The Northern Powerhouse

Eamon Dyas

The issue preventing the employment of new train drivers isn’t the absence of rest-day rosters (as implied in a BBC report*) but the insistence by the rail operators (and the government) that the existing rest-day rosters be thrown out and the unions accept new ones that are detrimental to the interests of the existing staff.

This approach by the “North of England Business  Lobby” to the government is simply an act of class solidarity by the business class in order to provide the excuse for the government to find, not a negotiated settlement, but a legislative one. In other words further curtailment of workers rights. 

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership was formed in 2016 and the concept was a good one. But it seems from the outset that it excluded Trade Union involvement and as a result its perspective on how to grow the north of England economies was bound to exclusively reflect that of the business community. As a consequence its solutions to the challenges faced by the local northern economies tend to see employees as a negative cost and not as a positive asset. It is chaired by George Osborne – something omitted from this BBC report – and, in the absence of any Labour Party policies, it is unlikely to alter its current perspective any time soon.

* North of England faces rail chaos, warns business lobby.  BBC 28/11/22

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