Leicester Aslef picket line. Photo: Steve Score
Leicester Aslef picket line. Photo: Steve Score

In the ongoing national campaigns on pay, jobs and conditions, rail unions Aslef and RMT struck on 1 and 2 September respectively.

Elaine Brunskill reports that Aslef pickets in Newcastle were discussing how to take the strike forward on the picket line. One of the strikers commented on the intransigence of the Tories and the need for more than just one-day strikes.

Scott Hunter reports that Socialist Party members in Swindon found RMT pickets  in a determined mood. They were fully aware that their battle is to save the rail service as we know it, and that ticket office closures, if management is allowed to get away with it, will be the thin end of the wedge for attacks on the safety of workers and passengers alike.

Pickets told us that they think the RMT needs to step up the strike action in order to move the train operating companies and their backers in this incredibly weak Tory government. “We should be out every Saturday, at least,” said one worker. There was also discussion on the need for action short of strike. One picket said: “30% of the service is run on goodwill,” meaning on voluntary overtime.

Retired Aslef member Pete McNally says: “I have been on quite a few picket lines, but the RMT picket at Worcester Shrub Hill was one of the best. The ten or so there were determined to maintain the fight and discuss what needs to be done, but also to enjoy the experience. The constant dialogue was like one long funny story. There were jokes and laughter about rail workers themselves, various managers, politicians and customers, it was all very inclusive!”