Susanna Reid asks Mick Lynch: ‘How are you NOT the Grinch?’

Mick Lynch is quizzed by Susanna Reid (Picture: ITV/Rex)

Union boss Mick Lynch has again denied he is the Grinch who stole Christmas after the RMT announced a string of rail strikes over the festive period.

In a fiery exchange on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Lynch said there was ‘no good time to have a strike’ but claimed his members had little to lose because rail bosses were planning to make thousands of redundancies while others faced pay freezes amid soaring inflation figures.

His appearance yesterday came after the RMT announced 48-hour walk-outs on December 13/14 and 16/17, as well as on January 3/4 and 6/7, amid a long-running row over pay, conditions and job losses. In a separate strike, train driver members of Aslef will walk out this Saturday at 12 operating companies.

Unions say the disruption will show how important their staff are to the country and how they deserve to have better job security and pay.

But GMB host Susanna Reid told Mr Lynch that it is train passengers who will ‘pay the price’ rather than rail bosses as Christmas shopping and family visits are thrown into turmoil.

She added: ‘The way that you have organised this strike… at the most sensitive time of the year, how are you not the Grinch that stole Christmas?’

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has announced further strikes to coincide with Christmas (Picture: Getty)

Mr Lynch replied: ‘There’s no good time to have a strike… We cannot leave this action to go cold. We’ve not been on strike for two months, we’ve moved other dates to facilitate important ­public and national events. If we just leave it they will impose the changes.

‘Network Rail have already issued statutory redundancy notices for 3,000 jobs and they will impose that unless we resist what they are doing and come to a compromise.’

Fresh talks are due to be held between Mr Lynch and transport ­secretary Mark Harper today, with the RMT’s John Leach saying he hoped the minister ‘puts his shoulder behind the wheel’. He told the BBC: ‘There’s a deal that can be done here.’

The union called off previously planned strikes earlier this month after an apparent breakthrough and ‘the promise of an offer from the train operating companies’. But it announced new action on Tuesday after claiming no new offer was made.

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies, criticised the announcement and said there had been ‘real progress’ towards agreeing the ‘outline of a credible deal’ until the talks broke down.

Work and pensions secretary Mel Stride also accused the RMT of being too quick to hold walk-outs and said they would hit family reunions and medical appointments.

The union’s strike action in ­December and January will involve as many as 40,000 of its members at Network Rail and 14 train companies.

Disruption is also expected in the days in between, and further hold-ups are expected as staff will also refuse to do any overtime during the period.

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