Crippling strikes are likely to last for months longer if rail companies do not make improved pay offers for its workers, rail union boss Mick Lynch has said.
Lynch, secretary-general of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), today also warned there likely would be a “rolling campaign of trade union activity” across different sectors this summer.
The UK is facing another day of disruptive train strikes on Wednesday as staff from 14 rail companies and Network Rail walk off the job.
It comes after the RMT held a week of strikes last month which are estimated to have cost the UK economy tens of millions of pounds.
RMT bosses are asking for pay rises that are close to the current 9.4 per cent inflation – a 40-year-high – after being offered 4 per cent last month.
When asked by LBC today if months of more strikes are likely, Lynch said: “That is likely to happen because we’re not able to bridge the gap.
“But the government may subtly change their position, they’ve done a lot of U-turns in the last period. So it’s up to them, they can subtly change it, or they can come to the table and make an announcement.
“I’m not bothered – I want to work with the industry leaders to get a settlement to this dispute. We’ll do that in a common sense way that everyone can support but we’re not just going to surrender and meekly give in to something that is impossible for us to accept.”
It comes as some public sector unions last week also threatened to strike as the government offered average pay rises of 5 per cent for nurses, teachers, doctors and police officers.
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said teachers will not put up with “another huge cut” in their real wages.
Unison said the government’s pay deal was a “big mistake” and that it “fails on every front” for NHS workers.
A government spokesperson said: “It’s now clearer than ever that the RMT has no interest in engaging in constructive discussions and is hell-bent on creating further misery for passengers across the UK. The public will find it galling that the RMT union is threatening disruption for months, despite not even putting the fair, two-year 8% deal that’s on the table to their Network Rail members.
“The rail industry has to modernise and be brought into the 21st century for the benefit of passengers and staff. We continue to encourage RMT to do the right thing by their members and passengers alike and call off the strikes.”