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Rail strikes: RMT spokesman condemns Keir Starmer

A RAIL workers’ union spokesman has condemned Labour leader Keir Starmer and praised the Welsh Government for their stances on the national rail strikes.

Members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers – more commonly known as the RMT – picketed outside Cardiff Central Station on the second day of national rail strikes.

National Rail workers are striking because of a pay freeze, job cuts and attacks on working conditions.

The UK Government has condemned the strikes, but the Welsh Government has been fairly quiet over the affair.

RMT regional director, Steve Skelly, said: “The Welsh Government have mainly been supportive of the strikes.

“We’ve welcomed visits from Labour and Plaid Cymru politicians, including the leader of Plaid (Adam Price).”

But, despite the support from Labour in Wales, Mr Skelly said he was disappointed with the Labour Party in Westminster.

“The support of Labour in Wales is much greater than of Labour in Westminster,” said Mr Skelly.

“Keir Starmer should be standing up for the interests of working class people and rail workers are just that, working class.”

Mr Skelly also took a moment to praise the public for their support of the workers, though went on to warn that the strikes may continue for a while.

“The support has been overwhelming throughout the country, it’s been a real encouragement,” said Mr Skelly.

“We thank the public for their support, now they need to hold the UK Government to account.

“There is a clear agenda from the government to escalate rather than descalate and the public need to hold politicians, particularly Tories, to account.

“Nobody wants to be on strike but members are steadfast.

“Ultimately we believe that this will be a sustained dispute as the government are impeding progress.”

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There have been reports that National Rail workers based in Wales are being sent to England to support rail services there.

Mr Skelly confirmed that some managers are being asked to take on more duties, but could not say if Wales-based workers are being sent to England.

“We are aware of attempts by National Rail and Great Western Railway to entice managers to take additional roles,” said Mr Skelly.

“There’s money to fund those roles, but no money for rail workers who worked throughout the pandemic and were hailed as heroes.”

There will be another day of industrial action on Saturday, June 25, if the dispute is not resolved.

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