Strikers snubbed pay rise: Ministers draw up plans to stop blackouts

Militant strikers crippling UK snubbed pay rise: Ministers draw up plans to prevent blackouts and beat food shortages as it emerges union negotiators turned down 2% offer

  • Multiple-day strikes could lead to lights going out in places, ministers were told
  • Union barons offered pay rise are accused of ‘strike first, negotiate second’
  • Network Rail negotiators offered the hard-Left RMT a pay rise of at least 2%
  • The RMT will strike on June 21, 23 en 25 while Unite union will join on June 21
  • Union barons were accused of a ‘strike first, negotiate second’ approach yesterday after ordering crippling walkouts despite being offered a pay increase for their members.

    Netwerkspoor negotiators offered the hard-Left RMT a pay rise of at least 2 persent, dit kan onthul word.

    The offer is not far off the 3 per cent pay rise ministers last year gave to NHS staff who were on the front line of the battle against Covid.

    Negotiators said RMT workers could get an even bigger increase if the union agreed to start discussions on modernising work practices.

    But rather than continue talks, on Tuesday the union’s bosses ordered tens of thousands of members to strike on June 21, 23 en 25.

    Ministers and Network Rail are putting contingency plans in place which would see freight trains prioritised over passenger services to prevent blackouts in some areas and ensure supermarket shelves and petrol forecourts remain stocked.

    Multiple-day strikes could lead to lights going out in places due to freight services to power stations being hit, ministers have been told.

    Mick Lynch, General Secretary of the Rail, Maritiem en vervoer (RMT), union pictured at the RMT headquarters in Euston

    Mick Lynch, General Secretary of the Rail, Maritiem en vervoer (RMT), union pictured at the RMT headquarters in Euston

    Commuters enter Liverpool Street station as a Tube strike by RMT Trade Union severely disrupts most of the London Underground lines in London on Monday

    Commuters enter Liverpool Street station as a Tube strike by RMT Trade Union severely disrupts most of the London Underground lines in London on Monday

    Om sake te vererger, the Unite union yesterday said its 1,000 members will join RMT workers by striking on the London Underground on June 21.

    Labour was in chaos over the strikes yesterday after refusing to condemn RMT union barons for a second day.

    A spokesman for party leader Sir Keir Starmer even accused the Government of needing to ‘play a more active role’, despite RMT bosses calling for strikes before talks have properly begun.

    Asked if Sir Keir condemned the strikes, het die woordvoerder gesê: ‘We’ve been clear in the position that the strikes shouldn’t go ahead.

    ‘There is still time for there to be a resolutionpeople have the right to withdraw their labour in line with the law, but the situation as a point of principle is we do not want to see unnecessary disruption for the country.’

    But responding to Labour MP Afzal Khan about passport backlogs during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Boris Johnson asked: ‘When it comes to travel chaos, have we heard any condemnation yet from the opposition of the RMT and their reckless strike?’

    The walkouts, the biggest since 1989, threaten to cause chaos for millions, and would affect key events such as the Glastonbury music festival, Armed Forces Day and UK athletics championships.

    Hospitality industry leaders last night said strikes would have a ‘devastating impact’ on businesses as they recover from the pandemic.

    A government source said: ‘[The RMT] seem to be relishing the prospect of chaos with this strike first, negotiate second approach, which is putting a gun to the head of the industry.’

    Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the RMT to ‘act like grown-ups’. Hy het gesê: ‘It would be wrong at every level to have this strike.’

    Commuters form large queues for buses outside Victoria Station during the morning rush hour as the London Undergound services are severely distrupted due to industrial action on Monday

    Commuters form large queues for buses outside Victoria Station during the morning rush hour as the London Undergound services are severely distrupted due to industrial action on Monday

    People wait at bus tation after 4,000 subway workers went on strike over job losses, disagreements over working conditions and pensions in London on Monday

    People wait at bus tation after 4,000 subway workers went on strike over job losses, disagreements over working conditions and pensions in London on Monday

    RMT boss Mick Lynch yesterday denied his union was ‘jumping the gun’ by calling the strikes. Hy het gesê: ‘Talks began two years ago at the start of Covid. Hulle [Netwerkspoor] are intent on cutting thousands of jobs in the railway. We think that threatens safety because they’re cutting safety regimes to do that, they’re threatening our members’ positions, and they won’t give us a pay rise.

    ‘Most of our members have not had a pay deal for two to three years and we need to resolve those issues now.’

    Talks only began in earnest with Network Rail, which is in charge of infrastructure, in recent months after it declined to give a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies for this year.

    Of the offer made by Network Rail negotiators, an RMT spokesman said: ‘These claims are extremely misleading and do nothing to help bring a resolution to this dispute.