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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 July 2020

Online rally: Fight the London transport funding cuts!

London bus, photo Graham Richardson (Creative Commons)

London bus, photo Graham Richardson (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

North London Socialist Party member

London is the only economically developed capital in which public transport is not funded by government grants. The pandemic has accelerated its funding crisis, and, at the behest of government, the mayor Sadiq Khan is increasing fares and cutting travel concessions and work to make the service accessible.

Government representatives have been installed on the board, and accountants KPMG are reviewing the organisation. Transport workers who risked their lives during the crisis will now be faced with attacks to their jobs, terms and conditions. So much for thanking keyworkers.

The RMT rail union has initiated a campaign to fight for a decent and affordable transport system for Londoners. At a highly successful online launch rally they were joined by youth and disability campaigners, and the other transport unions Aslef, TSSA and Unite.

For the RMT, Steve Hedley outlined the impact of the 4 billion funding shortfall. He called for maximum unity, and a campaign including industrial action. He called out the lack of a public fightback from Sadiq Khan.

Youth speaker Oisin Mulholland brought home the impact on young people of withdrawing the zip card, which allows young people to travel for free or at a discounted rate. He explained how young people would not be able to go to central London and enjoy London.

Paula Peters, from Unite Community and the disabled people's group DPAC, showed the impact of the cuts on disabled people, and called for transport in London to be renationalised. Concessionary travel has been attacked, and work to make stations accessible has been halted.

Some union speakers sought to defend the London mayor's role. Clearly this will be an issue to debate during the campaign. Steve Hedley made the pointed suggestion that the campaign could support Sadiq Khan in the way he supported Jeremy Corbyn. Khan consistently worked against Jeremy Corbyn when he led the party, and greeted the news of the Tory victory at the last election with the comment that voters "got it right."

However, speakers expressed a widespread commitment to campaign and to prepare industrial action.

Unite's regional secretary Peter Kavanagh pointed out that there has been an increase of 15,000 members into the union since the pandemic started in the London and Eastern region of Unite alone. Workers are looking to their unions to defend themselves.

Socialists and campaigners will seek to develop a wide-ranging campaign based in trade unions and communities.

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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.
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In The Socialist 22 July 2020:


News

Fight for our livelihoods... fight for our lives!

Fight for the NHS

Huawei: what's behind Johnson's latest u-turn?

Mandatory masks in shops law: workers must not pay the price

Luton Council sunk by airport investment: fight for funding, not speculation!

Tories using pandemic to privatise NHS more

Them & Us


Unison

Hugely significant Tower Hamlets council workers' strike continues

Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary


No going back

Housing crisis: what now and after the pandemic?


Workplace news

United Left general secretary hustings shows widest debate needed for left in Unite

Nationalise Tata Steel to save jobs

Online rally: Fight the London transport funding cuts!

Continue the fight to protect safety

Debenhams: Fighting closures and redundancies


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Time to relaunch TUSC


Campaigns

I joined the Socialist Party to fight back

Wales arts cuts: Save every job

Trade unionists and artists stand with Maxine Peake

Bristol trans rights protest

Getting the Socialist over the summer


Music

Saving the music industry from pandemic and austerity


International news

Iran: Renewed wave of protests and strikes

Israel: Nurses strike and win


Communist Party

100 years since the foundation of the Communist Party of Great Britain


Readers' opinion

Exciting Cuban spy thriller exposes US-sponsored terrorism

The Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

Transport:

triangleTransport for London funding crunch

triangleFight continues for safety on London buses

triangleTransport workers and passengers mustn't pay the price

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

triangleNo increase in transport capacity without adequate safety precautions

London:

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Unite:

triangleOptare workers strike over pay broken 'promise'

triangleCovid and the campuses

RMT:

triangleRMT: Programme to fight redundancies and cuts

Government:

triangleNottingham Covid surge caused by Tory mismanagement

Steve Hedley:

triangleRMT: Lift the suspension of Steve Hedley

Public transport:

triangleNationalise the railways: For an integrated public transport system

TSSA:

triangleRMT wins important tube jobs and grading victory

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