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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 January 2019

Grayling's attacks on rail workers wages 'un-fare'

Newcastle RMT picket line 5

Newcastle RMT picket line 5   (Click to enlarge)

'Martin Pryor', striking RMT rail guard

The government continues to claim that Britain's economy is doing great and that everyone's wages are sky high.

But transport minister Chris 'failing' Grayling this month was happy to announce that railway staff shouldn't be allowed pay rises as they are the direct cause of rail fare increases.

It's now obvious what the Conservatives truly believe and are doing. They claim that wages are rising, but use any worker getting a pay rise as an excuse for their failing policies - truly having their cake and eating it too.

In this case, they use their own fare hike as another stick to try and beat the safety-critical railway staff with.

The government has been attacking the rights and wages of staff at the cost of public safety since 2010.

This is a not so subtle attempt at an attack on RMT conductors, guards and drivers who are striking for public safety because the government is obsessed with reducing the cost of staff and breaking one of the strongest fighting unions.

The government would have us believe that if they were successful in removing guards from trains then they would reduce ticket prices immediately.

But more likely the money saved would be swallowed up by directors' bonuses and by the shareholders - all the while not mentioning the real costs of this inept privatisation which takes money away from improving services and puts it into fat cats' pockets.

For example pre-privatisation, all rolling stock (the actual trains in the network) was bought and paid for and put into service. Then, in 1994, all the stock was sold off to three companies for 1.8 billion.

But in a report from 1998, the stock was said to have had a value of 2.9 billion. So rather than train companies owning their own trains and each franchise being organised with set routes and trains, these rolling stock companies now lease the trains to the companies, bringing a new cost which is passed onto the passenger.

The cost of leasing these trains for 2016-17 hit 1.8 billion. The amount the government received in a one-off payment is exactly how much the companies now charge for one year's use of them.

This is one of the many drains that takes money from the public as we bear the costs while being stuck with all the risks and drawbacks of privatisation.

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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.
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In The Socialist 9 January 2019:


What we think

Brexit vote round two: Corbyn must fight for a socialist alternative to the Tory deal and bosses' EU


News

Tories Out. End austerity. Mass working-class action for a general election

'Fat Cat Friday' shows where all the money's gone

Javid's migrant 'emergency'

Death in a doorway: struggle can end homelessness

Them & Us

What we saw


Workplace news

PCS Left Unity assistant general secretary election rerun

Far right attack on Manchester rail workers' picket line - trade union fightback needed

Grayling's attacks on rail workers wages 'un-fare'

Solid strike by Arriva bus drivers

Ferry workers protest against 2.45 an hour pay

UCU Wales suspends FE strike action


German revolution 100 years on

Heroic martyrs of German Revolution


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Disruption of Leeds Socialist Party meeting shows need for unions to lead real struggle

Bringing socialist ideas into movements on women's rights

Tremendous effort sees Socialist Party smash fighting fund target in 2018

NHS funding crisis: Tory 'super-plan' is a super-con!

Linking LGBT+ rights to the fight for socialism

North Tyneside Campaigning to save our footbridge

Carmarthenshire council: Unison demands no-cuts budget


International socialist news and analysis

Protests continue to rage in Sudan

Blocked for years, but the Socialist Party of Nigeria is now standing in elections


Opinion

Theatre review: Women of Aktion - the heroic story of how World War One was ended

The Socialist Inbox


 

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