MP backs curbs on '˜unreasonable' strike action

South Downs' MP has backed limits to '˜unreasonable' strikes affecting critical national public services.

Wednesday, 25th January 2017, 10:14 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:46 pm
MP Nick Herbert

Tory MPs have argued for new legislation to regulate industrial action on services including the railways, bus operators, trams and underground railways, the NHS, and fire services.

However plans to introduce and debate the proposed backbench bill in the House of Commons yesterday (Tuesday January 24) were defeated by Labour and SNP MPs.

Afterwards Nick Herbert, Arundel and South Downs MP, spoke in support of the bill.

He said: “It is very disappointing that opposition MPs voted against the bill, but a large number of Conservative MPs backed the measure, which sends a very clear signal to the Government that we are strongly supportive of new measures to deal with unreasonable industrial action of the kind we have seen affecting Southern Rail.

“I hope that ministers will consider the case for this carefully. There are a disproportionately high number of strikes on the railways, and a few hundred people have been able to cause total chaos on Southern for months on utterly spurious grounds.

Both the RMT union, representing conductors on Southern services, and train drivers’ union ASLEF have held strikes over rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway’s plans to extend driver-only operation.

Both unions have raised concerns about the potential loss of a second safety-critical member of staff on Southern trains.

ASLEF has suspended strike action planned for this week to allow for talks to resume with GTR.

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