TUC must support the railworkers by calling a general strike to bring down the discredited Tories!


WORKERS up and down the country, struggling to feed their families in the face of a massive price inflation that is growing all the time, will be cheering the decision of RMT workers to vote for strike action across Network Rail and its operating companies.

The RMT statement announcing the ballot result said that ‘workers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action across Network Rail and the train operating companies, in the biggest endorsement for strike action by railway workers since privatisation.’

It added: ‘71% of those balloted took part in the vote with 89% voting in favour of strike action and only 11% voting against.

‘The union is now demanding urgent talks with Network Rail and the 15 train operating companies that were balloted to find a negotiated settlement to the dispute over pay, jobs and safety.’

The RMT added: ‘Our NEC will now meet to discuss a timetable for strike action from mid-June, but we sincerely hope ministers will encourage the employers to return to the negotiating table and hammer out a reasonable settlement with the RMT.’

In fact the government has already announced that it intends to fight the RMT all the way and to declare the strike illegal, despite the fact that 89% of those balloted voted to strike.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘Any attempt by (Transport Secretary) Grant Shapps to make effective strike action illegal on the railways will be met with the fiercest resistance from RMT and the wider trade union movement.

‘The government need to focus all their efforts on finding a just settlement to this rail dispute, not attack the democratic rights of working people.

‘Britain already has the worst trade union rights in Western Europe. And we have not fought tooth and nail for railway workers since our forebears set up the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants in 1872, in order to meekly accept a future where our members are prevented from legally withdrawing their labour.’

Meanwhile the RMT has criticised TfL for threatening 600 job losses on the Tube network.

General Secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘TfL is trying to bulldoze through 600 job losses on London Underground and our members are not prepared to accept that.

‘Instead of seeking to cut jobs, TfL and Mayor Sadiq Khan need to put further pressure on the government to secure increased funding for the network so we can have a properly staffed modern 21st century tube.’

Strike action by tube station staff will be taking place on June 6th.

Meanwhile, railway workers in Scotland will be balloted for strike action following ScotRail’s derisory pay offer of 2.2%. RPI inflation is running at 11.1%, and transport workers have already been subject to repeated pay freezes and real terms cuts in living standards.

The union is due to set out a timetable for its ballot and any potential action in due course.

RMT has already expressed anger at the proposed temporary timetable changes being brought in by ScotRail bosses, labelling them ‘a kick in the teeth’ to members.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘ScotRail needs to put its hands deeper into its pockets and start rewarding their staff properly.

‘We are in the midst of a brutal cost of living crisis for workers, but it is still party time for shareholders, speculators and big business executives.

‘All we are asking for, is a pay award that reflects the value of railway workers and the service they provide to the public day in, day out.’

The TUC must immediately support the rail strike actions on the Main Line, the tube and in Scotland.

The TUC has called a national demonstration and march to parliament on June 18th. It must not be a massive exercise to let off steam. It must be the first day of a general strike called by the TUC to remove the Tory government and bring in a workers’ government.

A general strike will bring down the Tories and create the conditions for a workers’ government that will nationalise the banks and the major industries and bring in a socialist planned economy.

This is the only way to resolve the current crisis of capitalism, by making it its last crisis by carrying out a socialist revolution.

There is not a moment to lose. The TUC must be made to call a general strike on Saturday June 18th. This is the only way to beat the Tories and put an end to the current crisis of capitalism that threatens a return to the worst days of the 1930s. Forward to a national rail strike, the general strike and the British socialist revolution!