Union bosses warn of further strikes despite ‘different face’ to government
Union bosses have warned of further action potentially taking place despite a “different face” to the government.
Mick Lynch, general secretary of union RMT, said there could be additional transport strikes if a settlement between rail workers and train operators is not reached.
“We’re reballoting now to get a fresh mandate for the next six months – if there’s not a settlement there’ll be more action, that’s how it works,” he told members of train drivers’ union Aslef, who today walked out in a long-standing dispute over pay.
“Everywhere we go the public are supporting us in numbers. They turn out at the rallies and the demonstrations as well.”
His remarks were echoed by Aslef’s boss Mick Whelan, who said the current wave of rail strikes – which has threatened to bring the network to its knees all summer – is the first time he has seen “the approval of the public.”
Lynch, however, said that following the appointment of Anne-Marie Trevelyan as transport secretary there has been a “different mood and a different face” to the government.
A few days after taking the job, Trevelyan met with union representatives, unlike her predecessor Grant Shapps.
Shapps was also accused by unions of blocking strike talks, which was rebutted at the time by the Department for Transport.
Trevelyan told BBC News on Tuesday that, while settlements had to be agreed between workers and employers, she had an important role to play.
“I want everyone to come round the table and find solutions and make compromises where we need to.”
Nonetheless, he said that unions will find out “whether there’s a real change when you get around the negotiating table.”