Socialist Worker

Rail workers plan strikes across four networks to derail bosses' plans

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2573

Southern rail workers on the picket line during a previous strike

Southern rail workers on the picket line during a previous strike (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Rail workers across four networks plan to walk out to defend safety next Tuesday and Thursday.

The RMT union members’ action on Southern, Merseyrail, Greater Anglia and Arriva Rail North is planned to disrupt the Tory party conference.

It is being held in Manchester from Sunday to next Wednesday.

The action is the latest in the long-running struggle over the introduction of driver only operation (DOO).

These plans would take guards off trains and move their “safety critical” responsibilities onto the driver.

Coordinating the action can put pressure onto the Tories and bosses. They are driving through the multibillion DOO to try to grab even more profits and smash the rail unions.

Workers at Southern have taken over 80 days of strikes in the last 18 months.

RMT members on Southern, Arriva Rail North and Merseyrail struck together over four days last month.

Hours

This disrupted large parts of the rail network, with some stations shut entirely.The action next week will be Greater Anglia workers’ first strike over DOO.

On the second day of their walkout, the workers will be joined by Tube drivers in London.

The Aslef union members voted by 88 percent for strikes over working hours.

Meanwhile, Aslef is currently in talks with Govia Thameslink Railway, the parent company of Southern rail.

They say they have made “significant progress” in reaching the deal.

Earlier this year Aslef members rejected two deals stitched up by their union leaders and bosses, which would have extended DOO.

Striking together alongside RMT members can force the Tories’ favourite rail firm GTR to back down.


Pilots launch air strikes against bosses’ pay offer

Pilots at Thomas Cook Airline struck for 24 hours last Saturday.

The Balpa union members are striking for a pay rise that matches inflation.

Bosses at Thomas Cook have offered them only 1.5 percent.

This follows a previous walkout on 8 September—which was the first pilots’ strike since 1974.

The latest strike comes after talks at government conciliation service Acas did not result in an agreement.

Some 91 percent of pilots have voted for strikes on an 88 percent turnout.

They were set to strike again this Friday and on Friday of next week.

Balpa says that over 40 flights had to be rescheduled during the walkout last Saturday.


The Unite union called off a bus controllers’ strike over pay set to take place last Friday.

A deal was reached with Transport for London through government conciliation service Acas the day before.

The workers had already walked out for 48 hours over the August bank holiday.

TfL previously offered a non-consolidated lump sum of £350. The new deal sees workers get the £350 and a 1 percent pay rise from next year.

More strikes could have won more than 1 percent, which represents a real terms pay cut.


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