15 June 2022
RMT Press Office:
Rail union RMT has called for a face-to-face meeting with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Chancellor Rishi Sunak to avert strike action on the rail network next week.
The railways will be shut down for 3 days on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, when workers from Network Rail and 13 train operating companies take to picket lines across the country in a row over pay and job losses.
In a letter to Grant Shapps, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch says it has become clear that the Treasury is "calling the shots" and is not allowing rail employers to reach a negotiated settlement with the union.
Mr Lynch writes: "I am writing to seek an urgent meeting with the government, without any pre-conditions, to discuss the national rail disputes prior to the planned strike action next week and I would be grateful if this could be arranged without delay. As you will be aware both this year and last year, meetings have taken place under the Rail Industry Recovery Group (RIRG).
"...it has become obvious in our discussions with employers since the RMT ballot result that the government is retaining control over the conduct of negotiations with the RMT, and the Treasury in particular is calling the shots."
"In effect in recent weeks the union has been negotiating with the government, but the government have not been in the room.
"I am now therefore calling for a meeting with you and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak. I also note the government have decided to have a parliamentary debate on the dispute today. So, as well as speaking at the despatch box about the dispute, I hope you will be able to speak to me directly about resolving the dispute."