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‘Once bitten, twice shy’: Mick Lynch hints rail strikes gained’t be referred to as off after assembly transport secretary

Mick Lynch, basic secretary of the RMT union, has hinted that the upcoming prepare strikes gained’t be referred to as off after he met with the brand new transport secretary.

Arriving on the Department for Transport (DfT) HQ in central London at 11.30am this morning, Mr Lynch stated that he was anticipating a “constructive meeting”.

However, following the assembly with Mark Harper, he rejected an invite to name off the eight days of walk-outs announced for December and January which might be presently deliberate.

Asked if the RMT would name off the strikes earlier than Christmas, he stated: “Well, we called the strikes off two weeks ago, we gave a two-week period – it’s gone past that now, it’s nearly two and a half weeks – where we were told we would get a tangible outcome, we would get commitments and proposals. We’ve got none of that.

“So, you know, once bitten, twice shy, in that sense.”

On Monday Mr Lynch accused Mr Harper of stopping a settlement to the dispute by the prepare operators, represented by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG). The union chief stated a gathering at which agency proposals had been to be tabled by the employers was referred to as off at 55 minutes’ discover.

The RMT boss stated on Thursday afternoon had seen an finish to “the bellicose nonsense we had” with the last-but-one transport secretary, Grant Shapps and stated that “a dialogue” had begun with Mr Harper.

“We want him to set down in writing the mechanics of how a settlement is going to be accomplished,” Mr Lynch stated.

“We’ve got a situation where 14 train operators have said they can’t negotiate.

“I’ve asked him to create a liaison forum at ministerial level.

“We need pace in these negotiations. I’m sure the travelling public and the businesses around the country and the economy want to see this dispute settled in a proper way.”

Mr Lynch stated he wouldn’t name off the strikes deliberate for December and January.

But he stated a gathering with Network Rail would happen on Friday morning and would discuss to the Rail Delivery Group – representing prepare operators – as quickly as attainable.

After the assembly the transport secretary stated:”We had an open and sincere dialog in regards to the critical challenges dealing with the railways.

“We have common ground – we both want the dispute to end and we both want a thriving railway which delivers for passengers and workers alike.

“To achieve this though, we need to work together, across the entire industry to ensure our railway industry thrives.

“There is a deal to be done, and I believe we will get there.

“ I want to facilitate the RMT and the employers to reach an agreement and end the dispute for the benefit of the travelling public.”

As issues stand, the RMT’s deliberate industrial motion will hit passengers earlier than Christmas and after the New Year, with 4 blocks of 48-hour strikes.

The stoppages are separate to this Saturday’s strike by prepare driver members of the Aslef union, who’re stopping work for 11 prepare operators.

The RDG warned passengers: “Train services will be severely disrupted on Saturday 26 November due to a walkout by drivers at 11 train companies.

“Passengers should only travel by train if necessary and should check their journey in advance, and expect some disruption on Sunday with a reduced timetable in operation.

Daniel Mann, director of industry operations at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “The strike by Aslef brings more uncertainty for passengers and businesses by disrupting their weekend plans.”

The assembly between the RMT chief and the transport secretary comes as Office for Rail and Road figures reveal the scale of collapse of passenger numbers during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the 12 months between April 2021 and March 2022, the variety of travellers utilizing London Waterloo – the busiest station in Britain – was lower than half the pre-pandemic degree.

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