Grant Shapps pledges to use the law to reform railways and insist the days of militant unions holding Britain to ransom ‘are numbered’

  • Grant Shapps has said he will serve unions section 188 legal warnings in weeks
  • Legislation for a minimum number of trains to be run in future strikes is written
  • This comes ahead of the 24-hour walkout by drivers’ union Aslef cutting services

The days of militant rail unions holding the country to ransom ‘are numbered’, the Transport Secretary said last night.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Grant Shapps revealed he has been quietly working on a multi-pronged plan to crush hard-Left union barons for good.

He is preparing to serve them with section 188 legal warnings within weeks to force through reforms including guardless trains. 

And he said legislation requiring a minimum number of trains to be run in future strikes is ‘written and ready to go’ for the new prime minister to pass through Parliament by autumn.

It comes ahead of the 24-hour walkout today by drivers’ union Aslef, which will bring vast swathes of the railways to a grinding halt and cut off parts of rural England.

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, has said legislation requiring a minimum number of trains to be run in future strikes is ‘written and ready to go’

Mr Shapps said: ‘It won’t make me at all popular with the unions, but I’m absolutely convinced passengers are on our side, they’re fed up with this and they want to see the railway service running properly.

‘We’re going to win this… I’m afraid for the unions this is their last stand. Their days of holding passengers to ransom are numbered.’

The RMT has snubbed an 8 per cent pay rise over this year and next from Network Rail, an offer Mr Shapps said was ‘very good’. Network Rail has issued the union with a section 188 warning, meaning it can begin forcing through changes without its consent.

But Mr Shapps said the notices will also start being served on behalf of 15 train operators serving most of England within weeks.

Minimum service levels could be in place by autumn, he said, adding: ‘At the moment, the legislation is written and ready to go and looking for a slot in the legislative timetable in Parliament.’ 

No trains will run in or out of London Euston or Birmingham New Street on the West Coast Main Line today.

It kick-starts a week of misery for travellers, with RMT workers for Network Rail and 14 operators walking out next Thursday and Saturday. 

RMT boss Mick Lynch said: ‘[Mr Shapps] is a dreadful minister who is continuing his dereliction of duty by issuing idol threats against railway workers.’

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