The rail workers are leading a crucial struggle against the Tories. If they win on pay and job security, millions of other workers will benefit. We all need them to win – and everybody can do something to help.
Rail workers picket line in Cambridge
Today’s rail strike has been a major success. Hardly any trains have run. Lively pickets have taken place across the country (see our photos below). Rail workers have huge support, with many trade unionists and other supporters visiting picket lines – including Labour MPs and even shadow cabinet members, in defiance of Starmer’s ban. A new opinion poll shows that 58% of people support the strikes and only 34% are against them.
It’s no surprise that people don’t believe Tory claims about greedy workers – we all know that workers need a pay rise. That’s why other workers are planning action. Over 115,000 Royal Mail staff are being balloted by their union, the CWU, over strike action after management imposed a 2 percent pay rise. Millions of NHS staff will hear this week about their proposed pay rise, as Unison, Britain’s largest union, warns that many of them are on the brink of leaving their jobs. Teachers’ union NEU is also talking about launching a consultative ballot.
The Tories have decided on a major confrontation with the RMT. There are risks for them in that strategy. Today’s high-profile, national action showed the strength of union members in a way we’ve not seen for years. The situation is not like the 1980s, when the Tories under Thatcher had planned confrontations long in advance, isolating and defeating one group of workers at a time. Today the Tories didn’t plan on soaring inflation. The strike comes amidst a general cost of living crisis with other groups of workers heading into battle. And the Tories are divided, with 4 out of 10 Tory MPs voting against Johnson’s leadership.
The situation now is more like the Poll Tax, when the Tories didn’t just take on one group of workers, but millions of us – and it backfired, with Thatcher pushed into resigning. The rail workers are leading the way.
How you can support the striking rail workers
Get to know the facts about the strikes – read our interview with RMT activists. RMT members on the tube in London were also on strike today – see our video interview further down this page with a branch official from Finsbury Park RMT.
Visit a local picket line on Thursday or Saturday, talk to RMT members and show your support. You’ll be welcome! If you take down biscuits or cakes, even more welcome!
Donate to the RMT strike fund – strikers are losing pay.
If you’re in a union, pass a solidarity motion in your branch.
Do a collection at work or in your community for the strike fund.
Picket line photos
Newton Heath, Manchester
Piccadilly Station, Manchester
Temple Meads station, Bristol
Elephant and Castle, London
London tube strike
In London, tube workers in the RMT were also on strike. Watch our video interview about why they are taking action.