40,000 members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union have voted 9:1 on a 71% turnout for action against 2,500 job losses at Network Rail and further attacks on pay and conditions across 15 different train operators. This will be the largest strike of transport workers in 30 years. With a determined lead from the national leadership and branches, it will have the potential to inspire other workers facing pay freezes or pitiful pay rises to organise and take action.
The terrified Tories are planning new laws to ensure that a minimum level of staffing is maintained during a strike – in other words banning significant proportions of those who have voted to strike from going on strike.
Unite leader Sharon Graham has attacked these threats. Strong words need to be turned into actions, to resist any attempts at imposing or using new anti-union laws. The Tories will be keen to attack the RMT, CWU and Unite, among others. The entire trade union movement should rally with mass demonstrations, solidarity pickets and if necessary widespread industrial action to defend any group of workers singled out by the government. The first step is for the RMT and CWU, together with Unite and any other unions taking action nationally or locally, to coordinate action for maximum effect based on discussion at the base of the unions as well as the tops.
Socialist Alternative says:
- Victory to the RMT!
- For joined up, coordinated action across unions and sectors to demand the end to all anti-trade union laws. Unions nationally should be prepared to defy them when necessary
- Re-nationalise the railways under democratic workers’ control and management, together with the wider transport sector to enable a sustainable public plan of people and goods.
- For a new left party of struggle that supports strikes and gives strikers a political organisation.