A Conservative MP on Tuesday (December 20) stood in front of strike-locked Brighton Station saying that on that very day trains run by the Thameslink company were travelling to London without guards.
The drivers were in the same union as the those striking, ASLEF.
Not all trains without guards have passengers slipping between the carriage and platform. That eventuality happens to trains fully staffed, but the logic screams that it is safer to have guards.
Why are Southern so set on removing guards? On one level to save money. Increase danger but save money. The rich for all their riches, and they are growing, need to have a return on any investment they make. Their return is now 50 per cent of what it was 50 years ago.
One thing and one thing only builds wealth: the employment of people. The only economic unit that creates more income than it costs.
But with the blooming of the industrial system every competitor must outbid its rivals or go under. Outbid by mechanising quicker or as quick as its rivals. Mechanisation, machinery, is not people.
People produce the extra, machinery is a blank cost. The more mechanisation vis a vis people the lower the return, hence 50 per cent.
The Southern strikers stand in the path of this steam roller but equally the roller can’t steam with railway workers in the way.
It is a battle of giants. On the side of the rich is the media, the police and the courts. On the rail workers’ side is solidarity. Ordinary members of Joanne public, but more important other workplace bound characters. Other work places that could strike in support, could strike in imitation to win back lost wages of the last 42 years. Standing between the two are the full-time trade union officials.
They will wobble either way, wobble to stay at the head of their members’ fight and shudder not to lose their £150k pa posts if the rich turn on the heat.
It is to the ordinary strikers and the help they must argue for that could be the determining feature of the fight. Support Southern strikers. Keep the guards. Support ourselves. Build a better world, one without the rich.