'Completely unapologetic!' Madeley blasts RMT boss as he plans biggest strike for 30 years

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'Completely unapologetic!' Madeley blasts RMT boss as he plans biggest strike for 30 years

Glastonbury festival-goers and cricket fans face travel chaos later this month as thousands of railway workers take part in three days of strikes.

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Glastonbury festival-goers and cricket fans face travel chaos later this month as thousands of railway workers take part in three days of strikes. Members of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport union (RMT) at Network Rail and 13 train operators will walk out on June 21, 23, and 25, in the biggest outbreak of industrial action in the industry in a generation. ITV’s Good Morning Britain host Richard Madeley grilled RMT general secretary Mick Lynch over the strikes.

He said: “You of course have an absolute right to strike and right to push hard for better pay and safety conditions but you’re actually holding the public hostage.

“You’re not really affected your bosses, you’re affected ordinary men and women who won’t be able to get to work, who won’t be able to go on holiday.

“There are so many events happening in that week and I suspect that’s why you picked it.

“There’s Glastonbury, there’s a huge Elton John concert. All of which is going to be severely disrupted people’s pleasure, enjoyment, and functionality.”

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Mr Lynch replied: “We’re not holding anyone hostage. I don’t follow Elton John’s tour schedule or the comings and goings of Glastonbury.

“What we’re faced with is the lack of a pay rise and the threat of compulsory redundancies across our industry.

“We’re also facing threats to the cuts of our safety standards because Network Rail is changing the safety regime to cut inspections to make sure they can cut 3,000 jobs who do those inspections every day and every night on the railway.

“What you’re asking us to do is just accept passively the destruction of our industry and the loss of jobs and the poverty of our members.”

The RMT also announced another 24-hour strike on London Underground on June 21 in a separate row over jobs and pensions.

The strikes threaten widespread travel disruption during a number of major events, including concerts, test match cricket and the Glastonbury festival.

Glastonbury starts on June 22, while that week will also see England play New Zealand in a test match in Leeds, the British athletics championships in Manchester, and gigs in London’s Hyde Park by Sir Elton John (June 24) and The Rolling Stones (June 25).

There will also be a Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London on June 24 and 25 and it is Armed Forces Day on June 25.

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Andrew Haines, Network Rail’s chief executive, said the organisation was “doing everything we can” to avoid the strike action.

“There are two weeks until the first strike is planned. We will use this time to keep talking to our unions and, through compromise and common sense on both sides, we hope to find a solution and avoid the damage that strike action would cause all involved,” he said.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps described the move as “incredibly disappointing”.

“The pandemic has changed travel habits – with 25% fewer ticket sales and the taxpayer stepping in to keep the railways running at a cost of £16 billion, equivalent to £600 per household. We must act now to put the industry on a sustainable footing,” he said.



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