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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 November 2019

West Midlands Trains guards to strike

West Midlands Trains, photo Rob Hodgkins/CC

West Midlands Trains, photo Rob Hodgkins/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Tom Woodcock

89% of senior conductors (guards) have voted for strike action over West Midlands Trains plans to downgrade the role and remove key safety responsibilities.

RMT members smashed the Tories' undemocratic ballot threshold, returning the vote on a 78% turnout. An indication of the mood to fight was at a packed-out Birmingham rail branch meeting in August when members unanimously supported a resolution which called for the union leadership to deliver a straightforward ultimatum to the company: guarantee a fully trained senior conductor on every train with control over the doors or we will ballot our members for action.

The company failed to provide this reassurance so the members were balloted and delivered a crystal-clear mandate for action in defence of the grade.

Management promise that although guards will lose the door controls and their crucial role in train dispatch there will be a guard on every train until the end of the franchise in 2026.

However, the majority of guards can see through this smoke screen. After losing control over the movement of trains how are guards to defend themselves industrially when attacked by the employer in the future? What is to stop the company scrapping guards entirely, particularly if Abellio, the franchisee, decides to walk away early from the contract as has happened elsewhere?

Conductors will be on strike every Saturday from 16 November to the end of the year.

Socialists and trade unionists should visit picket lines across the west midlands.

RMT members in the stations and engineering grades are also being balloted for strike action from 7 November over specific grades at the company being paid additional premium rates over the summer to encourage overtime working to cover gaps in the roster while everyone else was offered nothing.

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In The Socialist 6 November 2019:


News

Whose side are you on? Tories out - Corbyn in with anti-austerity and socialist policies

Tony Blair launches manifesto to sabotage a Corbyn government

Grenfell fire inquiry spin deflects blame from establishment

General election 2019 round-up


Berlin Wall

30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall: How a mass revolutionary movement for genuine socialism was diverted


Socialism 2019

Elections, strikes and revolutions: Socialism 2019 - daring to fight

PCS: "Under the right leadership workers are prepared to fight"

Royal Mail strike: "This is going to be the biggest battle we've seen in Britain for a number of years"

McDonald's: 'I'm fighting for 15 an hour now because I have to work from 7am to midnight'

Northern Ireland: Uniting the working class to transcend division

Preparing to shape events internationally


International socialist news and analysis

End repression in Chile - freedom for soldier David Veloso


Workplace news

PCS: Pay, jobs, pensions... Vote for a fighting general secretary

UCU votes for pay and pension strikes

Incompetent bosses use tech to bully us

1 million cuts plan: Peabody housing workers announce strike ballot

Forbo Flooring Derbyshire strike

West Midlands Trains guards to strike

Double-dealing Hackney council bosses face renewed strike action


Minimum wage

Minimum wage debate: what should we be demanding?


Readers' opinion

TV: Crime and Punishment - this brutal watch is a damning indictment of cuts and capitalism


 

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