Rail workers deserve our support .. their fight is for so many of us

Published date05 July 2022
Publication titlePaisley Daily Express
Some trains in Renfrewshire continued to run on strike days, but the prospect of ongoing action will naturally dismay us all - not least the workers themselves

No one wants these strikes - not the unions, not the staff, not the public. The staff involved are not highly paid. They are cleaners, catering staff, engineering workers and signallers.

They can ill-afford to take a further hit to their wages by going on strike, especially in the midst of a brutal cost-of-living crisis.

It says much about their situation that they feel they have no choice. These strikes are a last resort, into which they have been forced in response to a succession of attacks on their pay, terms, and conditions by government and employers. What Mick Lynch, the RMT General Secretary, has described as 'transport austerity' has hit hard. £4 billion of funding has been cut from our transport systems by the Tory government. This has threatened the existence of thousands of jobs, and the pay and conditions of many thousands more.

This is action in the face of nominal pay rises that are dwarfed by inflation - Network Rail has offered a derisory 2 per cent pay rise, with a further 1 per cent linked to job cuts.

That's with inflation currently at 9 per cent, predicted to hit perhaps 11 in a matter of months.

This is action in the face of disgraceful "fire and rehire" practices experienced by many workers.

This is action in the face of attempts by the employers, backed by the UK government, to reduce benefits, increase workloads, and diminish pensions for low-paid staff.

This is action in the face of thousands of cuts to frontline workers that raise significant safety concerns. This is no way to treat workers who kept us moving during the pandemic. They deserve a fair pay deal...

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