Now Mick Lynch encourages retail and supermarket workers to revolt as he tells Lorraine 75% of rail staff earn under £32,000 – while fresh strike action cripples network and poll reveals public support for walkouts is tanking
- RMT boss Mick Lynch today urged retail and supermarket workers to revolt
- He also denied claims that rail workers are paid more than £50,000 a year
- Millions of people are WFH this week amid a fresh wave of rail strikes
Under-fire Mick Lynch today encouraged retail and supermarket workers to revolt as he denied claims that rail workers are paid more than £50,000 a year – as the militant RMT boss desperately tries to shore up support for his latest round of ‘unpopular’ rail strikes.
The ‘fat cat’ union baron, who reportedly receives more than £120,000 a year in pay and other benefits, said that the ‘vast majority’ of RMT members are on ‘below £32,000’ as he insisted that he was not ‘holding the public to ransom’.
In an interview with ITV’s Lorraine, he said: ‘Pay in retail was far too low. These big supermarkets make vast profits and keep their members’ conditions and wages screwed down, so they need a better deal as well’.
It comes as millions of Britons are forced to WFH this week amid a fresh wave of rail walkouts.
Mick Lynch today denied claims that rail workers are paid more than £50,000 a year
A deserted Euston station in London amid a wave of fresh rail strikes
Around half of Britain’s railway lines are closed today and just a fifth of services are running as tens of thousands of workers at Network Rail and train operators walk out on the second day of a 48-hour strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT).
Train drivers in the Aslef union will strike tomorrow before a second two-day RMT strike begins on Friday.
Defending the new walkouts, Mr Lynch told Lorraine: ‘The vast majority of our people that we’re negotiating for in Network Rail… are on below 30-32,000 (pounds). Seventy-five per cent of our members in the train operators are below 32,000 (pounds) – that’s for 24/7 working in all weathers across the calendar year.
‘So we’re looking for a square deal for them, for ordinary people that are trying to feed their families, trying to keep their heads above the inflationary waters that we’re in.
‘We think we can get there with a bit of goodwill from the Government and a bit of flexibility from the companies. They’re looking for flexibility from us in terms of working practices and modernisation.
‘We can get there with them on that. They’ve got to come to us on pay and job security and I’m sure we can create a bit of goodwill next week and get these negotiations moving forward. That’s what we’re looking for.
He added: ‘We want to say to the public, we’re not hostile to you, we don’t want to hold you to ransom… we just want a square deal so that we can get back to work and we can get the country moving again as well’.
TUC leader Paul Nowak called for a change in government direction, saying ministers should open pay negotiations with unions.
Defending the new walkouts, Mr Lynch told Lorraine: ‘The vast majority of our people that we’re negotiating for in Network Rail… are on below 30-32,000 (pounds). Seventy-five per cent of our members in the train operators are below 32,000 (pounds) – that’s for 24/7 working in all weathers across the calendar year’
A noticeboard in Euston station warning of industrial action this week
Rail commuters are told to brace for ‘Tragic Thursday’ tomorrow with just 10% of services running on the worst day of action in decades
In a letter to Rishi Sunak, Mr Nowak said public services were in crisis after years of ‘underfunding and understaffing’.
He wrote: ‘We can’t solve these problems without a fair deal for the people on the frontline.
‘Every month experienced employees are quitting, with one in three public service staff now taking steps to leave their professions or actively considering it.
‘This is simply unsustainable.
‘But we cannot fix the staffing crisis in our schools, hospitals and elsewhere if we do not fix the underlying causes.
‘That means talking in an open and constructive way about improving public sector pay. But so far your ministers have refused to negotiate directly about pay with unions.’
Mr Nowak said unions worked closely with Mr Sunak during the pandemic to deliver the furlough scheme and protect millions of jobs, adding: ‘That’s the kind of mature approach we need now.
‘Unions have already made clear their willingness to sit down with the Government and talk about boosting pay. But while your ministers continue to refuse point blank to discuss improving wages, there can be no resolution.
‘In the NHS, for example, appropriate structures already exist to allow the immediate start of pay negotiations involving health unions, employers and ministers. This was exactly what happened in 2018, leading to the three-year wage deal.
Passengers at Reading Station on the second day of the New Year rail strikes
A deserted Reading Station amid a fresh wave of rail strikes
A passenger sitting on a seat at Reading station today amid fresh strikes
‘We want to find a resolution to the current disputes so our public service staff can get on with doing the jobs they love. And so our public services can start to improve for everyone who relies on them.’
Mr Lynch warned on Tuesday that industrial action will need to continue beyond May unless a reasonable offer to resolve the row over pay, jobs and conditions is made to the union.
Also today, the DVSA driving examiners’ strike started in London, the South East, South Wales and the South West, while traffic officer service workers at National Highways and Rural Payments Agency staff continued their walkouts.
London bus workers at Abellio began a two-day strike – the first in a series of action planned by the group throughout January.
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