RMT union chief Mick Lynch says he’s ‘not the Grinch’ following announcement of festive strike days

The RMT will strike for 48 straight hours on four occasions in December and January

RMT chief executive Mick Lynch has said he’s “not the Grinch” following the union’s announcement that they will strike around Christmas and New Year. This comes as the RMT announced eight days of strike action between the middle of December and the start of January.

Mr Lynch was talking to reporters when he said that he didn’t want to replicate the green children’s character who stole away Christmas. He said: "I’m not the Grinch, I’m a trade union official, and I’m determined to get a deal."

More than 40,000 RMT members will strike  on December 13, 14, 16 and 17 and on January 3,4,6 and 7.There will also be an overtime ban across the railways from December 18 until January 2, meaning the RMT will be taking some form of industrial action for four weeks.

Following the announcement of these fresh strike days, Mr Lynch said: "This latest round of strikes will show how important our members are to the running of this country and will send a clear message that we want a good deal on job security, pay and conditions for our people.

"We have been reasonable, but it is impossible to find a negotiated settlement when the dead hand of the government is presiding over these talks.

"The employers are in disarray and saying different things to different people sometimes at the same time. This whole process has become a farce that only the new Secretary of State can resolve. When I meet him later this week, I will deliver that message.”

He added: "In the meantime, our message to the public is we are sorry to inconvenience you, but we urge you to direct your anger and frustration at the government and railway employers during this latest phase of action.

"We call upon all trades unionists in Britain to take a stand and fight for better pay and conditions in their respective industries. And we will seek to coordinate strike action and demonstrations where we can.

The RMT has been in a dispute with Network Rail over pay and work conditions, in which RMT general secretary Mick Lynch accuses Network Rail of “dishonesty”.

"Working people across our class need a pay rise and we are determined to win that for our members in RMT."

Tim Shoveller, who is Network Rail’s chief negotiator in the dispute, said: “no-one can deny the precarious financial hole in which the railway finds itself” and that “striking makes that hole bigger and the task of finding a resolution ever more difficult”.

He added:  “Only through reform, that will not result in anyone losing their job, can savings be made that can then be converted into an improved offer. While progress has been made over these last two weeks, we still have yet to find that breakthrough.”