SARAH FRIDAY, the sacked health and safety union rep at London's Waterloo station, has won her ballot for strike action. Guards and drivers at Waterloo belonging to the RMT union have voted by five to one to strike until Sarah is reinstated. They voted 64 in favour and 12 against strikes. The Waterloo RMT branch has announced the first two strike days. The first will be on Thursday 23 March, with the next on Friday 31 March. The ballot result comes on top of last week's rail crash at Waterloo. Thirty people were hurt, one seriously, when a commuter train hit empty carriages at a platform at Waterloo. The train belonged to South West Trains, which sacked Sarah Friday in February. She had been campaigning over safety in the aftermath of the Southall and Paddington crashes. As Sarah says, "There are safety problems that South West Trains is not addressing. Instead it is sacking its health and safety reps."
- Fax messages of support to Sarah Friday on 020 7207 3781.
RAIL WORKERS in the RMT union have been discussing ways to defend themselves against a huge attack by bosses, designed to smash union organisation and to drive down wages and conditions. Overhead line (OHL) workers have found out that the GTRM rail company and Balfour Beatty construction have won a "joint venture" contract to modernise the West Coast Line.
Instead of approaching the RMT, which organises this sector of rail, the joint venture has signed a sweetheart deal with the AEEU union. Workers have been recruited on terrible pay. On Friday of last week some of the new workers met RMT officials. In a move that will infuriate the bosses and the right wing AEEU leaders, the workers joined the RMT. RMT leaders are suggesting that the union ballots for an overtime ban. But RMT activists need to argue for strike action.