Victory to the RMT – Victory for all

Banners: RMT, UNISON, Hastings TUC

Hastings Demands Better 25th June 2022

 At Hastings Station Plaza, at midday on 25th June, the RMT rally was mc’ed by Simon Hester of Hastings TUC. He said that, like all privatised industries, the railway companies have money. They have plenty. They have millions for bosses, and for profits. He said that, due to the cost of living crisis, accepting anything less than 10 or 11% this year is accepting a pay cut. This was a rally for the RMT, but also for Hastings wages. This was a rally for all of us to Demand Better.

The banners

The choir

In a matter of 15 seconds, the Hastings Revolution Choir was formed, and after a 10 second rehearsal, they gave us a rousing chorus of ‘Never Cross A Picket Line’.

Hastings Revolution Choir

The speakers

Sam Evans for the Churchill Cleaners, told us that their dispute started following a 1 minute meeting – the boss just popped in to tell them they’d get nothing. The cleaners are on £9.50 per hour.

Jenny Sutton, UCU told us about FE teachers at Hastings  College. She reminded us that FE colleges are education for the working classes – for those who missed out first time around, or for those who were failed by academies, and/or by lack of SEND service provision. She told us just how much the government has not cared for, or rewarded, FE teachers.

She said that the RMT has set the bar. We must all fight the government now, to win fair pay and conditions for all.  We are fighting for ourselves, for each other, and for our children.

Jonathan Lee, UNISON, told us about the struggle to survive faced by Hastings hospital workers, giving the example of a community nurse with 10 long days to the end of the month, with £57 left in her bank account, and a petrol bill of £53 to pay. Mileage rates for nurses have not gone up with the cost-of-living crisis – they have not gone up for years. There is, so far, *no* pay offer for our NHS workers.

Carl Turner for the GMB refuse workers told us about officials being arrested on the picket lines. We’re all going to the Magistrates Court in Hastings at 9.30 on 29th June to support the right to strike. If you’re in or near Hastings, please join us.

 Bill Perry of XR called this cost-of-living crisis by its true name. It’s a profit crisis – there’s no money for wages because private profiteers are taking too much. It’s a profit crisis in the context of a climate crisis.

Private profiteers don’t care if you suffer from climate catastrophes, they just want profit. Our government needs, urgently, to address the problems and dangers that face us.

 Kevin Crisp, RMT, talked about the money that’s been poured into the railways since privatisation – government money – our money – that then goes out of the country as company profits, and to subsidise transport companies in other countries. A local journey by train that costs £15 in the UK costs about €2 in France, he said – that’s about 90p. He told us how, just as the railway companies are ripping off British travellers, they are ripping off the railway workers.

Dean Battel, RMT, rounded up, telling us the Demand Better campaign is building. The RMT is in the news now, but the airport workers, health workers, and the other transport unions are on their way. We can all stand together now, and demand better from our government.

Demand Better

There were rallies like this up and down the country today. There will be more.

The gathering

Don’t look to the mainstream TV or newspapers for news of Demand Better – they won’t tell it how it is. Look instead to the unions. Look to the TUC or, as Kevin and Dean reminded us, go to YouTube and watch Mick Lynch’s top ten TV appearances.

Soon, all our TU leaders and community groups will be on there, Demanding Better for the people of this country.


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