‘We didn’t make a mistake’ Lynch schools Peston over Brexit regrets following rail strikes

RMT's Mick Lynch defends union's decision to support Brexit

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Members of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport (RMT) union were urged to vote for Brexit in 2016 with “six key reasons” on their website. But following failed talks to resolve a bitter row over pay, jobs, and conditions on the railways with the Government, ITV’s Robert Peston questioned whether it was a “mistake”. He asked: “The RMT recommended its members vote to leave the EU.

“Most economists said it has made Britain poorer and pushed up prices.

“Did the RMT make a mistake?”

Mr Lynch replied: “No, I don’t think we did make a mistake.

“We support Brexit.”

It comes as train services were disrupted across Britain as thousands of railway workers stage their second strike of the week.

Just one in five trains are running on Thursday and these are mostly restricted to main lines, with around half of the network closed.

Services started later than normal at 7.30am and will shut down early at 6.30pm.

The Government announced plans to change the law to enable businesses to supply skilled agency workers to plug staffing gaps during industrial action.

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Ministers pointed out that, under current trade union laws, employment businesses are restricted from supplying temporary agency workers to cover for strikers, saying it can have a “disproportionate impact”.

The Government said the legislation will repeal the “burdensome” legal restrictions, giving companies affected by strike action the freedom to tap into the services of employment businesses that can provide skilled, temporary agency staff at short notice.

Network Rail welcomed the move but Labour and unions condemned it as a “recipe for disaster”.

The RMT accused Transport Secretary Grant Shapps of “wrecking” negotiations.


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Mr Lynch said: “Grant Shapps has wrecked these negotiations by not allowing Network Rail to withdraw their letter threatening redundancy for 2,900 of our members.

“Until the Government unshackle Network Rail and the train operating companies, it is not going to be possible for a negotiated settlement to be agreed.

“We will continue with our industrial campaign until we get a negotiated settlement that delivers job security and a pay rise for our members that deals with the escalating cost-of-living crisis.”

Mr Shapps hit back, saying the RMT claim was a “lie”.


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