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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 May 2017

Third strike against driver-only operated trains suspended but dispute continues

RMT members protesting outside parliament against DOO, 26.5.17, photo Chris Newby

RMT members protesting outside parliament against DOO, 26.5.17, photo Chris Newby   (Click to enlarge)

An RMT member

The third coordinated strike action involving 2,000 workers on Southern, Northern and Merseyrail against driver-only operation (DOO) scheduled for 30 May has been suspended following the bombing in Manchester on 22 May.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: "The heightened safety and security alerts on our transport services, mean the RMT's executive has taken the decision to suspend the strike action." But the dispute is ongoing.

The issue, which has been long-running on Southern and linked to the victimisation of a guard on Merseyrail, was joined by Northern guards because Arriva Rail North has rejected attempts to resolve the dispute over driver-controlled trains due to come into service in 2020.

The battle on Southern continues despite attempts by bosses, the government, the TUC and even the leaders of drivers' union Aslef. Aslef members have rejected two offers in support of RMT guards fighting to keep the vital position.

Guards play a whole number of safety-critical roles on trains, especially in emergency situations. With rail companies receiving massive public subsidies, rail workers and passengers are entitled to two members of staff on trains.

The last strike on 8 April was completely solid and brought large parts of the country to a standstill. Then one striker said: "If we don't fight back the company will get rid of hundreds of guards and walk all over the remaining employees! We say no to DOO!"

Jeremy Corbyn has said the idea of running trains with just the driver "was a daft idea" and that a Labour-government would back the retention of guards on trains as part of the renationalisation of the railways. He would be welcome on RMT picket lines on 30 May!

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