British trade unionist Mick Lynch rails against critics

·3-min read

Taking on outspoken journalist Piers Morgan in a car crash interview, exasperated British rail union boss Mick Lynch chastised him for asking "irrelevant" questions.

"It makes me laugh that your level of journalism has descended so far that you can't think of any other question rather than a thing about the Thunderbirds," a pithy Lynch said, referring to a cult sci-fi animation series.

"You've chosen to spend two or three minutes of this interview talking about an irrelevance," he told Morgan last week during the TalkTV channel interview.

The interview went viral and has since racked up 3.5 million views.

The bizarre exchange came after Morgan grilled him about why his Facebook profile picture was apparently one of a Thunderbirds baddie, albeit one which looks like Lynch.

There could only be one winner and for many on social media, it was Lynch.

Morgan hasn't been the only journalist slapped down verbally by the trade unionist.

He told Sky News presenter Kay Burley on Tuesday her questions "are verging into the nonsense" and told another morning TV presenter, he was talking "twaddle".

Some hail him as a hero sticking it to the mainstream media, others believe he is the man responsible for wreaking havoc on transport across Britain this week with strikes.

Railway workers on Tuesday began the biggest strike in more than three decades, with further action on Thursday and Saturday, plunging Britain into travel chaos all week.

Lynch's admirers include Hugh Laurie, the British comedian and star of "House".

Laurie tweeted: "I don't know enough about the rail dispute. I only observe that RMT's Mick Lynch cleaned up every single media picador who tried their luck today."

- Working class background -

Lynch was born to Irish parents in London in 1962, alongside his four siblings in what he described to The Guardian daily last year as "rented rooms that would now be called slums, the old tin bath and shared toilet with other families".

He is married to a nurse who works for the state-run National Health Service, and is a father of three grown-up children whose hobbies include football.

Lynch took over as general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union in 2021 from Mick Cash whose predecessor was Bob Crow, a polarising figure who died in 2014.

His term runs until 2026 but he gave a taste of what was to come after being elected.

"Our message to the employers and the politicians is that RMT stands ready to campaign and fight against pay freezes, cuts to safety and conditions," he said in May 2021.

Lynch left school at 16 to become an electrician before moving into the construction sector but was blacklisted after he joined a union.

He then joined the Eurostar train company in the 1990s where his relationship with the RMT began, which eventually ended up with him in the top role, reportedly on £124,000 ($150,000) a year.

Although he is an avowed republican, Lynch confessed to The Telegraph newspaper last month that he was a fan of the popular Netflix series, The Crown.

"I know our members and working class people generally respect the Queen," he said.

- 'Not a Marxist' -

Lynch has been accused of being many things including a Marxist, a label he rejected.

Transport Minister Grant Shapps is also fond of comparing him to a "1970s union baron", referring to a period in which industrial action was far more common.

"I'm not a Marxist, I'm an elected official of the RMT, I'm a working class bloke leading a trade union dispute about jobs, pay and conditions of service," he told the television show, Good Morning Britain, on Tuesday.

In fact, he told The Guardian last year: "All I want from life is a bit of socialism."

Although he isn't without his enemies, Lynch's performances appear to have impressed even former junior government ministers from the ruling Conservative party.

"Mick Lynch is proving a pretty remarkable media performer -- with an uncanny knack of flustering his questioners -- others should study his techniques," Rory Stewart tweeted.

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