Tom Goodenough Tom Goodenough

What the papers say: Trump’s top team, and ‘spurious’ Southern strikes

Southern’s strike continues for a second day today – spelling more misery for commuters. And the Sun knows who is to blame for the disruption: the ‘hard-left’ who are willing to ‘inflict misery on the public for political ends with impunity’. The Sun says that it’s time for a crackdown on strikes. It says the proposal apparently being put forward by some ministers – to block walkouts only backed by a small number of union members – doesn’t go far enough. Instead, the paper says, it’s time to force unions to ‘prove a dispute’s legitimacy in court or face ruin over a strike’s consequences’.

The Daily Telegraph agrees with the view that these strikes are motivated by political reasons, saying that the safety reasons being put forward for the industrial action are ‘spurious’. Instead, the paper argues, ‘this is about targeting a private-sector employer and a Conservative Government’. So what can be done to bring an end to this crippling industrial action? The paper suggests it’s time for ministers to get tough. It says that ‘since the Government agreed the contract with Govia, it falls to the Government to resolve its failings’. And the paper goes on to say that if Govia – the company that owns Southern – doesn’t resolve things soon, the Government should consider suspending the company’s contract. ‘Operators, like the trade unions, should be reminded that the purpose of the railways is to serve passengers,’ the paper concludes.

In the Times, it’s Donald Trump’s choice of Rex Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon, as his secretary of state that raises eyebrows. The president-elect is making a clear signal of his bid to reinvent government, the Times says. But while Trump has come in for criticism for appointing an outsider like Tillerson, ‘there is no harm in thinking big,’ the paper argues.

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