TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has warned the government is “hell bent on endangering railway safety” after Grant Shapps suggested temporary workers could be used in industrial disputes.
Over the weekend the Transport Secretary indicated that the Conservatives were looking at changing the law to allow agency workers to fill in for striking staff.
Last week TSSA, which has thousands of members at Network Rail, began issuing ballots for strike action at Department for Transport run train operating companies in an escalating dispute over pay, job security and conditions. It comes against a background of government cuts to the railways and the cost of living crisis.
Commenting, union leader Cortes said: “Grant Shapps needs to set the record straight. If he plans to bring in agency workers to break a strike then we are dealing with a government hell bent on endangering railway safety.
“Make no mistake, there are very real safety implications in this daft plan from Shapps. Agency staff won’t be able to do any of the safety critical jobs our members carry out on our railways.
“What we are seeing is a Tory government running scared of its cost of living crisis. It has no answers to workers who are rightly fighting to defend their jobs and their wages.
“Shapps must think again and tell the bean counters at the Treasury to come up with solutions to this dispute instead of charting a course which endangers public safety. The alternative is a summer of discontent across the rail network.”