Socialist Worker

Workers march against rail privatisation in Europe

by Guy Smallman
Issue No. 2198

RMT members marching out of Lille station in northern France (Pic: http://www.guysmallman.com/» Guy Smallman )

RMT members marching out of Lille station in northern France (Pic: » Guy Smallman)


When over 200 RMT activists marched out of Lille station in northern France on the morning of 13 April they were greeted by cheers from their French counterparts.

They protested outside the European Rail Agency’s (ERA) headquarters against rail privatisation across Europe.

On the day of the Lille protest workers in the SUD union were on their seventh day of strike action over continued liberalisation of the French rail network.

Just outside of Lille is the Somain freight yard, a hub for the entire country where 300 jobs are threatened by the continued dismantling of France’s freight industry.

Across Europe jobs, safety and customer service are being downgraded by the neoliberal reforms backed by the European Union.

This international protest of European rail unions was a direct response the recent attacks on workers’ rights. Flares were lit as the road outside the ERA HQ was blocked for some time.

RMT president Alex Gordon argued for coordinated action by workers from different countries. “We need to show the people in these ERA offices that we are an international movement,” he said.

“They are answerable to the people who work in this industry and the unions that organise them.”

German activist Hans Gerd Ofinger said, “We hope this internationalism will grow from here.

“What we need are united railways in Europe under democratic control on the basis of cooperation not competition.”


If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Article information

News
Tue 20 Apr 2010, 18:02 BST
Issue No. 2198
Share this article


Tags



Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.