The leader of the UK’s largest rail workers union has urged the UK Government to follow in the footsteps of Scotland and Wales to settle a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.
RMT’s general secretary has written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak requesting an urgent meeting to make progress on discussions.
Union members are due to stage two 48-hour strikes next week following months of industrial action over the deadlocked row.
Mr Lynch said that from press reports, transport secretary Mark Harper’s appearance at the Transport Committee this week and from what he has been directly told by the Rail Delivery Group’s negotiators, it was clear that No 10 is “directing the mandate for the rail companies and has torpedoed the talks.”
He wrote: “There is no reason why this dispute could not be settled in the same way that RMT has resolved disputes in Scotland and Wales.
“Where the Scottish and Welsh governments have had responsibility for mandates, pay settlements for 2022 have been agreed and neither of these settlements have been conditional on cutting staffing, and eroding safety, security and accessibility.
“It is already a national scandal that your government has been paying the train operating companies not to settle the dispute, indemnifying them to the tune of £300m so that they have no incentive to reach a resolution.
“It’s not clear to me why, on top of this, your government has now torpedoed the negotiations, but I now believe that a meeting with yourself represents the best prospect of any renewed progress.
“We have a duty to explore every possible option for settling this dispute and I’m willing to do my part. I hope you will agree to meet me.”