Socialist Worker

Rail strike next week

Issue No. 1680


Rail strike next week

"MANAGEMENT are trying to stop our strike," says a Connex train drivers' rep. "Last week every train driver at our depot was interviewed. When each driver entered the room he was cautioned by three managers. They warned that by going on strike the driver was in breach of contract and could be sacked. Each driver was then asked if he was going to go on strike. Every driver replied, 'Yes'."

Train drivers working for Connex are demanding a 35 hour week and decent pension rights. Drivers on Connex South Central voted 378 to 81 to strike. Connex South East drivers also voted by a 71 percent majority to join the action. The first 24 hour strike is due next Tuesday. Five more days of action are planned. The drivers belong to the rail union ASLEF. Over the last two weeks Connex drivers have been refusing to work overtime. Up to 60 percent of trains have been cancelled. Connex is one of the country's biggest privatised rail companies, with two franchises serving London and southern England. The company carries a quarter of a million passengers into London every day. The drivers' action is also popular with the public. A Connex survey found 66 percent of Connex users supported the action. The company decided not to publish its findings!

  • Train drivers employed by Merseyrail Electrics have also voted 97 to 12 in favour of taking industrial action.

Docklands action is scheduled too

WORKERS ON London's Docklands Light Railway are due to strike next week too. The system's "train captains" have voted by a six to one majority to strike over pay. The first strike is scheduled for next Monday. Last year six DLR directors awarded themselves a 20 percent pay rise and massive share options.

Train captains, in the RMT, are demanding a 6 percent rise. The fully automatic railway has a single "captain" on each train to check tickets and operate doors. When the line was opened 12 years ago DLR management did not want union involvement. When the workforce campaigned for union recognition management signed a sweetheart deal with the EETPU union, which later became part of the AEEU. It took activists years to win union recognition for the RMT union.

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Thu 20 Jan 2000, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1680
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