CONDUCTORS ON Arriva Trains Northern struck three times over the Christmas period on 21, 24 and 31 December. The RMT members' fight over pay at Arriva has been running for almost a year. Strikers' spirits were high on the picket line at Carlisle the Saturday before Christmas. Some 20 pickets, out of a small depot, were there in Santa hats. 'Being prepared to lose money at this time of year shows just how determined people are,' one RMT striker told Socialist Worker.
'We will be holding a referendum in a couple of weeks on taking further action. I think we should.' The company claimed it ran '80 to 90 percent of services', but only 100 out of 700 conductors were actually working. Those services that did run stopped at 7pm.
Send donations to the Arriva strike to RMT, Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD.
Refugee demo at Blair's plush flats
BRISTOL DEFEND Asylum Seekers Campaign has called a 'soup kitchen' protest against the destitution of refugees outside the Blair family's two new £250,000 flats this Saturday. The home secretary has sneaked savage additions into the new Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act. These will make thousands of asylum seekers destitute.
They will be denied even the paltry present benefits if they fail to apply for asylum at their port of entry. This could deprive the 65 percent of asylum seekers who apply 'in-country' of any means of support.
Protest, Saturday 4 January, 2pm-3pm, Panoramic, Park Row (opposite Land Road), Bristol.
Firefighter joins election battle
TOTTENHAM Socialist Alliance in north London is proud that its candidate in the 23 January council by-election in the Tottenham Hale ward is firefighter Steve Cracknell. Steve is a firefighter with 24 years experience and is Hornsey fire station's FBU branch secretary.
He has voted Labour all his life but now says, 'Never again-unless they change.' Steve's campaign will focus on defence of public services and against privatisation, full support for the firefighters and total opposition to war on Iraq. To get involved in the campaign phone 07736 064 045.
SIMON HESTER, on behalf of Tottenham Socialist Alliance
Has strike won a pay struggle?
REGIONAL UNION officials called off a planned one-day strike at Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge Hospitals on the Wirral, Merseyside, before Christmas. Low paid workers, many in the GMB and TGWU unions, had planned to follow up an earlier successful one-day strike over pay.
Union officials held talks with trust bosses who gave indications that there would be 'a significant increase'. A TGWU union steward told Socialist Worker, 'Management had better be serious about conceding decent pay.'