Off The Rails's blog

Not all in it together: SSP lays off workers

Submitted by Off The Rails on Mon, 30/03/2020 - 16:51

In another episode that proves we're not "all in it together" during the pandemic, and that bosses are definitely not suspending class struggle from their side, Select Service Partners (the agency that provides workers for fast food and coffee concessions, and some other shops, at train stations) has laid off its workers, and says it wont pay them until the government's Job Retention Scheme is implemented. The workers were given just a single day's notice.

Greater Anglia Goes on the Attack

Submitted by Off The Rails on Fri, 06/03/2020 - 11:12

Greater Anglia management are systematically naffing off pretty much everyone who works for them.

The company has imposed new rosters for RPIs where everyone works alone all the time.

It has imposed a roster for train despatchers at Liverpool Street which breaks up the previous practice of working a fixed group of platforms and instead makes us work on different platforms on each day, with different train stock and different signalling set-ups.

And the company suddenly expects platform staff at Shenfield to work nights having previously not done so.

Unsafe? Down tools!

Submitted by Off The Rails on Thu, 19/12/2019 - 20:10
Tweet in solidarity with platform staff

What do you do if you've had enough of abuse and assault, and if your employer doesn't seem to give a monkey's? You stop working, that's what.

When the destination boards went down at Manchester Victoria, and control were not passing on any information to platform staff about which train was going from which platform, passengers got understandably distressed. It didn't help that the platforms were overcrowded and all the lifts out of aciton.

Close to victory on WMT?

Submitted by Off The Rails on Sun, 08/12/2019 - 16:04

Strikes due to continue on West Midlands Trains (which operates as West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway) every Saturday throughout December have been suspended, and RMT is putting a new deal to a referendum of its members, with a recommendation from the NEC to accept.

DOO resisted on Merseyrail, but the fight isn't over

Submitted by Off The Rails on Wed, 16/10/2019 - 20:15

RMT is announcing a "major breakthrough" on Merseyrail, after negotiations produced a new offer including a method of train dispatch which retains control of the doors for the guard, in line with RMT policy.

The union says the "fine detail" still needs working out, but the fact that it has suspended the strikes it planned for every Saturday through November and December is a pretty conclusive signal that the RMT NEC believes the dispute is now reaching its endgame.

Northern: New Deal for Drivers Hits the Buffers

Submitted by Off The Rails on Wed, 09/10/2019 - 17:02

Rumours reach us that Northern's unpopular New Deal for Drivers (NDfD) is dead. We hope that's true. Time for the Northern drivers' Company Council to get into pay talks, reject the derisory 2.75% offer that the other unions look set to knock back and rejoin the collective bargaining process to help win a better offer via dispute. ASLEF can get better pay for its members the right way, by working with the other unions to win a better settlement. Now is the time to have the pay dispute that we should have followed through in 2014/15.

Action for Accessibility - not Victimisations!

Submitted by Off The Rails on Tue, 08/10/2019 - 20:44

The railway system is notoriously and shamefully inaccessible to disabled passengers. And while painfully slow progress is made with physical accessibility, the employers' cuts to staffing make it harder for us to help disabled passengers. Moreover, the companies provide precious little training for staff, in particular in the less familiar needs of disabled passengers who might, for example, have neurological conditions, chronic health problems, or sensory issues.

Northern guards: put the action back on!

Submitted by Off The Rails on Wed, 02/10/2019 - 22:39

Word has it that Northern Rail management have come up with a spiffing new idea for undermining the role of guard, and seem to think that we may be daft enough not to see through it.

It goes like this. The train pulls in to the station. The driver opens the doors. The guards steps onto the platform. When the PTI is clear, the guard presses the buzzer to tell the driver that it is safe to close the doors. The driver closes the doors.

Public Ownership Not 'Regional Control'!

Submitted by Off The Rails on Wed, 18/09/2019 - 11:01

Be careful Boris Johnson, you almost sound like you're advocating the public ownership of Britain's railways. The PM's policy announcement at the weekend was focused on giving more power to Mayors in the North of England to make decisions about how local railways are operated. Boris said, 'I want communities to take control'. He said this might mean, 'transferring local branch line and rural services to community rail partnerships, owned by local people.”

Northern: ASLEF Reps Carry On Capitulating

Submitted by Off The Rails on Tue, 17/09/2019 - 18:39

Another Rest Day Working extension expires at Northern, and yet another one is granted until 28th December.

What the hell are ASLEF playing at? They have the employer over a barrel, absolutely desperate to get all Drivers through training on the new 331 and 195 units in time for them to be introduced more widely with the December timetable change. But once again our ‘union’ has let a contender for the title of Worst Rail Operator Ever off the hook for no reason any of its members can fathom.

Stay on guard in SWR dispute!

Submitted by Off The Rails on Mon, 02/09/2019 - 12:49

Congratulations to RMT members on South Western Railway who have taken strike action again this weekend to defend the role of the guard.

At the start of 2019 it looked like strike action was reaping rewards when South Western Railway said that they would guarantee a second safety critical person on each train. RMT suspended strike action to allow talks to progress. But without the pressure of strikes, progress stalled; after a few months, the guards were back on strike.

Merseyrail strikes off, but SWR strikes go ahead

Submitted by Off The Rails on Thu, 29/08/2019 - 22:02

Guards on South Western Railway are striking again from 30 August – 2 September, as their fight against the imposition of Driver Only Operation (DOO) goes on. Company figures expected that 40% of services would be cancelled on Friday 30 August and Monday 2 September, with up to 50% of services cancelled at the weekend. Union activists believe these figures could be conservative.

EMT strikes continue

Submitted by Off The Rails on Fri, 02/08/2019 - 15:47

Striking guards at East Midlands Trains, soon to be East Midlands Railway, will be striking for a 3rd successive Saturday tomorrow. The past two actions have been well supported; EMT can only operate a much reduced service by drafting in its own and other companies’ managers to operate the train doors and perform platform duties.

Two workmates die in South Wales: Why is track working not safe?

Submitted by Off The Rails on Sat, 13/07/2019 - 23:34

The deaths of two track workers near Port Talbot on 3 July was a tragedy that could possibly have been avoided.  Initial reports are that the two workers were using loud equipment and relying on a touch lookout – someone who would tap them to warn them of approaching trains. Exactly why that didn’t happen is not likely to be clear for several months until the Rail Accident Investigation Board publish their report.  Some of the lessons to be learned are probably ones that could have been learnt already though.

Condolences and solidarity: track workers killed by train

Submitted by Off The Rails on Wed, 03/07/2019 - 11:31

Here at Off The Rails, we are deeply distressed at the news that two rail workers have died after being hit by a train between Bridgend and Port Talbot. We send our very best wishes to the third worker who was struck by the train, and our condolences and solidarity to the loved ones and workmates of all three.

The RAIB has already opened its investigation. We need answers as to why, in the high-tech twenty-first century, the railway is still such a dangerous industry to work in.

Northern Rail drivers: Vote No to the 'New Deal'!

Submitted by Off The Rails on Tue, 25/06/2019 - 22:19

In the ASLEF rulebook, rule 2 (a) states: "ASLEF is a registered trade union, it is part of the Labour and Trade Union Movement...". Rules 3.1 (VIII and XII) commit the union to assist in the furtherance of the labour movement towards a socialist society, and recognise that trade unionism is international and that the union should pursue solidarity with workers globally. Rule 3.3 provides for ASLEF aiding or joining with other organisations that have "within their objects the promotion of the interests of workers".

New SWR strikes up the ante

Submitted by Off The Rails on Fri, 31/05/2019 - 15:27

RMT has upped the ante in the dispute against DOO on South Western Railway, by announcing a five-day strike from 18-22 June.

Despite winning what appeared to be a "guard guarantee" in February via previous strikes, SWR bosses have dithered and have failed to implement an agreement to retain guards' jobs. Naming new strikes is absolutely the right thing to do, and it's absolutely right to go big. Incidental one-day strikes won't get the goods: sustained action might.

Ticket Offices saved!

Submitted by Off The Rails on Sat, 20/04/2019 - 14:45
Campaigners at Hackney Downs station

Great news this week as Transport for London has backed down on plans to close London Overground ticket offices.

This follows an active campaign by RMT, and by local Labour Party branches in the areas affected. Reps and activists handed out thousands of leaflets, travelled round the various stations affected and made themselves seen and heard. They made the case that ticket offices are essential for people to safely access the network and for protecting jobs.

The Sound of Silence

Submitted by Off The Rails on Tue, 16/04/2019 - 22:14

Ever since RMT announced its positive-sounding deals with various Train Operating Companies (TOCs), Off The Rails has argued that it is essential that the union keep members informed of what is going on in talks. We have also reported the frustration of members in the various companies involved that they are not getting reports from talks.

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