Politics

Union boss rages at ‘corrupt’ deal between railway firms and Sunak

Rail strikes: Mick Whelan grilled on timing of walk outs

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A union boss has been left fuming at a “corrupt deal” between rail companies and the Government as he blamed the Conservative Party for the ongoing industrial action. Mick Whelan, general secretary of the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF), which represents train drivers, said his members had not asked for a pay rise for four years.

This was despite the fact that railway companies have made a profit during this period, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking to GB News, Mr Whelan said that the Government had not shown union leaders details of a £2,000 annual pay rise reportedly offered to train drivers.

The train driver accused rail companies of doing a “corrupt and immoral deal” with ministers by taking profits while refusing to give train drivers a pay rise for four years.

He claimed: “The big sticking point is, like many other workers, rail workers went to work during the pandemic.

“We did not seek a pay rise during the pandemic… They made £500million in the pandemic.

“Good luck to them.

“When the cost-of-living crisis started to hit, and inflation rose in year three, we went to our employers and said we need a pay rise we found out they’d done a rather immoral and corrupt deal with the Government to keep their snouts in the trough.

“They couldn’t offer more than two percent.

“We’ve never been offered that two percent over the four years.

“They told us we had to talk to Government.

“So we went to the Government, and they said we can’t get involved with negotiations, go and talk to the employers.

“We’re now into year four without a pay offer.”

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Due to Thursday’s walkouts, only around 20 percent of trains were running, with some stations, such as Birmingham New Street, the busiest outside London, having no trains running at all.

Rail links to the UK’s two busiest airports were also cut, with the Gatwick Express and Heathrow Express not running.

The RMT is also staging another 48-hour strike from Friday as part of its dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.

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