UK Rail Unions: Plans to Restrict Industrial Action Prompt Strike Ballot

    Photo: AFP/Getty Images [via The Daily Mail]

    The Facts

    • The rail union RMT has pledged "fierce resistance" to any attempts to limit industrial action, after the UK Minister for Transport Grant Shapps said laws may be introduced illegalizing strikes unless enough staff remain working to keep railways operational.

    • In his announcement, Shapps cited a Conservative manifesto promise of "minimum service levels," especially to protect freight routes amid global food shortages, as well as the financial difficulties British rail companies are enduring following the pandemic.

    The Spin

    Right narrative

    Events in Scotland have shown that even renationalizing transport cannot pacify unions - organized labor merely puts union members above the welfare and convenience of rail passengers. Sooner or later, the Conservative government will have to enact the only solution proven to effectively counter the obstructions caused by unions who seek to preserve redundant staff - destroy them altogether.

    Left narrative

    Desperate efforts by politicians to curtail the legality of industrial action should be fought, especially considering the harsh austerity measures that have seen ticket office closures, the loss of thousands of jobs, and widespread pay freezes since the pandemic. Shapps is proposing limiting fundamental employment rights to deflect criticism over the cost of living crisis.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The failure of collective bargaining amidst historically low union membership rates will only result in more pressure on the government to help those on lower incomes. The destruction of organized labor in the UK will make things worse for the Conservatives as the number of vulnerable households rises.

    Political split



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