By Sam Ord
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RMT and Aslef unions announce new rail strikes—build solidarity

This article is over 1 years, 7 months old
The RMT union has announced strikes for 27 July and 18 and 20 August, the Aslef train drivers' union plans a walkout on 30 July
Issue 2813
A rally for the RMT union rail strikes

Strikes, like the RMT union rail strike, show the power workers have (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Drivers at eight train operating companies will strike on Saturday 30 July, forcing many rail services to come to a standstill. The 6,000 Aslef union members plan to walk out at Chiltern, Great Western Railway, London North Eastern Rail, London Overground, Northern, Southeastern, TransPennine and West Midlands companies. 

Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said, “We’ve been forced into this position by the train companies, driven by the Tory government. The drivers at the companies where we are striking have had a real terms pay cut over the last three years—since April 2019.”

And shortly afterwards the RMT union announced a further two strikes on 18 and 20 August by 40,000 workers at Network Rail and 14 train operating companies. 

It came a day after the RMT said they would walk out on 27 July  after rejecting a “paltry” offer from bosses. They will also be joined by TSSA union members on the Avanti West Coast line.

The announcement of further rail strikes is another blow to this weak and divided Tory government only six days after Boris Johnson was forced to resign. And it comes shortly after thousands of Aslef and TSSA rail union members delivered overwhelming votes for strikes.

Bosses at Network Rail offered a 4 percent increase backdated to January and 2 percent next year, a real terms pay cut when inflation soars near 12 percent. Workers would be made to achieve “modernisation milestones”—forcing more out of workers—to get the 2 percent.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said, “The offer from Network Rail represents a real terms pay cut for our members. The paltry sum is conditional on RMT members agreeing to drastic changes in their working lives.

“We have made progress on compulsory redundancies. But Network Rail are still seeking to make our members poorer when we have won in some cases double what they are offering, with other rail operators. The train operating companies remain stubborn and are refusing to make any new offer which deals with job security and pay.”

Members of the TSSA union—which represents managers and admin staff—have voted for walkouts at Network Rail and 10 train operating companies.

The three days of rail strikes last month gained widespread support—and struck fear into the Tories and bosses. Every socialist, trade unionist and campaigner should fight to build the biggest possible solidarity on 27 and 30 July and 18 and 20 August. During the last round, solidarity protests and rallies were a powerful show of support and would be again.

Go around your workplace or union branch with a petition, do a collection for the RMT and Aslef strike funds, organise a delegation to the picket lines on the days. And fight to spread the strikes to your workplace and sector.

Our class has a chance to strike a huge blow against the Tories and bosses—let’s make 27 and 30 July and 18 and 20 August a success and push for more. To win, it will take a programme of sustained and escalating strikes that hit the Tories and bosses hard.

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