Solidarity Federation welcomes the overwhelming support for strike action as voted by RMT members across the UK. In the face of some of the most repressive anti-strike legislation in Europe, rail workers have delivered a resounding message to both train bosses and union bureaucrats: the time for talking is over, a national strike now.
As an Anarcho-Syndicalist union we stand in solidarity with rank and file rail workers as they fight against a pay freeze, safety-critical job cuts and attacks on their terms and conditions. Our members will join them on the picket line. We are aware that they are already facing state pressure from political and media lackeys to compromise – this will only escalate, probably into more restrictions on industrial action in an attempt to curb the effectiveness of a strike. Meanwhile, TUC bosses will prove their complicity by staying silent in public as they betray workers in private. It’s the same old tune.
Does anyone need reminding of the current situation? The ‘cost of living crisis’ is nothing more than a widening of the economic hardship already felt by the most vulnerable in society since 2008. Wages are stagnating; working hours increasing; benefit cuts and food banks running out of food, such is demand. Inflation is set to hit 10% and 14% for those in poverty. People are being forced to choose between eating or heating their homes as fuel bills skyrocket. Proposed government handouts, whatever the headline figure are a sticking plaster on a gangrenous wound of lost lives, destitution and structural poverty and will do nothing in the long-term to change the material conditions of the working class under capitalist exploitation.
If you’re a modern-day rail baron the railways continue to be a cash-cow while fares increase faster than inflation. This is capitalist looting on an industrial scale: a systematic extraction of public money and fare revenue for private profit. Between 1996 & 2020, private companies operating and leasing trains have made at least £8.7 billion in dividend payments. Since the bailout of privatised railways in 2020, these same private companies will see profits over £3 billion, guarenteed by cosy emergency agreements between rail profiteers and their government lapdogs.
We’re being robbed. We’re angry. This is why we stand with all workers taking strike action in order to survive. But life is about more than survival: improve our lives in the here and now, definately; we also want to build a future free from capitalist greed and state oppression.
Recent history with the P&O sackings and the RMT’s failure to take militant action to support the sacked workers, has shown once again that putting faith in anyone but ourselves to improve our lives is a pointless exercise that only serves to distract us from organising together in our own interests.
As anarcho-syndicalists, SolFed advocates direct action: workplace and rent strikes, blockades, occupations, and other tactics that apply serious coordinated pressure to the state and the economy. That’s why we’re supporting large-scale disputes like this one. The ability to carry out this kind of activity on a materially meaningful scale depends on how successful we are in building confidence and experience together: at school and college, at work, and in our communities. Join us!