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RMT pickets at Leeds train station, striking to defend the safety-critical role of guards

RMT members are taking 3 days of strike action from Saturday 8th July against the introduction of Driver Controlled Operation of trains on Northern Rail. This time the strike is being co-ordinated on the Saturday with others on Merseyrail and Southern Rail.

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

As we have commented previously,  this raises numerous safety and access questions,  especially for disabled passengers.

Even in the early hours of Saturday morning around a dozen RMT members and supporters were picketing and leafleting outside Leeds train station.

Reps commented that whilst RMT members are prepared to take whatever action is needed to defeat this,  really the whole train union movement should be organising to force the Tories out and replace it with a Corbyn government committed to keeping guards on trains,  renationalising the railways and scrapping the public sector pay cap.

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Picket line at Skipton station – photo Catherine MacLennan

Skipton report by Catherine MacLennon

Pickets were out on the 8th, 9th and 10th of July at Skipton railway station. Public reaction to the strike has been more positive than that portrayed in the majority of the press.

75% of passengers ate concerned about their safety if guards are removed, yet this is not reflected in the media who depict rail-users as wholly inconvenienced and unsympathetic to the strike. This is similar to the demonization of Jeremy Corbyn in the press, which reported lack of support which was contradicted by the REAL support on rallies and demos.

We need more people showing solidarity at picket lines and meetings, posting on social media, informing the public that it’s not about money. It’s about having skilled staff on hand in the event of disability access problems, or accidents, or sexual assault, or the threat of terrorism. “This strike is all about safety.”

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