The Sun won’t tell you why train staff are striking. So we will

A nasty smear on workers as the Sun fails to provide balance


The Sun newspaper has published a nasty smear against train and London Underground staff set to strike later today.

What you won’t find in the story is why staff are striking. So we’ll tell you what the Sun won’t.

But first, the coverage.

The Sun’s story, Feud Tube: Strike ‘sour grapes’, consists of transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin accusing the unions – RMT, Unite, Aslef and TSSA – of striking simply because they are sorry the Tories won the general election.

If the unions had a stinging response to McLoughlin’s wild accusation, you won’t find it in the Sun. Its story has no quote or response from the unions, any train or tube staff, or anyone sympathetic to their position, either to respond or to say why they are striking.

Here’s what the story does say:

“Ministers plan to ban walkouts unless backed by 40 percent of those eligible to vote.

Some 20,000 Tube staff strike [sic] from 6.30pm over all-night services starting in September.

They have snubbed a two percent offer plus £2,000 for drivers.”

‘Snubbed’? How rude of them!

As it happens, this strike received 90 percent support from members of all four unions, with a turnout of more than 50 percent. Not that you’d know it from reading the Sun. 

The Sun says editorial, titled Rail Wreckers, tells us:

“Unions have a right to protest. But it is time they were prevented from closing down essential services and making life misery [sic] for millions at the drop of a hat.”

So, they can protest, but not strike – i.e. employ the only negotiating tool they have, the ability to withdraw their labour.

So says the newspaper of the working class!

Here’s what the Sun won’t tell you. Tube staff are being asked to work extra hours at night and on weekends when the tube switches to 24 hour services in September.

The unions say staff already work seven-day, 24 hour shifts, and seek assurances this will not fall on people already working nights and weekends.

They also want a modest pay rise (much smaller than, say, the £7,000 a year MPs are set to receive) and oppose staff cuts at stations, which they say will provide a poor service to the public.

You can read more on their reasons here and here.

But not in the Sun. 

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

Read more: 

Never mind the unions. What about the Sun’s influence on the Labour leadership contest?

Tory press takes the side of the bosses with its anti-union bias

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31 Responses to “The Sun won’t tell you why train staff are striking. So we will”

  1. Selohesra

    The strikes just accelerate the time when we have driverless trains & far fewer people employed in the industry Much of the technology already with us & each strike increases the support amongst the majority of commuters – does anyone know the last year we managed to get by without a rail or tube strike?

  2. WilliamSSharp

    Some New Features with leftfootforward….. Go To Next Page

  3. Charlatans

    Jeez…… how can I get one of these jobs? Anyone know?

    Tube drivers at the top of the salary scale are currently paid £49,673 a year. That’s thanks to a multi-year deal the unions struck to keep pay for their members’ salaries above inflation. But they also only work a 36-hour week and have 43 days of leave, according to London

    Retired now from my little tea rooms me and family owned, after 25 years in the Army on £17,000 pa – but this sort of salary beats us in our cafe into a cocked hat – and we shared less than the total amount these Drivers each get between us three – and we all work never less than 60 hours a week – and we only close Christmas day and average 2 days off a month.

    Are you sure these little greedy excuses are the real reason for the strike? Must be some mistake – something you not telling us!

  4. JoeDM

    Pure greed.

  5. stevep

    The Sun has been anti-union ever since it sacked it`s unionised staff under draconian Tory union legislation in the early 1980`s. It then ensconced itself behind razor-wire compounds in Wapping and proceeded to vilify anything left of Thatcher whilst simultaneously promoting various right-wing agendas and notions.
    It`s still much the same today.

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