This has been a big week for the trade union movement. The TUC Join a Union website is seeing record traffic, with visits last week up 800%.
As RMT members stand up for their jobs, pay, and our services, they are giving hope and confidence to millions of workers. The last few weeks have clearly shown that if you want a pay rise, a secure job, and a decent life, you need to be in a union.
More than that the RMT and its leader Mick Lynch have done a great job of telling people what a union is for and why workers shouldn’t be asked to pay for high inflation with real-term pay cuts.
It’s a message that is getting through to the wider public.
POLL SHOWS SUPPORT FOR THE STRIKERS
Independent polling released by the RMT found strong support for rail workers to receive a fairer deal and for the government to intervene to address the railworkers concerns. A clear majority of the public also supports the railworkers’ right to strike when negotiations fail.
In a blow to the rail companies and the government, the poll also revealed widespread opposition to plans to cut thousands of rail jobs and showed the public also clearly opposed the government policy of allowing profiteering from the rail industry.
The national poll of 2000 people carried out by Opinium found:
Only 17% support cuts to staff on trains and stations and only 16% support the cutting of safety-critical workers from inspecting and maintaining the rail tracks. Opposition to both of these measures is high at 63% and 70% respectively.
70% of the public believe that railworkers should have a negotiated pay rise that takes into account the cost of living, whilst just 11% disagree.
59% believe railworkers have the right to strike if negotiations fail and only 18% are against this.
62% believe that the government should intervene to ensure rail companies meet the railworkers’ concerns. Only 14% are against this
84% of the public believe the profits from the rail industry should be invested in protecting jobs and services, as opposed to the 16% who believe they should go towards shareholder dividends.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch commented:
“This poll supports the evidence we’ve seen on picket lines this week. There is strong support for rail workers to receive a fairer deal and for the government to intervene to address railworkers concerns. A clear majority of the public also supports railworkers’ right to strike.
“There is also massive public opposition to plans to cut thousands of track, train, and station jobs and to the government’s policy of allowing profiteering from the rail industry.
“It’s time the government listened to the public instead of picking political fights with railworkers.”
Patrick Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity, commented:
“The rail strike has become a focus for many working-class people’s anger at the Tories and the cost-of-living crisis.
“That’s why different groups of workers, some with their own pay disputes, are expressing solidarity with the RMT and visiting the picket lines to show support. I’d like Solidarity members to do whatever they can to ensure that railworkers win their Just fight. I know that times are tough for us all, but I’d urge you to make a small donation to their dispute fund here.
I’d also like you to say Hi to any pickets in your area at local stations and give them support and encouragement. Finally, I’d urge you to sign the petition against government plans to use scab labour against the strikers here.”