Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely says striking train staff are ‘selfish’ people.
ISLE of Wight Conservative MP, Bob Seely, has said that striking rail workers are ‘selfish,’
How can this be the case when the decision making process concerning the organisation of rail transport in the country has not been by workers? The only decision has been around the vote on the call for strike action. The workers have no choice on supporting strike action when it concerns their unity and action to defend their jobs, which the train operators clearly want to reduce. How can the issue be raised in terms of egotistical human relations, when the collective consciousness relates to what goes on between the Government and rail operators versus the workers and people? It is not passengers and workers who run a lousy railway and have to put up with decisions that are only concerned with profit and not a decent transport service.
There is no justification for the MP to attack island workers or their unions.
Ahead of the 48 hour walk out, which starts just after midnight tonight, MP Seely said: “I am very disappointed this strike is taking place. I condemn it. I do not believe it has anything to do with the Island.
“South Western Railway, franchise, which runs Island line, has made it absolutely clear it will not remove guards from trains. No-one is losing their job. Despite this, the union is prepared to walk out for 48 hours on Wednesday and Thursday”.
Seely wants the action to be seen as political:
“This industrial action has nothing to do with rail safety and all to do with opposing the Government while using Islanders as pawns.”
The workers are not apologists for unified action, workers at five railway operators will join the strike, the latest in an ongoing dispute over the role of guards and the driver-only operation of trains. If anyone wants to use people as pawns it is the advocates of strike breaking, workers will not be pawns!
RMT members at Southern, South Western Railway and Greater Anglia will strike for 48 hours, and at Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North for 24 hours against the private franchise. The Conservative island MP is supporting the Transport monopoly against the workers.
There is an issue of a nationwide political movement. There are calls from various sections of the population for nationalisation, but simply switching to this form of State control at the moment is not necessarily political. It could simply be a switch, seen as a pragmatic decision and is not yet a political movement for a transition to control over transport into the people’s hands, nor does it raise any question of public transport as a right. It is the decision making process to be put in their hands, that workers and Trades Unionists desire to empower them.
The polity as a whole regard the issue of transport as a right and for this there has to be a political struggle in an organised political movement.
The union’s regional organiser for Wessex, which includes the Isle of Wight, Mick Tosh said union members taking part in the strike – including more than 30 at Island Line – were doing so for altruistic reasons.
Mick Tosh hasn’t asked fot the strike to be political:
“We are not asking for more money or fewer hours. Our motivation is to ensure the railway is safe, which we believe Island passengers want.
Political economy and rights of all, regarding rail transport on the island, has been removed from the equation.
The union points out how pragmatic decision making can change at any moment.The company has said it plans to have a guard on every train, which is not the same as guaranteeing it.
The unions say,
“They are looking at Island Line right now. Everyone is keen to ensure we keep an Island railway, and keep it safe.”
Conservatives and David Pugh, as well as some labourites are leading the campaign to keep Island Line in the private franchise as a means to an end of securing a line.