Mick Lynch calls on Government to hold summit to end rail strike ‘chaos’ | British News
RMT chief Mick Lynch has called on the government to host a special summit to tackle the “chaos” in the industry caused by escalating strikes.
Passengers were hit again by strikes on Saturday when members of the Railway, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) resigned from the company over a longstanding dispute over wages and working conditions.
The strike on the day of the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool followed a halt to work by train drivers on Friday that paralyzed traffic across England.
In a bid to break the impasse, Mick Lynch has written to Transport Secretary Mark Harper calling for an industry summit of unions, employers and government, possibly with an independent chair, to end the “chaos” on the railways and the “toxic” problems to solve ‘ railway dispute.
The union said representatives of the rail operators involved in the dispute had written evidence to MPs that legislation on minimum service levels could lead to more strikes and work stoppages.
Mr Lynch wrote: “On Thursday the Government was forced to transfer the TransPennine Express franchise to public ownership after months of significant disruption and regular cancellations.”
“It is clear to us and to the general public that private train operations are failing.”
“However, your government’s actions to date have compounded that failure tenfold and created chaos on our railways, not least in dealing with the railway dispute that threatens to cause lasting damage to the railway industry.”
“While we have arrangements for rail workers with the Scottish and Welsh governments, your government’s management of the conflict will plunge our railways into even greater and worse disruption in the months to come.”
“Instead of bringing about a solution, your government has repeatedly torpedoed the negotiations. Instead of bringing management and unions together, you drive an even deeper wedge between them.”
There will be more trains on Saturday than Friday, but many companies limit the number of routes and hours of operation.
Passengers were again asked to inform themselves before traveling on Saturday.
Merseyrail is unaffected by the industrial action and is expected to operate as normal service during the Eurovision final.
The drivers’ union Aslef is planning further strikes and warned that the dispute would last for months.
RMT members picketed outside train stations and the union insisted it continued to enjoy strong public support.
A spokesman for Rail Delivery Group said: “While we are always open to dialogue, the only summit the RMT needs is that between its negotiating team and its executive committee.”
“Time and time again, they have prevented the deal that the top team negotiated line by line from getting their members to vote, causing the frontline to lose up to a 13% pay rise.”
“It’s time for union leadership and the union executive to finally agree on what they want out of these negotiations.”
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