Mick Lynch whinges Tories attacking 'HUMAN RIGHTS' of rail workers with plans to save Brits from strike chaos

The RMT boss told GB News the government 'don't know what they're doing'

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RMT general secretary Mick Lynch accused the Government of an "attack on human rights" with plans to introduce legislation to limit the impact of strike action.

Rail passengers are experiencing a fourth consecutive day of travel disruption today because of a strike by thousands of workers in a dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.

Services have been crippled by the walkout by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at Network Rail and 14 train operators.

The action will last for 48 hours and follows a stoppage on Thursday by train drivers in the ASLEF union which caused widespread disruption.

RMT boss Mick Lynch speaking to Paul Hawkins outside London Euston Station
RMT boss Mick Lynch speaking to Paul Hawkins outside London Euston Station

Yesterday Prime Minister Rishi Sunak unveiled plans for a new Bill that would require rail workers to continue to provide a "minimal service" even when strike action is taking place.

Reacting to the announcement from the picket line at Euston Station on Friday, Mr Lynch told GB News: “We feel outraged. Like everyone else, it's been a set piece this week.

"This government could have got some talks on this week, but instead they wanted to frame their announcement in the context of some railway strikes. So rather than talking to us from December 15th, they've decided to wait till next Monday so that they could make this announcement.

“What this is is an attack on human rights and civil liberties. It's most important in a free society that we have free trade unions and now that they've lost the argument about the issues, about how public services are funded.

“The existing anti-trade union laws because every union is defeating them by having mass ballots. They want to make the action that comes out of those ballots virtually illegal. I don't think it's going to work.”

Speaking to GB News’ Paul Hawkins, the RMT boss added: “I don't think they understand what they're doing. They keep quoting what goes on in France and Spain and all the rest of the world.

"These laws have never been enforced in those countries and they're not enacted in the same way that Grant Shapps is trying to bring in.

”He's shown that he's incompetent and he couldn't run the transport department for three years and now he's trying to run the business department. I think you'll fail again, and I think these laws will be a failure. Working people are not going to put up with an oppression of their rights. And we will fight back. We'll oppose it in Parliament, we'll oppose it on the streets and we'll oppose it in the workplace.

“He doesn't respect the right to strike. He wants to make the strikes ineffective.”

Former transport secretary Grant Shapps
Former transport secretary Grant Shapps

Mr Lynch continued his attack on the former transport secretary: "I don't believe him at all. I don't think he's genuine. I think he just wants to suppress the trade unions. So he doesn't put up with the argument he wants to make strikes ineffective.

"What I think he will do is entrench industrial disputes, so you'll have long periods of partial strikes. You'll have long periods of action short of the strike, which is overtime bans and other measures. Short term walkouts, withdrawal of goodwill and all sorts of measures that will just entrench disputes.

"It won't resolve any dispute, it will just make the action longer and more bitter if you like. So it won't work.

“What he will do end up doing? He's conscripting labour. They're going to make us name people to go to work when we've had lawful ballots. That's a ridiculous situation in a free society that you can could be compelled to break your own unions industrial action mandate, which you may have voted for.

“He doesn't respect democracy. We're a democratic society, we're democratic unions. And because he's lost the argument about these disputes, rather than try to resolve them, he's trying to crush the unions.”

The strike ends a week of industrial action on the railways, with the dispute remaining deadlocked.

Talks are expected to be held early next week, but unions continue to accuse the Government of blocking a deal.

Ministers deny they are interfering in negotiations.

Speaking about the talks on Monday, Mr Lynch said: “The government has got a duty in this dispute to resolve it. They are the employer in effect, they control the train operating companies, and they own Network Rail and it's written into the contracts that they controlled the industrial mandate.

“So rather than all this bellicose nonsense, we could have been using this time to talk about resolutions to the dispute, and I'll be talking to the Minister on Monday and hopefully he'll come to a position where he can really facilitate change in the company stance so we can get a solution to the dispute that would be much more constructive rather than trying to take people's rights away in a free society.”