Becci Heagney, North West Socialist Party organiser
Far-right protesters, wearing yellow vests, verbally abused the RMT transport union picket line at Manchester Victoria station on 5 January.
The Socialist Party sends its solidarity to the RMT members, who we have been standing shoulder to shoulder with for over 12 months during their strikes to keep guards on Arriva Rail North trains.
A group of people, seemingly from various organisations, attacked the striking guards as well as holding protests outside other Manchester buildings, including Greggs, to oppose the new vegan sausage roll!
Despite this laughable attempt to hijack the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement in Britain, any attack on trade unionists organising and attempts to threaten and intimidate, including with racist language, must be condemned and organised against.
It highlights the need for trade unions to take a lead, not just in opposing the far right, but also in the anti-austerity movement.
The Trade Union Congress should throw its full weight behind the call for a general election, mobilising its members to fight for one. This would help cut across the tiny numbers of far-right activists that are trying to intimidate left-wing and trade union fighters.
Paul Rafferty, assistant secretary of Manchester Trade Union Council (personal capacity) said: “Manchester Trade Union Council condemns the attack on the RMT picket line by far-right activists.
“In response to this attack we have organised a solidarity protest at Manchester Victoria on 12 January at 8am. We believe that the trade union movement should be at the forefront of the fight against the far right and are proud to support the RMT’s fight to keep guards on the train. We urge all trade unionists who are able to attend to take their union banners along to the protest”.
We support this call for a huge mobilisation in solidarity. We will show that strikers will not be intimidated.