RMT boss Mick Lynch calls for meeting with Rishi Sunak over strikes

Industrial action on the railways is set to continue over the festive period (Picture: Getty Images)

RMT boss Mick Lynch has called for an urgent meeting with Rishi Sunak to bring the strikes crisis to an end.

Walkouts across the network are set to continue over Christmas and into the new year over a long-running pay and conditions dispute.

The RMT has accused the government of blocking train operators from offering an improved pay deal, something ministers have denied.

In an open letter to the prime minister, Mr Lynch said was ‘directing the mandate for the rail companies and has torpedoed the talks’.

He wrote: ‘There is no reason why this dispute could not be settled in the same way that RMT has resolved disputes in Scotland and Wales.

‘Where the Scottish and Welsh governments have had responsibility for mandates, pay settlements for 2022 have been agreed and neither of these settlements have been conditional on cutting staffing, and eroding safety, security and accessibility.

‘It is already a national scandal that your government has been paying the train operating companies not to settle the dispute, indemnifying them to the tune of £300 million so that they have no incentive to reach a resolution.

Several industries are going on strike this winter (Picture: Getty/EPA/BBC/Metro.co.uk)
The meeting with Rishi Sunak if there is one may not go down too well (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

‘It’s not clear to me why, on top of this, your government has now torpedoed the negotiations, but I now believe that a meeting with yourself represents the best prospect of any renewed progress.

‘We have a duty to explore every possible option for settling this dispute and I’m willing to do my part. I hope you will agree to meet me.’

A government spokesperson said: ‘It’s incredibly disappointing that, despite a new and improved deal offering job security and a fair pay rise, the RMT continues to hold Christmas hostage with more damaging strikes.

‘The government has played its part by facilitating a fair and decent offer and the RMT and its members should vote this deal through and end this harmful disruption.’

Several industries are striking over the coming weeks in what has been dubbed a new ‘winter of discontent’.

Ambulance workers, nurses, bus drivers, airport baggage handlers, highway workers, border force staff, driving examiners and Royal Mail workers have all voted for industrial action.

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