RMT’s Mick Lynch discusses rail strikes
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The one-day action falls between national rail strikes on Thursday and Saturday, and coincides with the start of a two-day walkout by bus drivers in west and southwest London. Transport for London, which operates the Tube, asked commuters to avoid travel if possible.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “Tube bosses are having secret negotiations with the Government about slashing jobs and undermining working conditions and pensions, all in the name of removing subsidies.
“This Government-led assault on staff will be disastrous, as no other comparable urban transport system in the world operates without financial support from central Government to ensure good and reliable services.
“The Government needs to stop trying to get services on the cheap by slashing jobs and wages, and invest in what should be a world-class transport network.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “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.”
Passengers using national rail services today will be left feeling the hangover of Thursday’s strikes, with the network having to catch up to get trains where they need to be before resuming journeys.
Only one-in-five trains ran on Thursday, with many areas having no services at all running between them, with the same again set to happen on Saturday.
Andy Lord, TfL’s chief operating officer, said: “I would like to apologise to our customers for the strike action being carried out by RMT and Unite, which will have a significant impact on the city’s transport network.
“I understand how frustrating these strikes are, and I’d like to remind the RMT and Unite that it’s not too late to work with us, Arriva Rail London and RATP (which runs the London buses affected by the strike) to find a resolution and avoid the huge disruption this action will cause to people’s journeys and to the economy.”
A spokesperson for the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Discussions on TfL funding are ongoing with the government, but TfL has been clear that nobody has or will lose their jobs because of the proposals previously set out, and that all changes are always subject to full consultation with staff and trade unions.
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“Sadiq has also been clear that the Government should not use TfL employee terms and conditions as a bargaining tool in funding negotiations.”
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