Train Strikes: RMT leader Mick Lynch ‘optimistic’ a deal can be reached during Christmas walkouts

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“What I’m hoping to do over the next period is to negotiate some improvements so we can settle the dispute, that’s what our aim is.”

Union leader Mick Lynch says he is “optimistic” that a deal can be reached during this fresh round of train strikes over the Christmas period.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) general secretary said he is hoping to negotiate some improvements over the next month but admits there is currently no deal in sight.

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Speaking to LondonWorld outside Euston Station on Tuesday morning he said: “We’ve not gotten any proposals from Network Rail or the train operators that we can live with.

“All strike action is a last resort, we hope we can get some movement from the companies and from the government.

 Mick Lynch(Getty Images) Mick Lynch(Getty Images)
Mick Lynch(Getty Images) | Getty Images

“We’ll be pursuing some negotiations but the strike action is to back that up, to give us some leverage at the table.”

Strike action involving 40,000 workers at Network Rail as well as the 14 train operating firms started today (December 13) and will continue Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

This is part of an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.

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Mr Lynch apologised for for any disruption caused to the public, especially during the Christmas period but argued that “there is no good time to strike.”

“What I’m hoping to do over the next period is to negotiate some improvements so we can settle the dispute, that’s what our aim is,” he said.

“We want to get our members back to work, we want to get the railway operating and we want everybody to be able to use it safely in the way that they should be accustomed to.”

Further walkouts are planned for January 3,4,6 and 7.

Most train companies are likely to be affected, and Network Rail advises to "only travel if absolutely necessary"Most train companies are likely to be affected, and Network Rail advises to "only travel if absolutely necessary"
Most train companies are likely to be affected, and Network Rail advises to "only travel if absolutely necessary" | AFP via Getty Images

Only Network Rail engineering staff will strike from 6pm Christmas Eve until 6am December 27.

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Network Rail said only about 20% of services were running today nationally — 4,000 rather than 20,000 trains.

Southeastern had no trains in or out of Charing Cross or Victoria.

While South Western Railway was only able to run four of its routes into Waterloo, and at reduced frequencies.

On TfL services, the London Overground and Bakerloo line have been partially suspended and the Central line is experiencing severe delays.

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While the District, Piccadilly, Jubilee, and Elizabeth lines are all experiencing minor delays.

National Rail said: “The rail industry is working hard to minimise the effect that this will have on services but it is inevitable that services will be cancelled or severely disrupted.

“It is likely that there will be a very limited service on these days with no trains at all on some routes.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper told the BBC he was "very disappointed" that the RMT had rejected the latest pay offer "out of hand" and that there isn’t "a bottomless pot" of money.

"A fair and reasonable offer has been made. We do also need to see reform agreed at the same time," he added.

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