Socialist Party
| Print

4 January 2018

Strike against driver-only operation on five rail networks

By a RMT member

We're barely into the new year and guards at five train operating companies are taking strike action in defence of railway safety.

While greedy bosses push forward with their plans to de-skill and then de-staff the railways in order to ratchet up their profit margins, RMT transport union members across the country are fighting back in one of the most bitter and resolute industrial struggles in recent times.

The Socialist Party salutes the RMT and the guards who have shown tremendous courage and resolve to retain the guarantee of a guard on our trains.

Fares continue to rise and yet profits are siphoned off and pocketed by shareholders. Most of the UK's rail operators are now foreign-owned, often subsidising rail operations abroad.

Instead of investing, the rail companies continue to attack workers - with guards in the firing line along with station staff and others who are treated like a luxury rather than a necessity.

Raking in more profit

As we start the new year, fares have increased by an average of 3.4% with season tickets soaring by 3.6%, yet rail companies are unwilling to commit to keeping guards on trains in the interests of passenger safety.

The Socialist Party calls for the whole of the railway network to be nationalised and run in the interests of the people and the environment, alongside buses and trams, as part of an integrated national public transport system - not simply bailed out to make them attractive to their profiteering owners.

While it is welcome that Jeremy Corbyn and other Labour Party figures support the guards, local Labour politicians don't seem to have get the message.

Merseyside Labour's Steve Rotheram and Joe Anderson have publicly stabbed the Merseyrail guards in the back while Labour councillors across northern England sit on their hands and fail to act while Northern Rail tries to do the guards in.

Jeremy Corbyn needs to bring these characters to heel and demand that they get behind the RMT or stand aside.

Furthermore, while he is right to stand for renationalisation of the railways he shouldn't wait for rail franchises to expire before doing it - this could take a decade or longer.

Coordinate and fight on

The disputes are now beginning to resemble a national dispute with all four corners of England affected in one way or another.

There is no doubt that the Tory government and the Department for Transport are tacitly supporting the attack on guards, hoping that they can land a defeat on the RMT. The bosses hope that once the guards are beaten they can move on to the other grades.

This is why it is vital that the RMT brings together guards from all of the companies in dispute at this present time along with reps from those which are not yet directly involved.

As franchises come up for renewal or change hands as has happened in December at London Midland/West Midlands Trains, talk is of the threat to the safety-critical role of the guard - the 'guard guarantee'.

There is now no time to lose in making sure that all union members are prepared and up for the fight.

The Socialist Party says:

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube


triangle20 Aug PCS: the real issues at stake

triangle17 Aug Liebherr strike for better pay

triangle14 Aug Victory: NHS workers say no to privatisation

triangle8 Aug Antisemitism slanders against Corbyn

triangle8 Aug The fight against Labour's Blairites and TUSC's role now

triangle8 Aug Break the pay cap - the fight continues!

triangle7 Aug Turn the heat on the bosses not the bus drivers!

More ...


triangle9 Sep Manchester: NSSN pre-TUC rally

triangle21 Aug Bristol North Socialist Party: Modern day slavery in Bristol and worldwide

triangle21 Aug Cardiff West Socialist Party: Is China capitalist?

triangle22 Aug Salford Socialist Party: China and the struggle against repression


Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551


What we Stand For

About the Socialist Party

Our 2015 election manifesto

Joining the Socialist Party - what will it mean for you


Alphabetical listing

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018