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His remarks came after Mr Shapps accused the union of “damaging people’s lives” after thousands of commuters were affected last week due to the biggest rail strike in the UK in more than three decades.
Train services were crippled again on Saturday due to another 24-hour strike by thousands of workers in a bitter dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.
Urging Mr Shapps to engage in talks, the union boss said: “So if Grant Shapps wants to be constructive that’s what he can do. He needs to tone down the rhetoric and get on with his job, which is to settle this dispute.”
Last week’s strikes were called as part of a dispute over pay and conditions on the railways, after the government asked train operating companies to find savings through “modernisation”.
Welcome to The Independent’s live blog on the aftermath of the biggest rail strike in more than three decades in the UK.
RMT union boss asks government to ‘tone down rhetoric’
Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union general secretary Mick Lynch has asked Grant Shapps to “tone down the rhetoric and get on with his job” to settle the ongoing dispute.
“So if Grant Shapps wants to be constructive that’s what he can do. He needs to tone down the rhetoric and get on with his job, which is to settle this dispute,” the union boss said on Saturday.
Earlier, the transport secretary had accused the union of “damaging people’s lives” after thousands of commuters were affected by three days of industrial action last week.
Brandon Lewis criticised for using train driver salaries in strike interview
Brandon Lewis has been criticised for referring to train drivers’ salaries while discussing the RMT rail strike – just a day after prime minister Boris Johnson did the same thing.
The Northern Ireland secretary appeared on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme where he said train drivers were earning between £56,000 and £70,000.
He added that the dispute – which prompted industrial action on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – is an “issue between the employer and unions” and that people want to see a resolution.
Joe Middleton reports.
Brandon Lewis said train drivers are earning between £56,000 and £70,000 – but the union that represents most of them is not on strike
Scottish Labour leader blames UK government for rail strikes
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said the rail strikes were “entirely of the UK government’s making”.
“It is important to give solidarity to striking workers at picket lines and it is important to recognise that this is a crisis entirely of the UK government’s making,” Mr Sarwar told Channel 4.
“The workers don’t want to strike, the unions don’t want to strike, the public doesn’t want the strike, and all of them demand better of this government. And I think Grant Shapps needs to stop playing the political games, stop the culture war here, get around the table and get a deal (sic).”
Labour MP donates to strike fund
Labour MP Nadia Whittome has donated £2,000 to the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union’s strike fund.
“These rail workers are leading the way for all workers. They’re the ones who need a pay rise, not MPs,” Ms Whittome said.
Christmas presents could be affected by rail strikes: report
Christmas presents could be affected by the series of rail strikes due to disruption of the supply chain, months before the festive season.
According to reports, over 600 freight trains run in the UK every day, carrying goods such as TVs, clothes and decorations.
“As the year goes on, freight gets busier, particularly containers, so that’s a big worry. The China surge will come in – and those ships are sailing now. It always gets busier into August, particularly when we start seeing Christmas stuff come through,” an industry figure was quoted by The Mirror as saying.
Backlash after senior Labour leader attacks strikes
A senior Labour figure has toughened the party’s stance ahead of a “summer of discontent” over falling pay by saying he does not “support strikes” – triggering a backlash.
David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary, said he “categorically” does not support a walkout by BA check-in staff, dismissing their call for a 10 per cent pay increase.
Calling it “very sad when any union calls its members out”, Mr Lammy also said: “I don’t support strikes,” before adding: “I support the right to strike of course.”
Rob Merrick has more.
David Lammy warns rebel MPs not to ‘stand on picket lines’ ahead of ‘further disputes‘
Mick Lynch: The trade union leader who is nobody’s puppet
The general secretary of the RMT union has been taking on, and vanquishing, all comers – politicians and journalists alike. Now he has become a thorn in Boris Johnson’s side, writes Sean O’Grady.
The general secretary of the RMT union has been taking on, and vanquishing, all comers – politicians and journalists alike. Now he has become a thorn in Boris Johnson’s side, writes Sean O’Grady
ICYMI | Why are the train strikes happening?
Travel across the UK was disrupted for much of last week as the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union launched the biggest strike to hit the British rail network in 30 years.
But what is the reason for the disruption, and why are train workers striking?
Here’s everything we know so far.
Journeys by train are set to be disrupted on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of this week – but why are rail workers walking out?