Mick Lynch accused of ‘holding country to ransom’ over Christmas Eve rail strikes

Downing Street urged the RMT to accept a deal including a 4% pay rise to follow this year’s 5%, and no compulsory redundancies until 2025
Downing Street urged the RMT to accept a deal including a 4% pay rise to follow this year’s 5%, and no compulsory redundancies until 2025

Rail strikes will resume from 6pm on Christmas Eve until 6am on December 27 following two 48-hour strikes next week

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Rail union chief Mick Lynch has been urged by ministers not to “hold the country to ransom” with strikes ahead of Christmas as he blamed the Government for failing to avert the action.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union general secretary said on Tuesday that the unions have a duty to take co-ordinated action in response to a “generalised attack on working people”.

Rail strikes will resume from 6pm on Christmas Eve until 6am on December 27 following two 48-hour strikes next week
Rail strikes will resume from 6pm on Christmas Eve until 6am on December 27 following two 48-hour strikes next week

He confirmed there will be greater disruption on the railways on Christmas Eve because of a walkout from 6pm until 6am on December 27 following two 48-hour strikes next week.

Talks with the Rail Delivery Group over the long-running dispute on pay, jobs and conditions will still take place on Tuesday, as ambulance workers, nurses and Royal Mail staff plan strikes throughout the month.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner accused the “militant” Government of presiding over a “complete shambles” on the railways as she backed the workers’ right to strike.

Downing Street urged the RMT to accept a deal including a 4 per cent pay rise to follow this year’s 5 per cent, and no compulsory redundancies until 2025, rather than the union’s “unaffordable” double-digit demands.

Government minister Nick Gibb told GB News the union must “call off this strike”
Government minister Nick Gibb told GB News the union must “call off this strike”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said: “It’s incredibly disappointing that the RMT has chosen to take further damaging action instead of recognising this is a generous and fair deal that could have brought this dispute to an end.

“We believe the RMT need to take this offer seriously. We’ve been fair and reasonable in our approach.”

Government minister Nick Gibb told GB News the union must “call off this strike”, adding: “It’s inconveniencing people up and down the country in the run-up to Christmas. I think it’s a very poor way of conducting negotiations.

“We would urge the unions to talk to employers, to keep negotiating and not to hold the country to ransom, particularly in December as we get nearer to Christmas.”