Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 June 2016

Solid strike against "Britain's worst train company"

Southern Railway RMT pickets at Victoria in London, June 2016, photo by Rob Williams

Southern Railway RMT pickets at Victoria in London, June 2016, photo by Rob Williams   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party reporters

Services run by what workers are calling "Britain's worst rail company" have again been hit by strike action in a long running dispute over plans to get rid of conductors and operate driver-only trains. Workers at Southern Railway, members of the RMT transport union, have walked out to oppose plans to introduce so-called "driver-only operated" trains across more Southern services, which the union considers a safety risk.

On 21 June, the strike was solidly supported by pickets across the network. Delegates from the annual conference of Unison joined an RMT demonstration outside Brighton station and Socialist Party members attended the picket line at Victoria station in London.

The company also faced customer protests as more than 100 people protested at Brighton train station on 14 June. The protesters brandished placards demanding improvements and calling for the Southern franchise to be stripped from Govia-Thameslink Railway (GTR) for repeated cancellations, delays and overcrowding. On Twitter they branded the operator "Southern Fail". Some people were late for the protest due to delayed trains.

Some of the delays have been due to "staff shortages" but the RMT says GTR has cancelled trains when there have been full crews available.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "Staff shortages are down to gross mismanagement of staffing numbers, rosters and diagrams by the company on this basket case franchise.

"Trying to lump the blame on hard-working, frontline staff, who take the full force of passenger anger for cancellations and delays, is cowardly and despicable behaviour."

The boss of the controversial operator was recently awarded a 2.1 million pay cheque. This comes soon after GTR recently only narrowly avoided being stripped of the franchise after being found to technically be in breach of its licence. However, it avoided losing the operation after the government's transport department agreed to reset operating targets.

ScotRail strike

RMT members at ScotRail/Abellio are taking strike action in opposition to driver-only trains. This strike shows yet again that it's ordinary workers and their trade union that are putting safety before profit. After a 75% backing for industrial action in a strike ballot, you'd think bosses at ScotRail would have been prepared to seriously get round the table with the union. But ScotRail/Abellio management have behaved scandalously, attempting to bypass the union by resorting to social media and mailings in a campaign of misinformation with union members. In addition they also cancelled planned talks that could have allowed genuine negotiations to take place. As the RMT said: "Safety before profit delivers safe trains for Scotland's people. The model that Abellio ScotRail want to follow delivers an unsafe method of operation for Scotland's rail users. Indeed the whole project is about two things; 1) cutting ScotRail's wage bill and 2) maximising shareholder profit." The RMT members on ScotRail should be applauded for standing up and fighting for their and passenger rights and safety. Socialist Party Scotland calls for the ScotRail franchise to be taken back into public ownership rather than handed to Abellio, with profit going to shareholders rather than invested into the service.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 22 June 2016:

EU referendum

After the EU referendum...get the Tories out!

Left alternative needed to counter austerity, racism and the far right

Merseyside TUSC rally: Standing up for the working class

Stoke TUSC: Exposing the EU Employers' Union

Socialist Party news and analysis

BHS pensions insult

148,000 households faced risk of eviction

Pensions 20x smaller for younger workers

Climate chaos

Brazil budget

Them & Us

LGBT liberation

Solidarity to end LGBT-phobia

LGBT liberation and socialism

Socialist Party workplace news

BFAWU conference 2016: "A council of war"

Reinstate sacked Samworth Brothers union activist

National Museum Wales strikers ballot on offer

Solid strike against "Britain's worst train company"

Unison local government conference 2016

Refugee solidarity

Convoy to Calais: Outrageous blocking of aid for refugees

International socialist news and analysis

Middle East: Isis under pressure on several fronts

CWI news in brief

Socialist Party comments and reviews

Stay Voiceless: Manics' punk spirit is alive and well

The Socialist inbox

Socialist Party campaigns

Parents in Leeds discuss attacks on education

Pathetic fascist 'demonstration' outnumbered in Bristol

Private company running primary care centre goes bust


Home   |   The Socialist 22 June 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


trianglePost-pandemic railway battles loom

triangleGreat British Railways shake-up offers no end to profiteering

triangleTransport union RMT tells members: refuse to work in unsafe conditions

triangleThe Red Line - Bulletin of Socialist Party members in the RMT

triangleNationalise the railways: For an integrated public transport system


triangleIsrael: Hospital ancillary workers' strike suspended

triangleBexley bin workers strike for better pay

triangleUnite to fight Tory pay insults

triangleSt Mungo's strikers end 12-week strike


triangleSocialist Party national youth meeting

trianglePreparing for struggle in post-Covid Britain


triangleEast Mids train guards strike

triangleRMT: Support Alan Pottage for assistant general secretary


triangleDefend the right to strike! Southampton solidarity meeting

Socialist Party:

triangleCumbria Socialist Party: Socialism - from Utopian to Scientific


triangleThe 1971 Upper Clyde Shipbuilders occupation and work-in


triangleBrighton Socialist Party: Material deprivation and the impact on schools

Public ownership:

triangleProtect the NHS - Funding, Pay, PPE, Public ownership


triangleSheffield tram workers strike for 72 hours

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Further education set for industrial action over pay



Thousands march to Reclaim Pride


Youth Fight for Jobs

Jobs and homes for all



Sheffield Uni UCU fights archaeological dept closure



Fight Freeports to stop bonfire of workers' rights


East London

East London resident fighting eviction again



Barnsley 'Big Green Space' protest



Youth Fight for Jobs is officially relaunched



Selling the Socialist



Scottish socialist breaks running record



Flood devastation in Europe


Bin workers

Bexley bin workers strike for better pay



New left NEC meets - Organise the fight back now



Public sector pay - Prepare for action!



Government departments move to impose pay cuts

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

August 2021

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021