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Union leader warns rail dispute could be prolonged ‘indefinitely’

18 Aug 2022 3 minute read
The RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, on a picket line. Picture by Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire.

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), called on the UK Government to end its stance of refusing to get involved in talks over pay, jobs and conditions.

He joined a picket line outside Euston station in London as only around one in five trains were running  because of the walkout by members of the RMT and TSSA unions.

Grant Shapps

Mr Lynch has written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, saying: “Your government has made the decision to use taxpayers’ money to bail out private train companies from being liable for revenue lost because of industrial action on the condition the same companies comply with government instructions to hold down pay, cut thousands of safety critical rail jobs, introduce driver only trains and close ticket offices across the network.”

Mr Lynch said the union had calculated that, including the previous and forthcoming industrial action, more than £120 million of taxpayers’ money had been used to “bail out” private train companies to date.

He told the PA news agency: “Using taxpayers’ money to satisfy the anti-union agenda of the Tory party and seek to break the trade unions is shameful and means the dispute will be prolonged indefinitely as the train companies don’t lose a penny as a result of the industrial action and therefore have no incentive to settle the disputes.

“Instead of waging an ideological war against rail workers, millions of voters would rather that the Government allow for a fair negotiated settlement.”


A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Yet again, for the sixth time since June, union leaders are opting to inflict misery and disrupt the day-to-day lives of millions instead of working with industry to agree a deal that will bring our railways into the 21st century.

“Today, thousands of A-level students across the country, many of whom have spent the majority of their college years studying at home due to the pandemic, are now being denied the chance to celebrate their hard work and dedication face to face with peers and teachers.

“It’s clear strikes are not the powerful tool they once were and union chiefs are no longer able to bring the country to a standstill as, unlike them, the world has changed and people simply work from home.

“All these strikes are doing is hurting those people the unions claim to represent, many of whom will again be out of pocket and forced to miss a day’s work.

“We urge union bosses to do the right thing by their members and let them have their say on Network Rail’s very fair deal, which will deliver the reforms our rail system urgently needs.

“It’s time to get off the picket lines and back around the negotiating table – the future of our railway depends on it.”

The majority of Transport for Wales (TfW) services across the Wales and Borders network will be suspended today (18 August) and on Saturday (20 August) due to the on-going national industrial action.

TfW are not involved in the dispute with the RMT but as a result of the dispute between the union and Network Rail are unable to operate rail services on Network Rail infrastructure.

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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 year ago

I rely on rail and bus networks because I am not allowed to have a driving license (dissociative aspects in my mental health prove it unsafe for me to be issued with one) and I wholeheartedly stand behind the fantastic rail workers in all areas of the system and their desires for better pay, better conditions and passenger safety.


Enough Is Enough!

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 year ago

Mick Lynch for King! He can then order the imprisonment of those found guilty of the cynical misuse of taxpayers money.

DAI Ponty
DAI Ponty
1 year ago

This is going to end in a General strike with all the different unions wanting a decent pay rise but also with the useless clowns in charge over the last 12 years and going back to the Thatcher era when all this trouble that is coming started selling of water gas electricity and the railways to SPIFFS who rob us blind. We now have had 3 of Thatcher Brats, Clowns, and Clones all rolled into one Cameron May Johnson and the 4th one coming LIZARD Liz Truss with the cost of living crisis there will be Families with children going… Read more »

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