politics

‘Fight of our lifetime’: RMT sparks fears of more mass rail strikes



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MT general secretary Mick Lynch has sparked fears of further mass rail strikes as he warned unions face the “fight of our lifetime”.

More than 50,000 train workers walked out for three days last month, resulting in rail services across the UK being severely disrupted.

The union is demanding a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies, no unagreed changes to terms and conditions, and pay increases which reflect the rising cost of living.

At a general meeting in Birmingham on Monday, Mr Lynch said the negotiations were the “toughest ” the RMT had been involved in and Network Rail and train operators had not “diluted their stance” since June’s strike action.

He said: “They are trying to cut thousands of jobs and they have no scruples in cutting back on safety regimes in order to do so.

“They are seeking to rip up working practices and conditions, agreements that protect our members and in doing so they will drive up unsocial hours, work fatigue and occupational ill health.

“And they are seeking to make our members poor with below inflation pay offers which do not take into account the cost-of-living crisis.”

Mr Lynch added: “We went to the train operators, and they put on the table that virtually every rail worker would be re-contracted on a new contract of employment and a new set of terms and conditions.

“And they are going to bring back the Driver Only Operated disputes in every single train operating company. They have told me that face-to-face. They said it was their mandate from the Department of Transport.

“So, this is as serious as it gets. It is the fight of our lifetime and of our generation.”

The Government has argued that the railways were subsidised to the tune of £16billion during the pandemic and the union’s demands are not feasible.

Network Rail says modernisation plans, which would see a reduction in station staff, are essential to keep the system on its feet.

Route director Mark Killick said previously: “We are continuing to work with unions to find a solution and will keep doing so. But we also have to be honest and accept that we have to change the way we work, to reflect the changes in society and travel patterns post pandemic.”



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