Rishi Sunak Boris Johnson Grant Shapps London Underground Mick Lynch UPS Action DNA Rishi Sunak Boris Johnson Grant Shapps London Underground Mick Lynch

Boris Johnson plans to break rail strikes by allowing use of agency workers

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Boris Johnson has responded to the biggest rail strikes in a generation with plans to break the industrial action by allowing firms to bring in agency staff, a move that unions have decried as unworkable, unsafe and potentially breaking international law.As 40,000 workers prepared for Tuesday’s strike, the most wide-reaching on the railways in 30 years, Downing Street brought forward changes to enable employers to replace employees with temporary staff.The highly controversial measure would make disputes long and bitter, unions warned on Monday, with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) accusing Johnson of taking a step that “even Margaret Thatcher did not go near”.Instead, it would inflame divisions between employers and trade unions when the government should be trying to bring about a deal, they said.The rail strikes are due to cause the cancellation of about 80% of train services across the country on Tuesday, with further action scheduled for Thursday and Saturday, after talks between rail operators and the RMT union broke down.

London Underground workers will also walk out for 24 hours on Tuesday, bringing the capital’s transport system to a halt.Mick Lynch, the RMT general secretary, raised the prospect of further strikes throughout the summer, as the two sides remained far apart and government ministers refused to join the negotiating table.Lynch said the offers were unacceptable. “What we’ve come to understand is that the dead hand of this Tory government is all over this dispute – and the fingerprints of Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, and the DNA of Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, are all over the problems in the railway, and indeed in this society.”He said the source of the dispute was the government’s

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