Socialist Worker

Northern Rail workers keep up their safety battle as ticket prices soar - again

Issue No. 2617

Workers at a recent strike at Ruislip depot

Workers at a recent strike at Ruislip depot (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Workers on Northern Rail have announced three new strikes as bosses “make a mockery” of negotiations.

The RMT union members are set to walk out on 25 August, 1 and 8 September.

The action will involve conductors, conductor instructors and train drivers and is the latest action over the implementation of Driver Only Operation (DOO).

DOO services will make train travel unsafe and inaccessible for many passengers, and transport workers have been fighting against it for over two years.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said, “Northern Rail want to run nearly half a million trains a year without a safety critical guard on board in a move that would wreck both safety and access to services.

“They should listen to their frontline staff and pull back from that plan immediately.”

The struggle against DOO—which the Tories are desperate to roll out—has taken place on six rail networks, with most reaching agreement with the RMT already.

A strike on South Western Railway set for last Saturday was called off to allow further talks.

The battles on the rail come as a study by the RMT showed fares increasing twice as fast as wages.

Next year’s fare increase was set to be confirmed on Wednesday this week, with expectations that it would be around 3.5 percent.


Bus workers push for right to wear Rastafarian colours

Workers at London bus contractor Metroline Travel are demanding an end to discrimination currently being experienced by one of its drivers.

Bus driver Marcia Carty, a Unite union member who is based at the Perivale depot, has been barred by Metroline bosses from wearing the colours of Rastafarianism on a head-covering while at work, despite making it clear that she needs to wear her colours in order to properly observe her religion.

It is also understood by Unite that local Metroline managers have queried whether Rastafarianism is actually a religion.

The company allows other drivers to observe their religions by wearing headscarves and turbans.

If Metroline does not reverse its decision then Unite will formally raise the issue with Transport for London and will consider if further action is appropriate.


Deal at Manchester Metrolink as vote takes place at Sheffield Supertram

Drivers working for Greater Manchester’s Metrolink have accepted a three-year pay deal.

The Unite union hailed the package as “a great achievement”.

It said drivers with more than 18 months’ experience would be paid £30,000 a year backdated to January 2018 and £33,000 a year by January 2019.

More than 340 Unite members working for Metrolink Manchester voted to accept the deal.

Workers had backed a strike if there was not a decent offer and planned action on August bank holiday.

Unite regional officer Steve Davies said, “The deal addresses the long-term concerns of our members who were angry at the fact that their previous pay levels were up to £7,000 less than tram drivers in other cities for doing the same job.”

Meanwhile Sheffield supertram workers have been voting on a three-year deal to end their dispute.


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