RMT Grinch Lynch DENIES striking rail workers are out to ruin Christmas

Industrial action is set to cripple many people's Christmas plans

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RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch has told reporters he’s “not the grinch” despite rail workers going ahead with strikes that will cripple many people’s Christmas plans.

Railway workers are to stage a series of 48-hour strikes in December and January in the long-running dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.

More than 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union across Network Rail and 14 train operating companies will strike on December 13, 14, 16 and 17 and on January 3, 4, 6 and 7.

In response to the industrial action, and its impact on the public over the festive season, Mr Lynch said he was not trying to ruin Christmas: “I’m not the Grinch, I’m a trade union official, and I’m determined to get a deal.”

Announcing the strike action on Tuesday, the RMT General Secretary said: “This latest round of strikes will show how important our members are to the running of this country and will send a clear message that we want a good deal on job security, pay and conditions for our people.

“We have been reasonable, but it is impossible to find a negotiated settlement when the dead hand of Government is presiding over these talks.

“The employers are in disarray and saying different things to different people, sometimes at the same time.

“This whole process has become a farce that only the new secretary of state can resolve. When I meet him later this week, I will deliver that message."

He added: “In the meantime, our message to the public is, we are sorry to inconvenience you, but we urge you to direct your anger and frustration at the Government and railway employers during this latest phase of action.

“We call upon all trades unionists in Britain to take a stand and fight for better pay and conditions in their respective industries.

“And we will seek to co-ordinate strike action and demonstrations where we can.

“Working people across our class need a pay rise and we are determined to win that for our members in RMT.”

Mr Lynch wll meet Transport Secretary Mark Harper on Thursday after accusing the Government of blocking negotiations.