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: 

Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

July has seen a number of interesting and potentially important developments in the ongoing dispute between rail unions and the Train Operating Companies (TOCs) and the government over Driver Only Operation (DOO).

DOO fight spreads; staff cuts put passengers at risk; reinstate the Picturehouse Four!; uncertainty at Forest Hill; Barts workers strike again.

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Railworkers fighting for our safety

Author: 

Joe Booth

On July 20 2017 Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) organised a demonstration outside the Department for Transport, London.

The demo was also attended by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT). Activists handed in a 4,000 signature petition for the return of train guards who are being got rid of by management – for disabled’s and passenger’s rights and lives.

Disabled activists protest against train guards being removed from trains.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Simon Marks, Ken Worthington, Ollie Moore, Simon Nelson and Gemma Short

A primary school in Sheffield is to become the first to get rid of all its teaching assistants. As part of a cost-cutting restructure, unions claim the school is planning on sacking its nine teaching assistants.

Sheefield primary scraps all teaching assistants; London hospital outsourced workers fight low pay; Kirkleees social workers strike; Durham teaching assistants reject deal; train drivers support guards’ strike; Tube workers strike for permanent jobs; defend the Picturehouse Four!; Mike Ashley drinks and vomits while workers suffer; teachers’ pay still frozen.

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Stop these Stalinist threats

This picture was taken at Durham Miners’ Gala on 8 July. In the picture, (originally posted on Facebook) the person on the left is George Waterhouse, RMT activist and prominent member of the Communist Party of Britain. The person on the right is Alex Halligan, a prominent Salford Labour Party activist.

A small but vocal Stalinist scene has developed in the Labour left — and is tolerated and even encouraged by non-Stalinists prominent in Momentum, because it is convenient to have people around who will energetically attack left-wingers.

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Disabled Activists' Strike Solidarity

Disabled activists will be joining picket lines tomorrow morning to support all three strikes against driver-only operation (DOO).

The companies' threat to remove guards is not just a threat to our jobs - for many disabled people, it threatens their right to travel on the railway at all. Many of us had helped disabled passengers access the train service, have intervened to stop harassment of disabled passengers, or - more ominously - have dealt with the fallout when the lack of a guard has left disabled passengers stranded and distressed.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

As Solidarity goes to press, the annual general meeting of the National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers (RMT) is debating a series of motions at its annual general meeting on its relationship with the Labour Party. The RMT, whose predecessor union helped found Labour, effectively had its affiliation cancelled by the New Labour leadership in 2004, after the RMT leadership refused to censure Scottish branches which wanted to back candidates of the Scottish Socialist Party, then an active and growing force.

Will the RMT reaffiliate to Labour?; RMT votes against free movement; defend the Picturehouse four!; Lewisham council shames Labour; outsourcing round-up; Unison conference wakes up.

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New strikes in war against DOO

RMT members on Southern, Northern, and MerseyRail will strike again in July, as the fight to stop "Driver Only Operation" (DOO) continues.

Southern workers will strike on 10 July, Northern workers on 8-10 July, and MerseyRail on 8, 10, and 23 July.

Activists in the Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) campaign are working with RMT to organise picket line support. Demonstrations in support of the strikes, highlighting the vital role of the guard in ensuring safe and accessible trains, are planned in several cities.

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