by Ed Whitby
Workers at Arriva Trains Northern have been taking intermittent strike action for over ten months. The action forced Arriva to concede that a three per cent offer to conductors, retail and control staff was not good enough. However a new four per cent offer with strings attached was worse.
The next strike by RMT members is planned for 2 November. It will coincide with the Newcastle Public Service Alliance demonstration. RMT and FBU members will lead that demonstration as well as having speakers on the platform.
Arriva have given drivers an 18% pay rise, plus improved conditions and leave arrangements, £400 Christmas bonus and backdated pension entitlements. Other rail employees are being offered only four per cent with none of the other improvements.
It is essential that we keep the support going for this strike. Arriva bosses have millions of pounds of tax payers' money to spend to sit out this dispute (including £11.5 million profits last year and the chief executive's pay package worth more than £540,000 a year).
Arriva workers rely on donations from other RMT members, trade unionists and transport users.
In the run up to Christmas it is essential the union maximise the amount in the strike funds to ensure that low paid workers do not suffer unduly over the winter and morale can be kept high.