Shapps accuses RMT of causing ‘long-lasting damage’

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has urged RMT general secretary Mick Lynch to put the latest pay offer to the RMT membership.

Mr Lynch had pointed out to the transport secretary that more than £120 million has been paid to the privately-owned train operators. He continued: ‘Using taxpayers’ money to satisfy the anti-union agenda of the Tory party and seek to break the trade unions is shameful and also means the dispute will be prolonged indefinitely as the train companies don’t lose a penny as a result of the industrial action and therefore have no incentive to settle the disputes.’

But Mr Shapps responded on Saturday that the need for these payments had been caused by ‘prolonged industrial action’, and called for the RMT to put the latest offer of 8 per cent over two years to its members, calling off any further industrial action in the meantime, because the strikes were causing ‘long-lasting damage’ to the ‘very sector from which your members draw their livelihoods, and on which key workers rely’.

The transport secretary also reminded Mr Lynch that the TSSA had put the offer to some of its members, who had voted to accept it by 71 per cent. Other TSSA members had also been due to be balloted, but ‘we hear that following pressure from other unions this was withdrawn’.

The latest National Rail strikes caused widespread disruption on Thursday and Saturday, with no trains running on many routes.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: ‘It saddens me that we are again having to ask passengers to stay away from the railway due to unnecessary strike action, when we should be helping them enjoy their summers.

‘We have made a good and fair offer but, with the exception of our TSSA management grades who accepted the deal, our unions are refusing to let our employees have a say, and sadly that means more disruption.’