Grant Shapps blasts 'lying Mick Lynch' with RMT
strikes to go ahead tomorrow

Mick Lynch had accused the transport secretary of 'wrecking negotiations'

Published

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has accused Mick Lynch of “wasting time making false claims in the media” after the union boss accused him of wrecking negotiations.

Rail strikes are set to cripple the country tomorrow with only a quarter of trains due to leave the station.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has blamed transport secretary Grant Shapps for "wrecking negotiations".

But the Tory MP hit back against Mr Lynch, urging him and union members to stop "making false claims in the media".

Grant Shapps
Grant Shapps

He said in a statement: “This is a total lie from the RMT and its general secretary. I have had absolutely nothing to do with either the issuing of a letter from Network Rail, the employer, to the RMT – or any request to withdraw it.

“I understand that the letter makes no mention of 2,900 redundancies, but I do know it confirmed Network Rail would be introducing desperately needed reforms for the industry after the union chose strike action instead of further talks.

“The RMT continues to deflect from the fact that the only people responsible for the massive public disruption this week is them.

“I want to urge Mick Lynch and his members to stop wasting time making false claims in the media and instead return to the negotiating table so an agreement can be reached.”

The RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, on a picket line outside St Pancras station
The RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, on a picket line outside St Pancras station

Health Secretary Sajid Javid also branded the railway workers’ strikes as “unjustified”.

Speaking at a visit to St George’s Hospital on Wednesday, he said: “Well, I think, and I hope actually that the rail workers are quite unique in how they’ve responded to higher inflation because I think their strike is just just completely unjustified.

“It is right that we look to modernise our rail services, it is right we take into account perhaps the longer term impacts of the pandemic with the changing patterns of the way people work.

“I think people recognise also that during the pandemic, the Government put in billions of pounds, I think, some £16 billion of extra support for the rail industry. That’s something like £600 per family in the UK. But that can’t be continued.

“We need to recognise this and make a changes and think this strike is unjustified and it’s hurting a lot of people, particularly people trying to get to hospital for their appointments and also you have NHS staff trying to get to the hospitals to help them.”