Christina McAnea, general secretary of Unison, told Mirror rail staff that real wages were threatened with a 6.5% cut and that the RMT union was therefore right to reject the government’s wage offer
(Image: Daily Mirror/Ian Vogler)
The boss of Britain’s largest union has backed the looming train strike, stressing workers need a pay rise as record inflation begins to take hold.
Christina McAnea, general secretary of Unison, told Mirror rail staff that real wages were threatened with a 6.5% cut and that the RMT union was therefore right to reject the government’s wage offer.
When labor disputes erupt later this month, more than 40,000 Network Rail employees and 13 train operators will take part in what has been dubbed the “largest rail strike in modern history.”
Ms McAnea said food bank use is increasing among middle-income workers as the cost-of-living crisis hits, adding on the strikes: “I totally understand why they’re doing this.”
The union leader also called on the public to support striking public sector workers, saying falling wages and working conditions are forcing people to take early retirement or take on second jobs to make ends meet.
Hesther Ng/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock)
She said striking workers “ultimately want to improve the services” they provide to the public.
“I don’t think a union is reckless with industrial action,” she said.
“It’s always the last resort.”
Ms McAnea also said health workers are living below the subsistence level and even middle-income nurses are turning to emergency loans to make ends meet.
Ministers urgently need to update HMRC’s mileage rates, which have remained unchanged at 45p per mile since 2011, even as petrol prices have skyrocketed in recent years, she said.
She added that the government could fund further living expenses with a windfall tax for companies that made huge profits from Ms McAnea.
She said: “The Prime Minister has no idea of the enormous financial burden ordinary people are under. The prospect of £100 a tank to keep family cars on the road is a truly daunting prospect for many.
“The government has no plan to pull the country out of this devastating crisis. It’s not wages that are fueling inflation.
“If health, care, community, school and police workers don’t get pay increases that shield them from rising inflation, already ailing public services could collapse as workers quit for better-paying jobs elsewhere.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/rail-staff-facing-65-real-27193448 Rail workers face 6.5% real pay cut as union boss warns strike is 'last resort'