Bosses at Arriva Trains Northern are cancelling four out of ten services on non-strike days in a desperate effort to break resistance by members of the RMT rail union. Arriva managing director Ray Price admitted in a confidential briefing to managers that cancellations are at record levels. He wrote on 10 September, 'The last period five [about a month] was the worst train performance experienced for a very long time.'
The high cancellation rate is due to Arriva's ban on conductors working on their rest days. Managers want to stop them recouping some of the money lost on strike days in the long-running pay dispute.
An RMT rep, who cannot be named because of reprisals from the company, told Socialist Worker, 'They are leaving thousands of passengers stuck on platforms purely to try and break the RMT. Our claim, even if it was met in full, would still leave us the worst paid conductors on the network. This briefing from Ray Price shows the company is taking a hit. These revelations should boost support for our strikes.'
Arriva workers were due to strike on Saturday of this week, and were to hold a rally with public sector workers in Newcastle. They need solidarity from other trade unionists, particularly in the rail industry.
The executive of the train drivers' Aslef union was meeting this week to discuss further strikes on First North Western, another company that is trying to face down the rail unions.
Donations to the Arriva strike fund are urgently needed. Send c/o RMT, Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD.