Unite the Union has been savaged over a plot to “hold Christmas hostage” with the threat of industrial action amid an ongoing supply chain crisis. TalkRADIO presenter Nick De Bois hit out the leftwing trade union for “hypocritical opportunism” amid concerns a shortage in lorry drivers will ruin Christmas for millions. Strike action could see further supply chaos as Unite bosses look to push for higher wages amid chronic staff shortages.
Mike Graham told his TalkRADIO colleague Unite planned to “take Christmas hostage and take out a bunch of people from various jobs including lorry drivers and take them all out on strike.”
Mr De Bois said: “I have really seen of what frankly hypocritical opportunism from Unite.
“Let me explain why if I may cast your minds back to pre-referendum who was it that was urging 6 million union members, and it was a combination of unions GMB and everyone, but Unite at the lead saying all of you vote for remain.
“Well, what were they voting for by voting for remain if it was to continue uncontrolled immigration that of course kept the wages of HGV drivers suppressed.
“It meant that the pay and conditions that they are now claiming to be arguing for would have remained depressed instead of being the rises we are already seeing from for example supermarkets
“Yet these people are now saying they want to come out on strike.”
He added: “I mean it is unbelievable hypocrisy and opportunism
“They deserve to be called out for it.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The long-term answer to the supply chain issues we’re currently experiencing must be developing a high-skill, high-wage economy here in the UK.
“Alongside a raft of other measures to help the road haulage industry, we’ve streamlined the testing process and announced thousands of skills boot camps to train new drivers.
“These new measures are working – we’ve been seeing up to three times more applications for HGV driving licences than normal as well as a deserved rise in salaries.
“The temporary changes we’re consulting on to cabotage rules will also make sure foreign hauliers in the UK can use their time effectively and get more goods moving in the supply chain at a time of high demand.”
Adrian Jones, the national officer for road transport at Unite, which represents around 50,000 HGV drivers, told the Telegraph this week:
“Drivers have had enough. Our members need proper facilities, fair pay and respect.
“HGV drivers are the blood in the body of our economy. We will not hesitate to cut that supply off if the Government and the employers refuse to do what is necessary.
“We have made this point to ministers and officials repeatedly – but they have not made any firm commitments, even though they know what needs to be done.”
He added “law currently prevents us from launching a national strike”, before saying: “We are now looking at coordinated strikes before January if we do not get those commitments from the Government and employers. We will not shy away from that.”