Mick Lynch rules out canceling rail strike before Christmas after key talks with… | So Good News
24 November 2022, 14:21 | Updated: November 24, 2022, 4:29 p.m
Union boss Mick Lynch has said rail strikes planned for the run-up to Christmas will go ahead, following fractious talks with industry bosses and politicians.
The RMT boss said his members were “once bitten, twice shy” after calling off a strike two weeks ago, which he said had resulted in no progress in talks over pay and conditions.
Now around 40,000 members across Network, as well as 14 other train operating companies, will walk out on 13, 14, 16 and 17 December, as well as a new wave of strikes on 3, 4, 6 and 7 January.
Union bosses met industry bosses and transport politicians on Wednesday in an attempt to avert the strike.
The RMT boss said the meeting was “positive” because they had “got rid of the bellicose nonsense that we used to have”.
“We are now starting to have a dialogue,” he told reporters outside the Ministry of Transport.
He said Transport Secretary Mark Harper has committed to writing to him saying “how he sees this going forward and taking steps forward towards a solution”.
Mr Lynch said: “What we are essentially asking him to do … you have heard him say that he is going to be a facilitator of a settlement or a resolution of the dispute,” he said.
“And we have told him that there is no use having these warm words, we have heard them from his predecessor, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, but nothing happened. So we want him to write down what he is going to do. about the mechanics of how a resolution will be arranged.”
Lynch added that he was unclear whether the railroad executives the union spoke with even had bargaining power.
“At the moment we even have doubts about the authority of the people we’re talking to, the Rail Delivery Group, and they’re telling us they don’t have the authority to negotiate, they don’t have a mandate and they’ve even mounted legal challenges to us whether they can negotiate at all, the RMT boss told reporters.
“So we have a situation where 14 train operating companies are telling us they can’t negotiate and so is their industry group. So I’ve asked him to sit down in writing and clarify what those people’s authority is.”
The strikes come on top of major repair work already planned on key rail routes, with the double threat likely to see many Christmas plans put on hold.
It also follows the Aslef union’s announcement that the members will hold another strike on 26 November in a pay dispute.
The already existing strike was already scheduled to affect 12 train companies.
Network Rail had already scheduled engineering work from Friday 23 December to Tuesday 3 January, with key routes from London stations canceled or with reduced services.
The strike comes on the back of six months of rail disputes over job cuts, pay and working conditions, with impending travel chaos on the cards.
It is the latest wave of strikes staged by workers, following ballots already announced by members of the postal, civil service and nurses’ unions.