‘PEOPLE are ready to take general strike action now,’ train drivers union Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan told News Line yesterday.
Speaking at the Euston Station, north London, picket line during the national strike, he said: We’re here today because these workers who did their duty during the pandemic are between 4 and 5 years without a pay rise.
‘The privateers that they work for are raking in hundreds of millions of pounds and paying dividends to the shareholders while the workers get nothing.
‘We have a government that cares more for the profit of foreign companies rather than the British rail workers who work for them.
‘Therefore, while we’re still getting mandates in the high 90%, we’ll continue to fight for our futures.
‘We have a summer of solidarity and a winter of solidarity.
‘People are ready to take general strike action now.
‘We need a total repeal of all anti-union legislation and the public order act so workers in Britain can have their voice and campaign and protest when they want, which should include any form of action.
‘It’s time my party embraces and returns to its historical roots to Keir Hardy.’
Also on the Euston picket, Aslef member Patrick Sulima said: ‘We’re on strike for decent pay and conditions and because the DfT (Department for Transport) are forcing the train companies not to listen.
‘Aslef has been trying to get negotiations with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).
‘The RDG have made an offer that wasn’t agreed, then they are telling the union to put it to the members.
‘There was a two-year deal of 4%-4.5% with big strings attached.
‘It was rejected because it wasn’t ever put to the union but made public through the media.
‘This is politically driven. It costs the government more to have us out on strike than it would to pay us a proper wage.’
At Kings Cross station, Aslef rep Mick O’Shea said: ‘We’re here because of our long-running dispute, where the government won’t allow the employers to negotiate through the normal channels.
‘Instead, they’ve set about an attack on our terms and conditions for a below-inflation pay rise.
‘The attack on the terms and conditions is most aggressive so we have no choice but to take industrial action.
‘The TUC are the ones with the power to call a general strike and they should do that.
‘There are attacks on the doctors, nurses, teachers, civil servants and ourselves.
‘We need the TUC to call general action.’