This article appeared in the bulletin On Guard, which can be downloaded here.
The majority of Drivers at Northern (and MerseyRail and Southern too!) will support today's strike by RMT Drivers and Guards against Driver Only Operation. ASLEF members will be asking all sorts of questions about the situation created by the strike and the picket lines that come with it.
Many will be reluctant to come into work even though their own union is not currently in dispute with the company.
They will be aware that the company has a reduced timetable planned and has been recruiting scabs and managers from all over the Arriva group, giving them minimal training, and certifying them as Guards to operate these services.
Some may be wondering if they really have to cross onto Arriva's side of the picket line. They don't! RMT has balloted its Guard and Driver members, meaning that the legal protection conferred by the successful ballot for industrial action extends to all workers in the grades involved, not just members of the union calling the action.
Even if it didn't, all workers are protected from dismissal if they are induced to turn back at a picket line by members of a recognised trade union picketing lawfully in connection with a trade dispute.
So this raises other questions for ASLEF members:
• Do you support the Guards and RMT Drivers?
• Do you want them to win quickly and decisively?
• Do you want to make it harder for ASLEF leaders to keep dragging their feet on joining the dispute?
• Do you want to avoid having to work trains with a scab or a hastily-trained manager you can't trust?
• Do you want to kick the idea of DOO into the dustbin where it belongs?
If the answer to any or all of these questions is yes, don't cross the picket line!
I'm not a Driver or a Guard, what about me?
You can stay out too! We know most RPAs, TCS, Co-ordinators, Cleaners, Fitters, Fuellers, Shunters and everyone else in the RMT and other unions will support their colleagues. The legal protection of the picket line extends to everyone induced to turn back. The company can't sack you and the union will support you if you are disciplined. If all workers stand together, the dispute will be won more quickly.