Susanna Reid asks Mick Lynch: “How are you NOT the Grinch?”

'Good Morning Britain' TV Show, London, UK - November 23, 2022

Mick Lynch is questioned by Susanna Reid (Image: ITV/Rex)

Union boss Mick Lynch has again denied he is the Grinch who stole Christmas after the RMT announced a series of rail strikes over the festive period.

In a fiery exchange on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Lynch said it was “not a good time to go on strike” but claimed his members had little to lose as rail bosses planned to make thousands of layoffs while others amid rising inflation Wage freezes faced were numbers.

His yesterday’s appearance took place after the RMT on 13./14. and 16./17. December and on 3./4. and 6th/7th January announced 48-hour work stoppages amid a long-running dispute over pay, conditions and job losses. In a separate strike, Aslef train drivers will disembark at 12 operating companies this Saturday.

Unions say the disruption will show how important their workers are to the country and how they deserve better job security and pay.

But GMB presenter Susanna Reid told Mr Lynch it would be train passengers who would “pay the price” rather than railway bosses, as Christmas shopping and family visits rage.

She added, “The way you organized this strike… at the most sensitive time of the year, why aren’t you the Grinch who stole Christmas?”

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 2: RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch speaks as supportive MPs and MSPs gather in Old Palace Yard to support the scrapping of proposed anti-union legislation as part of Parliament's TUC lobby on November 2, 2022 in London, England, to demand . The Trades Union Congress (TUC) says the Westminster government has no mandate to install its fifth prime minister in six years to the British people without holding a general election. (Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch has announced more strikes for Christmas (Image: Getty)

Mr Lynch replied: “There is no good time for a strike… We cannot ignore this action. We have not been on strike for two months, we have postponed other dates to allow for important public and national events. If we keep it simple, they will enforce the changes.

“Network Rail has already issued legal layoffs for 3,000 jobs and they will enforce this unless we stand up and find a compromise.”

Fresh talks are due to take place today between Mr Lynch and Transport Secretary Mark Harper, with the RMT’s John Leach saying he hoped the minister “puts his shoulder behind the wheel”. He told the BBC: “A deal can be made here.”

The union called off previously planned strikes earlier this month after an apparent breakthrough and “the promise of an offer from the railway companies”. But it announced new measures on Tuesday after claiming no new offer had been made.

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents railway companies, criticized the announcement, saying there had been “real progress” in agreeing on the “outlines of a credible deal” before talks collapsed.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride also accused the RMT of holding work stoppages too quickly and said they would meet family reunions and doctor’s appointments.

The union’s strike action in December and January will involve up to 40,000 of its members across Network Rail and 14 rail companies.

Disturbances and further delays are also to be expected in the days in between, as the staff will also refuse to work overtime during this time.

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Justin Scacco

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