By Harry Mottram: Amid continuing unrest across the country over the cost of Living Crisis more workers are taking industrial action with their Trade Unions with strikes affecting affecting various sectors. This week Bath Spa Railway station will be affected by a strike by members of The Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (Aslef) the union for train drivers.
GWR said: “The Aslef union has announced strike action that will affect rail services on Wednesday 31 May and Saturday 3 June, and the RMT has announced strike action that will affect services on Friday 2 June. In addition, there will be further disruption on Thursday 1 June due to industrial action short of a strike; this action short of strike is likely to cause some short-notice alterations or cancellations. Please check your journey before setting out. On the strike days a reduced, revised timetable will operate across several train operators, including GWR. Many parts of the GWR network will have no service at all. Services will start later and only operate for a limited period during the day.”
ASLEF has 21,000 or more members who are employed in the train operating companies, the freight companies, London Underground and Light Rapid Transport. In as statement the union said: “Train drivers agree that every working person should be paid fairly and that pay should be increased to keep pace with inflation – many public sector workers deserve far more than their long-frozen pay amounts to. Senior managers in our industry take home huge salaries; rail operators have paid dividends to their shareholders right through the pandemic, and the rolling stock companies (who own the trains and lease them back out) have made billions. The claim that there’s no money left to pay rail workers properly is just not true.”
The Government have made their policy of bringing down inflation as their main priority which has led to a series of confrontations with trade unions who want ‘cost of living’ wage increases. They are unwilling to allow wage increases of more than 5% while inflation is much higher than that. The unions say as a result they are having wage cuts.
Junior doctors are also set to stage a new 72-hour walkout in June, with The British Medical Association warning that strikes would take place “throughout summer”, if the government doesn’t present the union and its members with a “credible” offer – like other unions the doctors want their wages to catch up with inflation.
Meanwhile the RCN is currently balloting members in England on whether they want to renew the union’s mandate for strike action. If members vote yes, further nursing strikes could be announced up until Christmas.
Clearly the issue of wage demands, the disruption to the public and workers wanting a cost of living increase is set to continue.
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