Train drivers’ union slams Tory ‘hypocrisy’ after Christmas lunch jibe

"Stop pretending you actually care about workers."

Aslef train drivers union strikes

The ASLEF union leader has hit back at a dig from the Tory Party attempting to discredit the train drivers currently taking strike action, by attacking the union’s Christmas Party.  

A post on the official Conservative X page wrote: “Labour MPs party with union strikers while plotting to wreck Christmas for millions.”

Mark Harper, the Transport Secretary followed this up with the message: “While ASLEF bosses have lavish parties with Labour MPs, they remain intent on causing more disruption with strikes targeting working people who could only dream of a train driver’s salary north of £60,000.”

Tory ministers and the right-wing media have continued to push this narrative of ‘greedy’ train drivers, omitting that their pay still falls below the £84,144 annual salary of the MPs, and often broadcasters, who chastise them.  

Whilst also failing to mention that train drivers haven’t had a pay rise for nearly five years amid a cost of living crisis, whereas MPs have seen a massive 36% pay increase since 2008.

The union has also accused the government of spending more taxpayers’ money in allowing the dispute to continue by refusing to negotiate, than it would have cost to resolve it.

Mick Whelan, General Secretary of ASLEF, hit back at the millionaire Mark Harper: “A traditional lunch paid for by the individuals on a non strike day-is hardly anywhere on the same scale as partygate breaking the law whilst people died #hypocrisy.”

Another X user highlighted the tens of thousands of pounds in expenses the transport secretary has wracked up so far this year, whilst another posted a picture from the infamous Conservative HQ Christmas party during the Covid pandemic.

The Sun had reported how more than 100 union members were joined by Labour MPs for a Christmas lunch at the four-star Doncaster Hotel.  

One train driver responded on X: “Apparently my union ASLEF held a lavish Christmas party in Doncaster last week costing thousands of pounds. This effectively means that on a single afternoon @ASLEFunion has done more to support the northern economy than the @Conservatives have done in 13 years of government.”

ASLEF Scotland wrote back: “Now Mark stop pretending you actually care about workers. The members in Yorkshire & North East of England hold this lunch every year and fund it themselves. However, I doubt you funded your jolly to New York over the weekend. Stop being a hypocrite & try resolving the dispute.”

Train drivers with ASLEF are currently involved in nine days of industrial action between December 1-9, calling for a fair pay increase. They will be staging a ‘rolling programme’ of one-day walkouts between 2-6 December with affecting selective companies at a time across the 16 companies involved.

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

Comments are closed.