Rail strikes: Richard Madeley slams 'unapologetic' RMT chief
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The RMT has voted to walk out on Tuesday June 21, Thursday June 23 and Saturday June 25 involving 13 rail operators including signallers, although London Underground staff will only walk out on June 21. Mr Wootton slammed the strike which is about pay and the impact of the cost of living crisis claiming that it will hit “hard working Brits”.
However, former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone started by arguing that the strike was needed due to low wage growth claiming he was “always” prepared to support those wanting a better life for themselves.
The Former leader of the Greater London Assembly argued that inequality had doubled following 12 years of Tory rule.
He said: “People join a union as I did to defend your jobs and to get a decent salary.
“And these last 12 years since the Tories came back to power inequality in Britain has doubled.
“We’re the fifth richest nation in the world but a fifth of our people are living in poverty.
“And I was always prepared to support people striking to get a better life for themselves.
“But in this country almost all the wealth created goes to the superich the top 1 percent and that’s wrong.
“We need a fairer Britain.”
However, Mr Wootton hit back giving the former Brent East Mp an example of his hairdresser who was “terrified” that the walkout was going to “wipe out” his business.
He said: “But this strike is going to destroy lots of small businesses.
“So I’ll give you an example Ken, I was with my hairdresser earlier today.
“And he said he will not be able to travel in to do his job for the entire week .
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“He’s absolutely terrified about the fact it’s going to wipe out his business, he will be unable to pay his bills.
“That is the consequences of the strike, it’s not destroying the rich, Ken, it’s destroying small businesses and hard working Brits.
“How do you justify it?”
Mr Livingstone hit back at the former Sun journalist by arguing that the strike was a result of the Government failing to invest in the railways.
He compared the Government’s policies unfavourably with his “fair fares” campaign when he was head of the GLC and his efforts to tackle pollution when he was London Mayor.
He said: “This is caused by a Government that is not doing enough to defend people and that’s the reality of it.
“Those wages need to go up and a lot of people in that union are worried that they’re going to start cutting the number of jobs and that is a disaster.
“I mean when you look back to when I became leader of the Greater London Council back in ‘81.
“We massively cut the fares, the number of people using the transport system soared and loads of people stopped using their cars, it cut down on pollution.
“Look now under Boris Johnson his eight years as mayor when he cancelled all my work to tackle air pollution from vehicles. 76,000 Londoners died in the eight years he was mayor.”
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