Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1010/27965

From The Socialist newspaper, 19 September 2018

RMT strikers ready to up the ante over rail safety

RMT strikers on the Newcastle picket line, 15.9.18, photo by Elaine Brunskill

RMT strikers on the Newcastle picket line, 15.9.18, photo by Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

Another round of coordinated strike action by the RMT transport workers' union against driver-only operation (DOO) - the removal of safety critical guards - on Arriva Rail North and South Western Railway took place on 15 September.
Socialist Party members joined picket lines in solidarity with the strikers. Here are their reports.

RMT strikers on the picket line at Liverpool, 15.9.18, photo by Hugh Caffrey

RMT strikers on the picket line at Liverpool, 15.9.18, photo by Hugh Caffrey   (Click to enlarge)

Hugh Caffrey spoke to Darren Ireland, RMT regional organisers, and Michelle Rogers, candidat for RMT president.

Daren Ireland

"Since 2010 there's been a concerted attack by Conservative-led governments on our members in the rail industry.

"We have a secretary of state for transport (Chris Grayling) who is a hardline neoliberal, intent on introducing the McNulty report across the industry, and it's our members and the trade unions who are standing against that.

The 2011 McNulty 'Value for Money' report called for driver-only operation to be the preferred mode of operation on all services, and also for RPI-rate (the higher index of inflation) pay awards no longer to be the norm, and for new terms and conditions for new starters.

On Arriva Rail North we've got the employer and Grayling saying they want 50% of trains to be driver-only operation by 2020. We are determined to stop them from cutting staffing and safety.

The Arriva Rail North franchise is an absolute shambles. We've had six months of abject chaos across northern England, and yet Grayling is having luxury lunches with his big business mates. His loyalties are to champagne and caviar!"

Michelle Rodgers

"Our members are resolute. On every Saturday strike the turnout is getting bigger, like the ballot on South West Railway where, on every return, the turnout increased.

We had 1,300 members on strike on Arriva Rail North at the start of the dispute, and we've got 1,300 now. There's no sign of any member giving up the fight for keeping our railways safe.

Crime is on the increase, the number of sexual assaults is increasing, and the only way to get that back down is a fully staffed, safe railway.

We're in this for the long haul. We know it's hurting Arriva Rail North. I've had driver-managers [who are working extra hours to break the strike] come up to me saying: 'Are you trying to ruin my marriage?'! If we have to up the ante, then we'll go for Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays.

It's time Arriva negotiated seriously, but as far as I'm concerned the only deal is one that keeps a second safety-critical person on every train.

That's the only way to keep a safe rail system but which Grayling and his ilk don't seem to be interested in."


Newcastle - 'It's about keeping passengers safe'

RMT strikers on the Newcastle picket line, 15.9.18, photo by Elaine Brunskill

RMT strikers on the Newcastle picket line, 15.9.18, photo by Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

Elaine Brunskill

On 15 September RMT members were on their 27th day of strike action against DOO.

One of the strikers told the Socialist: "I've been a conductor for around eleven years, and I know what would have happened if I hadn't been on the train."

He had intervened, "when women have been attacked on the train, when someone jumped in front of a train, also when kids have been on the track - I've had to physically get them off."

The guard on the train is essential in the ability to look out for passengers who are less able. "Whether that's helping someone elderly with their luggage, helping someone disabled getting on and off the train, or simply helping someone who doesn't travel regularly who needs a bit of advice about their journey."

"This isn't a strike about our pay. We're striking for the ability to keep passengers safe."


Pompey strikers determined to win

RMT strikers on the Fratton picket line, 15.9.18, photo by Nick Chaffey

RMT strikers on the Fratton picket line, 15.9.18, photo by Nick Chaffey   (Click to enlarge)

Chris Pickett, Portsmouth Unison local government branch secretary (personal capacity)

Taking their tenth day of strike action in the current dispute with South Western Railway (SWR), pickets at Fratton, Portsmouth, were buoyed up by the excellent re-ballot result, the support of local trade unionists, and the regular visit from Sean Hoyle, Portsmouth RMT member and union national president.

The 88% vote in favour of strike action on a 71% turnout sends a strong message to SWR management that RMT members are determined to win.

SWR management struggled to run trains, despite 250 bonuses on offer and management putting scabs up in hotels and running them around in taxis.

Portsmouth Trade Union Council sent a delegation to the picket line and presented a donation of 100. Local council workers in Unison and civil servants in PCS also gave solidarity.

We have launched an appeal to raise money for the RMT hardship fund through the National Shop Stewards Network to ensure further action can be sustained.

Every trade unionist and their family use the railways, the RMT are fighting for our safety and theirs - it's a fight every trade unionist must support.

Pickets were pleased to see the coverage of their fight in the Socialist alongside reports from the other disputes on Merseyrail and Northern.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - 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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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 special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 19 September 2018:


Labour Party conference

Blairites must go

The struggle to transform Labour

Momentum's 'The World Transformed' blocks discussion on Liverpool council struggle


Socialist Party news and analysis

Big drugs companies dodge 3 billion pounds in tax

250,000 families in "non-decent" homes

Bezos housing hypocrisy

Rail rip-off reversal

What we saw


International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: new workers' formations herald fightback against Ramaphosa's capitalist agenda

Catalonia: 'Diada' 2018 an immense show of strength for republic


Socialist Students

Mobilise mass student fightback

Socialist Students campaigns at Hull freshers fair


Workplace news and analysis

POA walkout over government failure to make prisons safe

RMT strikers ready to up the ante over rail safety

University pay ballot: vote yes for strike action!

Birmingham home carers' protest demo

York health workers say no to privatisation

Liverpool airport workers demand decent pay

Leicester UCU fights redundancies


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Join our Socialist sales drive for issue 1011

March to save threatened Liverpool Women's Hospital

Socialists and campaigners protest Leicester NHS cuts

Hundreds of Newcastle United fans attend Mike Ashley Out meeting

Huddersfield Socialist Party opposes racist EDL

Lewisham: binning the rates rise


Opinion

How Irish strikers fought apartheid - and establishment anti-apartheid leadership

The Socialist inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 19 September 2018   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

RMT:

triangleOnline rally: Fight the London transport funding cuts!

triangleP&O: defend every job - nationalise the ferries

triangleFight P&O's billionaire bosses' jobs cut plan

triangleTransport workers and passengers mustn't pay the price

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

Rail:

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

triangleNationalise the railways: For an integrated public transport system

triangleSocialist Inbox

triangleCancel the franchise, not our trains

Strike:

triangleOppose BT site closures - national strike ballot needed

triangleIran: Renewed wave of protests and strikes

triangleIsrael: Nurses strike and win

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

5/8/20

NHS

'First you clap us then you slap us'

5/8/20

Young Socialists

Young Socialist day of action

5/8/20

Socialist Party

Campaign stalls on jobs, pay, NHS and racism

5/8/20

Black Lives Matter

North London: Socialist Party speaks at BLM protest

5/8/20

Hull

Engage for Change Hull - trade union youth festival goes online

5/8/20

Socialist Party

Why I joined - Covid changed my outlook

5/8/20

Socialist Party

Socialist Party meetings: Online and in-person

5/8/20

Young Socialists

A-level results day 2020: Fight for our future!

5/8/20

Caerphilly

GE Aviation workers march to save jobs

5/8/20

Trotsky

80 years since the murder of Leon Trotsky rally

5/8/20

BAME

Fighting to end racism and capitalism

5/8/20

Doncaster

Doncaster: Vigil for murdered women

5/8/20

The Socialist

The Socialist summer schedule

5/8/20

Unite

Unite union branch pledges to support socialist candidates who oppose cuts

5/8/20

BT

Oppose BT site closures - national strike ballot needed

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

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

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: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999