Mick Lynch round-up: best moments of the week

The RMT union general secretary has started 2023 with a bang, continuing to stump overzealous and ill-prepared interviewers and critics with calm, confident, and authentic responses.

GMB interview with Lynch

As Rishi Sunak confirms plans to bring forward anti-strike laws in a bid to undermine trade unions, it’s been a busy start to the year for the RMT union general secretary. We look at the best Mick Lynch moments of the week.  

GMB viewers praise ‘hero’ Mick’s dig at Richard Madeley

In yet another row between GMB presenter Richard Madeley and Lynch, the outspoken host insisted he had handled the original interview appropriately. Madeley had been criticised for constantly talking over the union general secretary when the pair met before Christmas.

Raising the impact that the rail strikes are having on the hospitality sector, Madeley referred to an article in the Guardian, which detailed the rail strikes had cost hospitality £1.5bn.

Claiming the figure proved his original point that the industrial action is negatively affecting hospitality, Madeley, in true Alan Partridge form, asked: “It looks as if I was kind of right, doesn’t it?”

Lynch coolly had a dig at the host, replying: “Well Richard, you’re always right. As everybody in the country knows…”

Viewers enjoyed the sneer, with one tweeting:

“@GMB Mick Lynch yet again running rings around Richard Medley. The bloke has zero journalistic integrity and can’t even hide his bias when it comes to defending his Tory chums.”

‘You’re just repeating the company lines’ – Lynch and Shephard go head-to-head on GMB

During a heated discussion on GMB on January 6, presenter Ben Shephard quizzed Lynch over the ongoing strikes.

Amid claims from Network Rail bosses that a deal is “within touching distance” as only 2,000 more signatures from union members were needed to resolve the dispute, Shephard asked Lynch whether the strikes would be resolved. He responded:

“You’re just repeating the company’s line on their behalf. I don’t know why you choose to do that.

“What we had was a referendum were 83 percent of our members voted and they lost that referendum by a ratio of 2 to 1. In any football match that I’ve seen if you get 2 and the opposition get 1 then you win the game.”

He added: “They lost that despite a massive propaganda effort, and they made special films, compulsory briefings and they couldn’t convince their staff to vote for the offer on the table. That is the only offer on the table, and it has been rejected, so they are going to have to make a new offer, in a new format, with some different proposals.”

Lynch slams Tory MP for lying – ‘He’s simply not telling you the whole truth’

On January 3, as RMT members conducted the first of two 48-hour strikes this week, the union general secretary accused transport secretary Mark Harper of lying and that the government had ‘torpedoed’ a deal to end the rail strikes.  

Lynch was asked by Sky News about Harper’s claims the government had not torpedoed a deal.

“Well, he’s not telling you the truth, because we had a document with the train operating companies that did not include driver only operation, it was taken away for approval in Whitehall at the DfT and they inserted about 8 or 9 bullet points that undermined the negotiations.

“That was a direct intervention of government ministers, we know that to be true and if he’s saying that didn’t happen, he’s simply not telling you the whole truth,” Lynch replied.

‘An outrageous attack on our civil liberties’

On Friday 6, LFF interviewed the union general secretary on a picket line outside Euston Station. We asked him about how RMT intends to respond to the government’s proposed anti-strike laws.

Describing the legislation as an “outrageous attack on our civil liberties and on democracy in our country,” Lynch said:

“The trade unions are the bastion of democracy and the bastion of rights and the ability for people to organise independently and they’re trying to make that organisation ineffective, they’re trying to suppress our freedoms and we’ve got to fight it.”

When asked whether the RMT will be coordinating action with other unions and consider a legal challenge, the trade unionist said: “We’ll work with the Labour Party and any progressive element, we need to get protests, we need to challenge it in the courts and do whatever we can by any means necessary. The RMT can’t do it on our own, we need a mass movement.”

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

Image credit – YouTube screen grab

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