The UK Government is modernising the railway network “despite the best efforts of unions,” Grant Shapps said today.
The transport secretary’s comments came as he announced £1bn worth of funding to replace the Victorian signalling system along the East Coast Main Line (ECML) – which connects London to Edinburgh – with a digital one.
“We’re building a railway fit for the 21st century,” he said. “We’ve got to get out of these 20th century work practices in order that the whole thing works together and provides a much better service for the public.
“While union bosses waste time touring television studios and standing on picket lines, I am busy getting on with the job at hand and modernising our railway.”
The secretary has been entangled in a row with transport unions, after 40,000 members of the union RMT walked out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday last week over job cuts and pay.
RMT railway workers were joined by Tube workers – who took it to the streets on Tuesday bringing London to a standstill – as well as by members of other unions, such as Unite and Aslef.
Aslef members working for Croydon Tramlink staged a two-day strike which ends at midnight tonight.