Labour-affiliated rail union TSSA in merger talks with the militant RMT about creating a 'mega union' capable of shutting down almost the entire UK railway network

A Labour-affiliated rail union is in merger talks with the militant RMT about creating a 'mega-union' capable of shutting down almost the entire network, it can be revealed.

The proposal has sparked growing fears of crippling 'French-style' snap strikes under a Labour government after the party pledged to make it easier for union barons to call walkouts at short notice.

It also vowed to repeal anti-strike laws introduced by the Conservatives aimed at limiting the impact of walkouts.

If the merger between the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), which has a seat on Labour's powerful National Executive Committee, and the RMT goes ahead, it would have around 100,000 members and be capable of shutting down around 90 per cent of the railways.

The RMT called 18 months of ruinous strikes between summer 2022 and last year, which cost the industry and wider economy billions of pounds and inflicted misery on millions of travellers.

The proposal has sparked growing fears of crippling 'French-style' snap strikes under a Labour government after the party pledged to make it easier for union barons to call walkouts at short notice. Pictured: Labour Leader Keir Starmer on Friday

The proposal has sparked growing fears of crippling 'French-style' snap strikes under a Labour government after the party pledged to make it easier for union barons to call walkouts at short notice. Pictured: Labour Leader Keir Starmer on Friday

The RMT (leader Mick Lynch centre) called 18 months of ruinous strikes between summer 2022 and last year, which cost the industry and wider economy billions of pounds and inflicted misery on millions of travellers

The RMT (leader Mick Lynch centre) called 18 months of ruinous strikes between summer 2022 and last year, which cost the industry and wider economy billions of pounds and inflicted misery on millions of travellers

Labour Deputy leader and former trade union official Angela Rayner has said Labour would repeal recently-introduced legislation that limits workers' rights to strike if it wins the election

Labour Deputy leader and former trade union official Angela Rayner has said Labour would repeal recently-introduced legislation that limits workers' rights to strike if it wins the election

A leaked letter from Mr Lynch to TSSA boss Maryam Eslamdoust, a former aide to ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, details the talks, which aim to establish 'the convergence of RMT and TSSA into a single, united and viable industrial trade union'.

In a worrying hint that the RMT would use the merger to ramp up the threat of strikes to secure inflation-busting pay hikes from a Labour government, separate internal negotiating documents state: 'The recent national rail disputes and station ticket office campaign have demonstrated that it is optimal for there to be a single, effective and motivated worker organisation in the sector.'

The document, seen by the Daily Mail, adds: 'It is now clear given the industrial, political and technological changes facing workers and their trade unions in the rail and transport sectors, there is no logical reason for two competing organisations.'

Labour has said it would repeal recently-introduced legislation that limits workers' rights to strike if it wins the election.

Deputy leader and former trade union official Angela Rayner has vowed to reverse the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act within 100 days of taking power.

The legislation was introduced to allow train operators to force workers into delivering 40 per cent of services during strikes to limit the impact on travellers.

Labour has also vowed to repeal the Trade Union Act 2016, which stipulates that at least 50 per cent of union members must vote on proposed strike action for it to be legal. The legislation means unions also have to give two weeks' notice of any strikes.

Repealing it raises the prospect of union barons calling walkouts on minimal turnouts and at much shorter notice.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the potential merger was 'a worrying sign for British commuters,' adding: 'If Labour gets their way and permits French-style strike action, no-notice strikes will put the future of our railways at risk and cost taxpayers a fortune.'

An RMT spokesman said: 'RMT has a long-standing policy of wanting a single rail union representing the entire industry and all rail workers at every grade.'

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