‘THE STRIKE is going well, we’re still getting a lot of public support – this fight is important for job security and safety for our members and the public,’ Kathy Mazur, RMT London and Anglia regional organiser, told News Line on the picket line at Euston Station yesterday morning.
‘The government wants every booking office closed and driver only trains, but you definitely need the guard on the train.
‘The government are after massive cuts, they want more profit for the shareholders. They want to try and break the unions.
‘There should be a general strike – everybody out – to bring the Tory government down – we need a government for working class people.’
RMT member James Lynch said: ‘We’re still here. We have to keep going, we can’t give up. Nothing has changed. There’s been meetings but they’ve got nowhere. We’re still fighting and the government are not budging – they’re making it as difficult as possible to resolve the dispute. More unions are coming out together now.’
The Euston pickets were joined by RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch, who accused the Tory government of misrepresenting things.
Lynch said: ‘We keep hearing the same stuff from the government across the sectors, that they want to facilitate an agreement but they don’t actually do anything.
‘I met the rail minister on 15th December, along with the companies, but we’ve heard nothing tangible since then.
‘You hear a few warm words, Mark Harper (Secretary of State for Transport) conducts himself in a pleasant way and a good way and that’s fine.
‘So what we need to hear now from the government is exactly what they are going to propose to us.
‘At the moment they’ve got themselves into a position before Christmas where we were making progress with the train operating companies and on one Sunday afternoon before a set of strike action they decided to torpedo those talks by putting in conditions in the documentation that they know that we and the other unions could never accept.
‘So that was a deliberate strategy which frustrated the train operating company executives.
‘The most senior people in the industry are as frustrated as we are that the government will not facilitate a settlement and indeed is taking the opposite tack of undermining efforts to get a settlement.
‘They know that we can’t accept the current proposals, so we need to get a fresh set of elements in the equation so that we can work up some solutions instead of just putting in some warm words.’
Lynch accused Tory ministers of intervening in the negotiations last month in order to expand ‘driver only operation’ and the removal of the train guard, which he said had prevented an agreement from being reached between the union and the rail privateers.
Lynch said: ‘We had a document with the train operating companies which did not include driver-only operation. It was taken away for approval in Whitehall and the DfT and they inserted about eight or nine bullet points that completely undermined the negotiations.
‘That was a direct intervention by government ministers. We know that to be true and if he’s saying that didn’t happen he’s simply not telling you the whole truth.’