Shapps threatens to impose railway reforms as London transport strike begins – business live | Business

Transport secretary threatens the imposition of rail reforms

Transport secretary Grant Shapps arrives in Downing Street to attend the weekly Cabinet meeting in July. Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz/REX/Shutterstock

Railway reforms will be imposed if workers do not agree to new deals, the transport secretary Grant Shapps has said.

The Conservative party has repeatedly targeted unions with criticism, in a move that the Trades Union Congress has argued is deliberately “picking a fight” for electoral purposes.

Shapps is likely to remain transport secretary until at least 5 September, when a new Conservative party leader – likely to be Liz Truss if recent polls are correct – will be in place. There is little sign that there would be a change of attitude under a new leader.

Asked on Friday by Sky News if compulsory redundancies were on the table for rail workers, Grant Shapps said (the Press Association reports):

The deal that is on the table actually means largely no compulsory redundancies at all.

If [the unions] are not prepared to put that deal to your membership we will never know whether members would accept it.

What I do know and I can say for sure is if we can’t get this settled in the way that we are proposing, which is ‘please put the deal to your membership’ then we will have to move to what is called a section 188; it is a process of actually requiring these changes to go into place so it becomes mandated. That is the direction that this is moving in now.

Shapps claimed that outdated work practices needed to be updated – a characterization of the industry that is disputed by the unions, who argue that employers are trying to use modernization as an excuse to reduce members’ real pay and conditions. Shapps said: “If we can’t get those modernizations in place we will have to impose those modernizations but we would much rather do it through these offers actually being put to their members.”

Railway reforms will be imposed if workers do not agree to new deals, the transport secretary Grant Shapps has said.

“,”elementId”:”4e518cf0-889f-471a-b96c-12a831e4d509″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

The Conservative party has repeatedly targeted unions with criticism, in a move that the Trades Union Congress has argued it is deliberately “picking a fight” for electoral purposes.

“,”elementId”:”f3dab9d2-0138-4000-92a1-34f733edcf92″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Shapps is likely to remain transport secretary until at least 5 September, when a new Conservative party leader – likely to be Liz Truss if recent polls are correct – will be in place. There is little sign that there would be a change of attitude under a new leader.

“,”elementId”:”2e0dab26-f13e-4bad-b9f6-e57f4e2c46e6″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Asked on Friday by Sky News if compulsory redundancies were on the table for rail workers, Grant Shapps said (the Press Association reports):

“,”elementId”:”2c3968fb-0e2f-4fb6-807f-9d2dd550a3c6″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

n

The deal that is on the table actually means largely no compulsory redundancies at all.

n

If [the unions] are not prepared to put that deal to your membership we will never know whether members would accept it.

n

What I do know and I can say for sure is if we can’t get this settled in the way that we are proposing, which is ‘please put the deal to your membership’ then we will have to move to what is called a section 188; it is a process of actually requiring these changes to go into place so it becomes mandated. That is the direction that this is moving in now.

n

“,”elementId”:”4b36cd0c-2afb-47ad-9154-f7fb29ab7446″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Shapps claimed that outdated work practices needed to be updated – a characterisation of the industry that is disputed by the unions, who argue that employers are trying to use modernisation as an excuse to reduce members’ real pay and conditions. Shapps said: “If we can’t get those modernisations in place we will have to impose those modernisations but we would much rather do it through these offers actually being put to their members.”

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Good morning, and welcome to our live coverage of business, economics and financial markets.

“,”elementId”:”9a02b12c-e9ce-4e50-8626-99b3fa9417c6″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Travel in the UK’s capital will be severely disrupted on Friday as workers strike over pay and conditions.

“,”elementId”:”be111004-f1ea-4981-ae77-0019d9041443″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Members of the RMT and Unite unions working on the tube and overground rail will strike. Unite members on bus routes in the capital run by London United are also striking in a separate dispute over pay.

“,”elementId”:”c143f49b-b807-4191-ac17-ed6e7f105740″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

RMT boss Mick Lynch, who has been probably the most prominent advocate for strikes in the media, has joined workers on a picket line this morning:

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Separately, retail sales in Great Britain rose unexpectedly in July, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

“,”elementId”:”4447d93f-d912-4fd7-9033-187a1b863f0c”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Retail sales volumes rose by 0.3% in July, following a fall of 0.2% in June (which was revised down from a fall of 0.1%), the ONS said.

“,”elementId”:”0c476f94-20cf-4af7-9bf2-035fe9679724″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

The bump was not expected by economists, who had predicted a 0.2% decline in July, with inflation above 10% expected to eat into consumers’ spending power.

“,”elementId”:”4e3bf563-916e-4197-a65d-41f443dad34e”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Yet the overall picture of a consumer economy that is slowing remains: sales volumes were 2.3% above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February 2020 levels, but down 3.3% over the past year.

“,”elementId”:”60dd17d3-f83e-4844-a851-02de3cd5c5f1″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

We will have more detail for you soon.

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Key events

Railway reforms will be imposed if workers do not agree to new deals, the transport secretary Grant Shapps has said.

“,”elementId”:”4e518cf0-889f-471a-b96c-12a831e4d509″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

The Conservative party has repeatedly targeted unions with criticism, in a move that the Trades Union Congress has argued it is deliberately “picking a fight” for electoral purposes.

“,”elementId”:”f3dab9d2-0138-4000-92a1-34f733edcf92″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Shapps is likely to remain transport secretary until at least 5 September, when a new Conservative party leader – likely to be Liz Truss if recent polls are correct – will be in place. There is little sign that there would be a change of attitude under a new leader.

“,”elementId”:”2e0dab26-f13e-4bad-b9f6-e57f4e2c46e6″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Asked on Friday by Sky News if compulsory redundancies were on the table for rail workers, Grant Shapps said (the Press Association reports):

“,”elementId”:”2c3968fb-0e2f-4fb6-807f-9d2dd550a3c6″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

n

The deal that is on the table actually means largely no compulsory redundancies at all.

n

If [the unions] are not prepared to put that deal to your membership we will never know whether members would accept it.

n

What I do know and I can say for sure is if we can’t get this settled in the way that we are proposing, which is ‘please put the deal to your membership’ then we will have to move to what is called a section 188; it is a process of actually requiring these changes to go into place so it becomes mandated. That is the direction that this is moving in now.

n

“,”elementId”:”4b36cd0c-2afb-47ad-9154-f7fb29ab7446″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Shapps claimed that outdated work practices needed to be updated – a characterisation of the industry that is disputed by the unions, who argue that employers are trying to use modernisation as an excuse to reduce members’ real pay and conditions. Shapps said: “If we can’t get those modernisations in place we will have to impose those modernisations but we would much rather do it through these offers actually being put to their members.”

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Good morning, and welcome to our live coverage of business, economics and financial markets.

“,”elementId”:”9a02b12c-e9ce-4e50-8626-99b3fa9417c6″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Travel in the UK’s capital will be severely disrupted on Friday as workers strike over pay and conditions.

“,”elementId”:”be111004-f1ea-4981-ae77-0019d9041443″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Members of the RMT and Unite unions working on the tube and overground rail will strike. Unite members on bus routes in the capital run by London United are also striking in a separate dispute over pay.

“,”elementId”:”c143f49b-b807-4191-ac17-ed6e7f105740″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

RMT boss Mick Lynch, who has been probably the most prominent advocate for strikes in the media, has joined workers on a picket line this morning:

“,”elementId”:”3bb85f76-7484-48fc-8c43-f5537fa57ea5″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TweetBlockElement”,”html”:”

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Separately, retail sales in Great Britain rose unexpectedly in July, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

“,”elementId”:”4447d93f-d912-4fd7-9033-187a1b863f0c”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Retail sales volumes rose by 0.3% in July, following a fall of 0.2% in June (which was revised down from a fall of 0.1%), the ONS said.

“,”elementId”:”0c476f94-20cf-4af7-9bf2-035fe9679724″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

The bump was not expected by economists, who had predicted a 0.2% decline in July, with inflation above 10% expected to eat into consumers’ spending power.

“,”elementId”:”4e3bf563-916e-4197-a65d-41f443dad34e”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Yet the overall picture of a consumer economy that is slowing remains: sales volumes were 2.3% above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February 2020 levels, but down 3.3% over the past year.

“,”elementId”:”60dd17d3-f83e-4844-a851-02de3cd5c5f1″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

We will have more detail for you soon.

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Filters BETA

More from Transport for London’s Nick Dent, this time in response to RMT claims that the transport operator is having secret negotiations with the government about cutting jobs and pensions.

Dent said TfL has been working with ministers “all the way through the pandemic to try to secure a long-term funding settlement for London”.

TfL has lived hand to mouth since the start of the pandemic, when it lost billions of pounds worth of revenues as people stayed off the tube. The government has stepped in with repeated short-term bailouts, but not without a cost: TfL has been forced by ministers to find savings and review pensions in previous rounds of emergency funding.

TfL is usually run by the mayor of London, who since 2016 has been Labour’s Sadiq Khan.

Dent told Sky News:

We of course conduct those negotiations confidentially. They are market-sensitive. We’ve explained that very clearly to the trade unions.

But we have been working with all of the trade unions, including the RMT, we’ve been very open and transparent about the impact of the pandemic on our finances all the way through the last couple of years.

We’ve assured them that we’ll continue to keep them updated. But, importantly, we have assured them that there are no proposals currently to change the TfL pension scheme, and if there were proposals in the future, then of course they will be consulted in detail. They’ll be involved very closely.

Nick Dent, Transport for London’s director of customer operations, said it was “a difficult day” for travel in the capital.

He told Sky News (via Press Association):

It is going to be a difficult day. We have done everything we can to avoid this strike going ahead today.

Unfortunately, the disruption is going to be pretty significant to London today. We’re advising customers not to travel on the Tube at all.

RMT members on the picket line at Waterloo Station during the national rail strike over pay on 18 August.
RMT members on the picket line at Waterloo Station during the national rail strike over pay on 18 August. Photograph: Guy Smallman/Getty Images

Downing Street yesterday denied that ministers are deliberately seeking a political fight with rail unions, as both sides toughened their language further and the head of the RMT warned the impasse could continue “indefinitely”.

No 10 and the Department for Transport (DfT) have faced accusations from opposition parties of not seriously trying to find a solution to the rail strike, instead using bellicose language and seeking to blame Labor for union action, report the Guardian’s Peter Walker, Pippa Crerar and Tom Ambrose.

But with no sign of the strikes easing, and other sectors planning or considering action, Downing Street denied the government was seeking a fight.

“The priority is on making sure people who use public transport can get to work, school and hospital appointments without such disruption,” a No 10 source said.

However, in a notably pugnacious statement, a DfT spokesperson accused the RMT of “opting to inflict misery and disrupt the day-to-day lives of millions instead of working with industry to agree a deal that will bring our railways into the 21st century” .

You can read the full story here:

There are 8.8m people in London out of a total UK population of about 67m, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), so transport strikes in the capital affect a large proportion of Britain’s workers.

Transport for London (TfL) advises people to avoid traveling on the Tube if possible, and only travel on the rest of the network if essential.

From its updates page:

  • Tube: severe disruption on all lines. Little to no services throughout the day. No Night Tube

  • London Overground: late start. No Night Overground

  • Elizabeth line – normal service from 07:00; some trains may not stop at all central stations after 22:30

  • Trams: reduced service

  • DLR: services into Bank running 07:00-18:30. All other services are running normally

  • Buses: services affected in west and south west London and parts of Surrey. Impact on the following routes: 9, 18, 33, 49, 65, 70, 71, 72, 85, 94, 105, 110, 116, 117, 148, 203, 211, 216, 220, 223, 224, 235, 258, 265, 266, 272, 281, 283, 290, 293, 371, 404, 406, 411, 418, 419, 423, 440, 465, 467, 470, 481, C1, E1, E3, H17, H22, H32, H37, H91, H98, K1, K2, K3, K4, K5, N9, N18, N33, N65, N72, N266 and S3. No Night Bus services on affected routes

  • Coaches: likely to be very busy

National rail services across Great Britain are also likely to be affected throughout the day as a hangover from yesterday’s strike action by 45,000 rail workers mainly from the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), in long-running disputes over pay, jobs and conditions.

There would have been very little service before 08:00, and the disruption usually means that many of the trains are in the wrong place the morning after – which itself has a knock-on effect even when workers return.

Transport secretary threatens the imposition of rail reforms

Transport secretary Grant Shapps arrives in Downing Street to attend the weekly Cabinet meeting in July.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps arrives in Downing Street to attend the weekly Cabinet meeting in July. Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz/REX/Shutterstock

Railway reforms will be imposed if workers do not agree to new deals, the transport secretary Grant Shapps has said.

The Conservative party has repeatedly targeted unions with criticism, in a move that the Trades Union Congress has argued is deliberately “picking a fight” for electoral purposes.

Shapps is likely to remain transport secretary until at least 5 September, when a new Conservative party leader – likely to be Liz Truss if recent polls are correct – will be in place. There is little sign that there would be a change of attitude under a new leader.

Asked on Friday by Sky News if compulsory redundancies were on the table for rail workers, Grant Shapps said (the Press Association reports):

The deal that is on the table actually means largely no compulsory redundancies at all.

If [the unions] are not prepared to put that deal to your membership we will never know whether members would accept it.

What I do know and I can say for sure is if we can’t get this settled in the way that we are proposing, which is ‘please put the deal to your membership’ then we will have to move to what is called a section 188; it is a process of actually requiring these changes to go into place so it becomes mandated. That is the direction that this is moving in now.

Shapps claimed that outdated work practices needed to be updated – a characterization of the industry that is disputed by the unions, who argue that employers are trying to use modernization as an excuse to reduce members’ real pay and conditions. Shapps said: “If we can’t get those modernizations in place we will have to impose those modernizations but we would much rather do it through these offers actually being put to their members.”

London strikes begin; surprise increase in retail sales in Great Britain

Good morning, and welcome to our live coverage of business, economics and financial markets.

Travel in the UK’s capital will be severely disrupted on Friday as workers strike over pay and conditions.

Members of the RMT and Unite unions working on the tube and overground rail will strike. Unite members on bus routes in the capital run by London United are also striking in a separate dispute over pay.

RMT boss Mick Lynch, who has been probably the most prominent advocate for strikes in the media, has joined workers on a picket line this morning:

The big man has joined us. @RMTunion #TubeStrike pic.twitter.com/U4OMgiAXUD

— RMT Piccadilly & District West (@PiccadillyRmt) August 19, 2022

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Separately, retail sales in Great Britain rose unexpectedly in July, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Retail sales volumes rose by 0.3% in July, following a fall of 0.2% in June (which was revised down from a fall of 0.1%), the ONS said.

The bump was not expected by economists, who had predicted a 0.2% decline in July, with inflation above 10% expected to eat into consumers’ spending power.

Yet the overall picture of a consumer economy that is slowing remains: sales volumes were 2.3% above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February 2020 levels, but down 3.3% over the past year.

We will have more details for you soon.

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