THE will of the Scottish people on independence has “got to be expressed”, Mick Lynch has said.

The general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) told The National that the constitutional debate was “for Scotland to sort out, and I’ll be happy to assist in that in our union”.

Lynch, who shot to fame during June’s rail strikes with his no-nonsense approach to interviews with prominent figures in the UK’s media including Sky’s Kay Burley and TalkTV’s Piers Morgan, was speaking at an RMT meeting held in Glasgow’s Renfield Centre on Tuesday evening when he made the comments.

The union boss, who represents some 80,000 members, was appearing alongside other leading trade unionists in front of a packed-out hall, with the crowd spilling out into the hallways from the roughly 250-capacity Blythswood Hall.

Talking to The National before the event began, Lynch was asked about whether he thought Scotland had the right to hold a second independence referendum.

He said: “The future of Scotland and its constitution is a matter for the Scottish people. I’m not going to come to Scotland and tell people what they should do and that [the holding of indyref2] is a matter to be decided democratically through all the means that the Scottish people have, through debate, and if that means a referendum at the end that’s what will happen.

“But it’s got to be the will of the Scottish people that’s expressed, and it’s not for me to come up from London and wade into that debate. That’s for Scotland to sort out, and I’ll be happy to assist in that in our union. We did that before on the last referendum.

“We’re a democratic union and we’ll go where democracy takes us.”

Asked what he thought of politicians who “come up from London and wade into [the independence] debate”, Lynch said he and his RMT union “respect the rights of the Scottish people and the rights of Scottish democracy”.

“It’s up to the Scottish people what they want to do with their own country,” he added.

Roz Foyer, the general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) – which represents some 540,000 Scots workers, also spoke at the event.

She won rapturous applause after calling on the Scottish Government to take action on the cost-of-living crisis with the limited powers it has, adding that it must “stop blaming Westminster for all the problems”.

The National:

Lynch (above with Foyer) echoed that sentiment, telling The National that people in government – no matter where or at what level – had a duty to help people.

He said: “They’ve got to use whatever powers they’ve got to assist the people. That’s the duty of a government, to assist their electorate, to assist the people that are struggling.

“Whatever powers the Scottish Government have, they’ve all got to put their shoulders to the wheel and show that they’re supporting working people in a time of struggle."

The trade union meeting, which also featured speeches from the Communication Workers Union’s Craig Anderson and Unite’s Cait Lee, saw frequent calls for unity across the working class.

Branding the Tory Party “extremists”, Lynch warned that the UK likely had “the most right-wing government we’ve ever experienced coming our way”.

Hitting out at inaction from politicians, the trade union leader told the crowd that solidarity across the working class would win better pay deals, which he said were the only solution to the cost-of-living crisis.

“They’re not going to do it for us,” Lynch said. “It doesn’t matter which pin they’ve got in their lapel, the trade unions have got to do it. Support every worker, no matter if you’ve never heard of them.”