Train drivers on ScotRail struck on Wednesday of last week and on Monday, bringing services across Scotland to a halt. At the same time non-drivers on Arriva, which runs trains across the north of England, were preparing for action over Easter. This is part of their fight over pay.
'The strikes were absolutely solid. The spirit is even higher than on the first one-day strike,' one ScotRail driver told Socialist Worker. Anger increased after ScotRail management's latest offer was worse than the pay rise drivers rejected when they voted for strikes.
ScotRail drivers are some of the worst paid in Britain. Bosses want a pay rise to be funded by compulsory rest day working, giving up bank holidays and losing the first two days paid sick leave. Then, as a further insult, the government's Strategic Rail Authority announced last week that ScotRail is to get an extra £70 million public subsidy so it can keep its franchise until at least 2004.
That news ensured a 100 percent strike on Monday, with active pickets. A further strike is planned next week. The strikes on ScotRail are encouraging union members on Arriva and elsewhere to take action over pay.
Members of the RMT union on the Docklands Light Railway in London voted for strikes on Monday by 117 to 36. The union's executive was to meet this week to set strike dates. DLR staff are paid 20 percent less than equivalent grades on London Underground. 'We now know that if we strike we get backing from other workers,' one guard on Arriva told Socialist Worker. 'If we struck nationally, for national pay and conditions, we would get even more support and would really be able to squeeze the employers.'