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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Industrial news in brief

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Neil Laker, Peggy Carter, Ollie Moore, Darren Bedford and Charlotte Zalens

In March, the University of Manchester announced plans to restructure its subsidiary company, UMC, making 46 redundancies in catering while moving the remaining staff on to “term-time only” contracts.

This latter move would have meant cuts of about one third to their total pay. But now, as a result of solid negotiating by Unison, and agitation, occupations and disruption by students, management have backed down. There will be no compulsory redundancies, no loss of hours and no pay cuts.

Manchester University catering staff win; lecturers strike; rail workers’ disputes spread; CalMac ferries stay public; Glen Hart reinstated; left makes gains in PCS.

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Industrial news in brief

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Kelly Rogers, Dale Street, Darren Bedford, Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

On Saturday 14 May the BMA held a junior doctors′ conference, followed by a meeting of the junior doctors′ committee on the next day. It was hoped that these meetings would have heard the outcome of renewed negotiations held between the government and the BMA between 9-13 May. However a last minute agreement (brokered by Brendan Barber of all people!) to extend the talks for another week meant that junior doctors did not get a chance to give judgement on any proposed deal.

Junior doctors; BECTU votes for right-wing merger; school janitors step up strike; Topshop cleaners protest across country; strikes in Sheffield against job losses and pay cuts; Southern strikes continue.

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Industrial news in brief

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Ollie Moore, Darren Bedford and Alice Bolton

Train guards on Southern in the RMT union are set for further strikes after talks between RMT and Southern bosses collapsed.

Workers are fighting the extension of “Driver Only Operation”, and resisting the de-skilling of the role of the guard, which the union says will have dire consequences for passenger service and safety on what are already some of Britain’s most overcrowded rail routes.

Southern workers stand firm; blacklisted workers win; ambulance workers to ballot.

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Industrial news in brief

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Dale Street, Ollie Moore, Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and David Ball

CCTV workers employed by Glasgow Community Safety – a Glasgow City Council Arms Length External Organisation (ALEO) – are back at work having won a 24% pay rise after twelve strike days over six weeks. The 19 workers, all Unison members, struck to achieve equal pay, i.e. parity of shift allowance payments, with other employees who work the same pattern of 12 hour shifts in a round-the-clock service.

Strikes hit Glasgow council; Southern Rail guards strike to keep trains safely staffed; GTR bosses use courts to scupper strike; John Roan teachers strike; Government backs down on “check-off”; Parents Defending Education campaign launched.

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Remembering Leon Brumant

Author: 

Daniel Randall

Leon, on the left, picketing Oxford Circus station during a London Underground strike in August 2015.


Leon Brumant, London Underground worker, RMT union rep, and socialist and anti-racist activist, died on Friday 22 April, aged just 30 years old. He is survived by Nailah, his young daughter.

Leon Brumant, London Underground worker, RMT rep, and socialist and anti-racist activist, died on Friday 22 April, aged 30 years old. His colleague and comrade Daniel Randall remembers him.

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Industrial news in brief

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Will Stevens, Ruth Cashman, Ollie Moore, Simon Nelson and Cath Fletcher

Thursday 14 April was the third annual #FastFoodGlobal day Of action. Workers in fast food, coffee shops and cafes across the world took part in rallies, stunts, marches and other creative actions for higher pay, better conditions and the right of unions to organise.

Fighting for fast food rights; Lambeth councillor speaks out on libraries; Tube workers striking against gentrification; thousands march to save NHS; university pay ballot.

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Northern Rail: No DOO, No Compromise!

We have been reporting for some time on moves within the UK rail industry, supported by the Department for Transport, to move most or all passenger trains to Driver Only Operation (DOO). Where DOO is in operation it means trains can enter service with only one member of staff - the train driver - on board.

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Industrial news in brief

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Gareth Davenport and Peggy Carter

The UK rail industry, supported by the Department for Transport, plans to move most or all passenger trains to Driver Only Operation (DOO) — meaning trains operate with only the driver on board, no guards or other staff. This method of working is already in place across London Underground and on some parts of the main line (National Rail).

Fighting driver only operation; work conditions in the Merchant Navy; cinema workers fight back.

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