'People over profit' - Suffolk unions support strike action

Suffolk unions have come out in support of strike action taken by rail workers belonging to the RMT this week.

Suffolk unions have come out in support of strike action taken by rail workers belonging to the RMT this week. Pictured: members of Suffolk UNITE Community protest outside Ipswich train station. - Credit: Archant

Unions in Suffolk have offered their support to striking rail workers, as the biggest UK railway strike since 1989 got underway on Tuesday. 

Over 40,000 members of the RMT union (rail, maritime and transport workers) employed by Network Rail have taken industrial action. They are expected to do so again on Thursday and Saturday this week.  

The dispute centres on issues over pay and working conditions.  

The RMT claimed Network Rail and train operators have “[Cut] real pay for most of our members through lengthy pay freezes and well below RPI inflation pay proposals”.  

It also accused the employers of plans to cut jobs and close ticket offices. 

Trade Unions in Suffolk have offered their support to the striking workers. 

Mark Jones, secretary of the Ipswich and District Trades Council, a collective group of affiliated Trade Unions, said the council was fully in support of the strike action.  

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He said: “Rail workers are facing a real-terms pay cut, a reduction in their terms and conditions, and are threatened with compulsory redundancies, all of this while the profits of the rail companies are being protected. 

“We support the democratic and lawful action taken by the RMT. This action is a last resort and is not taken lightly. 

“We hope that it will result in a successful outcome for rail workers across the country, one that halts the race to the bottom.” 

Members of Suffolk UNITE Community were in attendance at protests outside Ipswich train station today in a show of solidarity. 

Secretary Anthony Dooley said that Suffolk UNITE was also supportive of RMT workers. 

He said: “The strike is about people over profit. We support all workers in struggle unconditionally.” 

A spokesperson for Greater Anglia has apologised to customers for the inconvenience caused, and thanked those heeding advice to only travel when necessary. 

They said: “We are running a heavily reduced timetable due to RMT strike action, with no trains on our Ipswich to Felixstowe, Lowestoft, Cambridge and Peterborough routes. 

“There is only one train an hour between Ipswich and London Liverpool Street with last trains departing Ipswich at 4.42pm and London Liverpool Street at 4.30pm. 

“We expect the same timetable to run on Thursday and Saturday too should strikes continue.”