Grant Shapps Citi Lowe's Beyond Grant Shapps

Johnson and Shapps pretend they can’t end the rail strikes. That’s nonsense

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This week has left the country drained after government ministers reverted to divisive political playbooks last seen in the 1970s and early 1980s.The Liberal Democrats are against the rail strikes and if a summer of discontent is not to turn into a winter of discontent and full-on stagflation, ministers must step back from the brink.The position of lower-paid workers across our country should be at the forefront of ministers’ thinking – not that of the highest earners in the City, whose pay and bonuses the government announced this week would not be limited in any way.For back in the real world, I’ve heard this week of anguished people unable to visit their elderly and vulnerable parents.

I’ve heard of nurses now forced to take multiple buses, struggling to get to their 12-hour hospital shifts. And I’ve also heard from dedicated public sector workers, scraping by on low or even minimum wages, unable to afford to pay for even basic necessities, as prices spiral out of control, leaving wages far behind.The solution to such distressing stories is clear: instead of strikes, there should be dialogue between government ministers and union bosses.Boris Johnson and Grant Shapps in particular are playing politics with people’s lives, as they pretend to be innocent bystanders to the dispute.

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