Minister attacks latest Tube strikes

A planned six-day strike on London Underground was condemned by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond in Parliament today.

Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out later this month and in June, threatening travel chaos for millions of passengers.



Mr Hammond said the strikes were "highly irresponsible" and warned the union they would only lead to "tougher industrial relations laws".



At Commons question time, Tory Greg Hands (Chelsea and Fulham) asked: "Will you join me in condemning the proposed six days of tube strikes by the RMT next month over only two individual employees as both obscene and irresponsible?



"And also Labour's candidate for London mayor (Ken Livingstone) who has singularly failed to condemn the action, and indeed his deputy (Val Shawcross) who even appears at RMT protest meetings?"



Mr Hammond replied: "I absolutely agree with you. This series of strikes is highly irresponsible.



"No one in this Government is spoiling for a fight with the unions but the unions appear to be spoiling for a fight with London.



"I say to the RMT and other unions that this kind of irresponsible strike action, where an alternative, proper remedy - there's an employment tribunal ongoing - is available, this is only strengthening the hand of those including the mayor who are calling for tougher industrial relations laws."



The RMT said around 1,500 Tube drivers will walk out for between nine and 24 hours from Monday May 16 to Friday May 20 and again from Monday June 13 to Friday June 17.



The move follows a 2-1 vote in favour of industrial action by RMT members in protest at the dismissal of Northern Line driver Eamon Lynch and Arwyn Thomas, a Bakerloo Line driver. Both men have taken a case of unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal.









Commons Leader Sir George Young, a former transport secretary, also criticised the RMT.



During questions on future Commons business, Sir George said: "This Government is not seeking to pick a fight with the trade unions. We have no plans to introduce fresh legislation on employment laws, but we do keep the matter under review.



"I very much hope trade unions will not resort to strike action until every other opportunity has been examined.



"In this particular case, I am not convinced they have done this."









Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: "It is clear that there is now a concerted attack being mobilised by the hard right of the Tory Party that would attempt to impose a form of twisted democracy on the RMT and the trade unions that would mean that the vast majority of politicians, including London Mayor Boris Johnson, would not have been elected if the same rules applied.



"RMT secured a two to one vote for action on a 46% turnout in this latest ballot - higher than the turnout in the 2008 mayoral election and streets ahead of the Euro elections and every set of council elections in living memory.



"We are also watching with interest the turnout in today's AV vote - will Boris and his crew try and overturn that if it fails to hit 50%?



"This is simple class war and a return to form for the old-school Tory right - one form of democracy for the political class and another for the working class fighting to defend jobs, services and their victimised colleagues."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
One of the installations in the Reiner Ruthenbeck exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery
artCritics rally to defend Reiner Ruthenbeck's 'Overturned Furniture'
News
John Cleese is promoting his new book
people
News
A-list actresses such as Deepika Padukone get paid a tenth of what their male counterparts make per film
news
News
The Black Friday Vines that will destroy your faith in humanity
i100

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special
TV
News
Robbie Rogers: US former Leeds United footballer, 25, announced he was gay in February 2013, shortly after he left Elland Road. Rogers 'retired' after writing on his blog: 'I'm a soccer player, I'm Christian, and I'm gay.' Has since signed with Los Angeles Galaxy.
peopleUS footballer said he had hoped Michael Sam and Jason Collins coming out might have helped
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
films
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Sales Manager

£60k - 80k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game