Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Government considers plans for minimum staffing requirement during rail strikes

Passengers wait at Waterloo station, London, for cancelled or delayed trains. File Photo (PA)
Passengers wait at Waterloo station, London, for cancelled or delayed trains. File Photo (PA)

The Government is considering plans for a minimum staffing requirement during rail strikes as the threat of a major industrial action looms.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the Sunday Telegraph that ministers are looking at drawing up laws which would make industrial action illegal unless a certain number of staff are working.

Mr Shapps told the newspaper that the government hopes the unions “will wake up and smell the coffee” and suggested that strikes could put more people off rail travel.

He also accused unions of going straight to industrial action rather than using it as a last resort, adding that railways were already on “financial life support” because of the pandemic.

Referring to a pledge in the Conservative manifesto for minimum services during strikes, he said: “We had a pledge in there about minimum service levels.

Easter getaway
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“If they really got to that point then minimum service levels would be a way to work towards protecting those freight routes and those sorts of things.”

It comes as unions have warned of staging “potentially the biggest rail strike in modern history”.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union is balloting 40,000 members on plans to strike, which network sources have reportedly said would create “serious challenges” in keeping goods moving and supermarket shelves stocked.

The vote, which is due to close on Tuesday, includes staff on Network Rail and 15 train operating companies.

Another union, the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), has also warned of a “summer of discontent” with similar action on the way unless pay disputes are resolved.

The union has also announced it intends to ballot members in Scotland for strike action, following what it describes as a “derisory” 2.2% pay offer by ScotRail and proposed timetable changes which it branded a “kick in the teeth” to workers.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes has said many members have not seen a wage increase for two years.

Mr Shapps will reportedly meet with the Prime Minister and Chancellor next week to discuss the strike threat amid fears in Whitehall that the action could be worse than the junior doctor walkout in 2015.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

More from the Press and Journal Politics team

More from the Press and Journal