The campaign to renationalise the railways is heating up but the TSSA video is not the way to go argues Mick Wattam
There has been excellent campaigning over the rip-off which is our privatised rail network this week, organised by Action4Rail and involving lots of people around the country. The Labour Party has also been involved, and it was encouraging that it was their members who took a lead here in Doncaster and in many other towns.
This is exactly the kind of campaign which is needed at this moment as the Tories try to enforce driver only trains on Southern Rail, and ASLEF, the train drivers union take industrial action to preserve the future safety of the whole network.
The ongoing strike action and work to rule by ASLEF members has widespread support, inspite of the government doing their best to demonise rail unions and their leaders. The Tories want to smash the power of the rail unions, and to mount a serious campaign for renationalisation in the teeth of this attack, involving rail users and the general public will make it harder for them and also deliver real support for the unions.
Having got around to watching the TSSA video (shared by Momentum), I am really surprised and disappointed that they have presented the well known fact that our network is largely run by Dutch, German and French companies in such a nationalistic and divisive manner.
There is no need for this information, effectively used by ASLEF in the context of a struggle against EU enforced rail privatisation regulations, to be twisted in the way the TSSA have now done.
Whatever their reasons are for taking this approach, it will not advance working class or trade union unity. We should and need to be nurturing solidarity within our class, rather than pandering to national rivalry.
It will also be impossible for us to turn things around without linking up with trade unionists from other countries. The Tories rely on their friends across Europe and around the world to keep workers on the defensive so they can push through their austerity and neoliberal policies.
Lets not make it easier for them when they are already causing so much division amongst us.