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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Southern drivers reject sell-out: back to the picket lines!

The votes are in, and Aslef drivers on Southern have delivered a resounding "no thanks" to their leaders' sell-out deal, blowing the dispute against Driver Only Operation wide open again.

The scores on the doors were 54.1% against the deal and 45.9% for it, on a high turnout of 72.7%.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Dale Street, Martin Corby and Neil Laker

Ten employees of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) were sacked with immediate effect on Thursday 9 February by email — whilst they were on strike! They were told to come into work the next day to clear their desks.

Sacked while on strike; university threatens campus closure; mass Job Centre closures; DOO fight at Northern.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Ollie Moore, Peggy Carter and Simon Nelson

Workers at four Picturehouse branches in London will strike on Saturday 11 February. A new ballot including two new sites — Picturehouse Central and Crouch End Picturehouse — returned a 95% yes vote on a 75% turn out.

The Bectu section of Prospect, the Picturehouse workers′ union, had already balloted in January, but the ballot was challenged by bosses on a legal technicality. Individual workers have also been threatened with legal action over unfounded claims of intimidation and secondary picketing.

Picturehouse workers to strike; Tube staff win concessions; LSE cleaners fight victimisation; Southern: reject this sell out; public support for Derby TAs; Kinsley Three sacked.

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Southern drivers: reject this sell-out!

This is the text of a special bulletin produced by supporters of Off The Rails

, a platform for rank-and-file rail workers, urging ASLEF drivers on Southern to vote to reject the deal aimed at settling the dispute over "Driver Only Operation" (DOO).

To download a PDF copy of the bulletin for distribution, click here.


The settlement that has come out of the talks between ASLEF and Southern at the TUC represents possibly the worst sell out of workers in recent memory.

Trade Unions: 

Network Rail pay: a no-score draw

A track worker writes ...

RMT has accepted Network Rail's pay offer. It looks good on paper, but it's an award without a fight.

It's an inflation-proof settlement with the no redundancy clause extended for another two years (the duration of the deal).

It seems that the union has grabbed this with both hands as a way of avoiding a prolonged period of conflict with no confidence they would win. At work, people talk about Southern Rail as an example of a dispute that has dragged on.

Trade Unions: 

On Guard - 17/01/2017: Solid united strikes lead to talks

Author: 

On Guard

The first issue of a socialist bulletin for Northern workers in Sheffield, published by Workers' Liberty.

Read online here.

The first issue of a socialist bulletin for Northern rail workers, published by Workers' Liberty.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ralph Peters, Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens, Peggy Carter and Gemma Short

Teaching assistants in Derby held a rally, march and picket of the Derby Council meeting on 25 January. 400 TAs surrounded the Council House prior to the Council meeting. As previously reported in Solidarity, TAs are fighting a pay cut that for some is as high as 30% and a complete rewriting of their contract.

Derby TAs confront Labour; Tube station staff strike for jobs; Tube drivers strike; Southern dispute continues; ferry workers strike for safety; BA cabin crew set more strikes; King’s cleaners strike for jobs.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Union branch motions defending free movement

Author: 

AWL Tube workers

Two RMT branches, Bakerloo Line and Finsbury Park, have recently passed this motion in defence of free movement, and calling for solidarity with refugees and migrants.

The motion also calls for RMT-backed MPs to vote against any Brexit deal that restricts immigration and attacks workers' rights.

The issue is contentious within the union, which was the most prominent labour-movement voice calling for a "leave" vote in the EU referendum.

The motion is slated for debate at the union's AGM in June.


This branch notes:

Two RMT branches, Bakerloo Line and Finsbury Park, have recently passed this motion in defence of free movement, and calling for solidarity with refugees and migrants.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens, Peggy Carter, Michael Elms and Gemma Short

Tube workers’ union RMT has announced its members on stations will strike again from 6 February unless London Underground bosses meet its demands for an increased staffing level. The company’s latest proposal is to reinstate 250 of the jobs it cut under the “Fit for the Future” programme, but RMT has rejected the offer as insufficient.

Tube workers plan further strikes; Tories backing Southern’s war; Derby teaching assistants fight 25% pay cut; Picturehouse cinema strike solidarity; BA cabin crew strike again; teachers fight unfair scrutiny; Kings cleaners’ strike ballot.

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