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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 November 2019

RMT union members at SWR to walk out in December

South Western Railway workers in the RMT on strike in Bournemouth, 18.6.19, photo Jane Ward

South Western Railway workers in the RMT on strike in Bournemouth, 18.6.19, photo Jane Ward   (Click to enlarge)

Guards and drivers on South West Railway (SWR) will be taking an unprecedented 27-days of strike action in December in order to retain safety-critical guards on SWR trains.

The RMT union is incensed that the private rail operator refuses to acknowledge this safety role, but instead is intent on downgrading the role of the guard.

Workers throughout the industry have been battling, with mixed results, in recent years to prevent driver-only operation of trains. RMT members in SWR have already taken several days' strike action this year on this issue.

Back in September, Geoff Kite, RMT national executive member, told the Socialist: "The RMT will continue to fight for a safety-critical guard on every train. We will not allow the company to put performance over safety by diluting the role into a token gesture to the travelling public."

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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.

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In The Socialist 13 November 2019:


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