DRIVERS IN the Aslef union on the Gatwick Express route struck for 24 hours for the second time on Monday over pay. Further strikes are planned for Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
'We are among the lowest paid drivers in the industry,' one Gatwick Express driver told Socialist Worker. But the company and the parent group, National Express, are very profitable. Why should we subsidise them through poor pay? Our strikes have been solid. But we do face the problem of managers being brought in to drive on strike days. I think we need to consider calling action that makes it much more difficult for the company to do that.'
Strikes over the holiday period would no doubt run managers ragged. The drivers are fighting for a 6 percent pay rise this year, which would start to bring them up to the pay level on other routes.
But the experience in other companies has been increasingly over the last 12 months that management are unlikely to be moved by one-day strikes alone.
Stepping up action would make it far harder for managers to organise scabbing. And raising the call for an end to divisive local pay rates by returning to national pay bargaining will make it easier to win solidarity from other rail workers and other unions.