Socialist Worker

South West strikes to derail attack on safety

Issue No. 2682

A South West Railway striker

A South West Railway striker (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Rail workers are gearing up for what could be one of the biggest battles against the train bosses and their Tory backers.

RMT union members on South Western Railway (SWR) are set to begin 27 days of strikes on Monday of next week.

The programme of strikes will see them walk out almost every day in December. It could paralyse many trains in the south west of England and major routes into London.

This is the latest phase in the long-running battle over driver only operation (DOO) trains and the role of guards.

Bosses want to implement DOO as a cost-cutting measure.

This removes a second safety-critical worker from trains, rendering them unsafe and inaccessible for some passengers.

Negotiations last week produced no result.

RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, said, “Throughout these talks SWR has not shown any intention of moving the issues at the heart of the dispute forwards, despite verbal assurances in earlier discussions.

“It has become increasingly clear that they are not interested in reaching a settlement at this time.”

nrail workers on West Midlands Trains staged a second round of strikes over DOO last Saturday.

The RMT members are set to strike every Saturday until the end of the year.

The West Midlands Trains franchise agreement allows the Tories to reimburse private operator Abellio for lost revenue during strikes.

Mick Cash said, “It’s the same old Tories siding with fat cat train bosses at the expense of passengers and against rail workers.”

Renfrew bus fight for pay equality

Workers at McGill’s buses in Renfrewshire struck over pay on Tuesday.

The Unite union members are fighting for parity between workers who were transferred on a contract from Arriva and those who have worked at McGill’s for longer.

Around 50 workers voted by 85 percent for strikes.

More strikes at the Inchinnan and Johnstone depots are planned for 2 and 9 December. 

Victoria Line strike won’t run this week

Strikes due to hit the Victoria line this week were suspended to “allow for the issues at the heart of the dispute to be addressed”, said the workers’ RMT union.

They are fighting over pay and harassment.

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