Ministers urged to settle bitter dispute with workers amid fresh wave of strikes

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A picket line outside Birmingham New Street station (Image: SWNS)
A picket line outside Birmingham New Street station (Image: SWNS)

Mick Lynch has urged ministers to put forward new ­proposals in a bid to settle the bitter dispute with workers, as fresh strikes crippled the network today.

The RMT boss accused No10 of not coming up with any plan to boost pay and end the misery of walkouts.

Speaking on a picket line at London’s Euston station, Mr Lynch said the Government “knows what needs to be done to move towards a settlement that we can all support”.

But he added: “That’s not happened so far. We’re hoping in the next few days they will propose more meetings but at the moment that’s simply not there.”

Thousands of trains were today cancelled as strikes brought railways to a ­standstill.

Teachers, civil servants and train drivers walk out in biggest strike in decade eideeidediqxzinvTeachers, civil servants and train drivers walk out in biggest strike in decade
Ministers urged to settle bitter dispute with workers amid fresh wave of strikesRMT union leader Mick Lynch pictured on the picket line today (Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

RMT walkouts continue today and a 48-hour one follows on Friday. Train drivers in Aslef are going on strike tomorrow. New TUC general secretary Paul Nowak demanded an urgent meeting with Rishi Sunak over the disputes.

In a letter to the PM he said public services were in crisis after years of “underfunding and understaffing”. Mr Nowak wrote: “We can’t solve these problems without a fair deal for the people on the frontline.

“Each month employees quit. This is simply unsustainable. But we cannot fix the staffing crisis in our schools, ­ hospitals and elsewhere if we do not fix the underlying causes.

Ministers urged to settle bitter dispute with workers amid fresh wave of strikesA sign at Waterloo station in London, during a strike by members of the RMT union (PA)

“That means talking in an open and constructive way about improving public sector pay. But so far your ministers have refused to negotiate directly with unions.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said more meetings with the RMT were planned as he urged rail staff to get back to work. He said a third of members voted to accept a pay offer, while ignoring the fact two thirds voted to reject it.

Mr Harper added: “It is time the RMT got off the picket line and round the negotiating table to try and hammer out a deal with train companies and Network Rail.”

Ben Glaze

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