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). Some of the good things about this fantasy union could be put in place by changes in rules and ways of...

Metroline bus ballot closes 9 April

A ballot of over 4,000 London bus drivers working for Metroline is continuing. The vote is due to close on 9 April. The dispute centres on the company’s plan to impose a remote sign-on system, which the workers’ union, Unite, says could lead to pay cuts and decreased safety. Meanwhile, drivers working for London United, a subsidiary of French firm RATP, struck again on 17 March, in a dispute over pay and conditions. However, planned strikes of drivers at Quality Line and London Sovereign, also RATP subsidiaries, were called off as Unite began a referendum on the employers’ latest offer. Should...

"A union General Secretary shouldn’t be like a corporate CEO"

John Leach, a candidate for general secretary of the rail and transport union RMT, spoke to Solidarity. The ballot is underway and closes on 4 May 2021. Why are you running for General Secretary? I stood in this election for two reasons. One, I knew that the union needed a candidate with the qualities I've got. Might sound egotistical but then I am running in this election to win. You need experience, character, and capacity to get things done. And often candidates say this, but I was also asked to run by reps and activists across the union. The RMT is often billed as a “left wing fighting...

ASLEF votes for Tube strike

London Underground drivers in the Aslef union have voted by a 97.3% majority for industrial action to protect terms and conditions. With Tube funding, heavily reliant on fares, having collapsed due to the pandemic, workers expect bosses to attack conditions such as pensions as part of a commitment to the Tory government, which has given TfL a series of bailouts, to return to being “self-financing” by 2023. Although no specific cuts have been announced, two TfL reports have explicitly called for pension reform. RMT, TSSA, and Unite, the other three unions organising on London Underground, have...

Defend Gary Carney

Gary Carney booked off sick after vomiting at work. For most people, this would be a cause for compassion. For LUL management, it's a reason to sack him.

The company's pretext is that he avoided a Drugs and Alcohol test - but as we all know, when you are summoned to your manager's office for a...

Bring Tube cleaning in house!

RMT and the TUC in London and the South East have teamed up produced an extremely useful briefing, setting out the case for Tube cleaning to be brought in house.

The contract, currently held by ABM, is up for renewal next year. RMT is pressuring Sadiq Khan’s Labour administration to bring the...

Workers, trade unions and climate politics

Calvin Lawson - an RMT rep in Newcastle, part of the RMT Environmental Action Group, and co-lead on trade union strategy for Labour for a Green New Deal - spoke to Solidarity. Our trade union group within Labour for a Green New Deal is working with local groups to establish union link officers who can connect with trades councils, union branches and so on to support workers’ struggles but also take up environmental questions. We’ve organised some roadshows to encourage discussion and engagement, for instance in the North East where I’m based and working with Unison in the Manchester area. That...

Vote John Leach #1 for RMT General Secretary!

If you are an RMT member, you will soon be receiving a voting paper for the election of a new General Secretary (GS).

You have the choice of four candidates, and Tubeworker recommends that you vote for John Leach, who is currently our Regional Organiser and has been nominated by seven of our...

Off The Rails February 2021

The latest edition of Off the Rails, a zine for mainline railway workers, featuring material collated from the Off the Rails blog. Click here to download the PDF.

Rail unions must mobilise to resist Tories' pay freeze!

Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris has written to Train Operating Company (TOC) bosses to tell them there is "no budget" for any further subsidies to increase workers' pay.

TOCs are private companies and can set their own pay policy, but this is as close to an imposition of a pay freeze on...

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