We now enter into Day 2 of the RMT’s three-day national strike action, against job cuts and downgrading on pay and conditions. Socialist Alternative supporters across the country have joined the picket lines to build solidarity with this struggle. This strike has the potential to be a turning point in rebuilding a fighting trade union movement that can bring an end to the capitalist-driven cost of living crisis! Read more from Socialist Alternative here.
Join your local RMT picket this coming Saturday. Victory to the rail workers!
Socialist Alternative London members came down to show our support at the Stratford picket line where we spoke to Underground train drivers and cleaning staff.
There was a defiant mood amongst the workers who were unfazed by the torrent of attacks coming from the Tories and mainstream media. Both are going all out to demonise and undermine their struggle, terrified it could spark further industrial action.
The widespread public support and solidarity is a massive boost (be sure to visit your local picket line!) and it was great to chat about the broader impact this strike will have in inspiring other sections of workers to follow suit and build the fightback against the grinding cost of living crisis.
The numbers at the picket lines grew throughout both mornings, with supporters from local activist groups such as the Merseyside Pensioners Association and members of the public with ‘passengers support the strikes’ placards.
There was a powerful impromptu speech on Thursday morning, highlighting how the Tories and employers want to push workplace rights to a 70-year low. The person spoke of how we need unions more than ever with the rise of insecure employment and spiralling inflation.
Speaking with the strikers, there was a strong sense of determination that they will win this fight for better pay and work conditions. They often spoke of how this strike action will set a precedent for workers in the UK — as a strongly unionised sector, winning this fight will pave the way for other unionised workplaces across the country.
Socialist Alternative Scotland branch members in Glasgow headed to the pickets first thing on Tuesday morning in solidarity with striking Scotrail workers. The picket made a lively impression outside Glasgow Central Station as we declared “the workers united will never be defeated!”
Many organisations were there in solidarity from climate activists (with a banner which read “Transport justice is climate justice”) to UNISON trade unionists.
Our calls for a united programme of escalating and coordinated action across the whole trade union movement through the Summer and Autumn made a good impression with striking workers and climate activists.
9 members from Huddersfield and West Yorkshire Socialist Alternative came out to support the strike yesterday morning, bringing soup and solidarity. Supporters from the NEU, Unite, Unite Community, ASLEF, Huddersfield Trades Council, a CWU postal worker and many other left groups came out in solidarity with the RMT strikers.
Even the train station manager came out and offered support! There were also plenty of familiar faces from the strike against removal of train guards in 2017.
Over the course of the morning we saw 14 striking workers from Northern and Transpeninne, around 40 supporters and were met with overwhelming support from passers by and commuters.
The coinciding Arriva bus strike by Unite workers that prevented services between Huddersfield and Leeds gave the strikes further power for both sets of unions and workers.
Speaking to the RMT workers they agreed on the need to coordinate and escalate action amongst unions, seeing the collective power that this adds when workers take action together.
In the baking sun, the mood of striking workers was buoyant. In the words of one of the guards spoken to, the hope is that by RMT sticking their head above the parapet, their action can inspire workers across society to fight for what they deserve, and launch a coordinated struggle against this calamitous Tory government.
Despite the whitewashing of the strike by the media, there was mass public support with lots of passing drivers beeping in solidarity showing that workers in all industries are not going to accept their wages being cut to protect the profits of the bosses!
Kent and Medway
Day 1 on the Gillingham Train Crew picket line. Members were joined by workers from facilities, signalling and cleaning grades. The picket was also visited by delegations from CWU and Medway Trades Council, including two members from SA.
A determined mood with plans in place for a local rally with open mic outside Gillingham Train Station Saturday 25 June, 11am.
A healthy showing of RMT pickets from signalling, permanent way and station staff grades at Warrington Bank Quay station.
They were joined by activists from the Trades Council and left Labour activists. It was good to hear the toots of support (some deafeningly loud!) from passing lorries, vans and cars on the busy road outside the station.
There is a real fighting spirit among the workers, and a clear mood of solidarity and support from the public.
Socialist Alternative says:
- Victory to the RMT!
- Prepare now to step up the action, with further days of action, longer strikes and coordination with other striking workers to maximise disruption for the bosses
- For joined up action across unions and sectors for above inflation pay and benefits rises and to demand the end to all anti-trade union laws. Unions nationally should be prepared to defy these laws 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 to fight for socialist change