Leeds station picket line, RMT strike 21.6.21
Leeds station picket line, RMT strike 21.6.21

John Reid, Former RMT NEC member

The biggest rail strike in 30 years has been strong and solid with large numbers on picket lines.

Our 50,000 members on the rail and London tube have shown the power of the organised working class. We are on strike to defend jobs, pensions, wages, terms and conditions and also to defend passenger safety.

This strike will be followed by other workers moving into action to defend their living conditions.

Workers the length and breadth of Britain support our action. They, like our members, are having to scrape by to pay their fuel bills and increased food bills. This at a time when the super-rich, the energy companies and food chains are raking in super-profits and dividends. 

The £16 billion paid to rail companies during Covid has gone into the pockets of these privatised companies in the form of huge profits. While workers who kept the service running during Covid are facing job losses.

Figures for rail usage in May show it is 92% of pre-Covid levels.

Enough is enough! The Tory cheats and crooks under the leadership of law-breaker Boris have declared class war on the RMT.

By refusing to stand with us, Starmer has sided with government. This shows that the RMT position to adopt a policy of supporting socialist candidates that are anti-cuts and that back the interests of our members was the correct one.

All workers need an inflation-busting pay rise. This can be paid out of the profits of the companies and the super-rich.

Better still, nationalise rail, mail, the food monopolies, the energy companies, and the largest profit-soaked companies under workers’ democratic control and management.

RMT pickets on 21 June at Leytonstone station spoke to Linda Taaffe

“I think we need a general strike. 100%. Every union. The whole lot. The Tories got a clear agenda to bust the unions. No doubt about that. They don’t want to negotiate. The TUC should call action.

The Tories are bad, but Labour is no better really. It’s disgusting what they said about not coming to support us on picket lines. Starmer is just a red Tory. But there’s no better time to call action. Workers are so fed up there would be a good response. We got a real fight on our hands.”