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UK: RMT Struggles Continue with No End In Site

After the “summer of strikes” closed with no developments for RMT workers, England continued to fill with a militant spirit which spread to a multitude of sectors including dock workers, postmen, nurses and teachers. The resignation of Tory leadership such as Boris Johnson and Grant Shapps in late September brought a new face on behalf of the transport ministry to the negotiation table, Anne-Marie Trevelyan. Anne-Marie invited RMT’s Mick Lynch and ASLEF’s Mick Whalen to a round of introductory talks in an attempt to solve issues caused by the reluctance of her predecessor. Mick Lynch remarked that the rail unions had not been invited to talk with government officials since well before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and that this meeting was a “good start” but warned that “we would need to see some concrete changes… allowing the companies to negotiate freely on a free collective bargaining basis.” Despite this, the last week of September saw strike actions which bled over into the beginning of October. The unions are insistent that this issue will not just simply resolve with time and the government must give the rail companies a little leeway if they want an amicable conclusion to this ongoing dispute. The unions want this issue resolved as well. In the second week of October, Lynch sat down with Network Rail representatives wherein they committed to a deal which Lynch found acceptable. However, regardless of the positive impressions left by these talks, you would be remised to believe a pawn of big business could genuinely act outside of the prerogative of its master. Shortly after the state of negotiations appeared on the up and up, Network Rail reneged on their word and reverting to an older offer that had previously been voted down. As a result, the end of October saw strike action with plans to further strike in the first week of November. With RMT’s initial six month strike mandate coming to a close at the end of November, a reballot for another six months of strike action could cast additional political misfortune for the Tory party.

Despite their champion, and no matter how short lived or shorthanded, a persistence imbues the Tory party. Her doing will be her undoing. The Tories gave an earnest attempt to fulfill a “green” decarbonization mandate. They went to all-out war with rail workers in the midst of leadership scandals. They even put in a substitution late in the game. They are resolute in their pursuit of political power and disregard of genuine working class interests. A byproduct of their enslavement to capital is the decay of society into a form that can be commanded by the City of London’s bankers in a more hands-on manner. These international bankers have become emboldened by the role they play in the current state of things and have come to expect an ever-increasing rate of profit from polices passed by the people they put in power. The pursuit of this aggrandizement is primary. Its formal realization comes at the direct expense of the industrial worker. Their job, if declared redundant due to green technologies, must be vacated. Wages must remain stagnant in the face of rampant inflation and, when the working class shows its strength, the bosses have negotiators renege on deals and adopt a strategy of attrition.

As the pound continues to lose value amidst an energy crisis brought on by endless taxpayer spending into the Russia-Ukraine special military operation wherein the Tory party has authorized £2.5 billion in aid to Ukraine while blatantly ignoring the rising cost of living and growing discontent within her own borders. Failure to capitulate to the needs of those who generate that money and operate national services, instead of continually serving a green agenda that threatens the livelihoods of the aforementioned generators, while simultaneously validating the authority of the class that helms the state, could be the final nail in the coffin of the Tories and the prospect of a half-privatized rail sector all together. The beast is running out of food. It now eats itself and is hemorrhaging.


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