RMT pickets at Elephant and Castle Underground station were joined by supporters from Unite Community and members of the public yesterday morning.
RMT member Ebony Kingston spoke to News Line: ‘I support the strike against’ 600 job cuts. They’re also meddling with our pensions and terms and conditions, as well as our work/life balance. A stand has to be made because things are getting worse.
‘I think there should be a strike in every industry including the NHS and education for at least one day. We should go back to the kind of militancy we had in the 1970s. After all it was strikes and union activity that got us what rights we have now. We have to defend them.’
Meanwhile at Brixton Station, also completely closed, there was support from local union branches.
Phil Robertson, RMT Industrial rep told News Line: ‘The strike is going well. There are no trains running for the whole day, and no member of Aslef has crossed the picket line. The support from the public is great. The issues are conditions of work, job losses and cuts in the pensions. Transport for London Unite members are also on strike today.
‘I think the unions should co-ordinate strike action and you can see that start to happen already, but it should be organised properly to bring down this government. There is no official opposition so we need workers’ control.’
Joe another picket at Brixton said: ‘It’s going very well. Other unions such as Unison and Unite are giving us support as well as members of the public. We have to stand up to this Tory government. They say workers getting pay rises causes inflation. But it’s OK for bosses to get massive pay rises and bonuses on top.’
On the RMT picket line at Boston Manor depot, train maintenance engineer and RMT member Jonathan Foster said: ‘The Tories are coming out with extreme right-wing stuff. They are acting upon whatever the corporation buses tell them to do. It’s time for a general strike. The TUC haven’t done anything for such a long time but they’re going to have to do something now.’
Train maintainer and RMT rep, Aidan Riley, said we are fighting to defend pensions, jobs and agreements. Safety is number one for us. You can’t just rely on technology you have to have people on the spot.
‘The Tories are out to smash the unions. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was on the radio this morning saying he wants to ban effective picketing and also to force public sector workers to run a minimum service. There’s no point in striking if you have to run the service. I think the only way forward is a general strike.’
Darnell Cas RMT member and Customer Host at Dalston junction station said:
‘I think the government only care about big business and they’re not interested in investing in ordinary people. This country is going downhill because they have lost all their industries and as I’ve said before, there is no investment.
‘What I want to see out of this strike is fairness in terms of pay and living costs and I believe that if the government refuses to listen to the demands of not just us but other workers there will be confrontation between workers and government.’
Kutlu Kekilli, RMT Dalston junction, said ‘I am striking because I want all of the efforts of the RMT staff to be recognised, particularly during the three years of covid when it was a dangerous period for our staff.
‘We are fighting for a pay deal that recognises the cost of living as well as fighting for other workers and feel that our fight could be an inspiration for teachers, nurses and postal workers to also fight for what they deserve.
‘In finishing, I agree with the demand for a general strike because we should Unite our struggles together.’
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