Socialist Worker

First Great Western rail walkout hit bosses hard

Issue No. 2462

Some 2,000 First Great Western (FGW) rail workers in the RMT union struck for 48 hours last week. 

Bosses have refused to give assurances on jobs, services and safety on new intercity trains the company is introducing. 

The walkout had a massive impact. Bristol station worker Nathan told Socialist Worker, “Only a fraction of the services we’d normally have actually ran.”

The union said bosses’ claim to be running 60 percent of normal services was “pure fiction”. 

Nathan questioned how safe the service was during the walkout. “You had untrained managers taking out the scab trains,” he said.

Workers are fighting to defend safety-critical jobs in stations and on trains. 

These cuts are being pushed across the rail industry to squeeze costs and weaken union organisation.

But Nathan said there are an “unprecedented” number of disputes hitting train operators across Britain. And the Tories are a key factor. 

He said, “They want to emulate Thatcher and take out the union. 

“But now CrossCountry trains are balloting over pay. There are disputes at Northern, Southern and Scotrail. 

“I hope we can start to coordinate these strikes and all come out for an extended period together.”

Nathan is a pseudonym.

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