Journalist Carole Malone insisted she would “ban any strike that crippled a country” after the strike on June 21, 23 and 25 threatens to bring major disruption for summer travellers, including festival goers to Glastonbury. The action led by the RMT Trade Union has been described as the “biggest rail strike in modern history” and has been labelled as “blackmail” by the Transport Secretary.
Thousands of railway workers are expected to strike over failed talks about pay and redundancies with over 50,000 workers expected to protest on the first day of the strike.
Broadcaster and journalist Carole Malone accused the general secretary of RMT, Mick Lynch of “not caring” about the disruption to the publics life and jobs and slammed the strike for putting railways above nurses and workers in the NHS.
Ms Malone told GB News: “I would ban any strike that crippled a country.
“We know that the cops can’t strike, we know that prison officers can’t strike, nurses have got a deal with the Government, and they don’t strike unless it’s going to severely hurt their patients, so I don’t see why the rail workers should be allowed to go on strike.”
She added: “I actually confronted Mick Lynch on the telly the other day and said, ‘you’re going to put the jobs of working people in danger’, and he went, ‘that’s regrettable’, he doesn’t care.”
As well as those who will struggle with transport to work and other day-to-day tasks, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has warned that industries already suffering from the pandemic will struggle once more from strike action.
Mr Shapps tweeted: “The theatre, live music and hospitality industries are some of those which are going to suffer from the planned rail strikes.
“I again encourage unions to stop these strikes and engage in talks with the rail industry.”
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Mr Lynch warned of months of strike action but said the union is open to “meaningful negotiations” and said that to prevent disruption they would need “new proposals”.
He claimed that the ongoing cost of living crisis is enough reason to strike as it is an “unacceptable” climate for rail workers to lose jobs or have a pay freeze.
Ms Malone commented: “The average wage for an RMT worker is £46,000, average wage for a train driver starts at £54,000 up to £70,000 and they want an 11 percent pay rise.
“Nurses are on an average of £31,000 so do they really think they’re worth more than nurses?”
Commentator Benjamin Butterworth joined Ms Malone on GB News and argued that the strike action and wages of railway workers “show[s] the value of being a part of a trade union.”
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Mr Butterworth added: “You have people like the boss of the Bank of England saying people shouldn’t ask for a pay rise, I don’t like this idea of the rich and powerful trying to stop the regular workers getting together to get a better deal.”
“If you believe in freedom and democracy, the right to strike is a critical cornerstone of that.”
Mr Shapps wrote for The Sun and insisted that “strikers cannot milk the system to maintain their income while inflicting misery on the public”.
He accused the RMT of “holding a gun to the industry’s head, declaring strikes before talks have even begun in earnest.”
The Transport Secretary added: “We cannot give way to blackmail. This is a defining moment for our economy.”