‘Our policy for the TUC is to call a general strike’ says RMT’s Lynch

RMT leader MICK LYNCH (fourth from left) joins the picket line outside Euston Station on Saturday morning

‘OUR policy at the TUC is to call a general strike,’ RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch told News Line on the picket line at Euston Station in central London on Saturday.

Staff working on 14 train operating companies were on strike action on Saturday, after rail bosses refused to acknowledge the RMT roadmap letter.

RMT wrote to the Rail Delivery Group laying out a series of principles that could pave the way for a negotiated settlement to this long-running dispute.

However, rail bosses refused to even acknowledge receipt of the letter and briefed the media that they had rejected it instead.

20,000 RMT members have been taking strike action for over 18 months in pursuit of a deal on job security, working conditions and pay.

At Euston Mick Lynch told News Line: ‘We’re on strike again. People are out all over the country in pursuit of our campaign for jobs, conditions and pay. Keeping the ticket offices and station staff is an essential part of our campaign.

‘Ticket office closures are going into a period of consideration. We’ll hear the outcome of that between six and seven weeks. We’ll keep on our campaign meanwhile.’

Asked if he is in favour of a general strike to bring down the Tory government, Lynch said: ‘Our policy at the TUC is to call a general strike.

‘It’s up to other unions what they do. If the general strike is raised at the TUC this year, we will support it.’

There was a lively and enthusiastic picket at Clapham Junction Rail Depot in Plough Road. Employees of South Western Rail were part of RMT’s national action over pay, conditions and the closure of ticket offices.

George Alpine an RMT member on the picket, told News Line: ‘We are very pleased that ASLEF has stepped up their action from an overtime ban to strike action. If they had adopted this tactic earlier the pressure on the government would be a lot more.

‘I hope the RMT takes full advantage of this change. Different groups of workers all face similar problems – we’re all in the same boat.

‘That’s why the TUC needs to organise a general strike, and if they won’t do that, then at least some big national protests. They did one march and that was well attended.

‘On a positive note – despite people losing money on strike days we’ve seen a growth in union membership, especially among young people. In the past four years we haven’t just seen no pay rise, but also a freeze on employers’ contribution to our pensions.’

Tom, another picket said: ‘I’m proud to be here on the picket line. Safety is my main concern, and the changes they want to bring in makes things more dangerous for everyone. I’m hoping for a miracle to sort this out.’

A ticket inspector of 47 years service said: ‘This is the worst attack on railway workers in 100 years. They have seized our pay rises to the point where we are 25% down on pay in real terms. This Tory government is carrying out a huge transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.’