Mick Lynch says RMT no closer to calling off rail strikes as transport minister states


Mick Lynch says meeting with transport secretary ‘positive’, but RMT no closer to calling off rail strikes

Mick Lynch, the RMT general secretary, has been speaking to the media after his meeting with Mark Harper, the transport secretary.

He said that it was a “positive meeting” and that Harper said he would set out in writing what steps might be taken towards a resolution of the dispute behind the rail strikes.

He said one issue was that it has not been clear what scope the Rail Delivery Group had to negotiate. Harper said he would clarify that, he said.

Lynch said he hoped that would lead to a new negotiating mandate.

But asked if he was closer to calling off the dispute, Lynch said that was not the case. He said they would not be closer to an end of the dispute until a reasonable offer was on the table.

This is from the Mirror’s Ashley Cowburn.

Mick Lynch tells the press we’re “now starting to get a dialogue” with Transport Sec.

Says we’re “getting rid of the bellicose rhetoric” of his predecessor Grant Shapps. pic.twitter.com/GhP8C61ON2

— Ashley Cowburn (@ashcowburn) November 24, 2022

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Mick Lynch tells the press we’re “now starting to get a dialogue” with Transport Sec.

Says we’re “getting rid of the bellicose rhetoric” of his predecessor Grant Shapps. pic.twitter.com/GhP8C61ON2

— Ashley Cowburn (@ashcowburn) November 24, 2022

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  • Mick Lynch, the RMT general secretary, has said his union is no closer to calling off its rail strikes, despite a meeting with Mark Harper, the new transport secretary, that he described as “positive”. (See 2.02pm.) After the meeting, Harper said he thought there was “a deal to be done”. (See 3.03pm.)

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  • Michael Gove is facing mounting pressure to fully explain his role in the government’s award of large PPE contracts to a company that was first recommended to him by the Tory peer Michelle Mone.

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  • Net migration to the UK has reached a record level of 504,000 after the arrival of Ukrainians and Hongkongers under government schemes and a jump in the number of international students.

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  • The cost to the government of shielding households from soaring energy bills is expected to double in the new year to up to £5bn a month, as ministers prepare to push the button on a public information campaign to reduce usage.

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    Government departments have been ordered to stop installing surveillance cameras made by Chinese firms on “sensitive sites” due to security concerns, PA Media reports. PA says:

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    The order applies to “visual surveillance systems” made by firms subject to China’s national security law, which requires companies to cooperate with Beijing’s security services.

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    Whitehall ministries have been told existing equipment should not be connected to departmental core networks and consideration should be given to removing it entirely.

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    The shift in policy was announced by Oliver Dowden, the Cabinet Office minister. In a written ministerial statement he said:

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    The Government Security Group has undertaken a review of the current and future possible security risks associated with the installation of visual surveillance systems on the government estate.

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    The review has concluded that, in light of the threat to the UK and the increasing capability and connectivity of these systems, additional controls are required.

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    Departments have therefore been instructed to cease deployment of such equipment on to sensitive sites, where it is produced by companies subject to the national intelligence law of the People’s Republic of China.

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    Since security considerations are always paramount around these sites, we are taking action now to prevent any security risks materialising.

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    The Department for Transport has now sent out a news release with a statement from Mark Harper about his meeting with Mick Lynch, the RMT general secretary. It mostly echoes what he told the BBC (see 2.32pm), but it includes a line saying he thinks “there is a deal to be done”. He says:

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    We have common ground – we both want the dispute to end and we both want a thriving railway which delivers for passengers and workers alike. To achieve this though, we need to work together, across the entire industry to ensure our railway industry thrives.

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    There is a deal to be done, and I believe we will get there – I want to facilitate the RMT and the employers to reach an agreement and end the dispute for the benefit of the travelling public.

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    Unfortunately there’s a typo in the DfT’s press release.

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