Like many across our town, I am deeply concerned by the rail action beginning today, which will affect everybody from the 16-year-old sitting their GCSEs to the pensioner needing to visit the hospital.
The strikes, supported by Labour MPs and Councillors, including those in Southport and Sefton, will grind the country to a standstill this week, harming the economy and losing hardworking people and businesses millions of pounds. Union bosses time their strikes to cause maximum disruption, regardless of the impact they will have.
Over the pandemic, the average household paid some £600 to support rail workers, who take home a median wage of £44,000. Overall this support cost £16 billion, which is roughly equal to the total annual budget for policing in England and Wales. As we began getting back on our feet after Covid, and battling rising inflation and the growing cost of living, these strikes are a kick in the teeth to hardworking people and businesses across the country.
Union bosses have driven these workers to a national strike under false pretences, threatening rather than protecting jobs, as they stand in the way of much-needed reform across our rail networks.
While Labour have chosen to side with their union paymasters over the British people, I will always as Southport’s Conservative MP stand up for rail users and be firmly on the side of the hardworking, travelling public.
So today, I join the Transport Secretary in appealing directly to rail workers: don’t risk striking your industry out of a future, don’t risk striking yourselves out of a job, and don’t pitch yourselves against the public.