5 July 2022
RMT Press Office:
Mick Lynch pledges fight of a lifetime in battle cry at RMT AGM.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the national rail dispute was “the fight of our lifetime” at the union’s annual general meeting in Birmingham.
Mr Lynch who has become a media sensation since a string of successful broadcast interviews, said these were the “toughest negotiations” RMT had ever been involved in.
He accused Network Rail and the train operating companies of “doing the government’s rotten business and trying to cut thousands of jobs on the railways."
He said: “They are trying to cut thousands of jobs and they have no scruples in cutting back on safety regimes in order to do so.
“They are seeking to rip up working practices and conditions, agreements that protect our members and in doing so they will drive up unsocial hours, work fatigue and occupational ill health.
“And they are seeking to make our members poor with below inflation pay offers which do not take into account the cost-of-living crisis.”
Reflecting on the recent 3 days of strike action, Mr Lynch said it was normal for an employer to be a little more reasonable in talks following an industrial stoppage.
However, he revealed: “Since that strike action, which was fantastic, they have not diluted their stance. At Network Rail they are ramping up their demands.
“We went to the train operators, and they put on the table that virtually every rail worker would be re-contracted on a new contract of employment and a new set of terms and conditions.
“And they are going to bring back the Driver Only Operated disputes in every single train operating company. They have told me that face to face. They said it was their mandate from DfT.
“So, this is as serious as it gets. It is the fight of our lifetime and of our generation.”
The RMT general secretary went on to slam those who blame workers for the economic crisis in Britain, pointing out that wage demands from trade unions were not the cause of inflation.
He said: “It is a myth put round by the establishment that workers' wages are the cause of inflation. It is the profit making and protecting the wealth of the super-rich that is responsible for inflation.
“We have not got a wage price spiral - wages are lagging a long way behind prices and it is the job of the trade unions to ensure wages catch up.”