Rail unions can afford to go on strike for months more and there will be a “wave of solidarity” across the labour movement this year, according to the chief of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch today said his members were “completely committed” to strike action as the UK’s rail network grinds to a halt today.
Just 20 per cent of the country’s rail services are operating today and Saturday due to strike action by 40,000 RMT and Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) members – the latest in a growing list of summer transport strikes.
Lynch told Times Radio “there is a movement for change” across the entire labour movement as workers see their real wages squeezed by runaway inflation.
“I don’t know if there will be a general strike in the traditional terms but there will certainly be a wave of solidarity,” he said.
“There’ll be a wave of synchronised action between the trade unions, people supporting each other.”
Transport secretary Grant Shapps today unveiled a 16-point plan in a bid to tackle “Luddite” unions who are railing against further automation in train stations across the nation.
Shapps wrote in the Daily Mail that many workers earn on “average £44,000 a year” and they’ve been given a pay rise offer.
“They’re not striking to save their jobs; we’ve guaranteed no compulsory redundancies,” he said.
“They, or their unions, are striking to stop reform: to carry on doing their jobs exactly as they did 30 years ago, in a world not just before Covid but before technological change.”
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: “Grant Shapps could resolve this strike with a one-point plan: getting round the table and doing his job. Instead, desperate and destructive plans from a failed transport secretary due to be put out of service.”