A caller has invoked the spirit of Margaret Thatcher and her ability to end industrial disputes by saying she would put a stop to “shenanigans” surrounding train strikes.
Eugene, from Derbyshire, called into Channel 5’s Jermey Vine on 5 today and said bringing the Tory leader’s ethos back from the dead would end industrial action that has been plaguing the rail system in recent times.
Asked by presenter Storm Huntley his opinion on a decision by Network Rail to axe bonuses for staff who went on strike during a long-running dispute, Eugene said: “We should have Thatcher back”.
Workers who walked out on strike from June 2022 have been told they will miss out on a bonus worth around £300.
Eugene said: “Let’s get one thing straight here first, if they were going to give a bonus that money should be given back to the people who’ve lost out, and that’s the commuters.
“I’ve never supported the Tories, but I’ll tell you one thing, we should have Thatcher back. If she was back, we wouldn’t have these shenanigans that are going on today.
“They spoil everybody’s holidays, they spoil weekends, they spoil bank holidays, and they’ll wait for the next big thing that’s going to happen in London and they’ll say, ‘come on, out we go again, out we go’. This is wrong.”
Presenter Storm asked Eugune if he thought management at train firms should also forgo their bonuses, to which he replied, “Well, let’s look at this another way” adding that the bosses were entitled to the money because “they were running around like yo-yos trying to keep the trains going”.
He continued: “If we don’t give the bosses that money, they’ll walk out and go to other industries.”
Network Rail’s decision to stop the pay awards could affect up to 20,000 members of the RMT union, the BBC reports.
A dispute over pay and working conditions ended in March when members voted to accept a nine percent pay rise.
Panellist and former Coronation Street actress Nicola Thorp asked Eugene “when was the last time you took a train?”, and he responded he didn’t anymore because he was “fed up with them”.
He said: “I’ve got to go down to London in two days’ time, I’m taking a taxi down.”
Nicola added: “I think people are sick and tired of the rail network because of how expensive they are, and unreliable they are.”
She explained “private companies set whatever they like” and that her own journey to visit her parents by train used to cost £70 but that it was now about £120.
She continued: “That’s when you are going off-peak, if you go on peak it’s three, four, five hundred pounds. It’s insane.”
Nicola said the workers striking now were not just striking for themselves but also for a “fair rail network”, prompting fellow panellist Carole Malone to chime in, “no they’re not”.
Journalist Carole said: “You’ve living in a dream world, you think the workers are going on strike for the people that they are inconveniencing, people like Eugene who doesn’t use them anymore.
“I don’t believe that for a nano-second, I really don’t.”