RMT’s Mick Lynch slams Tory minister for lying and insists government torpedoed a deal to prevent rail strikes

Lynch claimed that ministers were “undermining efforts to get a settlement” and had sunk an agreement in December.

Mick Lynch

The RMT’s general secretary Mick Lynch has slammed the Transport Secretary Mark Harper, accusing the Tory minister of lying and of ‘torpedoing’ a deal to end the rail strikes.

Lynch made the comments as members of the RMT union today carried out the first of two planned 48-hour strikes this week, with Aslef union train drivers set to be out on strike on Thursday too.

Lynch claimed that ministers were “undermining efforts to get a settlement” and had sunk an agreement in December.

Speaking to Sky News, Lynch was asked about Harper’s claims that the government had not torpedoed a deal, to which he replied: “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.”

RMT members are striking not only over poor pay but also over passenger safety.

The union says that what’s being proposed is a 50% cut in maintenance tasks, half as many checks and a reduction in track safety. The union is also opposing the removal of guards from trains.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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