The head of the RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport) union has called on the government to "unblock" the dispute over pay and conditions for rail workers to prevent more strikes.

Mick Lynch has also written to Transport Secretary Mark Harper to call for an industry summit of unions, employers and the government to resolve the dispute.

In total, there are 14 rail operators affected by strike action by the RMT union today (Saturday, May 13) with the train drivers union Aslef having gone on strike on Friday (May 12).

Widespread cancellations and disruption have been caused yet again, with there seemingly being no end to the strikes in sight just yet.

Oxford Mail: Mick Lynch has called on the government to unblock the pay disputeMick Lynch has called on the government to unblock the pay dispute (Image: Jeff Moore/PA Wire/PA Images)

What did Mick Lynch have to say about the strikes?

Mr Lynch has detailed that rail bosses want unions to call off any remaining strikes before negotiating any further, but he says they can't go into negotiations without any "leverage".

Speaking to Sky News, he said: "What they want us to do is call off the dispute and then go into another set of negotiations without the leverage on the table - and we simply can't do that. You don't disarm yourself halfway through a campaign.

"It's up to the government to unblock this dispute because they are the ones who have the final say on what is proposed at the table.

"In their contracts with these companies they stipulate what the negotiating position is and what the offers are."

How did rail bosses respond to this?

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “While we are always open to dialogue, the only summit the RMT need is between its negotiating team and its executive committee.

“Time and time again they have blocked the deal negotiated line by line by its top team from going out to its membership for a vote, with frontline losing out on a pay rise of up to 13% as a result.

“It’s time the union leadership and executive finally agreed on what they want from these negotiations.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Since coming into office, ministers have met with the RMT leadership four times and helped facilitate three fair pay offers from employers.

“It’s now time for unions to give their members a democratic say on their future.”