Rail workers are tired of being “foot soldiers” in the union RMT’s “class war,” according to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
The PM said the deals offered to both railway staff and Border Force workers have been “fair” and yet “affordable to taxpayers.”
“An increasing number of union members want a deal,” Sunak wrote in The Sun on Sunday. “They are tired of being foot soldiers in Mick Lynch’s class war.”
The comments come as services slowly restarted on Sunday after RMT members working at Network Rail and 14 other operators walked out this week as they rejected an eight per cent pay increase put forward by train companies.
Workers are also expected to down tools on 3, 4, 6, 7 January as part of their long-standing dispute over jobs and salaries.
Separately, Network Rail staff will go on strike from 6pm on Christmas Eve to 6am on 27 December as they binned a nine per cent offer – which was accepted by the unions TSSA and Unite.
“The unions are causing misery for millions, with transport strikes in particular cruelly timed to hit outings at Christmas,” Sunak added.
Industry groups UKHospitality and the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) have estimated that the sector would haemorrhage between £1.5bn and £2bn in lost revenues.
“Even Labour has admitted the unions’ demands are unaffordable,” Sunak wrote. “But they’ll still take union money and undermine the interests of the public.”
Lynch has recently attacked the Labour Party, accusing it of “prevarication” when it came to workers’ rights. The claims were vehemently denied by the party.
The union boss has nevertheless remained optimistic about resolving the dispute fairly soon.
“I know that there some very simple steps that the employers and ourselves could take together to get a solution to this,” Lynch said on Friday after a meeting with rail minister Huw Merriman and employers didn’t lead to a breakthrough.
“And I think we could do that in the next period.”
The Labour Party and the RMT were approached for comment.