Mick Lynch: who is RMT union leader, what is his annual salary - and what he has said about UK train strikes
The latest industrial action comes after members voted to reject a pay offer from Network Rail
and live on Freeview channel 276
The first in a series of 48-hour train strikes planned this December started today (13 December), with Network Rail and 14 other train companies including Great Western Railway, Avanti West Coast and South Western Railway striking in protest against pay and working conditions.
The action comes after members voted to reject a pay offer from Network Rail, with RMT Union leader Mick Lynch warning there is “no deal in sight” to remove the possibility of further strikes next year.
Lynch has been the face of the strike, leading the conversation in the media and negotiating with the government behind closed doors. Speaking to PA Media at the picket line on Euston Street, he explained that he was an “optimist” and hoped that the government would “show some goodwill” and “create a document, or a set of documents, that we can all support.”
Passengers have been advised to travel only if it is absolutely necessary, with onward delays expected both before and after the strike, with some services running on a limited timetable.
Here’s everything you need to know about who Mick Lynch is and how much he earns.
Who is Mick Lynch?
Mick Lynch was born in 1962 and was brought up in Paddington in West London. The 60-year-old was born to Irish parents and left school at 16 to become an electrician before making the move into construction. In 1993 he started working for Eurostar and became a member of the RMT Union. In the past two decades he moved steadily up the ladder, serving two terms as the assistant general secretary before being elected as the permanent general secretary in May 2021.
What has he said about the train strikes?
The RMT union leader has been at the forefront of the strikes, leading the conversation in the media and negotiating with the government behind closed doors.
Network Rail had offered union members a 5% pay rise for this year – backdated to January – with another 4% at the start of 2023 and a guarantee of no compulsory job losses until January 2025. However, this offer has not been enough to halt the strike action.
Speaking to PA Media outside the picket line at Euston Station on Tuesday 13 December, Lynch explained he was an “optimist” and hoped that the government would “show some goodwill and expertise and some facilitation to try and create a document, or a set of documents, that we can all support.”
Lynch added: “At the moment they know that what they’re putting forward to us is… through their agents in the Rail Delivery Group and Network Rail, they know that that’s not good enough. But I believe we can get there. I’m an optimist. And if we can get the rail minister and ourselves and the employers around the table perhaps we can work something up and I’m willing to do that whenever they’re ready.”
He apologised for the disruption caused by the strikes adding: “We don’t like disrupting the public and we apologise for the disruption that’s being caused. I believe we could have worked towards a settlement a couple of weeks ago until that was undermined by the stance that certain people have taken.
“So we do apologise and we hope that people can amend their plans and get to where they need to go during this period, but they can be assured that we’re working to try and get an agreement so that we can end this dispute.
Asked if the strikes could continue after January, Lynch told PA Media: “Well, we hope not. We want to get a deal but at the moment, there is no deal in sight. So we’ve got the schedule down at the moment, which is running for the next four weeks. We will review that at the end of that if there’s no settlement on the table and we’ll decide what our next steps are, but at the moment there is no settlement to be had.”
Why are there train strikes?
The RMT Union called upon their members to strike in response to employees wages and concerns around redundancies. They have asked for a pay rise of at least 7% in line with the current cost of living crisis. Back in May, Lynch explained why the workers had to go on strike saying: “We haven’t had any pay rises, we are faced with thousands of job cuts and they want to rip up our terms and conditions in a form of hire and rehire that is internal to the railway.”
He added: “If there is not a settlement we will continue our campaign. I think there are going to be many more unions balloting across the country because people can’t take it any more. The rail industry and the Government need to understand that this dispute will not simply vanish.”
How much is his salary?
Lynch himself has said he earns a salary of £84,00-a-year. In an interview on Good Morning Britain with presenter Paul Brand in August, the RMT union leader challenged Brand who made a statement about his earnings.
Brand said: “What support are you giving members? Because you’re on a six-figure salary. I’m not going to demonise you for that this morning, there is many a politician on a six-figure salary.”
Lynch quickly shut down the question replying: “I’m not. I’m not on a six-figure salary. That’s completely untrue. Where did you get that from? I’m not on a six-figure salary.”