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Vote the Tories out but ‘be prepared for a decade of struggle under a Labour,’ Lynch says

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has urged people to vote out the Tories but prepare for a decade of struggle under a Labour government.

Giving his keynote address at the union’s Hull AGM today, Mr Lynch credited RMT members for showing a “combative spirit” against the hostility of the Tory government, securing a pay deal and keeping ticket offices open. 

He said: “Last year the challenges were piling up, with our members and our union being attacked on all fronts.

“The ticket office closures were meant to be the government’s knockout punch in the rail dispute. 

“But they over-reached and we defeated them.”

Turning his attention to the upcoming general election, Mr Lynch warned another Tory administration would “bring about the end of collective bargaining and negotiations on the railways.”

He said: “A change of government gives us a better chance to fight to improve the lives of our communities, to improve our public transport network and to improve our members’ jobs, pay and conditions.”

Despite the watering down of aspects of the New Deal, Mr Lynch was clear that it “will be significantly beneficial, including employment rights from day one and repealing the 2016 trade union act.

“The rail policy document promises to change the industrial relations framework, ending the attacks on us and providing for decent conditions, regarding the railway workforce as an asset to be nurtured rather than a cost to be cut.”

Heaping praise on deputy leader Angela Rayner and shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh, Mr Lynch did caution that, the election of a Labour government was the “beginning and not the end” of the union’s struggle. 

“We know that big business and the corporations are all over Labour,” he said.

“They will be doing everything in their power to dilute, delay and destroy these policies, not just over the next five years but over the next 10.

“So, we must be prepared for a decade of struggle under a Labour government.”

Looking ahead, Mr Lynch promised to put the union the “front rank” of the trade union movement and to “inspire others” to change society.”

He said: “This political and economic consensus must be smashed, and Labour must produce an alternative economic and industrial policy, because what [it is] currently offering will not fix the problems.

“Now is a time for change, but we, the working people, have to build it.”

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