Ministers will propose laws to end train strike misery by bringing in ‘minimum service requirement’ (but we’ll have to wait until at least 2020)
- Train operators depend on drivers working on holiday days to run full timetables
- A government source said a ‘minimum service requirement’ could be introduced
- This means that during strikes some services would be forced to run under law
Laws which could stop rail unions holding the country to ransom during strikes are to be proposed by ministers in the wake of a Daily Mail investigation.
Yesterday we revealed that train operators depend on drivers working on their days off to run full timetables.
This is because rail unions Aslef and the RMT secured a four-day working week following the privatisation of British Rail more than 20 years ago.
Laws which could stop rail unions holding the country to ransom during strikes are to be proposed by ministers in the wake of a Daily Mail investigation
Half of the country’s 20 largest operators do not even require drivers to work Sundays and they can earn up to £340-a-day for agreeing to do a fifth day as overtime, despite some already on base salaries of more than £65,000 a year.
Last night a Government source said the Department for Transport is due to propose legislation for a ‘minimum service requirement’.
This means that during strikes some services would have to run by law, avoiding the possibility of action bringing the network to its knees. Such services would include rush-hour trains and airport links.
However, a Bill to enact this will have to get through Parliament, meaning possible changes are unlikely to come into force until early 2020.
Last night a Government source said the Department for Transport is due to propose legislation for a ‘minimum service requirement’
A senior Conservative said: ‘The Tories would have a real fight on their hands, but it’s about time the fight was taken to the unions.’
Last year the Government introduced the Trade Union Act, which required at least a 50 per cent turnout of union members and a majority in favour of strike action to stage walkouts.
It comes as the DfT vowed to crack down on an ‘over-reliance on overtime’ in the industry following the Mail’s investigation.
A spokesman said depending on overtime ‘reduces resilience and can lead to an impact on services’. He added: ‘We are working with the industry to reduce the reliance on overtime to improve reliability on services.’