Tories claim union barons 'bought Labour's silence' over strike chaos

Union barons ‘bought Labour’s silence’ over summer strikes plan, rival MPs say

  • The TSSA union gave the Labour party £1.4 million between 2010 and 2021 
  • Train drivers’ union ASLEF handed over a further £1.1 million in political funding 
  • Meanwhile the radical RMT gave Keir Starmer’s party almost £500,000 
  • Labour was last night accused of being ‘bought off’ by rail union barons after failing to condemn threats of summer strikes.

    It came as Electoral Commission figures emerged showing the party had banked nearly £3million in little over a decade from the three unions threatening to bring railways to a halt.

    Figures show the party and its MPs pocketed £1.4million from the TSSA union between 2010 and last year, £1.1million from train drivers’ union ASLEF and £469,450 from the militant RMT union. TSSA boss Manuel Cortes vowed to inflict a ‘summer of discontent’ on travellers.

    TSSA boss Manuel Cortes vowed to inflict a ¿summer of discontent¿ on travellers as railworkers have voted in favour of strike action to support their demand for improved pay and conditions

    TSSA boss Manuel Cortes vowed to inflict a ‘summer of discontent’ on travellers as railworkers have voted in favour of strike action to support their demand for improved pay and conditions

    Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: ¿We talk about paid lobbying, but it¿s clear the transport unions have bought Labour¿s silence on this while their extremist leaders seek to undermine our economy and democracy'

    Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: ‘We talk about paid lobbying, but it’s clear the transport unions have bought Labour’s silence on this while their extremist leaders seek to undermine our economy and democracy’

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer failed to condemn the threats. A party spokesman said: ‘It’s vital that the Government, network rail, the operators and the unions work together now to address the issues.’

    But Tory MPs Chris Loder, who sits on the Commons transport committee, and Andrew Bridgen said the money had ‘bought [Labour’s] silence’.

    Mr Bridgen said: ‘We talk about paid lobbying, but it’s clear the transport unions have bought Labour’s silence on this while their extremist leaders seek to undermine our economy and democracy.

    ‘Labour is always in the pockets of the trade unions and it’s important that media outlets such as the Mail point this out to the commuting public, who will rightly be angry.’

    It came as separate figures compiled by the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) showed four union barons raked in nearly half a million pounds in pay and perks during the first year of the pandemic.

    Mr Cortes pocketed a total pay package of £121,773 in 2020, including £18,151 in pension contributions.

    Former RMT boss Mick Cash received a package of £163,468, including £1,432 in car benefit, while its former senior assistant general secretary, Steve Hedley, got £94,016, including £21,610 in pension contributions.

    Mr Lynch’s overall remuneration totalled £118,450 in 2020.

    An RMT spokesman said he has since taken a voluntary pay cut and his salary is now £84,174.

    But the TPA’s Danielle Boxall said: ‘Taxpayers are fed up with lectures and disruption from loaded union leaders.

    ‘These red barons are dooming commuters to misery, but are sitting comfortably as some of Britain’s biggest earners.’