Boris Johnson mocks Labour’s ‘sphinx-like silence’ on rail strike paymasters

Rail strikes will halt government's back to work push says Pierce

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Yesterday the Prime Minister said Sir Keir should end his “sphinx-like silence about the RMT strikes”. And he accused the Labour front bench of failing to support passengers because “we all know how much money they take from the Rail, Maritime and Transport union”. Several Labour MPs have come out in favour of the militant action which will cripple the UK network.

Millions of commuters face disruption and delays.

Mr Johnson’s comments came after the Labour leader questioned Conservative economic policies.

Mr Johnson said: “What would be useful in supporting the UK economy right now would be if the leader of the Labour Party ended his sphinx-like silence about the RMT strikes coming up in the course of the next couple of weeks.”

Members of the RMT at Network Rail and 13 train operators are set to walk out next Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, which will also severely disrupt services on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Steve Montgomery, who chairs industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: “These strikes will affect the millions of people who use the train each day, including key workers, students with exams, those who cannot work from home, holidaymakers and those attending important business and leisure events.”

Rail bosses revealed a map showing how only around half of Britain’s train network will run a very limited service on strike days.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said the company was looking to cut between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs, insisting it could be achieved through voluntary means, and introduce new technologies such as using drones to check tracks and infrastructure.

There are fears that rail chaos could continue through the summer after this week’s announcement that hundreds more rail staff – in the Transport Salaried Staffs Association – are to be balloted for strikes.

And in signs of a possible “summer of discontent”, Unison general secretary Christina McAnea told LBC’s Andrew Marr that co-operation on a national strike would be possible.

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