Rail workers' strike
Solidly behind Sarah
"EVERYBODY realises that if they can get rid of Sarah they can get rid of anybody. You've got to protect your union rep. Now we need to get everyone else involved."
So said a striking South West Trains driver on the picket line at Waterloo Station, London, on Thursday of last week. Around 150 South West Trains drivers and guards in the RMT union struck for the day in the first of a series of strikes in support of Sarah Friday. Sarah was sacked in February on trumped up charges. Her "crime" in the company's eyes was her outstanding record as a trade union activist and health and safety rep.
The next one day strike was due to take place this Friday. South West Trains has tried to claim there is no support for Sarah. But Sarah's colleagues delivered their reply when they solidly backed the strike. Greg Tucker, RMT Waterloo branch secretary and LSA candidate, told Socialist Worker on the picket line, "The mood has been good. People have been joining the RMT to take part in the strike."
The company tried to downplay the strike's impact. It said only one in eight trains were affected over the strike day. But the effect of the action built up through the day. Some drivers from the ASLEF union and other RMT members at different South West Trains depots took their rest days rather than go against the strike action. However, it is clear that the action will need to be escalated to force the company to reinstate Sarah.
The RMT executive was due to decide this week whether to ballot its drivers and guards throughout South West Trains.
- Rush messages of support to: Sarah Friday, c/o 3 Blades House, London SE13 5TW. Fax 020 7207 3781.
- Bring delegations to the picket line: Friday 31 March, 7am-10am, outside Waterloo Station (corner of Lower Marsh and Baylis Road).