Saturday, June 25, 2022

Rail season ticket holders get strike disruption compensation, Grant Shapps

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The transport secretary said he was considering introducing legislation to change rules on the use of contract workers to replace striking staff

The Transport Secretary said he would make it “automatic” for adult season ticket holders to get money back.

Rail season ticket holders are entitled to compensation for journeys disrupted due to next week’s train strikes, Grant Shapps has confirmed.

He confirmed that would be the case for travel disruptions next week during strikes on UK railways.

Mr Shapps also said he was considering introducing legislation that would change the rules on the use of contract workers to replace striking staff and suggested changes could be made as early as this summer.

Back in 2015, the Conservative Party promised changes to agency work rules during strikes.

He said rail workers risked “knocking themselves out of the job” – but denied he threatened staff with job cuts.

Union bosses said “threats” from Mr Shapps were “disgraceful”.

Speaking at a north London rail depot, Mr Shapps launched a scathing attack on unions, saying they were “misleading” rail staff and “threatening jobs”.

“If this dispute cannot be resolved, the government will explore a range of options to prevent unions from harming the public, including lifting the ban on rotating staff representing striking workers,” he said.

“And passengers will be compensated for the disruption. In addition to any refund arrangements already in place, we will ensure that season ticket holders can claim full compensation on strike days.”

He added: “I’ve moved on to making this an automated process for these people to do whatever it takes to eliminate passenger inconvenience.”

The Department for Transport has yet to release details on how and when passengers will be able to access compensation.

On the use of agency workers, Mr Shapps said: “People will be able to go where they have the right level of skills, training and experience and that will be subject to a simpler process of secondary legislation which would be much quicker (than minimum service levels).

“If the strike drags on…then transferrable skills, sometimes called temporary work, will be something that will also be available in that particular dispute.”

The cabinet minister described the industrial action, which raged across the country on June 21, 23 and 25, as an attempt to ” derail critical reforms”.

Disputes have flared up over wages, jobs and working conditions.

He made an appeal to the railway workers: “Don’t risk losing your job,” he said. “Don’t throw yourself up against the public.”

To which Mick Lynch, General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), replied: “The threats Grant Shapps has made today against rail workers’ livelihoods and the right to strike are disgraceful and will make RMT members even more determined to win this dispute .

“Rather than play on the gallery for his own personal political ambitions, Mr Shapps must behave like a pragmatic Transport Secretary willing to meet with the union and help us reach a negotiated settlement.

“It is now clear that the government intends to turn this industrial struggle over wages and jobs into a political struggle with RMT.

“All our members want is an agreement that protects their jobs and gives them a pay rise that reflects the cost of living.

“And they are ready to strike to force the government to recognize their just campaign for a fair deal.”

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