‘General strike to defend Southern guards’ – RMT

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Pickets were solid on day 2 of the 3-day Southern rail strike, after which 11 more days are planned
Pickets were solid on day 2 of the 3-day Southern rail strike, after which 11 more days are planned

‘THIS attack on our union is an attack on all unions,’ John Reid, RMT NEC told News Line yesterday morning.

Reid was speaking on the Southern guards picket line outside Victoria station in south London on the second day of their three-day strike. There are a further 11 days of strike action planned.

Calling for all workers to come out and defend them, Reid continued: ‘Our union’s position is that there should be generalised strike action to counter the attacks.’ The train staff are striking over Southern’s attempts to remove the guards from the trains, which RMT correctly state is a ‘safety critical job’.

Southern rail, last Friday reaffirmed their position that they will carry out their threat and sack every single guard. They have also given RMT official notice of a legal action to try and rule the strike illegal.

Reid continued: ‘The strikes are solid and the majority of the travelling public are behind us. Our main aim is the safety of the travelling public and to preserve the jobs and conditions of our members at the same time.

‘Our union’s position is that there should be generalised strike action to counter the attacks. This attack on our union is an attack on all unions. I am a London regional rep and we are also preparing for strike action on the underground.’

Meanwhile, talks between Southern and the RMT broke down yesterday lunch. Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, said: ‘We entered talks with Charles Horton from Southern on Wednesday morning in good faith and with every intention of trying to reach an agreement.

‘However, it became clear from the outset that Mr Horton is refusing to stick by the assurances he gave to the media yesterday that he can absolutely guarantee a second member of staff on all current Southern services with a conductor.’