DANIEL JOHNSON: Rail unions are colluding to wreck ANOTHER Christmas

DANIEL JOHNSON: Malicious rail unions are colluding to wreck the first proper Christmas families have had for years

The malice is astonishing. Just as families are finally looking forward to their first proper Christmas for years, striking unions are threatening to cancel it for everyone.

After Covid and lockdowns spoiled two festive seasons for millions of people, hardline union bosses are colluding to wreck this one too. These militants in the public sector have only one aim: to cause chaos.

When it comes to Christmas, their leaders are, in effect, echoing the late Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, yelling: ‘Call off Christmas!’

As the Daily Mail’s front page today outlines, the far-Left RMT rail union has announced four 48-hour strikes and an overtime ban designed to cause maximum misery over the holiday period. 

By targeting the last weekend before Christmas as well as the one after New Year, they are deliberately adding to the disruption that is already going to be caused by engineering works.

Meanwhile the train drivers’ union, ASLEF, is going on strike this Saturday, with more days of industrial action planned this month and next.

These lords of misrule are determined to turn travelling by train this Christmas into misery. So much for peace and goodwill.

What they call ‘industrial action’ actually means extinguishing the one bright beacon of hope amid the gloom of inflation, recession and war.

 The malice is astonishing. Just as families are finally looking forward to their first proper Christmas for years, striking unions are threatening to cancel it for everyone. Pictured: Mick Lynch, General Secretary of the RMT union

As the Daily Mail’s front page today outlines, the far-Left RMT rail union has announced four 48-hour strikes and an overtime ban designed to cause maximum misery over the holiday period 

Did the union barons give a thought to the grandparents forced to isolate because of the Omicron scare last year? Or the students stuck in university towns far from home? They all depend on trains to visit their loved ones.

And despite their protests, railway workers are not badly paid — they earn an average of over £45,000 a year. Like everyone else, they are worried about the cost of living but their unions are refusing to let go of outdated ‘Spanish practices’ in return for pay rises.

Mick Lynch does not care how many family Christmases are spoiled by his members’ selfish strikes.

The General Secretary of the RMT calculates that frustrated travellers will blame Network Rail and the train operators — or, better still, the Government.

Yet it is ‘Lynch the Grinch’ who is stealing everyone’s Christmas — except that, unlike the Dr Seuss character he resembles, this hard-Left killjoy is unlikely to have a last-minute change of heart.

What do they care that Britain’s railways are already losing passengers and money?

Like Arthur Scargill, whose miners’ strike destroyed the coal industry in the 1980s, Lynch and his pickets risk putting the railways out of business.

The only chance for rail travel to recover its pre-pandemic levels of use, let alone do without subsidies from the taxpayer, is for staff and management to deliver old-fashioned standards of service — and above all reliability — by working together.

Long-suffering passengers, who may find these mean-spirited strikes hard to forgive, will vote with their feet by switching to other forms of transport.

Nurses, too, have voted for strike action across much of the NHS. Though dates have yet to be announced, the first strikes are expected before Christmas and may extend until Easter.

How can the Royal College of Nursing justify its demand for a 17.6 per cent pay rise at a time when the NHS is struggling with unprecedented backlogs and waiting times? 

The country simply cannot afford to give 300,000 nurses a rise of more than £6,000 to boost their pay to an average of £46,000.

Postal workers, too, are striking on two days this week — including Black Friday when many people buy presents — and at least six more days before Christmas. So we can forget about cards and gifts.

Meanwhile 100,000 civil servants, who administer everything from passports to pensions and driving tests, have also voted to strike. Starting with the Home Office, transport and environment departments, the PCS Union will strike just before Christmas, aiming to create a ‘winter of discontent’.

Have these public servants — all of whom owe their salaries, privileges and pensions to the taxpayer — forgotten that they are meant to serve the public?

From railways to hospitals and ministries, the unions seem to have taken leave of common sense — and common decency.

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