Socialist Worker

Rail workers battle for jobs

by Mark L Thomas
Issue No. 2199

Sacked Jarvis workers are protesting outside Network Rail headquarters this Wednesday – they are in no mood to give up the fight for their jobs.

More than 1,200 workers were sacked when Jarvis collapsed in March.

“We’ve had eight weeks without pay,” said Bill Rawcliffe, an RMT union convenor and one of the sacked workers.

Contractor Babcock Rail has been handed some of Jarvis’ maintenance work.

Around 50 of the former Jarvis rail engineering workers picketed outside its office in South Kirby in Yorkshire, on Friday of last week.

They put their case to Babcock’s contractors and agency workers – arguing that the work they were doing had been stolen by the bosses from the Jarvis workers.

Many workers listened to their case, until the police turned up.

Promises from Lord Adonis, New Labour’s transport secretary, that all the former Jarvis workers would be transferred to Babcock on their existing terms and conditions, have so far come to nothing.


Bill says, “Not one of us has been approached for a job with Babcock.

“When any of us phone for a job, they suggest we apply to an agency.”

Only a few workers have then been offered work.

Bill explained that Jarvis had the best pay and conditions in the industry, and the best traditions of union militancy.

Workers have set up a Justice4Jarvis campaign to fight for their jobs and the money they are owed for work already done.

The have already held protests in York and Doncaster.

Bill says, “We ought to have a national rail ballot for strike action over this scandal.”

The failure to offer Jarvis workers jobs on the same pay and conditions sets a dangerous precedent in the rail industry.

The RMT should insist that there will be no settlement to the dispute with Network Rail over jobs and work rosters until Jarvis workers’ jobs and conditions are guaranteed.

Bill Rawcliffe is also standing as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate in Doncaster North against New Labour minister Ed Miliband.

Anger at Labour’s betrayal of the Jarvis workers was a key reason for his decision to stand.

Justice4Jarvis demonstration: 1pm, Wednesday 28 April, Network Rail, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London

Jarvis workers need funds to continue their campaign. Make cheques payable to “Doncaster Branch RMT,” clearly endorsed on the back “Justice4Jarvis”. Send to 30 Abercorn Road, Intake,
Doncaster DN2 6NH

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