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).

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Grenfell Fire: Never Again!

This is a joint blog post from Tubeworker and Off The Rails.


The working-class people killed in the Grenfell Fire were killed because they were working-class. They were killed for being working-class — and, many of them, for being people of colour, and/or from migrant backgrounds — and not being able to afford better quality housing, or to afford legal representation to challenge the negligence of their landlords that tenants' groups had called out for years.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trade Unions: 

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens, Peggy Carter and Gemma Short

On 16 June over 100 people attended a short-notice demonstration called at Brixton’s Ritzy cinema, in protest at the sacking of three trade union reps. Three reps for the Bectu union at the Ritzy were sacked for failing to report to management the contents of an email sent from a Bectu branch email address to members’ private emails, which mentioned actions that community supporters of cinema workers’ strikes planned to undertake. One other rep remains suspended and awaiting disciplinary.

Defend sacked cinema reps; Tube workers held back by the anti-union laws; fight at Forest Hill School continues; BA blacklisting workers; UoL security guards strike; Southern overtime ban; Unite sacks Coyne.

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short and Peggy Carter

Cleaners at the London School of Economics are celebrating a victory. They will be brought in-house and become employees of LSE from Spring 2018.

Victory for cleaners’ strike; beating the anti-union laws on the Tube; cabin crew strike again; Manchester Met strikes.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

RMT branches call for Labour reaffiliation

Following Labour's surge in the general election, several branches of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers union (RMT) have called for the union to reaffiliate to the party, in emergency motions to the union's AGM.

RMT, whose predecessor union helped found Labour, had its affiliation effectively severed in 2004 after the national union refused to prevent its Scottish branches backing candidates of the Scottish Socialist Party.

Following Labour's surge in the general election, two branches of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers union (RMT) have called for the union to reaffiliate to the party, in emergency motions to the union's AGM.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

Cinema workers at East Dulwich Picturehouse in south London will strike on Saturday 27 May to coincide with the opening of the new Pirates of the Caribbean film. Workers at the other cinemas involved in the dispute have just voted for further strikes, and will be on strike on 3-4 June to coincide with the Sundance Film Festival, which Picturehouse hosts.

Cinema workers protest at Cineworld AGM; Argos warehouse workers strike; students support lecturers’ strike; train companies threaten striking guards; LSE threatens cleaners; school strikes suspended.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Bob Crow: an unapologetic socialist

Author: 

Janine Booth

Janine Booth reviews Bob Crow: socialist, leader, fighter — A political biography, by Gregor Gall (Manchester University Press)


As the first book about Bob Crow published since his untimely death three years ago, Gregor Gall’s political biography of Crow provides us with an opportunity to review his life and his time in the railworkers’ union NUR and its successor RMT, to highlight the key reasons for his effectiveness and impact, and to examine the limits of those.

A review of Bob Crow: socialist, leader, fighter — A political biography, by Gregor Gall (Manchester University Press).

Culture and Reviews: 

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

RMT members on Northern rail struck again on 28 April. The strike was every bit as solid as the previous two days’ action, reducing the company’s service to 40% of its usual level, with scab labour being provided by managers.

The union is yet to announce its next move. It will need to think carefully about what to do next, taking into account the various different situations at different Train Operating Companies around the country.

Drivers crucial to DOO fight; teachers turn up heat on council; RMT protests at sweatshop hotel; Picturehouse can afford to pay!; Tube news round-up.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

The fight against DOO goes on. RMT must spread the fight

The government is driving the industry push for DOO and the companies are all chiefly motivated by money. If we fight hard enough, they will have no choice but to go back to the DfT and beg to be let off the hook. The DfT are a hard place - rail workers must be the rock with the TOCs caught in between!
NO DOO! NO DCO! NO COMPROMISE!

Trade Unions: 

Pages