Rail strike action sees trade union boss branded a ‘waste of space’ in bitter swipe by MP

Tory MP calls RMT General Secretary ‘a waste of space’

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Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis has branded RMT’s General Secretary Mick Lynch a “waste of space” in a fiery LBC radio slapdown as the Government faces a stand-off with trade unions over inflation-busting wage demands. Rail workers are due to go on strike this week as negotiations between the RMT and rail companies collapsed despite a last-minute attempt to ward off the travel chaos. 

Mr Gullis told LBC: “So there has to be some reality here, and when you start seeing education unions such as the NUT education union threatening to go on strike with his teachers because they want a 12 per cent pay increase.

“It’s just the lunacy of some of these trade union barons who want to basically push their own political agenda rather than thinking about the people they serve.

Asked if Transport Secretary Grant Shapps should meet with the unions, the MP replied: “I’ve got no issue and I’m sure Grant would want to meet the trade unions…but Mick Lynch needs to stop telling everyone that he doesn’t want to talk to a Tory government and rather than pushing his own party politics, I don’t know to get some red flags waving behind him…”

Mr Gullis continued: “He was telling broadcast media that week before they will never talk the Tory government.

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“Mick Lynch’s a Marxist who has no interest in anything other than trying to bring down a Conservative government because he wants to push his own political agenda.

“He is a waste of space and better off not in a trade union.”

Boris Johnson is set to call for a “sensible compromise” to shield rail passengers from country-wide travel chaos, after last-ditch talks to resolve a bitter dispute over pay, jobs and conditions failed to land on a solution.

The Prime Minister is expected to argue ahead of a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that unions are “harming the very people they claim to be helping” by going ahead with the biggest outbreak of industrial action on the railways for a generation.

RMT chief claims railway stike is a 'class struggle'

Thousands of members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 13 train operators will walk out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Services across the UK will start to be affected from Monday evening, with just one in five trains running on strike days, predominantly on main lines and only for about 11 hours.

Talks between the RMT and Network Rail were still being held on Monday evening, just hours before the start of the first strike, but the row remains deadlocked, with all sides blaming each other for the lack of progress.

London Underground workers are also on strike on Tuesday.

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Culture minister Chris Philp accused the RMT union of walking out of a live negotiation, and warned the strikes will mean patients are not able to travel to hospital for treatment, while children cannot get to school for their exams.

He told Channel 4 News the move would “inflict misery on my constituents and the general public”.

But RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said he was “talking a pack of nonsense”.

“I have not left any meetings, we’ve not walked out of meetings, we’re in a meeting right now with Network Rail,” he told Channel 4.

“The discussions are ongoing – if we get an offer that addresses the issues we could settle the dispute, but we haven’t had one at the moment.”

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