Glasgow residents react to rail strikes by RMT union members
GLASGOW has reacted to industrial action affecting rail services across the city and beyond.
Members of Network Rail’s Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union began striking on Wednesday morning, with just five services running across Scotland.
A picket line has been erected outside Glasgow Central Station, and The Glasgow Times spoke to rail users, local businesses and people on the picket line for their thoughts.
Loretta Cunningham, who traveled to Glasgow to visit her son, fully supports industrial action as a means of getting people to listen to workers’ needs.
She said: “I always support the right to strike – sometimes it’s the only way people will listen, and I think it dates back to 1888 when the match women were the first to go on strike and it’s the only way for us to listen sometimes.
“That’s my feeling on the subject, I totally support them.”
Meanwhile, Alex Harren, 52, visiting Glasgow from the Netherlands, doesn’t think the strikes are “necessary”.
He said: “One positive thing about the strike is that I can walk around the station because there are no people at all, it’s very quiet.
“I think the payout, as I understand it, isn’t really that bad, so I don’t know if it’s really necessary to have strikes.
“You see it everywhere right now and there’s a war going on in Ukraine and I think we all have to carry a little bit of pain.”
While Kyle O’Neill, 25, from Port Glasgow, thinks it’s ‘perfect’ for people to fight back, but struggles when his transport to town is affected.
He said: “The only problem is that I can’t go home, I can’t travel.
“But at least someone fights back and hopes he wins.”
Ms Frater, 83, who did not wish to give her first name, believes the strikes are “unfair” to commuters.
She said: “I think they’re paid quite well, but it’s up to them if they don’t think they’re paid well.
“But I don’t think it’s fair to people trying to get back to normal and get back to work.”
Christine Cunningham said: “It doesn’t affect me, but I think they have to strike for a reason, and I support it for that reason.”
Some members of the public showed their support for the unionized workers by joining them on the picket line.
Mr Ferguson, who did not want to be named entirely because of his work, shared his reasons for showing solidarity with the union and how it affects society.
He said: ‘They provide a vital service and it’s only when it’s gone that we realize how vital the service is.
“Inflation has been rising for the past 20 years and none of them have seen a decent pay rise in years.
“I think we have to support him because their fight represents the fight of society.”
Mr. Ferguson added that the demonstration had received a generally positive reception.
He said: “The response we are getting from passers-by is quite positive. People are really happy and eager to pick up a flyer and stop and talk to us.”
But in the area near Central Station, local businesses are worried about how the industrial action could affect footfall.
Wendy McDermott, 58, who works at local cafe The Root of Magic, said: ‘I’m afraid after our children’s class this morning we won’t have many people.
“We depend on tourists or people who are already in the city center.”
She added: “I don’t really support strikes. This is the last thing downtown needs, people need to be able to get to work.
Meanwhile, the strike is affecting the business and the wages of local vendor Waqar Ahmed and his manager, but the 38-year-old supports workers’ needs and hopes this will be resolved quickly.
He said: “We understand their requests. Obviously they want a raise, and they have the legal right to do that, but unfortunately we’re in a lot of pain because we don’t have traffic today and we’re so quiet, and that doesn’t cover either the salary of two people. .
“We hope they resolve their issues quickly and that our business can return to normal.
“There is nothing we can do, we just have to be patient, but I wish the staff good luck. They should get the raise.