New strikes in war against DOO

RMT members on Southern, Northern, and MerseyRail will strike again in July, as the fight to stop "Driver Only Operation" (DOO) continues.

Southern workers will strike on 10 July, Northern workers on 8-10 July, and MerseyRail on 8, 10, and 23 July.

Activists in the Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) campaign are working with RMT to organise picket line support. Demonstrations in support of the strikes, highlighting the vital role of the guard in ensuring safe and accessible trains, are planned in several cities.

With the Tories' minority government looking ever shakier, and Labour increasingly confident after their election surge, now is the time to turn up the pressure. A sustained campaign of strikes, linking the imposition of DOO to private ownership and asserting the demand for renationalisation - shared by all rail unions and the Labour Party, and with huge support amongst the general public - could shake the Tories yet further.

In some areas, Labour-controlled local authorities have some regulatory powers over local rail franchises. They have not always been as firm as we might like in supporting our campaigns to keep the guard on the train. Now's the time to take a stand. If Labour councillors and mayors won't back our strikes and use their powers to block or delay DOO wherever possible, local Labour Party members should, with our unions' support, move to deselect them and replace them with people who will.

Aslef also needs to take a stand. Their rank-and-file on Southern has, to its great credit, stood firm three times and turned over their leaders' attempt to settle their dispute in exchange for shoddy deals. Aslef has recently reinstated its overtime ban on Southern; they need to reinstate strikes too.

On MerseyRail, and in some depots on Northern, Aslef members have respected RMT picket lines. This must continue, but the dispute would undoubtedly be bolstered if Aslef joined it formally.

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