RAIL union boss Mick Lynch has said Scottish nationalist MPs are “closer" to the RMT's position than Labour as he criticised Keir Starmer’s apparent unwillingness to empathise with workers.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union are taking a second consecutive day of industrial action on Wednesday in a dispute over pay and conditions, with strikes by Network Rail staff impacting services across Scotland.

Labour leader Starmer has told his MPs to stay away from picket lines, with any shadow ministers who fail to follow orders risking disciplinary action.

Angry backbenchers have hit back and said the party should be supporting staff who walk out, leading to internal divisions.

Now Lynch - chief executive of the RMT - has slated Starmer for not supporting working class people.

But he stressed Starmer “is not the only game in town” as he insisted there are SNP politicians who have shown more empathy for the walkouts.

In an interview with the Mirror, Lynch said: “He [Starmer] needs to empathise with what we’re doing.

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“I don’t expect him to turn up a picket line. He’d be welcome to, but he needs to make a stand in his public pronunciations that he supports working people’s efforts to get a better standard of living.

“But he’s not the only game in town we’ve got Scottish nationalist MPs who are coming closer to our position than the Labour Party.

“Welsh Labour is doing some stuff for us that we like. They’re not just rolling over for us, there are tough negotiations, but he’s got to show that he’s interested in working class people’s issues and he’s not doing enough of that at the moment.”

SNP MP David Linden (below) described Starmer’s attitude as “dithering and ambivalent” on social media.

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One of the Labour backbenchers unhappy with Starmer’s stance is Sam Tarry, who was sacked from his front bench role earlier this year after publicly backing the rail strikes without permission from Labour headquarters.

He said on Tuesday: “The vast majority of Labour MPs, party members, many in the shadow cabinet, and Labour supporters are fully behind the workers taking strike action.

“No Labour politician at any level should face any sanctions for standing in solidarity on picket lines with these workers who were Britain’s Covid heroes during the pandemic.”

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also said: “Supporting those on strike isn’t a matter of strategy. It’s a matter of principle.”