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'I don't think there's any point': Tory MP rejects Mick Lynch's plea to negotiate with rail unions live on TV
3 September 2023, 10:59
A Tory MP has rejected Mick Lynch's plea for televised negotiations between the government and rail unions, telling LBC he "doesn't think there's any point".
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The RMT leader told LBC on Saturday that he would welcome public negotiations with the government, though said he does not think the government would ever agree to it.
Tory MP Gareth Davies has rejected this idea, telling LBC's Ian Payne: "We want this resolved, we're incredibly disappointed that the RMT and Aslef continue with their strikes, we just want them to call them off and put passengers first.
"We've played a part to help facilitate discussions for the unions and they've been offered what we regard as a fair offer. We think it's right that they put that to their members."
As for holding televised negotiations, Mr Davies continued: "I don't think there's any value in televising and putting on a show. I think passengers want this resolved."
Tory MP responds to Mick Lynch's calls for televised meetings
Mr Lynch's comments came as 20,000 RMT union members from 14 operating companies stage a strike across the country.
Asked by LBC's Ian Payne if he would agree to negotiating with the government live on TV, Mr Lynch called for negotiations to be out "in the open".
“I don’t think the government would ever agree to that because they’d have to show their skills in debating these issues and I don’t think they want to do that," he told LBC.
"They very rarely turn up for interviews. They very rarely go off a pre-prepared script and a statement that’s prepared for them by a professional civil servant.
Mick Lynch: The government wouldn't agree to public negotiations
Mr Lynch continued: "The RMT and the trade unions always turn up for any debate. I’ve debated with government ministers in the past on the media. I’m very happy to do those negotiations in public if that’s what they want to do."
It came after passengers travelling across the rail network on Saturday were told to check their journey before they travel, with members at 14 operators currently on strike.
Aslef members also walked out on Friday, also crippling rail services, and refused to work overtime on Saturday.
Workers from the following companies went on strike on Saturday.
- Avanti West Coast
- Chiltern Railways
- Cross Country Trains
- East Midlands Railway
- Great Western Railway
- Greater Anglia
- Northern Trains
- South Eastern
- South Western Railway
- Transpennine Express
- West Midlands Trains
- GTR (including Southern, Gatwick Express, Thameslink and Great Northern)
Mr Lynch also continued to criticise the planned closure of ticket offices across the country.
"I've travelled up and down the country - people are absolutely furious about this...and furious about how the country is being run," he said.