CWU: 100% solidarity with RMT strikers

Union Matters

Our general secretary Dave Ward pledged the full solidarity of the CWU with striking railway guards as hundreds of South West Trains workers began a month of strike action this morning.

The action, called by the RMT union, is aimed at keeping a safety-critical guard on every train across the whole network – something which is, according to RMT Wessex Region Organiser Mick Tosh, “absolutely vital for the safety of the travelling public.”

Strikes will continue right up to Christmas, with the exception of Election day (12th December), and is the latest bout of action in what has been a dispute lasting over two years involving around 800 workers.

Speaking from the RMT picket at Salisbury, Mick reported: “So far this morning, I’ve been visiting picket lines around my region and they’ve been extremely well-attended, with more pickets on duty than we’ve seen before.

“Management wrote to our members last week making various threats, but rather than frightening our members, it’s made them all the more determined to keep up the fight until victory.”

For the union, victory will be a formal guarantee by the company that there will be no loss of guards on our trains and that, critically, there will be no diminution of the guard’s safety role.

“Unless and until that guarantee is forthcoming, our industrial action will continue,” Mick pledged, urging people outside the rail industry not to believe management claims that they have already guaranteed a guard on every train.

“Without proper formal recognition of the guard’s safety-critical role, management will be able to diminish this job and put the safety of the travelling public at risk going forward,” he explained.

In his early-morning message to the RMT, our own general secretary Dave Ward said: “I use South West Railway on an almost daily basis, but I’m proud to not do so for a month in solidarity with striking RMT members.

“They are fighting to keep the guard on the train and everyone at CWU has their back.”

Mick Tosh said that RMT strikers were “very happy to get the support of the CWU – thank you for your backing.

“Support from other unions is massively important to our members and this solidarity is great for our members’ morale.”

Mick added that “it was a disgrace that the courts ruled against the CWU recently and our whole movement needs to unite to win change to the unfair anti-union laws.”