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'Do you want him evicted?': Mick Lynch defends RMT deputy living in council flat on £78k
27 July 2022, 09:37 | Updated: 27 July 2022, 09:39
Mick Lynch has defended his deputy Eddie Dempsey after it was revealed he lives in council accommodation whilst in receipt of a five-figure salary.
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Speaking on LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Mr Lynch denied claims Mr Dempsey - who earns £78,000 - was "blocking" access to social housing for those who need it.
"I don't think he is blocking it at all," said the RMT boss.
"What he got is his council flat that he got as a person on the register when he was a railway worker, and he and his partner live there with his children and they have the tenancy like all council tenants do, and when he's ready to move I assume he'll move.
"It's not a question of 'when you earn a few more bob you get evicted from your council flat', that certainly didn't happen to me when I lived [in one]."
Mr Lynch said his deputy had been in the post since October, at which point he already lived in the property.
"What do you want him to do?" He said.
"Be evicted because he's got a new job?"
Mr Lynch then said social housing should be diverse and house people of "all incomes".
"What we need is more council houses so that people from all sorts of incomes can live in mixed environments," he said.
"When I was living in a council flat in the 60s and 70s with my parents there were people from all sorts of backgrounds living in council flats.
"The problem is that the government stopped building council flats and houses so that we can't have that mixed environment in our inner cities, with people living comfortably side by side from all sorts of backgrounds.
"And what we need is a mixed environment with people of all income levels living cooperatively in council accommodation, and I don't believe he should be evicted because he's got a new job."
Mr Dempsey lives in council-subsidised accommodation in Islington.
The Daily Mail reports the borough has the 13th longest social housing waiting list in England, with 14,000 households on need of accommodation.
Mr Lynch also discussed Wednesday's train strikes, defending a decision not to put a pay offer to the union's members.
"The deal comes nowhere near meeting our demands in the dispute," he said.
"We conducted the vote for our members on what the demands in the dispute are, we haven’t had an offer that matches that - that’s plain.
"[Network Rail’s offer] does not meet the demands of our members.
"We know they are unacceptable because our members have told us that."
Over 40,000 rail workers are striking on Wednesday.
Fourteen train operating companies are taking action in an ongoing row over pay, jobs and conditions, which saw the network upended by the biggest rail strike in modern history last month.