Mick Lynch sends general strike warning as rail crisis grows

Strikes by members of the RMT and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association crippled services on Wednesday

Published

Union boss Mick Lynch has called for a general strike if Liz Truss becomes Prime Minister and brings in legislation to halt strikes affecting the country.

The Foreign Secretary has pledged to ensure “militant action” from trade unions can no longer “paralyse” the economy if she wins the Tory leadership contest.

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, said “coordinated and synchronised industrial action” would be needed if legislation is brought in.

He went on to say the “very dangerous situation” risks taking the country back to “Victorian times”.

Mick Lynch
Mick Lynch

The comments came as strikes by members of the RMT and Transport Salaried Staffs Association crippled services on Wednesday, with only around one in five trains running and some areas having none at all.

Meanwhile, Aslef announced its members will walk out on Saturday August 13, saying train firms failed to make a pay offer to help members keep pace with increases in the cost of living.

A general strike, which can only be called by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), is when a “substantial proportion” of workers in multiple sectors refuse to work until their demands are met.

Strikes by members of the RMT and Transport Salaried Staffs Association crippled services on Wednesday,
Strikes by members of the RMT and Transport Salaried Staffs Association crippled services on Wednesday,

Mr Lynch added: “Only the TUC can call a general strike, we will be campaigning in that direction, but we need coordinated and synchronised industrial action against what they’re proposing.

“I would be looking for a general strike if we can bring that off, but it’s up to others. We’re a small union compared to others. So we’ll have to see where that goes," he told the I.

Ms Truss has said her Government would introduce legislation in the first 30 days of Parliament to guarantee a minimum level of service on vital national infrastructure.

She would also ensure strike action has significant support from union members by raising the minimum threshold for voting in favour of strike action from 40 percent to 50 percent.

The minimum notice period for strike action would be raised from two weeks to four weeks, and a cooling-off period would be implemented so that unions can no longer strike as many times as they like in the six-month period after a ballot.

Rishi Sunak has also indicated that he would take a strong stance on trade unions if he becomes Prime Minister.

He said: “We need to urgently deliver our 2019 manifesto commitment to require minimum service levels during transport strikes.

"As Prime Minister, I will stop the unions holding working people to ransom. I will do whatever it takes to make sure that unions cannot dictate how the British people go about their daily life."