Big support for TUC lobby in Brighton

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Southern Rail guards on the picket line at Brighton station yesterday morning
Southern Rail guards on the picket line at Brighton station yesterday morning

DAVE Russell, GMB rep for council infrastructure at the Brighton and Hove refuse collection depot yesterday told News Line: ‘We are going to join the lobby of the TUC on Monday.

‘It is time for a fresh approach. The general and local councils are not investing in jobs for the future, they’re cutting terms and conditions. We are in a big dispute at the moment, drivers have had a work to rule for the last twelve months since the last strike. The council tried to cut our drivers’ pay by £4000 and we won that pay strike.’

Students from BIM University are also bringing a delegation to join the lobby on Monday. Sam Caschere said: ‘I’m bringing my friends on the lobby, it’s important to stand up for the working class and know that these people who represent us, the trade union leaders, know what we want.

‘We want free education. We want our maintenance grants. We don’t want our NHS to be sold off to pay for Trident. We support the junior doctors and we don’t want the Conservatives in power.’

Eddie Toomer added: ‘My friend invited me to lobby the TUC. I’m interested in these issues. We have to protect everything that everyone before us fought for. The people who we are lobbying, the trade unions, should be on our side, they must fight with us.’

Jack Arnold said: ‘University fees are going up and we will be in at least £30,000 of debt. What about students in 10 years time, how much debt will they be in? At the University of Sussex they have the Santander Bank still on their campus. Universities are becoming more like a business. I will raise these issues with the unions because the debts will affect me when I graduate.’

Earlier yesterday morning Southern Rail guards on strike at their picket said they will send a delegation to lobby the TUC. RMT Branch Secretary for Brighton and Hove, Garry Hassell said: ‘I would absolutely say renationalise the railways.

‘However, I would go further and say renationalise gas and electricity as well. Removing the role of the guards will do away with 400 jobs. They say they will be redeployed, but this is about the safety aspect of the job.

‘Every guard should have a train and every train should have a guard. I’m organising that our banner is brought to the lobby of the TUC next Monday.’ Malcolm Chisholm, RMT rep for conductors, said: ‘The guard is a safety critical role, essential for the evacuation of trains if there is a fire or an incident.

‘The longest trains are 12 coaches, they want all trains with CCTV to be driver only operated (DOO). They expect the driver to be in charge of opening and closing doors. There have been situations recently when passengers have been dragged along with their clothes caught in the door and other incidents when people have slipped down the gap between the train and the platform. If there was an incident it would be the driver who’s liable for prosecution.’