RMT chief doesn't rule out general strike and says 'rich have never been richer'

13 June 2022, 10:18 | Updated: 13 June 2022, 10:57

By Daisy Stephens

The chief of the RMT union has refused to rule out a general strike as workers' wages fall relative to inflation while "the rich have never been richer".

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Speaking on LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Mick Lynch, Secretary-General of the RMT, was asked if he would coordinate strike action with other unions to "leverage" power.

"I haven't had a direct discussion with Gary [Smith, of the GMB] over that," he said.

"But it would make sense for workers to leverage their power in any campaign, because the UK worker needs a pay rise.

Read more: Union's fury over Govt plans to hire agency staff during strikes to curb travel chaos

Read more: More train workers to go on strike later this month adding to travel chaos

"They haven't had one for a considerable time and profits are up, dividends are up, we've got more billionaires than we've ever had, and the rich have never been richer.

"And while that's happening workers' wages relative to prices are falling, so that's got to be addressed and it's the trade union's job to address it."

Nick asked: "A de-facto national strike, then, My Lynch, in effect?"

"Well we're not going that far, coordination is different to a national strike," Mr Lynch said.

"We'll see how that develops through the summer."

Nick asked if he was able to say it definitely would not take place.

"I'm not saying it won't take place but it needs some coordination," he said.

RMT members will strike next week
RMT members will strike next week. Picture: Alamy

Mr Lynch accused employers of being "short sighted", citing the chaos seen at airports in recent months as a result of staff cuts throughout the Covid pandemic.

"If you look what's happened in the aviation industry where they cut thousands and thousands of jobs and now they can't operate the airports and the airlines, the employers are taking a very short-sighted view," he said.

"There's no benevolence on behalf of the employers, they've cut people out so that they can lower conditions and lower wages and now they're paying the price of that and they can't operate their airports.

"So something needs to be done about this."

Read more: Summer plans scuppered? Gigs, festivals, sport and GCSEs hit in biggest rail strike since '89

Read more: Commuters slam 'greedy' rail union as Tube strike causes London chaos

When asked why the strike action is being carried out now despite workers having gone around three years without pay rises, Mr Lynch said it was because the companies were now planning on making redundancies.

"These things are on top of us now and we want some guarantees about that, but of course the pay is overdue," he said.

"We've been to the companies for two years about these matters."

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