RAIL unions yesterday slammed Tory plans to illegalise rail strikes.
Page 60 of the Conservative Party general election manifesto says: ‘We will work with train companies and their employees to agree minimum service levels during periods of industrial dispute – and if we cannot find a voluntary agreement, we will legislate to make this mandatory.’
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: ‘The only group standing in the way of the continued downgrade of the transport network and the maritime industry is unionised workers. The threat contained in the Tory manifesto to limit industrial action shows up the lie that the Tories are workers’ new best friend.’
ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan said: ‘The Conservative Party’s proposals demonstrate an amazing level of ignorance about the reality of industrial relations in the rail industry. They will not work and they will be resisted.’
Whelan added: ‘Over the last two parliaments, the Tories have sought to gag civil society and they are increasingly trying to take away hard won liberties from working people. All this will do is make it even harder for working people to oppose unsafe, bad, or dishonourable employers. We already have some of the most draconian trade union laws in the western world. Where’s the legislation to protect workers from poor employers?’
Public sector union Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said PM Theresa May’s social care announcement ‘threatens a further demolition of the welfare state, which would leave all but the very poorest forced to cough up for their care. Private care firms will be upping their profits, while staff and the elderly continue to get a rough deal. Expecting families to take unpaid time off work to look after their loved ones is also unfair and unrealistic.’
Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: ‘The £1bn promised in the Conservative manifesto does nothing at all to cover the present crisis.’ He added: ‘Cutting universal free school meals for 4- 7 year olds does not make sense, or represent value for money, given the investment many schools have already made in kitchens and staffing to ensure their availability.
‘Breakfast Clubs are a good addition if properly funded, but getting rid of a universal offer of a hot meal in the day is mean-spirited and wrong-headed. It is a long time for a child to go without food from the morning until 3:30pm which will be the case for many families in work but struggling. If any project should be scrapped it should be the expensive and unnecessary free schools and grammar school expansion to which the Conservatives are so ideologically committed.’