Mick Lynch, secretary general of transport union RMT, said railway workers and their union representatives will continue to fight over better working conditions for “as long as it takes.”
More than 40,000 RMT members working at Network Rail and 15 other operators walked out on Saturday in a long-standing dispute over jobs, working conditions and salaries.
The strike – the third to take place in a week – left only a fifth of regular services working, with services running only until 6.30pm.
This impacted millions of Britons who looked forward to the weekend to go and support their favourite team, or meet friends and family.
Lynch accused the government of putting forward unrealistic proposals to operators, which in turn relay them to workers knowing unions will never accepted it.
He also deemed both Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng “incompetent.”
“We know that there’s a deal to be done but it’s whether the government allows these [rail] companies to change their position,” Lynch told the PA news agency while on the picket line outside Euston station.
“At the minute, they’re saying things that they know that we can’t accept.
“The companies know that we can’t accept – they say to me, we know you’re not going to accept this, but I’ve been told to say it.”
A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson rebutted the accusations saying: “We all want these negotiations to succeed so we can offer our people a pay rise and secure the future of the industry, but to do that, they need to take place in the spirit of mutual good faith.”
A Department for Transport (DfT) spokesperson called on unions to “reconsider this divisive action and instead work with their employers, to agree to a new way forward.”
“Our railway is in desperate need of modernisation but all strikes will do is punish the very people unions claim to stand up for and push passengers further away,” they said.
Saturday’s remarks were the second time Lynch made it clear unions would not budge.
Mick Lynch told members of train drivers’ union Aslef, who walked out on Wednesday at London Overground and 14 other operators, that further action could potentially take place.