170,000 UK rail, post and port workers strike in biggest mobilization of the year

Saturday’s day of action, dubbed a ‘mega-strike’ by unions, brought the UK’s railways, postal system and much of the UK’s container traffic to a standstill.

Train drivers picket Euston station in London on October 1, 2022 [Photo: WSWS] [Photo: WSWS]

The strikes took place alongside protests organized by “Enough is Enough” (EiE), the pressure group founded by the Rail, Maritime, and Transport (RMT) union, the Communication Workers Union – CWU) and Labor MPs allied to former party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Tens of thousands of people gathered collectively in major cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow.

These are the first coordinated strikes since the start of a wave of summer strikes that saw workers in key sectors fight for higher wages to fight record inflation and oppose the assault on jobs, working conditions and pension rights.

Postal workers went on strike for 48 hours from Friday. The strike by members of the ‘Unite’ union at the ports of Liverpool and Felixstowe has affected 60 per cent of UK container traffic.

In total, some 170,000 workers took part in Saturday’s strikes. Among them: 115,000 postal workers, 54,000 railway workers and 2,600 port workers. The strikes were called by the CWU, the RMT, the Transport Workers’ Association (TSSA) and the union Unite.

The rail strikes have affected infrastructure group Network Rail and 14 train operating companies (TOCs). Around 40,000 RMT members were on strike, along with 9,000 ASLEF drivers in 12 TOCs, while 5,000 TSSA members were mobilised. The several hundred Unite members in the rail sector were also on strike.

No trains ran between major cities in the UK, and only 11 per cent of scheduled services were operated domestically. The strike affected “Transport for London”, which was unable to provide any service on the London Overground. The action had a ripple effect on Sunday, with services disrupted for the opening day of the ruling Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

The main Enough is Enough rally was held outside King’s Cross station in London and drew around 4,000 people.

Part of the ‘Enough is Enough’ protest outside Kings Cross station in London, October 1, 2022 [Photo: WSWS] [Photo: WSWS]

CWU leader Dave Ward told the rally that “more action” was ahead and that “better coordination” was needed. He said: “The reality is that the Tories, the bosses and the super rich have coordinated massive attacks on the working class for years and years. The difference is that now we are on the move”.

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