Picket line attended at Ramsgate for railway strike action

Ramsgate picket line Photo Ciaran Jarrett.

Around 100 people attended an RMT picket line outside Ramsgate station yesterday (August 20).

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has been taking strike action over issues including pay, conditions and safety concerns for workers and passengers amid the threat of cuts to safety-critical jobs, introducing driver-only trains and closing ticket offices.

Members of The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) and ASLEF (Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen) have also joined industrial action.

As action has continued this summer, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps threatened to impose new contracts on railway workers. The RMT says this is effectively ‘fire and re-hire’ on worse conditions. The MP has urged the RMT to accept an 8% over two years pay offer from Network Rail.

RMT rep for Southeastern, Mick Jordan, said: “It was another fantastic turnout at the Ramsgate picket line to with RMT members entering into a sixth day of industrial action.

“Despite the rhetoric from the government suggesting they will impose fire and rehire on railway workers, morale was high and there is a steely determination amongst workers and supporters to remain united until a deal is done.”

Photo Ciaran Jarrett.

Ruth McDermott (pictured) said: “I’m on the picket line because I stand in solidarity with the RMT – they are striking for all workers, they strike for us all. They have the organisation and power to make real change and set a precedent.

“Everyone needs a pay rise. This is a cost of greed crisis and we need a redistribution of wealth so people can live comfortably without fear of being hungry or cold in the fifth largest economy in the world.”

Ciaran Jarrett.

Health campaigners were also on the picket line. Pauline Farrance (above) of Save Our NHS In Kent (SONIK) showed support for the workers by giving one of the RMT pickets a loaf of homemade bread.

A spokesperson for SONIK said: “We stand united with all who are fighting this government and its reckless and inhumane policies.”

The RMT has warned of an “indefinite” campaign of strike action unless a negotiated settlement with workers is reached. Strike action has disrupted rail services across the network, including for Southeastern, during June, July and this month.


    • There is no shame Elaine they stand up for themselves , so would you if you were in there position.
      Maybe if your job etc we’re like there’s you would understand a bit more .
      Well done to all of them . Loud & Proud .

    • Shame on the UK govt for allowing mega-profits on our railways to subsidise other European railways.

      • I agree and I am not a commuter as well as a tory!
        It is shameful that the profits are not shared fairly!

    • Will you be saying the same when the Teachers, Refuse Workers, Barristers, Royal Mail etc all go on strike in the coming months? At what point do you work out the problem is not the grunts at the bottom being exploited, but the corrupt, greedy vermin at the top?

    • Elaine its people like you that let scum Tory governments walk all over you! Would you like to take a pay cut each year? Because thats what rail workers, and many other workers are being told they must do, to get this Tory government out of the mess it has got us into! The rogue, and lying scoundrel Boris Johnson, nearly died of Coronavirus, and thanked all the nurses who cared for him by cutting their wages, Duurh!

  1. The sooner they bring in driverless trains the better.
    Hope they all price themselves out of a job. Less travellers, less income, fewer trains, more job cuts. Will serve them right.

    • You speak for yourself , I and I’m sure a lot people are not looking forward to driverless trains .
      Or driverless cars for that matter either . The very thought of that creeps me out .
      I feel more safe and secure knowing someone is driving either said train / vehicle

      • I agree with Rockstar, and fully support the strikers, despite the huge inconvenience temporarily caused to travellers.

    • Yes, great idea-a robot/computer system running a train travelling at high speed, carrying human lives.

      I mean, what could possibly go wrong with an unmanned cab & a malfunctioning robot that only follows orders & cannot apply split second human judgements, based on what they are seeing? Any other stupid ideas?

        • Yes, so your idea is to have human programmed machines running it, without a human actually being there to put the brakes on etc when something happens that a computer cannot cope with?

  2. Yet another picket outside a closed building by the Ramsgate Popular Front. It would make more sense to picket when there are lots of people there (but they’re obviously not that brave!).

  3. It is really awful that people refer to the strike as being over money. It is concerning regarding the safety cuts, no ticket offices to help customers, supporting required needs, keep stations open regarding toilets, bins and more. Worse a 12 carriage train with only a driver on board, this is extremely worrying over many safety issues. It is more than a strike over money and a lots about keeping public safe.

    • Absolutely right, Jo. I often wonder whether the opponents of these strikes believe they will be superhuman forever and that they will never need any help from station staff

  4. Well done all. If you’re not bargaining you’re begging. It’s about time these corporations and MPs realised we hold the power as the wealth is created by the workers so we should be compensated accordingly.

  5. I support THE strikers 100%. It’s the greed of the bosses, with the support of the government, which has created this situation and it has to stop. All workers must be better valued and better rewarded.

  6. I just counted 37 people in that top photo. Even allowing a few more behind these, it is no more than half of the supposed “around 100 people”… and how many of these 37 (or so) actually work on the railways as opposed to being the usual group of unemployed and retired?

  7. The picket supporters come and go all day so there’s no picture of all of them. There is massive local support because people understand the cost of living crisis we’re all going through.

    • Genuine question: If you really believe that there is “massive local support”, then why don’t you stand (or sit) outside with your buckets on days when there are people commuting? That way you’d raise far more money.

      • How do you go on the picket line if you are at work peter ?

        I dont understand your point. They can on picket when on strike, so this mean people wont be going to the station !

        • There are many in that photo who are NOT railway workers (and indeed, appear in photos of pretty much any Thanet protests). Why can’t they campaign outside the station on behalf of these poor unfortunate railways workers?

  8. I hope they get a fair deal. We pay a lot for public transport & the money is going somewhere. Not in the pockets of those doing the hard work though. Same with the buses, over £3 from Margate to Cliftonville on a late bus thats packed like sardines in a tin.

  9. An important reason for these strikes is “the threat of cuts to safety-critical jobs, introducing driver-only trains and closing ticket offices”. The strikers are acting in the interests of every future railway passenger and they are absolutely not doing it for their own self interests. Why is this not sinking in?

      • OK, perhaps I should have clarified by saying they are not doing it PURELY for their own self interests. But I’m wasting my time trying to reason with an antagonist like yourself.

    • Mr Shacklock driver only trains have operated successfully on a rail line I have used regularly on a monthly basis for a number of years. As for your comments about Peter Checksfield I see him as a facilitator for further discussion not as an antagonist.

      • That’s interesting to know… and, Thank you, Laurence.

        As I understand it, they also plan to close some of the more little-used ticket offices, and instead have these people out on platforms. At my own local station in Birchington, the ticket office is only open in the mornings, and more often than not the very nice gentleman in there isn’t particularly busy thanks to ticket machines, online purchases and season tickets. It would make far more sense to have him outside helping and advising the largely elderly population here.

        • He will not be there at all & neither will anybody else be in the near future, if the workers just cave in as you want them to.

          Unmanned stations is what they want & no doubt if they think they can get away with closing small stations like yours to save a few bob, then they will.

          Then you will be crying the blues at how greedy they are & how it is awful this was allowed to happen, just like those that voted for Brexit & have spent the last year plus moaning what a mess it has been.

          • The “ writing is on the wall” with the future of having unmanned railway stations , you’ve only got to see the “business model” for the new station being built near Cliffsend ,Ramsgate which is going to be unmanned .
            How crazy is that when it’ll have a big car park to cope with demand and once Manston Airport is reopened there’ll be an increase of footfall through the station using taxis and possibly a shuttle service to get to the airport .
            Don’t tell me that none of the railway customers won’t need assistance !

          • Assuming they aren’t out of order, crashed or been vandalised of course.

            All the people supporting this sack everybody, close ticket offices, have unmanned station direction will of course be the first ones bleating when the machines aren’t working & the ticket office has been closed to save make more money for billionaires.

        • Peter Checksfield you are most welcome! I note Mr Shacklock has ignored my comments especially with regard to my comment about my experience on driver only trains. Still he would wouldn’t he!

          • Oh dear, have I signed a service level agreement promising to respond to comments within 4 hours?

            Yes, I did see a comment about driver-only trains operating successfully on certain lines, but it was ambiguous. Was it a success for the shareholders? Or a success for the passengers searching for the guards, the cleaners, the ticket sellers and the refreshments trolleys?

          • Mr Davies, what is the procedure for providing wheelchair access on these driver-only trains? Does the driver get out of the cab and walk the length of the platform to provide assistance? Or must the passengers make an appointment for helpers to turn up?

          • Laurence Davies, are you ignoring my questions? I’ve waited patiently for over four days to find out about wheelchair support on driver-only trains.

          • Ian Shacklock. I think your response says a lot about you when confronted with a comment that contradicts your view of things Try and ignore it, then when challenged claim my comments were ambiguous and then when your on the defensive throw a sarcastic comment and then go into a rant about shareholders, passengers searching for guards etc. I repeat the service I have used (driver only)) works very well and is very clean!

    • And then you most likely will complain that “Eastern Europeans have taken all our jobs ! “.
      Yes ! I’ve met your type before especially when you come “ to sign on” in the Jobcentre !
      I bet that made you splutter on your cornflakes or on your cup of tea . Lol

    • Progress is supposed to be improving things Neddy. Not sure how sacking thousands of people for good, or sacking them & then hiring them back on appalling low paid contracts, having unmanned stations, closing stations, raiding their pension pot, scrimping on safety/maintenance etc is progress.

    • The way things are going nowadays they would probably encourage such ‘diversity’ among their workforce, if not make it mandatory uniform.

  10. Sack the lot and put in a driverless train system, as in Parts of Canada local services driverless long distance with driver and on board staff. Quicker cleaner and more reliable, no sickness no holiday times to sort no overtime. Far better.

  11. Bosses of top companies have received a 39 percent pay rise this year, we live in the most unequal society in Western Europe. Enough is enough, with drawing your labour is the final way of people trying to have a decent life. Society should not return to where ordinary people have to rely on charity to survive while the top 1 percent become more gready than ever

    • Barry, your comments are spot on, but sadly there are regular contributors to threads like this who seem more than happy to see worsening inequality. And if you dare to challenge the ruthless decisions and attitudes of the fat cats then your actions will be dismissed as lefty scare-mongering.

      • Ian, you’re very fortunate to somehow earn a living as a self-employed “Community campaigner and backpacker”, which presumably means you don’t commute by trains, but many others are losing money by not being able to get to work. But, as I’ve already suggested, there is nothing whatsoever stopping you and your cronies from campaigning outside busy train stations to help raise bfunds for the struggling rail workers. If I see y’all, I’ll probably drop something in the bucket myself! ; )

        Anyway, some of us has work to do, so have a wonderful week everybody! xx

    • Exactly, people here decrying these strikes for purely selfish reasons should wake up & start putting the blame where it lies-at the feet of the fat cats who are ripping off the public, playing loose with their safety because it cuts into their obscene profits & that they are the ones holding the public to ransom, not the poor grunts working hard trying to scratch a living. The ones not being paid while striking.

  12. Record profits are stolen wages. Fully support these workers fighting for better conditions (not just wages).

  13. Currently, it is not possible to book tickets on the West Coast Main Line between London and cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Lancaster and Glasgow on Saturdays and Sundays.
    This is because the pesky train crews are refusing to work at weekends.
    Why? Because they’re not obliged to. Tge contract between the drivers (etc) is fir weekdays only.
    Who drew up this contract?
    The Train Operating Comoany.
    They make the vast amount of their money from Monday-Friday commuters. They have no interest in running a service.

    I travel extensively by rail; strikes are a big inconvenience. But so is a five-day timetable.

    I fully support this industrial action.

  14. Will these strikers compensate people like my son, who keeps losing wages every time they don’t work ,doubt it,or maybe the people who do not work on railways but back them ,even though they are not losing wages,if you did maybe it would be a different outlook

    • Why does everybody automatically blame the strikers for the consequences of the strikes? Why not blame the greedy bosses? THEY are the root cause of the problems so maybe they are the ones who should compensate the public for their losses.

      • Because it is the me culture & reading the right wing tabloids. My travel plans are disrupted on certain days, so screw them.

        It will be the same with the teachers strike-it always is when they have one, the same when the post doesn’t arrive every day during the Royal Mail strikes etc.

        Far easier to shout greedy shirkers at low paid plebs, even though they are costing themselves money by striking-as they don’t get paid for those days they are, than it is to look at the owners of companies with hundreds of millions of billions in profits, awarding themselves huge profits for abject failure year after year, decade after decade.

        In some cases even doing criminal acts, like admitting in court they illegally dumped sewage into the sea just to save money.

        The same ones now lecturing us about turning our taps on, while letting billions of litres leak daily, releasing more sewage into the rivers & seas, while they & their shareholders reap even more profits-knowing the fines get paid by sacking hard working, low paid staff & by increasing charges.

        If you or I dumped sewage into the sea on an industrial scale we would go to jail, they don’t-which is the only thing that will change their ways.

  15. Shacklock the ultimate goal is to have the best service for the customer, the drivers will go the way of coal miners. And the public will be able to get to work hassle free. By the way I did say local trains should be driverless, works perfectly well elsewhere in the world it’s the “all out lads “like you who are living in the past that should disappear down your red hole and take the stupid councilor with you.

    • That clearly is not the case Abc, the ultimate goal of all these huge privatised companies for 30 years plus now has been to maximise profits for themselves & the shareholders, at the expense of customer safety, the environment & the workers.

      Yes you did & it is still as stupid an idea as it was when you said it then, as shown by the crashes these driver free trains have been involved in over the years.

      But of course if you think derailed trains/crashing into other trains etc is a hassle free plan to get to work then great. It is more likely a hassle free way to get to the hospital or the morgue.

      Better to live in the past-by ensuring people have well paid jobs where they are valued, than have fat cats trample all over people & if they don’t work for peanuts then fire them & every job can be done by robots instead, even thought they cannot make decisions to changing/unforeseen circumstances like a human can.

  16. What short memories some have-it was less than a year ago that the government discovered that Southeastern had magically ‘lost’ 25 million of undeclared taxpayer cash since 2014 & yet the workers going on strike are the greedy ones with no morals & screwing the public? I think not.

    • Quite agree.
      The principal duty of a private company is to make money for its shareholders, not to provide a service to the public.

  17. Can you stop showing these selfish idiots.punishing the public for their own greed. Country is a mess aggravated by these selfish moneygrabers. Holding back progres and living in the past. Sack the lot

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