TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has accused the government of offering “threats instead of constructive dialogue” over the looming industrial action this summer on the railways.
Cortes was commenting after a speech by Grant Shapps today during which the Transport Secretary repeatedly warned of job cuts if the strikes go ahead, telling workers “don’t risk striking yourself out of a job”.
Union leader Cortes said in response: “If this Tory government was at all serious about stopping what looks like a summer of discontent on our railways Shapps would have been clear in his speech that they are prepared to negotiate with us and sister unions.
“Sadly, and perhaps predictably, what we heard from the Transport Secretary looked very much like threats and intimidation of workers instead of constructive dialogue.
“Bully boy tactics will not wash with our union when the truth is our members are fighting for their jobs, pay and for a safe railway fit for the future. The public need to understand that it is the government which has set this country on the course of strike action.
“Shapps, Johnson and co are the obstacle to a settlement in these disputes, blocking rail companies from offering a deal.
"Shapps said today he wants to fix the situation. Then let him show he means it by coming to the table and negotiating instead of indulging in mindless sabre rattling to the media.”
*TSSA is in dispute with Network Rail and train operators over pay, job security and terms and conditions. TSSA is currently holding industrial action ballots in: Avanti West Coast; Cross Country; East Midlands Railway; West Midlands Trains; Network Rail; LNER; Northern; c2c.