Mick Lynch has warned that industrial action on the rails is currently set to continue for five months – but insists the King’s coronation is not being considered.
The General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union spoke to GB News National Reporter Paul Hawkins outside London Euston station, where picket lines have been mounted as union members continue their strikes over pay and working conditions.
Around half of Britain’s railway lines are closed and only a fifth of services are running as thousands of workers at Network Rail and train operators stage two 48-hour walkouts starting on Tuesday and Friday.
The scene at London Paddington train station, during a strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), in a long-running dispute over jobs and pensions. Picture date: Tuesday January 3, 2023. Jonathan Brady
Drivers in the Aslef union will strike on Thursday.
Picket lines have been mounted outside railway stations across the country in a repeat of what became a familiar sight last year.
Speaking to GB News, Mr Lynch said he wanted a resolution.
“We’re ready and able to discuss with the companies and the government whenever they want to put that on… If there’s an invite we’ll be there.”
He added: “At the moment we don’t think they are telling the truth about this dispute. They scuppered the talks before Christmas in our view, and that’s got to change.”
Asked about the financial impact for union members losing pay, Mr Lynch said: “They know that this is a vital dispute for the future of the industry and the future of their working life, so they are fully behind what we’re doing. We don’t want them to lose any more money… Our members are fully committed to the dispute.”
Challenged on whether the rail strikes could continue throughout 2023, the RMT boss replied: “We’ve got another five months on the mandate, right through the rest of the winter and the spring. We would have to refresh that mandate in another vote if necessary.
“We hope it doesn’t come to that. We hope we get to a situation where we get a settlement.
“The coronation is not a factor we’re thinking… We don’t want the disruption for that public event or for any other.”