RMT boss says more rail disruptions could be on the horizon unless Network Rail and the train companies change their stance on pay and job security
The RMT union has said it does not rule out further strikes on Britain’s railways after a week of disruption.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said that while the union would continue to “work constructively with companies to reach an agreement”, it was not ruling out further strikes later this year.
On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday last week, half of all lines across the country were completely closed and only one in five services were running as union members took action in disputes over pay, job security and safety.
When could there be more strikes?
On the third day of the strike, Mr Lynch said the union would take a decision on further strikes after discussions this week.
He said: “We are not ruling out strikes, but we have not set any dates for strike action.
“We will be reviewing this with our national executive who have been picketing across the country this week.
“We won’t be giving dates right away and we’re continuing to work constructively with the companies to reach a deal, but that’s a really big challenge right now because of the agenda they have and the impact they want to have on our members.
“Strike action is not out of the question and must take place if we don’t reach an agreement, but we hope we can reach an agreement and compromise.”
Mr Lynch told Sky News that while Network Rail and the train operators spoke of “progress” in talks with the union, there was “a long way to go”.
He added: “The whole point of a dialogue and a negotiation is that people change their position and you get into a new position that does not belong to either party so that you can find a constructive way forward.
“Right now the companies are giving us all the reforms they want but they are not fully listening to what we need and our members need to have a decent working life on the railways.
“They need to change their position in terms of what they offer in terms of pay, what they can do for job security and how they engage their employees and agree with us on the way people work .”
“We want to see reforms”
He told Sky News: “I would say given the circumstances we are in I think we want to see reform and improvement in the way the railways work and modernisation.
“With a 25% drop in ridership like we’re having right now, the government has to use billions and billions [into it].
“I think the traveling public has a right to expect some fundamental reforms, like ticketing, walking time and some of these other practices that really no one but union leaders are defending.”