RMT union baron Mick Lynch is set to appear on the BBC’s Have I Got News For You tomorrow night, just one day after ordering a strike that will ‘effectively shut down the railway network’ next month.
The RMT general-secretary will join the panel of the BBC comedy quiz show, alongside comedian Roisin Conaty and actor Richard Ayoade who is guest presenting the episode.
Mr Lynch has been dubbed a ‘media star’ for his many straight-talking interviews on TV and radio, during which he has defended numerous strikes that have crippled the UK’s railways and caused widespread disruption to millions of people.
His appearance on Have I Got News For You will come just one day after the RMT announced that 40,000 Network Rail staff and 15 train operating companies will stage a walkout on October 8.
RMT Union boss Mick Lynch on the picket line outside London Euston in August
Actor and comedian Richard Ayoade will be guest presenting the episode which Mick Lynch is set to appear on
The new strike action date – marking the third rail strike now planned in October – was set on Thursday as part of an ongoing dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.
Rail strikes are already planned by Aslef union members from 12 train companies on October 1 and 5, threatening fresh travel chaos for passengers.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said today that it was encouraging that the new Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan had met the union.
‘We welcome this more positive approach from the government to engage with us as a first step to finding a suitable settlement,’ he said.
‘However, as no new offer has been tabled, our members have no choice but to continue this strike action.
‘We will continue to negotiate in good faith, but the employers and government need to understand our industrial campaign will continue for as long as it takes.’
A Network Rail spokesperson said: ‘We have received notification of another strike by the RMT on Saturday October 8, just one week after another walkout it has co-ordinated with train drivers at Aslef.
‘This latest strike will again mean very significant disruption for passengers, and we’ll be asking people to only travel if absolutely necessary due to the reduced service that will be in place.
‘Full timetables for all upcoming strike days will be published in due course.’
As well as Network Rail, the 15 train operating companies taking part are: Chiltern Railways, Cross Country Trains, Greater Anglia, LNER, East Midlands Railway, c2c, Great Western Railway, Hull Trains, Northern Trains, South Eastern, South Western Railway, Transpennine Express, Avanti West Coast, West Midlands Trains and GTR (including Gatwick Express).
The staged walkouts come on a big weekend for sport, with a number of Premier League fixtures set for October 8, including Man City v Southampton, Bournemouth v Leicester City and Chelsea v Wolverhampton.
The strike is yet another blow for rail passengers, who were preparing to suffer more travel misery next month after drivers in the Aslef union at 12 train operators agreed to walk out on October 1 and 5.
Commuters wait for trains at London Liverpool Street station during strike action on June 23
Empty platforms at King’s Cross railway station during a rail strike by RMT union members on August 20.
Staged walkouts will affect travel to and from the Conservative party conference in Birmingham which is due to take place between October 2 and 5.
Runners hoping to get to London for the London Marathon on October 2 will also be impacted by the strikes as routes into and around the city will be affected.
RMT members employed by contractors who clean Avanti West Coast trains will walk out for 24 hours on Friday in a separate dispute over pay.
A planned strike by drivers on September 15 and 17 was called off as a mark of respect following the Queen’s death.
RMT Union general-secretary Mr Lynch said the walkout of rail workers during the official mourning period was ‘suspended’ as it joins ‘the whole nation in paying its respects’.
He added: ‘We express our deepest condolences to her family, friends and the country’.
The move comes after a summer of discontent as thousands of workers across the rail, telecoms, legal and postal sectors, staged walkouts amid disputes over pay and working conditions.
Criminal barristers have staged indefinite strike action over a dispute about Legal Aid fees, while postal workers also staged strikes with a further 48-hour strike planned for later this month.