Socialist Worker

Scotrail strikers keep up their guard

by Jonathon Shafi
Issue No. 2197

Five hundred and fifty Scotrail workers struck over four days this week against management’s plan to remove guards from trains.

Scotrail, which paid out £18 million in dividends to shareholders last year, is now attempting to slash jobs to make even more profits.

Guards and drivers in the RMT transport union struck from Monday to Wednesday of this week, while sleeper train managers struck from 6pm on Tuesday to 6pm on Thursday.

This was the fourth set of strikes in the fight against the imposition of driver-only operation on the Airdrie to Bathgate line.

The union is concerned that the removal of guards from trains will have a major impact on safety.

Strikers picketing at Queen Street station in Glasgow were in a determined mood as they leafleted passengers on Monday.

One striker, who has worked on the trains for almost all his working life, told Socialist Worker, “I’ve worked as a conductor for 36 years and this is the worst I’ve seen it.

“To add insult to injury management are bringing in scab workers to try and demoralise us.

“It’s great seeing supporters here. It boosts morale and adds to our picket. We need to stick together.”

Management have put out press releases claiming that the strikes will not affect customers. They are engaged in a campaign to break the strike and push through their agenda.

As far back as February 2009, First Scotrail demanded money from the Scottish government to cover the costs of the strike they knew their actions would cause.

Some £300,000 of public money has been set aside for Scotrail to put unqualified managers on trains during strike days.

Strike action will be key to defending jobs and a safe rail service for passengers.

“We can disrupt Scotrail now,” said the striker, “but we need further action. This is just the start of the fight for our jobs and for public safety.”

Angela McCormick, a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate in Glasgow (see page 4), joined the strikers. She said, “We need politicians who stand alongside workers instead of standing with the bankers and the bosses.

“I extend my solidarity to all workers who are striking back at vicious management cuts.”

The RMT was set to lobby the Scottish parliament on Thursday at 11.15am.

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Article information

Tue 13 Apr 2010, 18:51 BST
Issue No. 2197
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