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Full support to RMT

RMT strike London
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Day 1 of RMT national strike

Lies, damned lies and Tory lies fail

TUC organise a general strike

It was a great strike day in Britain as many 100s of rail entrances were picketed by RMT members in England, Scotland and Wales, and supported by many activists and trade unionists. It showed that all the Tory Government and media lies have not dented support for RMT, on the contrary. This is the strongest national fightback for many many years against government policies of wage freezes, thousands of job cuts (that means closures of ticket offices) and pension cuts – the effect of privatisation.

Over 50,000 workers took action because 10,000 RMT tube workers in London also came out. It is inspiring many workers and forcing them to think how to push their unions to take the same action.

Mick Lynch, the RMT leader, calls on all unions to organise national strike action and join this fight against a hated government. The RMT will support them.

Carl, an official RMT picket supervisor Liverpool, said today that a “loss for the RMT would be a loss for all workers.” And that, “the government is waging a class war on the RMT”. The government is cutting safety “by cutting 1000s of jobs from the maintenance division of Network Rail. They are trying to shut every single ticket office in the country. It means stations are a lot less accessible for disabled people and people who do need some help.”

The General Secretary Mick Lynch on national TV has called the Tory representatives liars many 100s of times as they blame the RMT for taking strike action and not negotiating.

However, the immense greed by rail shareholders meant they were paid £1 billion between 2013 to 2019. In 2021 rail and bus operators announced a £500 million dividend bonanza to shareholders — and boasted of more to come — after receiving extra subsidies to run services during the pandemic lockdown. And now the Government is cutting £4bn from transport systems – £2bn from national rail and £2bn from Transport for London.

The great support for the strike and pickets from many unions and the 50,000 plus TUC London demo and its affiliates show the deep anger that has built over the cost-of-living crisis, wage freezes, job cuts, cuts in pensions and worsening conditions. All this comes after 12 years of austerity and two years of COVID.

What is said on the picket lines?

In London many unions helped the pickets, Eraldo, a leader of the UVW, interviewed two RMT supporters. Tom, a teacher with the National Education Union, was on the Kings Cross picket line today “to show union to union solidarity and because teachers have not had a pay rise in nine years and the RMT are out showing us how a union should react to this. Hopefully that is what the NEU is going to do when the ballot for strikes in October and November.”

Natalia a student, also on the Kings Cross picket, held a placard that said, “Student For Workers Rights”. She said, “it is really important for students to support the strike, the right-wing media is saying that students are against the strike…but it is not true…students are very much supporting the strike.

“This is part of a wider fight against the cost of living crisis and pay cuts across a lot if not all industry. The RMT going on strike is setting a precedent for other unions to go on strike, which is so important. And it is so important that we all come along and stand in solidarity with the RMT.”

Eraldo reported that “Workers from different sectors made a point of stopping and going to the picket lines to show solidarity.  Many cars honked in solidarity.  Cyclists passed and shouted their support for the strike.  I was really impressed.  If we look at the photos of several lines of pickets, at least in London, people gathered there, to express their discontent with the government and the crisis that befalls everyone.”

A poll from @SavantaComRes today showed 58% of the public say rail strikes this week are justified, 34% say they are not.

Danny (GMB) from Swansea. “I went to a Port Talbot picket that was lively and I had a good chat with a few fellas there. Everyone was very open to a general strike and the picket seemed to be getting a lot of support from passers-by.”

Ashley (USDAW) from Stockport. “The picket was good, it was outside one of Network Rail office, about 12 in attendance, several people from Stockport Trades Union Council. People were friendly, no one was opposed to the idea of a general strike and the 2 or 3 people I managed to talk to support the idea of wage rise above inflation.”

“Interestingly, in the past if you said something critical of labour’s leader, when it was Corbyn, there would be at least 1 or 2 people who would leap to his defence but with Starmer no one was interested in defending him or the rest of the Labour leadership.”

There were very lively pickets in Liverpool around Lime Street and the various maintenance depots. The discussions showed general agreement on the need for other unions to take action and for a general strike, no one supports Starmer because he commanded his frontbench MPs and parliamentary secretaries not to support the picket lines that shows the Labour Party hostility to strikes, workers independence and absolute opposition socialism. There was discussion on the need for a new workers party and workers control with nationalisation.

In agreement with the point about workers control, the main picket site organiser gave the example of the workers’ struggle in the Clyde side ship-yard in Scotland when Ted Heath was Prime Minister. It was a prolonged industrial battle to save Clyde side shipbuilding jobs from 1971 until October 1972. Whatever else happened this experience does show that workers can run their own industry without bosses’ control.

Reports from many parts of the country show that the level of solidarity that the picket lines received was very impressive, and in Liverpool. In the strike WhatsApp Darren Pilling Regional Secretary of the RMT Northwest and North Wales Regional Council said about today, “I just wanted to say thank you for your magnificent support today. The normal suspects have been trying to vilify and demonise us for weeks in the build-up. Your presence on our lines is a massive tonic and motivation to our members as we embark upon the fight of our lives.”

The RMT strike is of immense importance to all British workers. It is also of great interest and importance internationally, “Member organisations of the International Trade Union Network of Solidarity and Struggles, and the Rail Without Borders Network, support RMT’s call for strike action and the strikers; we make this movement known in our different countries. International solidarity of workers!” https://www.laboursolidarity.org

Full support to RMT strike and pickets

All unions take national action to support the RMT

TUC call a general strike

Note: Carl’s interview taken from SKWAWKBOX, https://skwawkbox.org/2022/06/21/video-rail-worker-explains-strike-as-public-supports-and-government-and-media-push-lies-and-propaganda/

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