Members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) voted in favour of strike action in a dispute over low pay - and will strike in the biggest walk outs the country has seen in decades.
A group called ‘We back the RMT strikes!’ wrote a letter in support of the planned strike action, and a number of prominent Liverpool Labour MPs have added their signatures along with a host of unions.
The letter states that the group “wholeheartedly support the RMT union in their fight for a decent pay settlement”.
It also mentions the partygate reports, stating that “Boris Johnson and his friends at ‘No 10’ partied and toasted one another’s wealth” whilst “RMT members worked through the pandemic”.
While Merseyrail staff are not directly involved in the dispute, the signal operators on the lines are employed by Network Rail and will be taking part in the strike.
As a result there will be no service on Merseyrail on Tuesday, June 21; Thursday, June 23; and Saturday, June 25.
Which Liverpool MPs backed the RMT strikes?
Kim Johnson, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, was among those who supported the strike action by signing the unions backed letter.
She also shared her solidarity with RMT on twitter, as she shared a press release from the union with the caption “The truth.”
On Friday, June 17, the Conservative party passed a motion which condemned rail workers for taking part in the strike action.
Labour MP for Birkenhead, Mick Whitley, who also signed the letter, shared on twitter that he had voted against the motion and urged the Government ‘to get around the table to resolve this dispute’.
Paula Barker, Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, shared her anger at the Government accusing the Tories of ‘gross negligence’ in the way they were dealing with the RMT union.
Ian Byrne, Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby, and Dan Carden, Labour MP for Liverpool Walton also added their signatures to the letter backing RMT strike action.
A further 152 people have signed the letter, including Anna Rothery, Leader of Liverpool Community Independents Group.
The letter backing RMT strikes in full
Solidarity with the RMT strikes! Fair treatment for rail workers!
We the undersigned wholeheartedly support the RMT union in their fight for a decent pay settlement, and to oppose any and all redundancies on the railways.
Whilst Boris Johnson and his friends at ‘No 10’ partied and toasted one another’s wealth, RMT members worked through the pandemic maintaining basic services and rail-safety. They are being repaid with a pay freeze and attacks on employment conditions. 2,500 jobs are also at risk across the regional networks.
The RMT’s fight for a fair deal is entirely justified. However, neither the government nor the rail companies are listening to reason. The union is saying ‘enough is enough’ and nearly 90% of RMT members participating in the ballot have said ‘Yes’ to strikes.
Instead of entering into meaningful talks with the RMT, the Tories are resorting to smear tactics against the union in the media. They are also attempting to restrict the RMT’s right to strike by imposing ‘minimum service requirements’ during the action. We see this as an attack on all unions that must be resisted. This behaviour from the Tories only shows their arrogance, and their weakness in the face of the RMT’s determination.
This week, along with RMT members on thirteen regional networks, rail workers on Merseyside are taking part in nationally coordinated strike action on 21, 23 and 25 June. On the first of these dates RMT members working for Transport for London are also taking action on the London underground, making a total of 50,000 rail workers on strike that day. Further strikes will happen across another three rail operators in June and July. RMT members working for ScotRail are balloting for action over pay. Services on Network Rail Wales will also be impacted.
The government has underestimated the RMT. The industrial action will affect passenger and freight services. Glastonbury, the Headingley Third Test and major music events will be affected.
We are appalled at the treatment of RMT members by Johnson’s Tory government. We stand by the RMT in its current campaign, and we wish it every success in its fight for fair treatment for rail workers.
Ian Byrne, Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby
Dan Carden, Labour MP for Liverpool Walton
Kim Johnson, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside
Mick Whitley, Labour MP for Birkenhead
Paula Barker, Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree
Chris Knibb, Regional Council President of North West and North Wales RMT
Daren Ireland, NW RMT Regional Organiser
John Tilley, NW RMT Regional Organiser
Martin Cavanagh, National Deputy President of PCS Union, Group President of PCS Union DWP
Jane Loftus, National Vice President of CWU
Peter Middleman, Chair of North West Trades Union Congress
Elaine Jones, Branch Chair of Cheshire and Wirral Unison Health branch
Tony Gaskell, Branch Secretary of Unite NW/65
Lois Founds, Unison Service Group Executive (personal capacity), Wirral Unison
Ross Quinn, Regional Officer for NW Unite
Anna Rothery, Leader of Liverpool Community Independents Group
Tracey Hylton, National Executive PCS Union, (personal capacity), Riverside Left
Chantelle Lunt, Merseyside Black Lives Matter Alliance
Alice Bennett, Chair of Liverpool Momentum, workplace representative for Unison, Labour Party
Steve Farley, National Officer for PCS Union
Charlie Whelan, Branch Secretary for Central and North Mersey RMT
Sarah Morton, Independent Councillor for Clubmoor, Group Assistant Secretary of PCS Union DWP
Ian Harris, District Secretary of Wirral NEU
Ian Dunne, Branch Chair of Unite NW/65
Saira Weiner, UCU National Executive, Regional Chair of NW UCU, Branch Secretary of Liverpool John Moores University UCU
Debs Gwynn, NEU National Executive for Merseyside and Lancashire
Nina Doran, UCU National Executive, Committee Secretary of City of Liverpool College UCU
Bee Hughes, UCU National Executive, Chair of Liverpool John Moores UCU
Ritchie James, Regional Secretary of NW Unite
David Jones, Branch Secretary of Wirral Unison (personal capacity)
Frank McEntaggart, Chair of Wirral Defend our NHS, Writer’s Guild of Great Britain
Felicity Dowling, Left Unity, Cheshire and Merseyside Coordinated Health Campaigns
Martin Ralph, Vice President of Liverpool Trades Union Council, Committee of University of Liverpool UCU
Angela Teeling, Branch Officer for Greater Mersey CWU, Labour Councillor for Appleton, Halton
Phil Simpson, Chester delegate, RMT
Julie Lyon-Taylor, Chair of Merseyside Pensioners’ Association
James Robinson, Branch Secretary of Knowsley Unison
Melanie Guilfoyle, President Wirral Trades Union Council, Unite
Maz Gaskell, PCS Union representative for DBS Branch
Kneale Faragher, Treasurer of Liverpool Momentum, Labour Party, Socialist Health Association, PCS Union
David Brennan, Vice Chair of Wirral West Constituency Labour Party
Ian Seddon, Secretary of Wirral Trades Union Council, Unite
Brian Parsons, Political Officer for NWC Amal, CWU
Jan Maher, Assistant Secretary of Wirral NEU
Phil Moroney, LME Delegate Wallasey Constituency Labour Party
Tony Norbury, Branch Secretary of Wirral Cooperative Party
Michael Lavalette, Professor of Social Work, Liverpool Hope University, National
Coordinator of the Social Work Action Network, UCU
Paul Cook, Environmental Officer for Merseytravel Unison
Alan Gibbons, Liverpool Community Independents Councillor for Warbreck, Unite
Peta Bulmer, President of University of Liverpool UCU
Mal Ferguson, Joint Branch Secretary of Unison Merseytravel Branch
Neil Smith, Political Officer for GMB
Karl Greaney, Independent Councillor, Wirral
Jo Bird, Green Party Councillor for Bromborough
Paul Martin, Labour Councillor for New Brighton ward, Unite
Ian Humphreys, Branch Secretary of University of Liverpool Unite
Liam Hartzenberg, Unite, Acorn Union
Jason Walsh, Green Party Councillor
Gerard Smyth, Unite
Jeff Davies, Wirral Trades Union Council
John Murphy, Chief Critical Care Technician, Royal Liverpool University Hospital
Jo McNeill, Vice President of University of Liverpool UCU
Audrey White, Secretary of Merseyside Pensioners’ Association, Unite
Prue Stothard, Retired Nurse
Valerie Elson, Bootle Labour Party, Merseyside Pensioner’s Association
Mark O’Brien, Committee University of Liverpool UCU, Merseyside Socialist Workers Party
William Hardman, University of Liverpool UCU
Chris Harvey, Branch Chair of City of Liverpool College UCU
Cherie Judge, University of Liverpool UCU
Rosalba Biasini, Committee of University of Liverpool UCU
Kal Ross, BFAWU, ACORN
Tim Allen, University of Liverpool UCU
Andy Morse, University of Liverpool UCU
Chris Davies, Labour Councillor for Rock Ferry Ward, GMB steward
Chris Leatham-Frost, Branch Secretary Labour Party, Unite steward
Dave Owens, Secretary of Merseyside PCS Union Associated and Retired Members
William Phillips, Pharmacy Defence Association, Youth Officer for Birkenhead Labour Party, Social Media Officer for Merseyside Socialist Alternative
Carol Cody, Liaison Treasurer of City of Liverpool College UCU
Gwyn Farleigh, Unite
David Calland, Wirral Unison.
Samuel Mercer, Chair of Liverpool Hope UCU
Kate Williams, Unison Steward
Mary Whitby, Unite Community, Cheshire and Merseyside Collective Health Campaign
Paul McGowan, National Chair of LGBT+ Socialists, Socialist Alternative
Martin Timson, workplace representative for Unison
Norman Meddle, Wirral Unison Steward (retired), Merseyside Socialist Workers Party
Chris Jones, Labour Party Branch Treasurer, UCU
Graham Sale, Unite shop steward
Rhona O’Brien, Unite, Merseyside Pensioners’ Association, Friends of the Earth
Clara Paillard, Unite, Extinction Rebellion Trade Unionists
Colin James-Smith, Regional Officer for ASLEF (retired)
Dave Walsh, President Liverpool of Liverpool Trades Union Council, Liverpool City Council Unite Convener
Linda Wall, Secretary of Wallasey Constituency Labour Party, GMB
Shelagh Hewitt, RMT (retired)
Les Connor, Socialist party
Neill Dunne, Campaigns Officer for Unite 0538, Socialist Party, Trade Union and Socialist Coalition
Emma Whitby, PCS Union
Tayo Aluko, Writer, actor, singer, Tayo Aluko and Friends
Dr Kit Oi Chung, Liverpool GP
Dr Tim Watson
Barbara Harrison, Birkenhead Labour Party, Momentum, Socialist Labour Network
Neil Hutchings, Vice Chair of Riverside Constituency Labour Party, Vice Chair of Mossley Hill Labour Party, Unite
Laura Knotts, Industrial Officer for PCS Union
Steve Adderley, District Officer for NEU
Louise Reecejones, Women’s Officer for Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party, Secretary of Bidston and St James Labour Party, Chair of Wirral Cooperative Party, Unite NW Disability Committee, Trustee TLC Network charity
Susan Mahoney, Disability Officer for Birkenhead Labour Party, Treasurer of Bidston and St James Labour Party, Wirral Cooperative Party, Trustee TLC Network Charity, Unite
Steve Anderson, Merseyside Socialist Workers Party
Steve Murphy, Unite shop steward
Susha Parameswaran, University of Liverpool UCU
Dr Alan Southern, University of Liverpool UCU
Gillian Homeri, Unite, UCU
Andy McCulloch, Unite
Jess Achilleos, UCU
Andy Lavin, RMT
Julia Nelki, Doctor
Katy Gardner, Doctors in Unite
Anthony Piccaro, Unison
Sara Bennett, Unison
Neil Topping, Unite
Sarah Henney, Unite
Maureen Delahunty, Labour Councillor for County Ward
Irene McNally, workplace representative for Unite
Dr Rich Moth, Liverpool Hope UCU
Sheila Pevely, GMB, PCS Union
Dave Bridge, City of Liverpool Unison (retired), Merseyside Socialist Workers Party
Dave Morris, Merseyside Pensioners; Association
Gerry Corcoran, Unite
Shelagh Cullity, PCS Union
Andrew Bennett, Unite
Lesley Clayton, Unison
Mark Clayton, Unite
Angela Marincowitz, Unite
Barbara Gleave, NEU
Paul Davies, Unite
Janet Cashman, Unite
S F Mohshin, NEU
Helen Collins. Unison, ACORN
Terry Clarke, Merseyside Pensioners’ Association
Lynn Wilde, University of Liverpool UCU, Green Party
Liz Watson, NEU (retired)
Mark Hodge, Unite
Peter Cashman, Unite
Paul Ronayne, NEU
Karen Fletcher, Unite
Malka Billing, NEU
Karen Evans, NEU
Graham Fattorini, Labour Party, Unite
Jeremy Hawthorn, Unite
Regina Fattorini, Unite