Socialist Worker

RMT takes on fight over rail privatisation

by Dave Knight, tube worker
Issue No. 1950

On the march against privatisation in London (Pic: Guy Smallman)

On the march against privatisation in London (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The march organised by the RMT rail union from Glasgow to London demanding the renationalisation of the industry reached the capital last Saturday.

One thousand people joined the final leg. “The purpose of the march was to show the public how rail workers feel about the state and safety of the railways since privatisation,” said Jade, a train driver’s daughter aged 13.

Everybody on the Rail Against Privatisation march was in positive, fighting mood, happy to fly their flags and haul their banners behind the stirring music of the brass band.

The crowds lining the route waved in encouragement as it weaved its way through the West End, past the University of London to Camden.

I asked Mark Harding, a London Underground driver and secretary of the Hammersmith & City branch of the RMT, what the reaction of the public had been up and down the country.

He said it had been “very positive. The public are behind us on this one and the march is a lead to other unions to join the anti-privatisation cause.”

Kelly, a rail worker from Edinburgh, said the march had made an impact with the public by making them aware of the issues but it’s only the start — “Victory is going to take time.”

Kyran Connolly a member of the National Union of Journalists joined the march in London to show solidarity. “Renationalisation of the railways was vital to secure the transport structure,” he said. “I am appalled at the lack of support by the TUC.”

The march and rally, which was addressed by RMT general secretary Bob Crow and his counterpart from the PCS civil service workers’ union, Mark Serwotka, among others, were a success.

But there is a lot of work to do. The general feeling that “this was the beginning, not the end” begs the question what next and when to achieve renationalisation under the next government.

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Article information

Thu 5 May 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1950
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