Isabel Webster RIPS APART Mick Whelan 'Public endure this relentless strike hell!’

Isabel Webster RIPS APART Mick Whelan 'Public endure this relentless strike hell!’

Mick Whelan explains why train drivers are continuing strikes over pay dispute

GB News
Gabrielle Wilde

By Gabrielle Wilde

Published: 30/01/2024

- 12:00

A week-long rail strike began today

GB News host Isabel Webster ripped into Aslef's General Secretary Mick Whelan as a week-long rail strike began today.

Train drivers around the country are striking for higher pay despite drivers earning basic average salaries of nearly £60 thousand.

Speaking to Whelan on GB News, Webster asked: "We've seen rail bosses awarding themselves in some instances a 61 per cent pay rise with £1 million bonuses.

"And yet the customers, the people who want to use the trains are having to endure this relentless strike hell. I think the Prime Minister might be right that there is this contempt towards the customer.

"Iain Duncan Smith has said that rail bosses have rank cowardice for failing to use the new legislation to provide a minimum service.

"What do you make of that?"

Mick Whelan

Aslef General Secretary Mick Whelan said that it has "been five years since some members have had a pay rise"

GB News

The Aslef General Secretary replied: "I naturally don't think that forced labour in the 21st or 22nd century is the right way forward. I think it's the next stain on our democracy.

"Very simply, if you can't solve the situation, you change the rules. Taking away people's human right to strike?

"I'm not quite on board with that, but at the same time, no one's been able to tell me how to do this safely.

"One operator told me it was taking 90 per cent of staff to run a 40 per cent service. Also, the knock-on effect for the future days would be immense.

"On a three-shift system, you don't have 90 per cent of staff available on any given day, so it doesn't work."

File photo dated 23/04/22 of passengers queuing to go through security in departures at Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport, west London. Border Force officers at Heathrow have seized material contaminated with uranium, and counter-terrorism police are investigating. Issue date: Tuesday January 10, 2023.

A week of strikes began today

GB News

Earlier in the interview, he said: "It's been five years since some of my members have had a pay rise.

"We're not looking for a pay rise for the pandemic years.

"Three years ago, when inflation started going through the roof, like many other sectors, we asked for a pay rise.

"We then found out that the people, the privateers that we work for, had done a deal with the Westminster government not to give us one.

"There's a move afoot to rip up our terms and conditions. We still went into negotiations of good faith and they've behaved despicably."


The walkouts could be the first test of new legislation which requires a minimum level of service during strikes

GB News

He added: "We had so much contempt that we went to work during the pandemic. We got key workers to work and moved food and medicine around the country.

"We did our duties as every other sector did. We didn't expect the same level of approbation and care as the NHS, but we expect, like anybody else, that we've got the right to ask for a pay rise."

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