Why is the Transport Secretary trying to force ‘reforms’ on unions that want better pay?

Last Updated: November 27, 2022By Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mick Lynch: he’s frustrated because the rail companies and Network Rail say they don’t have the power to negotiate meaningfully with him over pay and safety conditions for RMT Union members.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper reckons rail unions need to accept “reforms” that would free up money for pay rises.


On the Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg show, he said: “It is the reforms that free up the savings that then unlock the ability for the companies to make an offer to the trade unions on pay.”

But that is to assume no more money could be brought in – and that is a political choice by the Tory government.

He also said: “I do not have a bottomless pit of taxpayers’ money to throw at this problem.”

And he doesn’t, because taxpayers’ money doesn’t pay for any public services at all. Public money – created by the government – does. It’s time our politicians stopped trying to hoodwink us with this lazy lie.

The government can very easily create as much money as is needed to provide a “proper seven-day rail network” – also Harper’s words, and why doesn’t the UK have that network any more since privatisation anyway?

Taxation relieves inflationary pressures that may be created by investing money into public services – and may be used by progressive governments to re-balance the gap between the richest and the poorest citizens in the country, by taking money from those who can most easily bear it. Of course the UK’s Tory government is as far from progressive as one can get.

And Harper said any money saved through reforms would have to be split “fairly between the taxpayer and the people who work in the industry”. Why give savings back to taxpayers when so much needs to be done to improve the rail service? Is he looking for another tax cut for the rich?

The whole spiel strikes This Writer as self-serving claptrap.

If Harper really wanted to do some good, wouldn’t it be better for him to offer to give the private rail operators and Network Rail the mandate for meaningful negotiations with the RMT union that its general secretary, Mick Lynch, has been told they don’t have?

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  1. Martyn Meacham November 28, 2022 at 8:16 am - Reply

    That sounds dodgy as the proverbial! There is obviously a union busting agenda behind this. I hope the unions do not fall for this!

  2. Hecuba November 28, 2022 at 11:28 am - Reply

    Fascist tory minister Mark Harper doesn’t want the rail staff to be given any pay increase and instead he wants to abolish station staff, maintenance staff and in fact nearly all the employees who actually operate the railways. This would then enable the greedy private train companies to pay huge bonuses to shareholders! Ergo it is all about money – money being given to shareholders and the railway system being destroyed because the greedy fascist tory boys rarely use public transport so why should it exist!

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