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Transport Secretary Slammed By Labour For Not Meeting Striking Rail Unions

Transport secretary Mark Harper has been told to “get back to work” after it was revealed he has not met with rail unions staging strike action since last year.

On Saturday the RMT union is taking industrial action in protest at pay, jobs and working conditions.

And ASLEF workers are staging overtime bans from July 31 until August 5 and then from August 7 until August 12.

Back in May, Harper said the government had “done our bit to try and end these disputes”.

But official meeting logs show he has not met with the RMT or ASLEF since November and December 2022 respectively.

The logs – published by the government- reveal Harper has only met with both unions once since being appointed to the job in October 2022.

Louise Haigh, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, said it was “unacceptable” that Harper had “refused to do his job whilst the British public have faced over a year of rail chaos”.

“The very least we should expect from the transport secretary is to sit down with the unions and rail operators, to try and reach an agreement to end these strikes for good,” she said.

“The fact he has failed to do even that means we can safely add the Transport Secretary to the list of things that do not work in Britain anymore.”

In a letter to Harper seen by HuffPost UK, Haigh demanded the government call and urgent meeting between rail unions and rail operators.

“If these strikes are to end, then it is essential that you get back to work and use your role to facilitate productive negotiations,” she told him.

The logs – which were updated on July 20- show that while Harper has not met the two unions this year, his junior rail minister Huw Merriman did hold meetings in January.

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