On 18th June trade unionists gathered from across the UK for the ‘We Demand Better’ march and rally in central London. Among the speakers was Mick Lynch, leader of the RMT rail workers who went on strike this week.
After three years without pay rises, and with inflation rising fast, rail workers (not train drivers) are being asked to accept real-term cuts, along with onerous new terms. The only “modernisation” on offer is the modernisation of worker exploitation.
Employers are looking for 2500 redundancies, an increase in the number of nights and weekends worked, along with a cut in the bonus for working those unsociable hours, and they are looking to use ‘fire and rehire’ tactics with associated pay cuts of up to £9000 p.a.
In a climate emergency the government should be looking at providing better and cheaper public transport, not cutting staff and maximising private profit under the guise of modernisation.
Real Media reported last week on the new coalition beginning to form, connecting climate change to workers’ rights, inequality, and just transition. The rail strike could yet turn out to be a pivotal moment in that change.