Rail union boss Mick Lynch has warned his members they will not hesitate to take further strike action as he said the disruptive row “has a long way to go”.
However, he insisted that the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union would engage in “constructive dialogue” and work with Network Rail and the rail companies to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
Mr Lynch was speaking to Sky News as train services were hit by the third strike this week about jobs, pay and conditions.
Only a fifth of the services are operational and half of the lines are closed.
Passengers have been warned by train operators to only travel by train if necessary and to check their journey in advance.
Signaling little sign of a breakthrough in the current industrial conflict, the RMT Secretary-General said: “There is still a long way to go.
“Most of the things that our members voted very strongly for action on are now on the table and they haven’t watered down the things they want very much and that goes for the train operators and Network Rail.”
He added: “We have to be very careful about what they call progress.
“There may be advances in their agenda, but that doesn’t mean our members will accept those changes just because the company wants them.
“We have to solve this problem with them.
“We will do that in a constructive dialogue, but there is still a long way to go in this dispute.”
Railway companies “do not listen”
Mr Lynch continued: “The whole point of dialogue and negotiation is that people change their position and you get into a new position that does not belong to either party so that you can find a constructive way forward.
“Right now the companies are giving us all the reforms they want but they are not fully listening to what we need and our members need to have a decent working life on the railways.
“They need to change their position in terms of what they offer in terms of pay, what they can do for job security and how they engage their employees and agree with us on the way people work .
“We will work with them on that. We didn’t give any dates. We will review where we are in talks next week and then decide if we need to take any further action.
“Network Rail issued a formal resignation letter last week which is totally unacceptable as a step in the middle of a negotiation.”
“We invest more in the railroad than any previous government”
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson told Sky News the public has a right to expect rail transport reforms.
He said: “I would say, given the circumstances we are in, I think we want to see reform and improvement in the way the railways work and modernisation.
“If you have a 25% drop in ridership, which we have at the moment, we’ve got the government investing billions and billions (into it).
“We are investing more in rail than any previous government.
“I think the traveling public has a right to expect some fundamental reforms, like with ticket offices, like with walking times and some of these other practices that really no one but union leaders are defending.”
In the first two days of the strike – Tuesday and Thursday – many people were able to avoid the disruption in the home office.
But for those who have long planned to travel by train for weekend events, this was not an option.
Popular seaside resorts – such as Bournemouth, Blackpool, Margate, Llandudno and Skegness – will not have rail links.
And even the current services only operate between 7.30am and 6.30pm, with several major stations such as Birmingham New Street, Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly closing at 7pm.
The disruption is expected to affect many Sunday services as well.
RMT warns rail strikes could ‘escalate’ if no deal is reached
Here’s what you need to know about disruptions
British Airways workers at Heathrow vote to go on strike during the school summer holidays
Passengers with pre-booked tickets for Saturday can travel on Friday, Sunday or Monday instead or request a refund.
This week’s strikes are estimated to have cost the rail industry up to £150m in lost revenue and canceled planned modernization work.
Talks between the RMT and rail employers continued throughout the week and are expected to resume in the next few days.
Rail strikes: RMT union ‘doesn’t hesitate’ to take further industrial action as third strike over weekend causes disruption | UK News
Source link Rail strikes: RMT union ‘doesn’t hesitate’ to take further industrial action as third strike over weekend causes disruption | UK News