Strike reforms will be imposed if rail workers do not accept deals, says Grant Shapps |  Grant Shapps

Strike reforms will be imposed if rail workers do not accept deals, says Grant Shapps | Grant Shapps

Rail reforms at the heart of some strike action will be imposed by legislation if workers do not agree to new deals, the transport secretary has suggested.

Britain is once again gripped by a series of strikes affecting train operators across the country and London Underground services.

On Friday, a strike by Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) workers on London Underground over issues such as jobs and pensions is causing travel disruption.

Asked by Sky News whether compulsory redundancies were on the table for rail workers, Grant repeated Shapp’s accusations that there were “union barons” to blame for not making offers to their members.

“The deal that’s on the table actually means pretty much no mandatory redundancies at all,” Shapps said of one offer. “If [the unions] isn’t willing to put that deal on your membership, we’ll never know if members will accept it.”

Shapps warned he would have to pass legislation referred to as a “section 188” to force through any of the measures.

He said: “What I do know, and I can say with certainty, is that if we can’t get this settled in the way that we’re proposing, which is ‘please put the agreement to your membership’, then we’re going to have to move to that which is called a section 188; it is a process that actually requires these changes to be put in place so that they are imposed.

– That is the direction this is going in now.

Arguing that outdated working practices needed to be updated, Shapps added: “If we can’t get these modernizations in place then we will have to impose these modernizations, but we would much rather do that through these offers actually being made to your members.”

He gave the example of an offer made to RMT members for an 8% pay rise over two years, which was reportedly blocked by senior members of the union including the RMT’s general secretary, Mick Lynch, without putting it to members.

Shapps said: “It’s time for union bosses to get away.”

The latest strike comes as Tory leadership leader Liz Truss unveiled plans for a radical overhaul of employment law. The plan, drawn up by Truss, includes introducing minimum service levels on critical national infrastructure to keep trains, buses and other services running.

New laws will be introduced in parliament within a month of her taking office, if her leadership is successful. She wants to raise ballot thresholds to make it harder for strike action to take place across all sectors.

A cooling-off period will also be introduced so that the unions can no longer strike as many times as they want within six months of a vote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.