Sorry I can’t join the RMT Norwich Branch picket line today, but a number of factors (including no trains!) prevent me from being there. However, I did join the closest picket line to me to show my support for striking workers from National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), alongside the Communication Workers Union members who were also on the picket line in solidarity.
No rail workers wanted to strike; wanted disruption for the public they serve every day; wanted to lose pay. They simply wanted a wage packet they can live on.
Ultimately, this Government wants to turn the public against rail workers, telling them you believe yourselves ‘special’, when the whole country is suffering. This is utter drivel with which I see two problems.
The first is that you do not consider yourselves as ‘special’. You’re simply workers who are prepared to organise through your trades union and take action to protect your jobs, your pay and our rail network from savage cuts.
If anything, I hope those watching this dispute and who are not in a trade union will feel emboldened to join one themselves, and demand exactly the same from their employers. For far too long the working people of this country have been exploited by successive Governments and employers.
Enough is enough.
The second premise is that the ‘whole country’ is suffering. Well, it’s not, because very clearly some are doing very well, with post pandemic, inflation driving profits up 34% and more billionaires created everyday than ever before.
So to those of you striking this week I say thank you for taking a stand for yourselves, for the critical public service we all need, and for showing others across the country how to stand-up for our rights, for fair pay, and for good working conditions.