Socialist Party
| Print

10 November 2017

Huge support for Merseyside strikes of bus drivers and train guards

Hugh Caffrey, North West Socialist Party

Public transport across Merseyside was nearly shut down by bus drivers and train guards taking strike action on Wednesday 8 November.

Bus drivers employed by Arriva in the Unite union mounted another day of solid strike action in pursuit of a 3% pay rise.

Train guards in the RMT union, on the Northern franchise and on the Merseyrail network, took equally solid action.

This left mainly only Stagecoach buses running - and those because Stagecoach backed down and gave a pay rise earlier this year!

Commuters using the arterial route through the Birkenhead tunnel found it took 35 minutes to travel the usual five or ten, with city centre carparks overflowing well before office hours began.

This is a powerful reminder to workers and employers of the potential power which working people hold - without our labour, nothing moves! While both the buses and the guards' disputes are connected with wider strikes, the major employers in the city centre will no doubt have beaten an angry path to the doors of Arriva management, and to city region mayor Steve Rotheram who is overseeing the removal of the Merseyrail guards.

Mayor Rotheram is already very sensitive on the guards issue, having not reacted well when greeted at a demonstration in Huyton on Monday with shouts of "Keep the guards".

A members' meeting of the RMT union unanimously agreed to organise a big "Keep the Guards" public lobby of the Transport Committee on Thursday 7 December, 1-2pm at the Cunard Building on Mann Island, Liverpool waterfront.

The Liverpool-based mayor, Joe Anderson, has entered the fray, trying to pit bus drivers against guards by agreeing with one and attacking the other.

No-one will be fooled by this transparent attempt at divide and rule. Transport strikes on Merseyside have a particularly historic resonance with their role in the past of bringing the working class together across divides induced by the ruling elite.

Effective action

Across the national rail network, about 30% of it will have been affected by the guards' strike, despite the so-called PUGs (persons utilised as guards) scabs organised by management, bringing new meaning to the phrase 'pug ugly'.

The morale of strikers remains high, for example on the Green Lane Arriva picket line a vote to continue the strike action was unanimous.

Coordinated strike action has shown an enormous power, and should be repeated until the employers and office-holding politicians back down.

Public support is colossal. Endless media stories putting the management case and highlighting the handful of individuals who agree with them, have had almost no effect whatsoever.

Mobilising public support by calling big demonstrations led by the striking unions would bolster the strike action and put enormous pressure on the managers to resolve the disputes.

Also, it would put big pressure on an incoming Labour government to swiftly return public transport to the public sector, reverse the cuts to services and staff and instead cut fares to an affordable level.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 10 November 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/26448




Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

triangle19 Feb Usdaw victory - Socialist Party member Amy Murphy wins presidential...

triangle19 Feb Building the campaign against clearances of the working class

triangle16 Feb No fudge with the right wing

triangle14 Feb Czechoslovakia 1968: 'Prague Spring' challenges Stalinism

triangle14 Feb Uni strike: coordinate public sector fightback

triangle14 Feb Oxfam scandal: we need democratic aid and working class solidarity

triangle14 Feb Haringey protests HDV - but Labour fails to kill it off completely

More ...

WHAT'S ON

triangle20 Feb Manchester Socialist Students: 200 years of Marxism

triangle21 Feb Caerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: 100 years of votes for women

triangle21 Feb Salford Socialist Party: A socialist look at the Vietnam War

triangle21 Feb York Socialist Party: Britain in 2018

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

What we Stand For

About the Socialist Party

Our 2015 election manifesto

Joining the Socialist Party - what will it mean for you

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999