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, Darren Bedford, Charlotte Zalens, Dale Street, Peggy Carter and Ollie Moore

Hundreds of Derby teaching assistants and their supporters protested outside Parliament on Wednesday 14 September. The lobby of Parliament was part of a strike by teaching assistants in their fight to against the council changing their working week, resulting in a 25% loss of pay.

Strikes in August finally brought the council to the negotiating table, but their offers since have been so miserly that workers have rejected them by large majorities. The council has also attempted to make divisive offers that would benefit only a section of the workforce.

Derby teaching assistants fight 25% pay cut; Manchester to sack all firefighters; Tube drivers’ strike solid; bosses cut benefits to meet minimum wage; Bromley libraries; Post office workers strike.

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For a national rail strike

Author: 

Ollie Moore

Recent and ongoing disputes across several train companies represent the most significant levels of workers’ struggle in the railway industry for some time.

Southern

As Solidarity goes to press, guards in the RMT are preparing to strike again, on 7-8 September, to defend the safety-critical nature of their role, in a long-running dispute that has already seen several strikes.

Recent and ongoing disputes across several train companies represent the most significant levels of workers’ struggle in the railway industry for some time.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Bring back industrial correspondents

Author: 

Daniel Randall

“It is that time again — when bickering between Tube bosses and union kingpins bring the London Underground to a juddering halt, and the streets of the city resemble a termite mound that has been poked with a big stick.”

So began a BBC online article, by Ed Davey, which promised readers the “facts to know” about strikes on London Underground in the summer of 2015. These facts included such things as: “New York’s subway has run all night since it opened... in 1904”, and “Tube drivers are happy and wealthy, statistics suggest”.

Bringing back industrial correspondents wouldn’t guarantee coverage that was sympathetic to strikes, but it would make the terrain of industrial relations, the actual activity of, and relations between, employers and employed, an aspect of mass media discourse, rather than a subsuming it into coverage merely about “business”.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short and Ollie Moore

A recent survey of workers at Lambeth Council, south London, conducted by the Unison union uncovered high levels overwork, stress and anxiety among staff, following years of job cuts. The survey found that 56% of staff do not feel that they can continue at the council unless workloads improve.

Lambeth Council stress survey; Southern Rail strikes restart; Tube and London bus drivers strike; courier strikes defeat low pay bosses.

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Towards a national rail strike, and a labour-movement campaign for public ownership

This article was written before the recent suspension of the strikes on Southern. For comment on that, click here.


By a rail worker

Recent and ongoing disputes across several train companies represent the most significant levels of workers' struggle in the railway industry for some time.

Southern

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Southern Strikes Suspended: Don't Let The Bosses Off The Ropes!

The RMT has suspended the rest of this week's strikes on Southern. Many striking guards will have received that news, which came after a day which saw a solid strike and well-supported pickets across the Southern network, as well as a lively demonstration at the Department for Transport, with disappointment and frustration. To many, it will feel like letting the bosses get their breath back at exactly the moment we had them on the ropes!

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

Members of the RMT union on Southern Rail have struck again, this time for five days, as they continue their battle to defend the role of the guard. Southern, which is owned by Govia Thameslink Railway, a train company which operates other services, including Gatwick Express, wants to de-skill the guard's role, meaning the safety-critical on-board tasks would be carried out by the driver only.

Southern: labour war continues; job cuts on East Coast; how not to save jobs; Derby teaching assistants fight on.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Dennis Brian, Luke Hardy and Gemma Short

On Wednesday 20th July, library workers in Lewisham took their third strike day to defend our libraries. In the evening the workers, service users and community activists held a lively lobby of Lewisham council.

The council wants to make £1 million of cuts to the library service. They propose taking staff from four libraries, hoping that local voluntary organisations will take over the running of these libraries.
This would leave only three full libraries open in the borough.

Fight to save libraries spreads; Leeds bus workers win pay deal; striking cleaners win London living wage; keep the guard on the train!

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