Tories urged to curb ‘worst rail strike since 1989’ as action threatens to cripple country

In 2019, the Government promised to introduce a required minimum service while strikes are ongoing, which would prevent the total walkouts planned for June 21, 23 and 25.

Chairman of the transport committee Huw Merriman appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme to protest the upcoming all-out strike, pointing out the help offered to the transport sector by the Government during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regarding the promised proposal he said: “If that’s the case, then there’s still some trains operating and therefore makes it harder for everything to be ground to a halt.

“Bear in mind that we regard rail as an essential service; that’s why we kept it running during the pandemic for key workers.

“If it was right that we kept the railway running then, it’s surely right that we keep it running during industrial action.”

Mr Merriman also indicated a similar minimum service requirement exists in France, Italy and Spain: “If the government wants to succeed in reforming the railways and getting through this industrial action, then it may well need that legislation in place to strengthen its arm.”

Later this month over 40,000 workers employed by Network Rail and 13 train operators will walk out as part of a dispute over job losses.

Another 10,000 London Underground workers will strike on June 21, grinding the service to a halt and making it the largest railway strike since 1989.

It was also announced on Wednesday that members of the Unite union working on Transport for London will join the RMT strike on that day, reported The Times.

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“We have a cost of living crisis, and it is unacceptable for railway workers to either lose their jobs or face another year of a pay freeze when inflation is at 11.1 percent and rising.

“Our union will now . . . shut down the railway system.”

Mr Lynch hit back at No.10 after a source referred to the union action as “selfish and irresponsible”, retorting: “This Government are experts at being selfish and irresponsible.”

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