by Richie Venton
Dutch-owned Abellio, who run Scotrail services for profit, have been caught red-handed coercing and conscripting an army of scabs to defeat industrial action by guards/conductors that are trying to defend public health and safety from these cost-cutting butchers.
The RMT union has got hold of emails sent out by Abellio’s Project Manager, demanding that Abellio workers from across the UK sign up to ‘training courses’ to become guards from 13 June ‘in the event of strike action’.
Abellio have given bogus public assurances that no guards will be under any threat from their plans to extend Driver Only Operations (DOO) on Scotrail, and pretend to accept the notion of negotiations with the RMT. But behind the scenes they are preparing what the RMT has rightly branded a war.
The ballot of RMT members is currently running, to resist DOO being extended, because as we have described in detail in the current Scottish Socialist Voice, it endangers the safety of disabled passengers, women passengers, and indeed is both a potential and actual cause of death.
This conscription of a scab army must be met with determined plans from other unions to side with the RMT and block the trains being moved by half-trained prisoners of Abellios bullying methods. In particular the main drivers union, Aslef, should declare swift solidarity action to stop the wreckers of safety succeeding.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
“The revelations show that far from their so-called assurances that there is no threat to the guards, behind the scenes Abellio are gearing up to try and break their workforce using the kind of dirty tactics that remind us of the miners strike.
“RMT will be stepping up our fight to protect jobs and safety on Scotrail regardless of this act of outright aggression from the company.”
The SNP government has a key role to play here too. They should make public and plain that they will impose penalties on Abellio for provoking a strike, and side with those seeking to protect safety, the RMT and its members. They should use their electoral mandate to revoke the contract they awarded Abellio. And they should certainly not repeat the actions of the SNP government in 2010 when they assisted First Group in defeating the RMT strike against DOO on the new Airdrie-Bathgate line, when the SNP agreed behind the scenes to underwrite any losses to First Group caused by the strike.
War has been declared. It’s time to take sides!