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

Author: 

Gemma Short and Charlotte Zalens

After voting for strikes over outsourcing by 87%, Unison members in Barnet Council will strike on Thursday 30 April and Friday 1 May.

On 1 May Unison hold a march and rally, followed by a members meeting to review the strike and any proposals from the council. If the council has not moved, a second phase of strikes will follow on Thursday 21 May and Friday 22 May, and a third on Monday 1 June and Tuesday 2 June.

Barnet council workers fight privatisation; 165 jobs to be cut at London Met; Lewisham anti-Academies march; Network Rail pay deal rejected; London Underground cuts fightback.

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Up the ante in Network Rail pay dispute

After members of the rail union RMT working for Network Rail rejected a pay offer by 93%, the company made an improved offer, which union reps will meet to discuss on 16 April. A Network Rail worker spoke to Solidarity.


Network Rail management cannot have it both ways.

While our recent pay increases have been better than in standard in the private sector, they have still been effectively holding settlements — i.e., in line with inflation, but not an improvement in our standard of living.

After members of the rail union RMT working for Network Rail rejected a pay offer by 93%, the company made an improved offer, which union reps will meet to discuss on 16 April.

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First Great Western workers prepare for ballot

Author: 

Ollie Moore

Members of rail union RMT working for First Great Western are preparing to ballot for industrial action, after First Group announced plans to axe jobs on new inter-city services.

On the new trains, the driver will have sole responsibility for operating the doors, meaning guards are no longer required. The doors could even be operated with the driver as the only member of staff on board, without even an additional train manager.

Members of rail union RMT working for First Great Western are preparing to ballot for industrial action, after First Group announced plans to axe jobs on new inter-city services.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Charlotte Zalens, Peggy Carter and Ollie Moore

Seventy Unison members who work with the homeless in Glasgow Council started an indefinite strike on Tuesday 31 March.

The strike is to win recognition of their work reflected in their pay grading. Unison says workers doing similar jobs are paid a pay grade higher than the homeless support workers.

Workers have been taking action short of strike action since January. Send messages of support to: Glasgow City Unison

Lewisham academies fight wins extension

Glasgow council workers strike; Lewisham academies fight wins extension; Unison rep reinstated; Network Rail pay ballot; RMT election.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Charlotte Zalens and Gemma Short

Pat Hutton, GMB rep at Queen Elizabeth Hospital where workers have been on strike to win the same terms and conditions as in-house workers, spoke to Solidarity.

"Since our last strikes at Christmas, GMB has been going round hospitals where they recruited scabs — in Liverpool, Coventry, Westminster, Chelsea, Kingston — organising to stop it.

A lot of the scabs were casuals and didn’t know what was going on. With the help of GMB in those places we put a stop to it.

Cleaners ballot on pay offer; National Gallery strikes continue; Essex FBU extend strike to nine days; defend all jobs on the Tube; no Academies in Lewisham; 80% of jobs to be outsourced in Barnet.

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Industrial news in brief

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Darren Bedford and Ollie Moore

Fire control operators in Essex have escalated strike plans to eight days this week in an increasingly bitter row over cuts and shift changes.

FBU control members walked out at 07:00 on Tuesday 10 March and vowed not return until 07:00 on Wednesday 18 March.

A new imposed shift system has seen some emergency control operators having to leave their jobs or drastically reduce their hours and pay, with many more considering their future with the service.

Essex fire controllers escalate action; Lewisham school students strike; Tube staff set to strike over jobs; pay offer in QEH dispute.

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A socialist voice in the General Election

Author: 

Editorial

New anti-union laws which would effectively ban large strikes in public services by requiring impossibly high ballot votes for them. A drive to abolish union check-off and facility time. 153 new free schools.

About £50 billion further cuts in the next five years, including £21 billion welfare cuts (according to analysis by the conservative Institute for Fiscal Studies).

A renewed pledge to cut immigration, and maybe, by referendum, to tip Britain out of the European Union and end free movement of people between Europe and Britain.

If, after all they’ve done since 2010, the Tories win in May 2015, they will take it as a mandate for even more uninhibited spite.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Renationalise rail!

Author: 

Colin Foster

Labour’s new shadow transport secretary, Michael Dugher, has signalled a shift towards rail renationalisation.

In an interview with the New Statesman on 19 February, he said: “The public sector will be running sections of our rail network as soon as we can do that”. He added that he was “adamant about putting the whole franchising system, as it stands today, in the bin”.

Labour’s new shadow transport secretary, Michael Dugher, has signalled a shift towards rail renationalisation.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Charlotte Zalens, Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

Cleaners at financial analyst Bloomberg planned to strike from 23-25 February in a continuing struggle over pay and conditions.

The cleaners, members of the IWGB union, won the Living Wage in November last year after strikes and occupations. The cleaners also got the Living Wage updated to the newest rate after threatening to strike earlier this month.

Cleaners' pay strikes; more strikes at Information Commissioner's Office; Tube unions begin pay talks with London Underground; National Gallery strikes; Your Choice Barnet strike.

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