By Adrian Bailey
Trade unions that organise workers on the national rail network and on London Underground will be striking on August 13th, 18th, 19th (Tube strike) and 20th. Taking strike action on different days, members of the RMT, ASLEF and TSSA are fighting to try to defend their pay levels, jobs and working conditions. These are all under attack by their employers.
The Tory government has cut the funding of public transport and is forcing the different employers across the entire rail industry to cut jobs, cut pay levels and impose harsher working conditions on their workforces.
The Bank Of England is now expecting annual inflation to rise above 13 per cent by the end of the year. That means in every sector of the economy workers will need at least a 13% nominal pay rise just to pace with inflation this year, plus those workers that did not get a pay rise in 2021 – which is most workers – would need an additional 5.4% rise to take account of the inflation in 2021. The combined CPI inflation figure for 2021 and 2022 is expected to be around 18.5%. The RPI inflation figure (which includes housing costs) will be even higher.
Most rail workers have not seen a pay rise since 2019, so have already suffered large real pay cuts due to the inflation in last year and this year.
The struggle being waged by rail workers is a fight of great importance to the entire working class. Any victory for the rail workers will benefit workers across both the public and private sector.
Progressive people should actively promote solidarity with the rail strikes.