Take to the streets in solidarity with the strikers

Advertisements

This Saturday is shaping up to be a big day of resistance, with 175,000 workers set to strike across the country. The strikes come in response to the Tories’ declaration of intensified class war in their mini-budget last week, which included plans to break unions and push for wage cuts.

Marches and rallies are planned in around 30 cities and towns, there will be plenty of opportunities for solidarity on the picket lines.  

Patrick Harrington, the general secretary of Solidarity union said: “In response to the Tories’ declaration of intensified war on ordinary workers in their mini-budget last week and the below inflation pay offers (pay cuts), 175,000 workers across the country are set to strike this Saturday. With marches and rallies planned in around 30 cities and towns, this could be one of the biggest showings of the power of ordinary workers strength in recent years. I urge every decent person to stand with the strikers by attending the demonstrations and picket lines.”

If we want to win, we need more strikes, escalating strikes, and united strikes that fight to win. This is just the beginning – let’s make it a day to remember! Only then can we hope to put an end to this declaration of war on workers. Saturday promises to be a big day – let’s make it a step forward in the fight for our collective future.

It’s time to take to the streets.

On October 1st, get out to the following locations to support the strikes and the five demands of Enough is Enough.

Protests:

LONDON

12pm, Kings Cross station, N1 9AL

MANCHESTER

12pm, Piccadilly Gardens, M1 1RN

LIVERPOOL

12pm, St. George’s Plateau, L1 1JJ

LEEDS

10am, Leeds Train Station, LS1 4DY

GLASGOW

12pm, buchanan street steps, G1 2NG

BIRMINGHAM

12pm, Birmingham New Street Station, B2 4QA

BRISTOL

12pm, Square in front of Knights Templar, BS1 6DG

CARDIFF

11am, Cardiff Central Library, CF10 1FL

NORWICH

11am, King Street near Last Pub Standing, nr1 1pd

NOTTINGHAM

11am, Nottingham train station, NG2 3AQ

NEWCASTLE

12pm, Grey’s Monument, NE1 7AN

HULL

12pm, Queens Garden, HU1 3FA

PORTSMOUTH

10am, Guildhall square, PO1 9ST

PLYMOUTH

12pm, Plymouth Guildhall, PL1 2BJ

SOUTHEND

10.30am, Royal Mail, Short street, SS1 1AA

HASTINGS

11am, HASTINGS STATION, TN34 1BA

ELLESMERE PORT

12pm, Stanney Grange Community Centre, CH65 9HE

HUDDERSFIELD

1pm, St. George’s Square,  HD1 1LA

LANCASTER

11am, Royal Mail, Fenton Street, LA1 1AA

BATH

12.30pm, The Orange Grove, BA1 1EE

SHEFFIELD

11.30am, Devonshire Green, S1 4GT

COLCHESTER

2pm, War Memorial, ME7 1HL

DARLINGTON

1pm, high row opposite post house wynd, DL3 7LP

PRESTON

12pm, Flag Market, PR1 2AP

DUNDEE

12pm, 110 Blackness Road, DD1 5PB

ABERDEEN

11am, Marischal college, AB10 1AB

STOKE-ON-TRENT

10am, Network Rail Depot, Stoke Road,  ST4 2QH

WALSALL

12pm, Royal Mail, Hatherton Street, WS1 1AA

CANTERBURY

1pm, Canterbury Baptist Church, CT1 1UT

LUTON

12pm, Town Hall, George Street Luton LU1 2BQ

BLACKPOOL (FRIDAY SEPT 30)

7PM, Bootleg Social, 30 Topping St, FY1 3AQ

BRIGHTON

11am, Brighton Train Station, BN1 3XP

HARLOW

11AM, The Obelisk, Broad Walk, CM20 1HA

WEYMOUTH

11am, King’s Statue, DT4 7AN

EASTBOURNE

12pm, Eastbourne Library, BN21 4TL

CHESTERFIELD

11am, Shentall Gardens, S40 1LW

EDINBURGH

10.30AM, Waverley Bridge, EH1 1BQ

More cities and towns to come. Non-listed locations by Friday are asked to assemble at their local picket line at 12pm.

Support the rail strikes: here’s how

Advertisements

Several rail trade unions are planning walkouts in protest at unfair below-inflation pay offers (effectively pay cuts).

The strikes will involve members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, as well as the Aslef and TSSA unions.

Alef says members will walk out at 12 train operating firms on Thursday, September 15 and the RMT is also striking that day. Affected operators will be Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, CrossCountry, Greater Anglia, and Great Western Others will be Hull, LNER, London Overground, Northern, Southeastern, TransPennine, and West Midlands.

RMT is also striking on Saturday, 17 September 2022.

TSSA members at nine train operators and Network Rail will walk out from midday on Monday, September 26. Avanti West Coast, c2c, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, and Great Western Railway will all be affected. Also hit by the TSSA action will be LNER, Southeastern, TransPennine Express, and West Midlands Trains

This marks the fourth month of action on the railways. There is little sign of an agreement being reached anytime soon. It comes at a time when unions across many sectors are stepping up to defend their member’s pay and conditions. Some union leaders have called for coordinated strikes alongside union and community-led campaigning. Solidarity is among the unions that supported those calls.

We need to defend our jobs, pay, conditions, and pensions from the government’s attacks. This is an important battle that we need to win if we want to protect our living standards.

This fight is important because it can help us find a better way to live. This will involve having less money going to the people who have a lot of money, and more money going to the people who have less money. You can show your support by:

Donating to the RMT’s national strike fund. This can be done by individuals, groups, or organisations. https://www.rmt.org.uk/about/national-dispute-fund/

Attending picketing of major stations. It’s important that different striking groups get to know each other and for pickets to be well attended and peaceful.

Reading about the facts of the strike from the RMT, Solidarity, and other unions and sharing their information – there’s a lot of deliberate confusion being sown by the government and many media outlets.

It goes without saying but never cross a picket line!

The Strikers are fighting for us all says Pat Harrington

Advertisements

In the UK, workers are striking for a number of reasons. They’re fighting for better pay and working conditions, They are seeking higher wages in order to keep up with the rising cost of living. The average UK worker has seen their real wages fall by 10% since 2008, while the cost of living has risen by more than 20%. This means that workers are struggling to make ends meet and many are increasingly reliant on food banks and other forms of charity. The strikers are also calling for an end to zero-hours contracts, which leave workers unable to predict their income from one month to the next. These contracts can make it very difficult to budget and save for unexpected expenses. The strike action is unprecedented in recent years and is a sign of the growing frustration of workers who feel that they are being made to pay the cost of inept political leadership and economic management.

The prices of essentials like food and housing have been rising faster than wages for years, and people are struggling to make ends meet. The strikers believe that the only way to address the cost of living crisis is to fight for higher wages and better working conditions. By doing so, they hope to make life better for all those affected by the crisis.

Battle lines are being drawn

Unions are prepared to fight against real-term wage cuts for their members. There are some big battles on the way and everyone will have to decide which side they are on. For us it’s simple – we are on the side of the workers and against those who’ve caused the cost of living crisis and now expect ordinary people to pay for their mistakes. Here is a breakdown of some of the battles to come.

Rail workers

Around 50,000 rail workers in the RMT, Aslef, and TSSA unions are fighting over below-inflation pay offers, job cuts, and working conditions. RMT members are planning three 24-hour strikes on Wednesday 27 July, Wednesday 18 August, and Saturday 20 August. The union is also in dispute with Network Rail over plans to cut 1,500 jobs and close ticket offices. Aslef members are planning a 24-hour strike on Saturday 30 July. The union is in dispute with eight train operating companies over pay, rostering arrangements, and the introduction of driver-only operated trains. TSSA members are balloting for industrial action. The union is in dispute with Network Rail over pay and working conditions. All three unions are also in dispute with London Underground over the closure of ticket offices and the introduction of all-night Tube services. Industrial action is likely to cause widespread disruption to rail services across the country.

Posties and communication workers

Nearly all Royal Mail workers who voted supported going on strike in a huge 97.6 percent landslide, making it clear they are ready to battle their bosses. The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) members backed strikes by an overwhelming margin on a turnout of 77 percent in their fight against the imposition of a 2 percent pay increase by management. No strike days have been announced yet by the CWU. This follows other recent high-profile industrial disputes such as British Airways. Given the government’s attacks on workers’ rights, union membership has been growing recently as people look to emulate the success of French workers in fighting back against austerity. With such a massive show of support from CWU members, management at Royal Mail will be under pressure to start negotiating seriously or face the possibility of widespread disruption to mail services across the country.

Public service workers

PCS union members are demanding a 10 percent pay increase and a minimum wage of at least £15 an hour. The ballot is set to begin on 26 September and run for six weeks until 7 November. If the workers vote in favour of strike action, it could mean serious disruption for government departments across the UK. The union has already taken industrial action this year, with walkouts happening in May and June. Talks between the PCS and the government have so far failed to reach an agreement, with the union accusing the government of offering “derisory” pay rises. The workers are also angry about job losses and cuts to workplace benefits, such as pensions. With no end to the dispute in sight, it looks like we could see more industrial action from the PCS in the near future.

Teachers

Teachers across schools in England will be consulted on strikes in the autumn. The Tory government wants to impose a 5 percent increase on teachers after recommendations from the School Teachers’ Review Body. When? NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said the union would consult members on strikes in the autumn with “the largest ballot of teachers for a generation”. Meanwhile, the NASUWT said its executive would meet on September 14 to consider ballots for action. What’s the problem? Teachers say they have faced a real-terms pay cut since 2010 and that their pay has fallen behind other graduate professions. They also argue that increased workload and mounting pressure are making the profession unsustainable. The government says it has increased funding for schools and that teachers’ pay is a matter for individual headteachers. However, headteachers say they are being forced to make cuts because of reductions in funding. Low morale among teachers is having an impact on pupils, with around two-thirds of teachers saying they are considering leaving the profession, according to a recent survey.

NHS workers

The Tories are at it again! This time, they’re trying to push through a real-terms pay cut for NHS workers in England. With over one million NHS staff affected, including nurses, paramedics, and midwives, this is sure to be a controversial move.

Under the Tories’ plans, NHS workers would receive a pay increase of £1,400 a year. However, when inflation is taken into account, this actually amounts to a real-term pay cut of £200 a year for porters, £1,100 for nurses, and £1,500 for paramedics. The main health unions are understandably up in arms about this proposal.

It’s yet another example of the Tories’ complete disregard for the vital role that NHS staff play in our society. We all rely on the NHS when we’re sick or injured, and these dedicated workers deserve to be fairly compensated for their hard work. Imposing a pay cut on them is nothing short of disgraceful.

Fire and Rescue

The FBU union’s executive council has unanimously rejected a 2 percent pay offer from fire and rescue employers. The council says the offer is “insulting” and that plans are being prepared to develop a campaign for decent pay, including the possibility of strike action. With firefighters already among the lowest-paid workers in the public sector, the union is adamant that its members deserve a fair deal. It remains to be seen whether the employers will budge on their offer, but one thing is clear – the FBU is ready to fight for a better deal for its members.

Solidarity union backs our brothers and sisters 100 percent. We must back the strikes however we can. We must encourage other workers outside traditional union structures to organise and take action and co-ordinate our efforts. The strikers are fighting for us all by making it clear that ordinary people will not suffer impoverishment and cuts to their wages to pay for the mistakes of those who misgovern us. Political leaders haven’t fought for the people. The unions must.

By Patrick Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity union

RMT & ASLEF UNIONS ANNOUNCE NEW RAIL STRIKE DATES

Advertisements

The Aslef train drivers’ union announced that 6,000 of its members at eight companies will strike on Saturday 30 July. And shortly afterward the RMT union announced a further two strikes on 18 and 20 August by 40,000 workers at Network Rail and 14 train operating companies.

It came a day after the RMT said they would walk out on 27 July—when they’ll also be joined by TSSA union members on the Avanti West Coast line.

Bosses at Network Rail offered a 4 percent increase backdated to January and 2 percent next year, a real terms pay cut when inflation soars to near 12 percent. Workers would also be made to achieve “modernisation milestones”.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said, “The offer from Network Rail represents a real terms pay cut for our members. The paltry sum is conditional on RMT members agreeing to drastic changes in their working lives.

“We have made progress on compulsory redundancies. But Network Rail is still seeking to make our members poorer when we have won in some cases double what they are offering, with other rail operators.

“The train operating companies remain stubborn and are refusing to make any new offer which deals with job security and pay.”

Everyone who is concerned about and affected by the cost of living crisis will cheer the RMT, ASLEF, and TSSA announcing strike actions.

For the unions to win and ensure that workers don’t pay for the mess that the government has made of the economy it will take a program of sustained, coordinated, and escalating strikes. The government has underestimated the resolve of ordinary workers to protect their incomes and working conditions.

The three days of rail strikes last month gained widespread support—and struck fear into the government and bosses.

Patrick Harrington, our General Secretary, and a former RMT Company Council Rep commented:

“All of us should work to build the biggest possible expression of solidarity on 27 July. During the last round, solidarity protests and rallies were a powerful show of support and would be again. Make sure that you donate to the RMT strike fund, sign the petition against agency workers, and attend your local picket lines where able.”

Bankers wax fat on our misery

Advertisements

At a time when workers are being asked for ‘pay restraint’ bonuses to fat-cat city bosses have hit a record high.

In March alone, finance chiefs in London shared £5.9 billion in bonuses as more than 16 million people in Britain face poverty and desperation.

Research by the TUC, based on figures from the Office for National Statistics, reveals that over the last year bonuses in the financial and insurance sector rocketed by 27.9 per cent.

Workers’ wages went up by only 4.2 per cent.

The figures put City bonuses at the highest since records began, and higher than the amounts bosses were paying themselves shortly before the global financial crash of 2008.

As bosses pocket their record gains, the Resolution Foundation expects the number of people in poverty in Britain to increase by 1.3 million this year – including 500,000 children – taking the total to 16.5 million, roughly a quarter of the population.

The TUC also reported continuing falls in the value of wages as bonuses soared.

Real wages across the economy are worth £68 less per month than a year ago, while the wages of public-sector workers fell even more – by £121 a month, said the TUC.

The fall in the value of workers’ wages for the whole of 2022 is expected to be at least £500.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “There is no justification for such obscene City bonuses at the best of times – let alone during a cost-of-living crisis.

“While City executives rake it in, millions are struggling to keep their heads above water.

“Working people are at breaking point, having been left badly exposed to soaring bills after a decade of standstill wages and universal credit cuts.

“Ministers have no hesitation in calling for public-sector pay restraint but ignore shocking City excess.

“It’s time to hold down bonuses at the top – not wages for everyone else.”

Ms O’Grady called on the government to clamp down on the “greedy bonus culture” by putting workers on company pay boards and introducing maximum pay ratios.

“And it’s time for the government to get wages rising across the economy by boosting the minimum wage immediately, funding decent pay rises for all public-sector workers and introducing fair pay agreements for whole industries,” she said.

The TUC is calling for government action including limits on bonuses as a percentage of total pay, availability of bonuses to all staff – not just fat-cat executives, public-sector pay rises in line with cost-of-living increases, and restoration of earnings lost over the last decade.

Corporate accountancy firm Deloitte has reported that the ratio of bosses’ pay to workers’ pay is now 81 to one. Pat Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity union, commented: “How can a ratio of 81 to 1 be just. It’s both unfair and divisive. It’s obvious that the few are insulated from the cost-of-living crisis whilst the many bear the cost. So when the reactionary media attack the RMT and other unions for asking for pay increases I want you to remember that these same people are partying while ordinary folk have to think about what they can put on the table. We stand with our brothers and sisters – Victory to the RMT and all unions fighting for their members!”