'Don't make us extinct too' placard at RMT picket line. Photo: Brum SP
'Don't make us extinct too' placard at RMT picket line. Photo: Brum SP

Rail workers in the RMT union who work for 14 Train Operating Companies (TOCs) will take two further days of strike action on 26 August and 2 September. 20,000 members have been in dispute over pay, jobs and working conditions for over a year. The employers come together in the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), but now the RDG says negotiations can only continue with individual companies. The RMT says that behind the scenes the Tory government, which compensates the TOCs for lost earnings every time there is a strike day, is preventing negotiations from continuing.

RMT members remain united in their strike action. Train drivers in Aslef will take strike action on 1 September, with an overtime ban the following day.

In a step up of attacks, the rail companies have announced the closure of over 1,000 ticket offices, with 2,000 jobs under threat. The public outcry has been such that the consultation had to be extended until 1 September. The day before, the RMT has organised a protest, assembling outside the Department for Transport at 5pm.

RMT members continue their determined fight to save their jobs. Their fight would be strengthened if Keir Starmer was to promise that a Labour government would keep ticket offices open. So far, Labour politicians have refused.

Privatised TOCs continue to profit by charging ever-increasing fares and attacking workers’ hard-won pay, terms and conditions. The rail industry should be nationalised now, with no compensation to the profiteering bosses. Back in public hands and fully funded, the railways could be fully staffed with workers on decent pay and conditions, and expanded to meet need.