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Welsh Labour MP says she will join railway strikers as party bans frontbenchers from showing support

20 Jun 2022 3 minutes Read
Beth Winter MP has said that she will be supporting the railway strike action

A Welsh Labour MP has said that she will be on the picket line as railway workers go on strike tomorrow, as Labour ‘banned’ their frontbenchers from showing support.

Cynon Valley MP Beth Winter took to social media to say she was “looking forward” to seeing a fellow MP on the picket line this week.

Unions have reacted with anger at reports Labour has banned its frontbenchers from picket lines ahead of the mass railway strike set to bring the country’s rail services to a stop.

A leaked memo from the party leader’s office said it does not want to see the industrial action go ahead, and accused the Government of failing to engage in any negotiations.

But it said shadow cabinet members “should not be on picket lines”, and asked them to speak to team members to remind them of this.

Thousands of members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 13 train operators will walk out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, in the biggest outbreak of industrial action on the railways for a generation.

Services across the UK will start to be affected from Monday evening, with just one in five trains running on strike days, mainly on main lines and only for about 11 hours.

Most lines in Wales will be closed during the railway strike days. Transport for Wales are not in dispute with unions but run on tracks owned by Network Rail, who are.

On Tuesday and Thursday, a reduced service will run between Radyr and Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil, with replacement bus services between Radyr and Cardiff Central.

On Saturday, there will be limited trains between Radyr and Treherbert, Aberdare and Pontypridd, with replacement buses between Radyr and Cardiff Central.

‘Hiding’

Talks between the RMT and Network Rail were still being held on Monday evening, just hours before the start of the first strike, but the row remains deadlocked, with all sides blaming each other for the lack of progress.

Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, lashed out at Labour over the reports regarding the leaked memo.

She told the PA news agency: “The Labour Party was founded by the trade unions and we expect Labour MPs to defend workers, by words and by actions. To instruct Labour MPs not to be on picket lines with workers speaks volumes.

“You don’t lead by hiding. No-one respects that. It’s time to decide whose side you are on. Workers or bad bosses?”

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, said: “This is ridiculous nonsense from the party which was created by trade unions. Solidarity is what our movement is all about.”

The memo, seen by Politics Home, said frontbenchers should “expect severe disruption this week as the result of industrial action by the RMT”.

“We have robust lines. We do not want to see these strikes to go ahead with the resulting disruption to the public. The government have failed to engage in any negotiations,” it said.

“However, we also must show leadership and to that end, please be reminded that frontbenchers including (parliamentary private secretaries) should not be on picket lines.

“Please speak to all the members of your team to remind them of this and confirm with me that you have done so.”

Labour declined to comment.


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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
13 days ago

English Labour decided they were with the bosses back in 2020….. English Labour and any kind of Tories NEVER AGAIN.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
13 days ago

Ms Winter get your mates to make life sized cut-outs of Clark Kent and Red Sonia and stick them on the picket line, mind how you go…

The original mark
The original mark
13 days ago

Tells you all you need to know about the Labour Party today, they should remember it was the unions that created the Party, just a bunch of tory lite.

welshman
welshman
13 days ago

what are plaid cynru doing about the railstrikes and the assembly as a whole? how am I meant to get to work?

Kurt Constable
Kurt Constable
13 days ago
Reply to  welshman

Its not an assembly and the strike is an English one only. It only affects some of our tracks, that are national rail. So my daughter could get down the valleys to Radyr and the replacement bus as the lines in Cardiff are not our own. Time to take them back.

Pob lwc
Pob lwc
13 days ago
Reply to  Kurt Constable

Network Rail covers England, Wales and Scotland, so by definition isn’t not just an “English strike”

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
13 days ago
Reply to  Pob lwc

Yes, and who owns Network Rail and refuses to devolve it? So it is, an “English strike” by definition.

Kiosk
Kiosk
13 days ago

‘Transport for Wales are not in dispute with unions but run on tracks owned by Network Rail, who are.’
Yet another reason for independence!

Kurt Constable
Kurt Constable
13 days ago
Reply to  Kiosk

Its madness that down the valleys the tracks to Radyr is ours and those in Cardiff are not. time we owned them and mae the decisions

Kurt Constable
Kurt Constable
13 days ago

Hope she is donating her days wage and not being a hypocrite. Nothing worse than a payed mouthpiece as other suffer no money on principle. Especially as she is an MP for the Cynon that is not involved in these strikes.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
13 days ago

Grow up! Aside from the simple fact that TfW is nationalised and this strike is essentially an English problem; this is not, Miss Winter, some nineteenth century battle between capitalists and downtrodden workers.
Train drivers average annual salary is £54,000, the most senior drivers earn £65,000 for a forty hour week.
And how the RMT general secretary gets by on measly £165.000 while his deputy struggles on £94.000 is anybody’s guess.
Meanwhile, my daughter working in a care home manages on minimum wage and universal credit…..
Get your priorities right Miss Winter!

MWiggs
MWiggs
13 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

Your point is irrelevant, railway drivers are not really involved in the strike. This is a dispute between the RMT and Network Rail/13 train operators, most Train Drivers belong to the Union ASLEF, who aren’t involved in these strikes. Of course the MSM don’t want you to think about this because “strikes bad!” The median salary for rail workers not including train drivers is somewhere between £33,000 and £40,000, usually depending on whether cleaners are included. These are above national median salary but do encompass a wide variety of roles. RMT members include ticket inspectors, catering staff, engineers of train… Read more »

Glyph
Glyph
13 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

Why are you mentioning train drivers? This is not a train driver’s strike. Vey few are involved. Also their median wage is £33,000 not £54,000.
Maybe you should wind in your neck a bit.
And perhaps your daughter could retrain as a train driver? Also Doctor must be a massively well paid job, since you are all about the politics of envy. Maybe you could help her out?

Last edited 13 days ago by Glyph
Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
13 days ago
Reply to  Glyph

Debate and disagreement is important, and whether you agree with me or not, resorting to insults or flippant remarks simply destroys your argument. Your figures disagree with mine, nevertheless even if you are correct £33,000 is a substantial salary, certainly by Welsh standards. Your cheap shot at my daughter does require a response. Like many carers she is motivated by that – caring – something you don’t understand. And finally – Please do not accuse me of being envious. What I have I have worked for all my life and am proud of the contribution I have made to Welsh… Read more »

Glyph
Glyph
13 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

Are flippant comments better or worse than deliberately misleading comments I wonder? I made no cheap shot at your daughter. You brought her in to appeal from emotion. You made her part of the conversation not I. If you dind’t want people commenting on her, perhaps you should have been a better father and left her out of it. You also involved the uninvolved train drivers and inflated their wages. The figures I presented were not mine. They were from the train driver’s union. Yes £33,000 is a good wage. Do you think train drivers are not WORTH their wages?… Read more »

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
13 days ago
Reply to  Glyph

I repeat, I’ve had my say and I’ve better things to do than quarrel with a closed mind.
I also repeat; never mind others, please have the courage to use your name. I and many others do.

Glyph
Glyph
12 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

One of our minds is closed. Not mine. Mine is just right.
You deliberately posted dishonest figures about an uninvolved job role to justify your bloviating.
I WILL mind others. If you demand my real name, you should demand theirs. Otherwise you are dishonest.
If you have “better things to do”. Prove it. Don’t respond to this. I suspect you will respond, but will not just acknowledge you were wrong, because your ego will not allow it.

Last edited 12 days ago by Glyph
Deiniol
Deiniol
12 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

wages in the UK have stagnated since the late 70,s and have dropped considerably in the last 10 years.. we are in a race to the bottom.. I am well payed but have lost 20% of my salary in 10 years. Teachers have lost 9%. in contrast, executive pay and corporation profits are at an all time high. Someone has made the decision that profits can be maxamised further by reducing wages. This is the reality.. Wage growth has become decoupled from economic growth. The economy grows and wages don’t. Workers are not having the same share of the profit… Read more »

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
13 days ago
Reply to  Glyph

I’ve had my say. Although I wonder how many of Miss Winter’s Constituents are earning £33.000 a year?

Glyph
Glyph
13 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

As many as worked hard at school or learned the skills to earn such numbers probably.
Should you want to, you could probably find the figures, you being an economics lecturer and all.
It makes me wonder why you didn’t. Why you left an open ended “I wonder …” statement.

Last edited 13 days ago by Glyph
Glyph
Glyph
13 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

But just to help you out, the average annual salary in Wales in 2022 is £31,000

MWiggs
MWiggs
13 days ago
Reply to  Glyph

Tbf it’s usually best to use Median Annual Salary (£28.5k in Wales in 2021) rather than average. Average is often warped by ultra high earners.

Glyph
Glyph
12 days ago
Reply to  MWiggs

That’s fair

Deiniol
Deiniol
12 days ago
Reply to  MWiggs

median is a better reflection but this doesn’t make 33k substantial. teachers and nurses are in this 33k region and therefore earn substantial salaries. Perhaps we need to drag their salary down to the median.

Deiniol
Deiniol
12 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

33k is average. everyone who earns their living through selling their labour needs to fight to protect their wages. if you earn 33k now and it keeps dropping year on year, at what point do you complain? when your salary drops to 23K or 13k? race to the bottom. You earn more than me so don’t complain about your salary cut. Its just not logical thinking. Solidaeity with everyone who earns their living by selling their labour. I also think they are striking over potential job losses too. I think one of the plans is to get rid of all… Read more »

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
12 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

If your daughter feels underpaid, then she simply needs to get a better paid job, or work more hours.

Tory MP Rachel MacLean said the very same just a few weeks ago.

Deiniol
Deiniol
12 days ago
Reply to  Nobby Tart

or she needs to join a union and get political.

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