Second UK Rail Strike of the Summer Causes Major Disruption for Travellers
RMT members have rejected a "paltry" four percent pay rise this year, followed by the same next year if they agree to new working conditions. The union is holding out for a seven per cent increase this year to keep up with soaring inflation — set to top 10 percent in the autumn.
The second round of strikes has brought Britain's railways grinding to a near-standstill in the first week of the school summer holidays.
Some 80 per cent of services were cancelled as a result of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union's walkout
on state-owned infrastructure company Network Rail on Wednesday. Some routes had no trains running at all.
The union's members have rejected a "paltry" four per cent pay rise this year, followed by the same next year if they agree to new working conditions. The union is holding out for a seven percent increase this year to keep up with soaring inflation — set to top 10 percent in the autumn.
said striking workers had so far lost around £1,500 each in pay and bonuses for strike days.
Speaking from a picket line outside Euston station in central London, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch objected to being called "militant" and a trade union "baron" in one TV interview on Wednesday morning.
But he then suggested a medieval solution to the dispute through "trial by combat" between him and Transport Minister Grant Shapps.
"It would be interesting if me an Grant Shapps went head-to-head," Lynch said. "we could see how we got on with that — if that's not too flippant".
The transport secretary has previously said the RMT turned down his offer of a meeting, but has insisted that as Network Rail is an 'arm's-length' company his department is not the employer and cannot make a pay offer.
Shapps told Sky News on Wednesday that the unions "don't need to speak to a minister" to settle the dispute, and said it was time to take "power" away from "very militant, extreme-left unions".
Responding to a campaign pledge by Conservative party leadership contest favourite Liz Truss
to limit the right of transport workers to strike, Lynch said that was the mark of "repressive regimes".
"The problem in this country is that trade unions don't have enough power," Lynch said. "That's why so many people are suffering poor wages. That's why there's such an imbalance in the workplace".