DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Labour shows its true colours on rail strikes

The debilitating industrial strife that caused economic and political turmoil in the 1970s was meant to have been consigned to the dustbin of history after Margaret Thatcher broke the unions’ malign chokehold.

Today, however, the country awoke to the worst bout of militancy for a generation.

With lip-smacking relish, the hard-Left barons – Labour’s paymasters, remember – have brought the train network to a crippling and near-total halt.

Yes, the rail strike is officially on three alternate days. But inevitably, and quite deliberately, this will mean a full week of transport chaos.

The 7 per cent pay rise demanded by Mick Lynch (pictured yesterday) is industrial blackmail

The 7 per cent pay rise demanded by Mick Lynch (pictured yesterday) is industrial blackmail

And what callous timing by cynical union chief Mick Lynch and his RMT wreckers.

Just as Britain clambers to its feet after the pandemic nightmare, the shutdown will deal our economic recovery a calamitous blow, costing business at least £1billion.

Millions will suffer from the walkouts. From people unable to get to work (most of them facing far greater cost of living hardship than well-paid union bosses and train drivers), to school pupils worried about getting to exams and patients forced to miss hospital appointments.

Events such as Glastonbury and Armed Forces Day will be hit. Roads face gridlock and commuters forced into their cars will be pummelled by wince-inducing fuel prices.

Of course, the Daily Mail is the first to applaud the thousands of decent, honest frontline workers who keep our railways going. No one begrudges them a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

Britain's rail workers are being betrayed by their antediluvian generals fixated on class warfare

Britain’s rail workers are being betrayed by their antediluvian generals fixated on class warfare

But they are being betrayed by their antediluvian generals, for whom all that seems to matter is the ugly thrill of anti-Tory class warfare.

In such straitened economic times, Network Rail’s rejected pay offer was generous. By contrast, the rise of at least 7 per cent demanded by Lynch and his rapacious cronies was industrial blackmail.

With more people working from home, passenger numbers have plunged. The railways are running gargantuan losses that are being plugged by the taxpayer.

If rail bosses and ministers capitulate, it would undoubtedly trigger similar eye-popping wage claims across the public sector, risking Britain becoming trapped in a never-ending cycle of punishing inflationary doom.

Passengers nationwide will be hampered by a week of debilitating strikes across key routes

Passengers nationwide will be hampered by a week of debilitating strikes across key routes

Saying ‘no’ to the RMT is a warning shot across the bows, pour encourager les autres. Furthermore, any settlement must depend on the rail union agreeing to ditch arcane working practices which stifle productivity.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke is correct to recognise the need for public pay restraint. True, there will be the usual bleating from vested interests, but the good of the nation must come first.

Yet the public will soon lose patience with the union barons' spiteful antics - and Labour's, too

Yet the public will soon lose patience with the union barons’ spiteful antics – and Labour’s, too

Sir Keir Starmer, meanwhile, keeps a Trappist silence on where he stands on the dispute. For someone who aspires to be PM, his refusal to condemn the unions for ruining ordinary people’s lives is shameful.

Indeed, the presence of his MPs on picket lines today will reveal the truth about where his party’s sympathies lie.

That is the silver lining to the strike’s cloud. The public will soon lose patience with the union dinosaurs’ spiteful antics – and with Labour for giving them succour.

Take a bow, readers!

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But now safe in Britain, thousands of the refugees can recapture their childhoods by enjoying free holidays at summer camps.

They will have the chance to play sports, practise their English and make friends.

The places are being funded by the record-breaking £11million Mail Force Ukraine Appeal. You, our unfailingly generous readers, have made this wonderful gift possible. Your donations are helping rebuild shattered young lives. Take a bow!

Ukrainian children play at one of the summer camps partially funded by readers' generosity

Ukrainian children play at one of the summer camps partially funded by readers’ generosity

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