broadcasters on the Sunday morning news rounds, the shadow foreign secretary said Labour continues to support negotiations and a deal when it comes to disputes over pay, jobs and working conditions.

    It comes as Labour faces pressure to back Rail, 海运和运输 (RMT) union members whose industrial action this week crippled rail services.

    Asked if he would support BA staff who are being balloted by the GMB and Unite unions to strike, Mr Lammy told BBC News on Sunday: ‘All of us are feeling the pinch with inflation.

    ‘Many of us might want a (支付) rise of 10%; 事实上, most people understand it’s unlikely that you’re going to get that.

    ‘It absolutely would not be right, it would not be responsible opposition, if I suggested yes to every strike.

    Pressed on whether he supports the proposed strike by check-in staff, 他说: '没有, 我不. No I don’tit is a no, it’s a categorical no.

    Asked why, 他说: ‘Because I’m serious about the business of being in government and the business of being in government is that you support negotiation.

    Mr Lammy also argued that Labour supports all working people, including those who need to travel by train to make a living.

    ‘It’s Labour because we historically want to associate ourselves with working people wherever they are across the country,’ he told BBC News.

    ‘Let’s take these rail strikesworking people find it very hard when they can’t get to work to make a living, but equally there are working people who work on the railways who are seeing their pay diminished and have concerns about redundancies at this time.

    ‘The way to deal with that is through negotiation, getting around the table.

    He said the RMT is not affiliated with Labour, 并添加: ‘It’s also important to say that we’ve got to support working people wherever they are in the country, and that is obviously beyond RMT union members.

    Mr Lammy earlier argued ‘it’s not for Labour to intervenein every issue that workers are concerned about.

    对天空新闻说, 他说: ‘There are a raft of issues that workers are concerned with right across the country.

    ‘It’s not for Labour to intervene in each one and pretend that we can negotiate, or that we are on the detail of thatwe aren’t is the truth of this. If we were in government, we would get around the table, we would not play union.

    Asked if he would support strike action by different unions, 他说: ‘I recognise that there’s a cost-of-living crisis, I recognise that workers are hurting and I recognise they’ve got a Government that’s not listening, but I do recognise it’s a negotiationget around the negotiation table and fix this problem.

    Mr Lammy also denied suggestions that Sir Keir has ‘lost control of his own MPsafter dozens joined RMT picket lines against the Labour leader’s order.

    Asked what the repercussions will be for those MPs, Mr Lammy told BBC News on Sunday: ‘I suspect the chief whip will be speaking to them next week and making it very clear that a serious party of government does not join picket lines.

    He later said: ‘We have just seen that the parties that have lost control are parties that lose votes, and I think that’s the Conservatives and the Prime Minister who’s lost his backbenchers. The Labour Party is in a strong position with strong leadership and a clear direction of travel.

    Mr Lammy added that he had seen some photos of Labour MPs on picket lines, 但增加了: ‘There’s no suggestion at all of dispute within the party.