'Sunak is a fool if he does not reach a deal with workers taking strike action'

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'Sunak is a fool if he does not reach a deal with workers taking strike action'

Going on strike is never easy. It means the loss of pay and pension entitlement, an especially painful sacrifice during a cost-of-living crisis.

And workers are rightly reluctant to let down employers and, more importantly, the public they serve.

So we feel for the nurses, ambulance crews, railway workers and public sector staff who are walking out. And for teachers and doctors now balloting on stoppages.

We also have huge sympathy with those who have NHS treatment delayed and for all who rely on trains to go to work or who cannot take longed-for driving tests.

It is no accident so many unions are now taking industrial action. They do so not out of political motive but necessity which could turn a winter of discontent into a year of misery.

Teachers, civil servants and train drivers walk out in biggest strike in decade rridqqieqiqerinvTeachers, civil servants and train drivers walk out in biggest strike in decade
'Sunak is a fool if he does not reach a deal with workers taking strike action'Ambulance workers have taken industrial action recently (Getty Images)

Yet the Tories refuse to even talk about pay.

Instead they resort to anti-strike laws to neuter the basic human right of working people to withdraw their labour.

It is as if Rishi Sunak and his ministers care not one fig about the suffering this causes to voters. No wonder they languish 20 points behind Labour in the polls.

RMT leader Mick Lynch has been kept on hold since before Christmas to resume negotiations. Tomorrow he will meet Rail Minister Huw Merriman.

But unless Mr Merriman comes to the table with a realistic new offer to end the eight-month dispute, he will be wasting everyone’s time.

Pay awards of around 4% are not good enough for workers who gave their all during the pandemic and now face double-digit inflation.

Mr Sunak may think he can do to working people what Margaret Thatcher did to miners.

But he is fighting on too many fronts to win.

Mrs Thatcher could close the mines. Mr Sunak cannot do without hospitals, railways or schools.

In his position only a complete fool would not seek compromise.

Rail strikes to continue as RMT union members reject 'dreadful' pay offerRail strikes to continue as RMT union members reject 'dreadful' pay offer

MoD tanking

The MoD is good at making shopping lists.

But it is not so hot on choosing the right stuff to put in the armed forces’ trolley.

Today we reveal how £3billion spent on

Ajax mini-tanks is being wasted because ongoing mechanical problems mean they may never see service.

The MoD’s long history of bad procurement decisions is a running joke in Whitehall.

But that’s not so funny when billions of taxpayer cash is wasted and our fighting men and women do not get the kit they deserve.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace must finally get a grip. And if he fails he should make way for someone who can.

Handle bars

The lag who escaped from HMP Bedford on a bike nicked from the prison repair shop got two months added to his sentence.

It could have been worse.

He might have been sent to a chain gang.

Voice of the Mirror

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