This week saw a 24-hour strike on Southern Rail, as RMT trade union members took action in defence of safety standards and terms and conditions. We publish here a letter circulating amongst doctors, which calls for unity between all workers fighting against cuts and attacks.
This week saw a 24-hour strike on Southern Rail, as RMT trade union members took action in defence of safety standards and terms and conditions. We publish here a letter circulating amongst doctors, which outlines the issues at stake in this struggle between railway workers and the bosses, and which calls for unity between all workers fighting against cuts and attacks.
This letter was initiated by Socialist Appeal supporter Tomasz Pierscionek. Having gathered over 50 signatories, it has now been sent to the BMA Council and the BMA Junior Doctors Committee. If you are a doctor and would like to add your name to the letter, please contact us and we will forward on your details.
Dear BMA Council,
We the undersigned doctors are appalled to learn that Southern Rail, owned by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), has deliberately sought to engineer an industrial dispute with the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union in an attempt to destroy collective bargaining and move the workforce onto new individual contracts. This would, according to the RMT, open the door to job cuts, an erosion in safety standards, and a decline in working conditions, alongside the implementation of a regime of fear and bullying amongst rail workers.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash has commented: “The hard fact is that this company does not employ enough staff to fill the rosters and is carrying significant levels of vacancies. They do that because it saves them money and allows them to pump up the profits”.
Mr Cash has also stated that, “It is crystal clear that the senior bosses want to smash the unions across the GTR franchise so that they can get a free run at axing jobs, attacking conditions and ripping apart the safety culture. This is a basket case franchise, despised by its long-suffering passengers and hell-bent on profiteering and confrontation. They are a disgrace and the public will be horrified at these revelations”.
The RMT is one of many unions which expressed solidarity and support for the recent industrial action taken by junior doctors who went on strike to resist the imposition of a contract which would have detrimental effects on patient safety and working conditions. Recently, the RMT London Regional Council pledged to give £250 to the BMA
The RMT’s own struggle against a system that leads to understaffed rotas and cost cutting is akin to the situation we doctors face within the NHS. We call upon the BMA to support and publicly express solidarity with our fellow trade unionists in the RMT in their own struggle to resist profits being put ahead of public safety.
In the wake of increasing attacks against workers and the Trade Union Act (2016), which limits a union’s ability to take industrial action, we understand that our various struggles across the trade union movement do not exist in isolation from each other and are but one reflection of the impasse of the current economic system. Only a united trade union movement can effectively challenge the ideologically motivated austerity enforced by the present government to destroy the public sector and the trade union movement, bringing misery to the many in the interests of the few.
Dr Tomasz Pierscionek (Trust grade psychiatrist / ST4 old age psychiatry from August 2016) – Lead signatory
+ 50 other signatories