Transport union TSSA slams the government’s ‘levelling-down’ agenda as outlined by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today.
In a revealing appearance at the Transport Select Committee evidence session this morning, Grant Shapps attacked Transport for London (TfL), said rail workers won’t get a pay rise, and washed the government’s hands of supporting Eurostar.
Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, said: “We saw today the true transport agenda of the Tories: attack the heroes who have kept our country moving during the pandemic, attack their pay and pensions, cut investment and walk away from green forms of public transport.
“Our union is clear that we will fight any attacks on the pay and pensions of our members at TfL or anywhere across our rail or public transport networks. These are hero keyworkers who have kept our country moving throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“The government needs to stop using TfL as a political football ahead of the Mayoral elections and stop kicking our members and those who rely on TfL services.
“When it comes to Eurostar, it’s astonishing the Transport Secretary says ‘it’s not our problem’ when 70% of Eurostar jobs are based in Britain and it is our only green link to mainland Europe. The government needs to wake up or be exposed for its duplicitous claims on tackling climate change.”
In a clear demonstration of levelling down, not up, and encouraging an unhealthy attitude of envy, Grant Shapps told the Committee: “By the way, I love the idea of free travel, I’d like that for my kids who are under 18, I’d like my constituents to have concessionary travel, but you have to pay for it. We manage without it elsewhere.”
This flies in the face of the government’s own targets to encourage people onto public transport and into active travel.
In what sounded like a shot across the bows, Grant Shapps said: “TfL pensions haven’t been reformed.”
In response to a question from Graham Morris MP about pay freezes for rail staff when train operating companies are still getting management fees and profits, Grant Shapps said: “The Treasury has said there needs to be pay freezes” and denied that management fees were profits.
On Eurostar, Grant Shapps refused to give any UK support, saying: “It’s not our company to rescue.”