Thousands of railway workers have been on strike across the world in the last few months, taking action to stop privatisation, outsourcing and cuts to conditions.
In France, workers are in their second month of action, with the CGT, UNSA, CFDT and FO fighting attempts to cut pensions, lower conditions, cut wages and restrict union rights. To mark the fiftieth day of their campaign, on Friday, 24 January, rail workers will join demonstrations throughout the country.
In India rail strikes were organised by the AIRF (All India Railwaymen’s Federation) from 2 to 7 January 2020. They were opposing the Ministry of Railways plan for the ‘reconstruction of the Indian railways’, which would result in the privatisation of the network, with hundreds of staff losing their jobs on the already understaffed service.
ITF affiliates, South Western Railway Mazdoor Union (SWRMU), North Western Railway Employees’ Union (NWREU), Western Railway Employees’ Union (WREU) and the National Railway Mazdoor Union (NRMU) all took part in the strikes.
In the UK, the RMT union is continuing it safety-driven campaign to stop the introduction of driver-only operation trains. It carried out 27 days of strikes around London at the end of 2019, and plans further action in 2020.
The campaign is part of the union’s Safe Trains For All work that also includes defending other safety-critical railway workers, such as station staff, engineers, cleaning and maintenance teams. The ITF has pledged the back the RMT’s work as employers in other countries explore the idea of driver-only trains.
Chair of the ITF railway section, David Gobe, said: “This really is the winter of discontent for rail workers. But our hearts have been warmed by the solidarity and support we are showing each other across borders, and across sectors.
"We don't want to be the generation that sacrifices the next. Throughout the world we share the same values, to fight everyday for a world that is more fair and more human.“