Friday, 17 January 2003

Train drivers refuse to move supplies for war vs. Iraq

In a courageous stand, a group of rail workers based in Motherwell, Scotland, have refused to drive a freight train loaded with military supplies for the British government’s war against Iraq.

Details remain sketchy as the British press, save for two articles in the Guardian, has all but blacked out news of the boycott. The train drivers union ASLEF has also remained silent on the protest and have refused requests for information.

According to accounts in the Guardian, however, the train—which is owned by the English Welsh and Scottish Railway (EWS)—was due to be moved on January 8. Among EWS’s contracts is the supply route to the huge NATO munitions store at Glen Douglas, on Scotland’s west coast, where missiles and other arms are buried within a hillside.

The drivers’ protest forced EWS and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to initially delay and ultimately cancel the contested service. As the drivers were the only workers at the Motherwell depot trained to move a freight train over the route, EWS and the MoD were forced to offload the train’s contents into trucks and complete the journey by road.

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