RMT general secretary Mick Lynch today warned that the rail dispute could go on“indefinitely,” as the latest strike by thousands of workers caused travel misery for passengers.
Lynch warned that Britain could be brought by a standstill by a wave of strikes hitting “every sector of the economy”.
The RMT general secretary stopped short of predicting a general strike, saying: “It’s not in my power, it’s up to the TUC.”
But he added: “What you are going to get is a wave of solidarity action, generalised strike action, synchronised action. And you’ll see it in every sector of the economy, in education, in health, wider parts of the transport system, in all sectors, the private sector as well.
“People are fed up with the way they’ve been treated. The British worker is basically underpaid and gets no dignity or respect in the workplace.
“We’ve got to change that so we get a square deal for everyone in Britain – and that’s what the unions are determined to do.”
Meanwhile, Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, said he does not believe workers are “clear on what they’re striking for” and argued that the problem is not with the government but the RMT union.
Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain just after RMT boss Mick Lynch, Haines said the situation is “absolutely is frustrating”.
“We’ve been talking for over 18 months. We started these talks actually with Mick’s predecessor and so there’s no lack of readiness to talk. The issue is there are some fundamental disagreements. Where I have a fundamental disagreement is that I don’t think colleagues are clear on what they’re striking for now,” he continued.
“Mick mentioned pensions – that’s not an issue for Network Rail. He mentioned job security – we’ve given a guarantee of a job for every single person in Network Rail who wants a job affected by our proposals.
“Now we’ve done our very best to meet those sort of issues but the common factor here is the RMT; it’s not the Government.
“There are strikes on TfL, there are what, 13-14 train operators? Network Rail? All of those issues have been getting trapped together and I think many people striking are not clear.
“That’s why we think the way to solve this is to put our offer, a very decent fair offer, to a referendum of RMT members. My staff, and I think that’s the way to solve this.”