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Mick Lynch to discuss rail strikes with transport secretary as UK hit by wave of industrial action

Good morning. Years ago, at least until the late 1980s, one of the best jobs in journalism was to be the industrial editor. Strikes were always in the news, they covered loads of stories (and often took precedence of the political correspondents covering the Labour party, which was then largely run by the unions). But after the Thatcher government’s union reforms, plus mass unemployment, union membership fell, the number of days lost to strikes shrunk, and now the industrial correspondents have now almost all gone. Which is a shame, because today we really need some.

Here is a quick round-up from on-strike Britain.

And here are some picture from the CWU union Twitter feed.

  • And Mick Lynch, the RMT general secretary, is preparing for a meeting with Mark Harper, the transport secretary, to discuss what might be done to avert more strikes planned for December and January. Lynch gave an interview to ITV’s Peston last night and he called for a new, ‘transactional’ approach from the government. He said:

We need the government to get its act together and be a facilitator. We’ve had so much disruption, where Grant Shapps was frankly just going around being bellicose, accusing me of being some kind of medieval baron, evil Marxist mastermind and all the rest of it. It’s just not appropriate.

If Mark Harper wants to come in there and calm stuff down, and say let’s get on with the business, let’s do transactional business across the table – they get a bit, we get a bit, our members benefit, the public benefits – happy days, let’s get on with the deal, we don’t have to have strikes.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: Mark Harper, the transport secretary, takes questions in the Commons.

11.30am: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.

11.45am: Harper is due to hold a meeting with Mick Lynch, the RMT general secretary.

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