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From: The Socialist issue 1025, 16 January 2019: Tories, Tories, Tories - out, out, out!

Search site for keywords: Manchester - Solidarity - RMT - Far right - Strike

Hundreds join Manc RMT picket line in solidarity after far right attack

Socialist Party members join other trade unionists and supporters at the RMT picket line 12 January 2019, photo Jackie Grunsell

Socialist Party members join other trade unionists and supporters at the RMT picket line 12 January 2019, photo Jackie Grunsell   (Click to enlarge)

Jackie Grunsell Manchester and Trafford Socialist Party

On their 44th day of strike action RMT members were joined outside Manchester Victoria Station on 12 January by hundreds of other trade unionists and supporters in solidarity with the strike to keep guards on trains.

This followed the recent attack on pickets by a far-right group accusing the RMT of unlawful action and singling out a Sikh picketer for particularly disgusting abuse.

Overwhelming support

Steve Notts, national executive committee member for Manchester and North West RMT, said: "We are overwhelmed by the trade union turnout in support. This is a dispute not over money, but the safety of the travelling public.

"The strike has been rock solid and the union has actually gained members as a result of the dispute. We have also maintained the support of the public throughout the strike."

The strikers are calling for keeping guards on trains while Arriva Rail North are still refusing talks with the union, intent on putting profits before safety.

Tory transport secretary Chris Grayling has disgracefully failed to force the company to the table in a thinly veiled attempt to break the union.

Michelle Rodgers, newly elected RMT president, called for this level of solidarity to be maintained in the coming weeks. She pointed out that the working class need to unite to get rid of the Tories.

Socialist Party members have supported the strike for the past year and will continue to mobilise support for the picket lines. We sold 18 copies of the Socialist on the picket line in Hull.

We call for the trade union movement as a whole to lead a fight against the far right but also for all unions to take action against the austerity, cuts and privatisation of public services which leads to the growth in support for these groups.

Needless to say, despite their threats, the far right failed to show their faces on the day, showing what can be achieved when we fight back.

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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.
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.

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