Commuters Photo: piqsels/CC
Commuters Photo: piqsels/CC

Railway worker, Birmingham North Socialist Party

Be it a cancelled train on your morning commute or your bus home being delayed, increased congestion on the roads or finding out that the workers on your holiday flights or ferries have recently been sacked…

While our transport system remains tied to private profiteering, and not long-term democratic public planning, the downward spiral of transport chaos will continue.

That’s why the Socialist Party fights for the immediate nationalisation of our transport systems with compensation only on the basis of proven need. As the saying goes: ‘You can’t control what you don’t own’. Owned and run democratically by the working class, public transport could be expanded and provided for free.

For many of us, a massive part of the sky-rocketing cost of living, is how much we are forced to fork out for day-to-day transport. The Tories’ so-called ‘Great British Rail Sale’, for some limited off-peak rail fares, won’t help those of us who pay through the nose to get to work. The average rail commuter has to pay £136 a week.

Every year without fail, rail ticket prices go up to fill the back pockets of CEOs and shareholders, while ordinary railway workers have their pay, pensions and working conditions under attack. The transport bosses’ ruthless profit-seeking was demonstrated by P&O Ferries bosses sacking over 800 seafarers on the spot to be replaced by hyper-exploited foreign labour on poverty wages. Whilst profit for the few is the name of the game, it’ll continue to be transport misery for the masses.

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, public transport workers worked throughout the lockdowns and were hailed as ‘heroes’ by the Tory government and Blairite councils. Now it is our jobs, pay and conditions that are under attack.

Some transport workers however, have been able to win pay rises. HGV drivers, due partly to their scarcity, but also being organised in trade unions with collective bargaining, have been able to force employers to increase pay and conditions. This shows why we needed coordinated action led by the trade unions to fight against the privatisation and franchising of our transport. This should be linked with the demand for a new mass workers’ party that stands for nationalisation of our public transport services under democratic workers’ control and management, run in the interests of the millions, not the profits of the millionaires.