Rail unions

Fantasy Union of Rail and Transport Workers

What kind of union do we need? There are strengths and weaknesses in our current union set-up. Union officials will often have you believe that things can only be done the way they are done, because ... well, because they have always been done that way.

We do not agree. We have several criticisms of the existing rail unions, so it is only fair that we set out in more positive terms what our ideal union might look like. Let's call it the Fantasy Union of Rail and Transport Workers (FURT).

What kind of union do we need? There are strengths and weaknesses in our current union set-up. Union officials will often have you believe that things can only be done the way they are done, because ... well, because they have always been done that way. We do not agree. We have several criticisms of the existing rail unions, so it is only fair that we set out in more positive terms what our ideal union might look like. Let's call it the Fantasy Union of Rail and Transport Workers (FURT).

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Merseyrail Drivers Show the Way!

On 13th March, all traincrew at Merseyrail stuck together. Despite a circular from ASLEF advising members to work normally (which the union does to protect its legal position rather than to encourage its members to cross picket lines), all Merseyrail Drivers refused to cross the picket lines and the only trains to run anywhere on that franchise that day were driven by Traction Inspectors.

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French rail workers say: end the silence on worker suicides! The bosses are to blame!

Off The Rails has translated statements from the SUD-Rail union in France, part of the Solidaires union federation.

As readers will see, it deals with a sensitive subject: the recent suicide of one of their comrades. SUD say it is time for rail workers to break the "omerta", the code of silence, around worker suicides. They point the finger of blame at the bosses, and their daily acts of repression, harassment, and victimisation against workers, particularly union activists.

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DOO strikes spread

On Monday 13 March, RMT guards and drivers on Southern Railways struck and were joined for the first time by RMT guards and drivers on Northern and Merseyrail. RMT continues its fight against the extension of driver-only operation on Southern, while the leadership of drivers’ union Aslef seems desperate to surrender.

On Monday 13 March, RMT guards and drivers on Southern Railways struck and were joined for the first time by RMT guards and drivers on Northern and Merseyrail.

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Guard Martin Zee wins court case

Author: 

Janine Booth

RMT member Martin Zee has won an important legal battle concerning his actions as a train guard.

Martin was working as a guard on a Merseyrail train in 2015 when an elderly passenger tried to board a train after the door closure procedure had started and the door alarms were sounding. She fell between the platform and the train and was injured. Martin carried out his role properly, ensuring the train and track were made safe and climbing down to support and reassure the passenger until the emergency services arrived.

A guard prosecuted when a passenger was injured as been found not guilty.

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How the ruling class sees the anti-DOO strikes: let's prove them wrong!

This blog is intended as a contribution to discussion. Let us know what you think: Off The Rails will publish replies we receive.


By a rail worker

The Financial Times is, or aspires to be, one of the more serious newspapers of the boss class. Reading it can normally give you a reasonable sense of what at least a section of "the establishment" is thinking about a given issue. And a recent article on the strikes against Driver Only Operation makes for rather grim reading for our side.

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Support the rail, post, and benefits strikes!

With rail strikes crippling train services in the south-east and set to spread, a strike brewing in Consignia (the new name for the postal service) and national strikes by benefits workers, people have been talking about a new "winter of discontent".

The name "winter of discontent" refers to strikes in 1978/9 against the last Labour government (1974-79). Elected after an incredible wave of working class militancy brought down Ted Heath's Tories, the Wilson-Callaghan government failed to deliver for workers.

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Arriva dispute ends

The RMT rail union has accepted a rotten offer of a 4% wage increase from Arriva Trains Northern for conductors and guards, and the 13 month dispute in the company is now over.

The workers had taken a series of one day actions. A ballot on Arriva's pay offer rejected it, 295 to 165, though the biggest depot, Leeds, voted to accept. Union reps say that the deal will still mean workers are some of the lowest paid in the industry.

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