Strikes in transport and other sectors to hit the UK
9 January 2017
A series of strikes is set to begin in Britain this week, pointing to a nascent rebellion by workers against the efforts of the trade unions to suppress opposition to the corporate-government onslaught on jobs, wages and conditions.
On Sunday evening, members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) walked off the job for 24 hours to protest unsafe conditions resulting from ticket office closures and job losses. The strike will bring much of the London Underground network to a halt, with the closure of many central London stations.
On Tuesday, train drivers employed by Southern Rail, which is run by the Govia Thameslink Railway franchise, will walk out for 48 hours, with an additional 24-hour strike to be held Friday. The drivers are protesting the company’s decision to impose Driver Only Operated (DOO) trains, first by eliminating the role of conductors in opening and closing doors and reducing their mandate to collecting fares. The move, endangering public safety, is aimed at the eventual elimination of conductors on the railways.
Southern, backed to the hilt by the Conservative government, claimed they were justified in imposing DOO, citing a report by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), a non-ministerial government department. Ian Prosser, the chief inspector of railways, stated, “ORR is satisfied that with suitable equipment, proper procedures and competent staff in place, it is a safe method of working. ” [Emphasis added]. However, the rail industry-funded body, stuffed with Tory appointees, was forced to acknowledge that such procedures, equipment and staff do not presently exist,…