‘Come take a train journey with me’: Union boss challenges Sunak’s private jet-setting
TSSA President Marios Alexandrou took aim at Rishi Sunak’s rail policy and private jet-setting this morning, inviting the Prime Minister to “come take a train journey with me” amid continued industrial action.
According to Alexandrou, Sunak is “more familiar with the interior of an RAF Chinook than Waterloo in rush hour”.
The PM has come under fire this year for taking numerous high cost private jet and helicopter flights around the country, in one instance racking up a bill of £500,000 in a fortnight.
Earlier this week, he flew to Southampton by helicopter, a journey which the TSSA say would have taken an hour and a quarter by train from Waterloo.
“The jet-set lifestyle might be okay for a Goldman Sachs analyst, but Rishi’s the Prime Minister of the UK. As such he’s the one ultimately responsible for his government’s decisions on rail,” he said.
“Come take a train journey with me and find out what it’s really like to travel on Britain’s railways. I’ll even stand him a cup of coffee from the buffet!”
Recent delays to HS2 also came under fire in the Union boss’s statement. The flagship rail project has been pushed back repeatedly amid spiralling costs, with a pause to the £1.2bn Euston section the most recent casualty.
The TSSA’s president also blamed the government for the extension of the ongoing rail dispute, which will see rail workers from the RMT and Aslef unions walk out over the weekend.
TSSA members working on the Elizabeth line are also due to strike on 24 May, the one-year anniversary of the line’s opening.
“In recent months we’ve seen the delivery of HS2 paused for two years and the rail dispute extended unnecessarily due to government interference,” he said.
“It’s not fair to the passengers or to hard-working rail staff to have these decisions made by someone who has no idea what the consequences will feel like because he never takes the train.”
“The whole rail network is suffering, privatisation isn’t working,” he added.