RMT rail strikes over Christmas as unions do more

RMT rail strikes over Christmas as unions do more

The RMT rail union has announced further strikes over Christmas, as it advised members to reject a pay offer from Network Rail. My colleague Gywn Topham has the details here.

Rishi Sunak is chairing cabinet this morning and it would be surprising if the strikes were not a major topic of discussion, not just by the RMT, but by unions in other sectors as well.

Mick Lynch, the RMT's general secretary, has been giving interviews this morning. He defended the decision to stage more rail strikes over Christmas, saying that unions had a duty to coordinate because their members were being attacked because the price of labour was too low in the UK. He told the programme:

Working people are having their wages lowered against inflation, and their conditions are often ripped up. They are offering very paltry pay rises in exchange for chopping up terms and conditions and changes to working practices. It feels like a general attack by the employers and government and the organisations that are coordinating what they are doing. It would be foolish for unions not to coordinate themselves in response to the attacks. People are being made poorer, and sometimes impoverished, while they are working, using food banks and having to live on state benefits. The price of labour isn't the right price in this country and what the unions have to do is because they are not being paid the right amount of money for their work, because they are living on subsidy and living on food banks and other support mechanisms. That was exactly what happened in the railways. The unions have a duty to coordinate what they do.

I will post more from his interviews soon.

Here is the agenda for the day.

11.30 pm: Steve Barclay, health secretary, takes questions in the Commons.

After 12.30 pm, MPs debated a Labour motion on the NHS calling for the abolition of non-dom tax status to fund an expansion of the NHS workforce.

2 pm : Environment secretary Th r se Coffey gives evidence to the Commons Environment Committee.

2.30 pm: Culture secretary Michelle Donelan gives evidence to the Commons culture committee.

Andrew Mitchell, the development minister, gives evidence to the international development committee at 2.30 pm.

After 4 pm, MPs debate Labour humble address motion that would force the government to release papers relating to the award of PPE contracts to PPE Medpro, the firm that is linked to Tory peer Lady Mone, although she has denied this in the past.

I try to monitor the comments below the line BTL but it is impossible to read all of them. If you have a direct question, include Andrew somewhere and I'm more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line ATL, although I can't promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to draw my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter.