Grant Shapps is ‘a snake-oil salesman,’ says union boss

Eddie Dempsey hinted at a warm relationship with employers, saying management are conducting themselves ‘with grace’

<p>Transport secretary has come under fire from union </p>

Transport secretary has come under fire from union

The war of words between the main rail union and the government has stepped up, with a top RMT official describing the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, as “a snake-oil salesman”.

It follows Mr Shapps telling parliament that the union wishes “to drag the railway back to the 1970s”.

The transport secretary said: “They are employing the tactics of bygone unions: deflecting accountability for their strikes on to others; attempting to shift the blame for their action, which will cause disruption and damage to millions of people; and claiming that others are somehow preventing an agreement to their negotiation.”

But on the first day of the biggest rail strike since 1989, Eddie Dempsey, senior assistant general secretary of the RMT, told The Independent: “I’m afraid Grant Shapps couldn’t lie straight in bed. He’s a snake-oil salesman, he’s been lying to the British public, he’s been lying to Parliament.

“A lot of what the government is saying is lunatic hyperbole and incendiary remarks. They don’t want a settlement.

“The government is stripping billions out of our industry at the same time as protecting profits in the industry, a lot of it going to tax havens, and telling our members they’ve got to lose their jobs and tighten their belts.

“We think that’s a disgrace, and we’re prepared to fight to make sure our members have got job security and a pay rise. So if we can get that settlement these strikes will be called off.”

In a revelation about the warmth of the relationship between the union and the management of Network Rail and the train operators, Mr Dempsey told The Independent the employers had conducted themselves “with grace”.

He said: “I have to say people on the industry side of this dispute have been conducting themselves properly, and if you listen to their statement it’s quite measured, but Grant Shapps is holding the pen. So until he lets go of it, we can’t reach a settlement and the disputes will remain on.”

Mr Shapps’s speech to parliament added: “We have seen union leaders use all the tricks in the book to confuse, to obfuscate and to mislead the public.

“I do not think the public will be hoodwinked.”

Further strikes are set for Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 June. Disruption to services will continue until Sunday 26 June.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in