Off The Rails's blog

Sleeper strike going strong

Workers on the Caledonian Sleeper, operated by Serco, are continuing an 11-day strike for improved pay and conditions. Nightly pickets are well supported, and link up with each other via Zoom. We spoke to a striker in Glasgow:




Support for the strike in Glasgow and the rest of Scotland is...

Resist rail job cuts and pay freeze!

The commencement of talks under the aegis of the "Rail Industry Recovery Group" (RIRG), a body convened by the Department for Transport including Network Rail and the Train Operating Committees, has prompted a somewhat varying set of reports.

The Guardian would have us believe that the talks are...

EMR guards to strike throughout the summer

Guards on East Midlands Railway will strike every Sunday from 27 June to 15 August.

Guards in RMT are resisting the imposition of worse contracts, and previously struck in May.

Click here for our previous coverage of the dispute.

Strike on Tyne and Wear!

Workers in both RMT and Unite on the Tyne and Wear Metro will strike from 28-30 June and 1-4 July, with an overtime ban commencing from 5 July.

An RMT statement says: "Last year the cash-rich Stadler outfit secured a £300 million contract to build 42 new Metro trains, rebuild the Gosforth depot...

Caledonian Sleeper Strikes Again

Workers on the Caledonian Sleeper will stage an eleven-day strike from 15 June against the company's threat to impose a pay freeze. With the employer already showing scant regard for staff welfare, the refusal to increase pay during these difficult times adds insult to injury. It is little wonder...

Scotrail Dispute Rolls On

The Scotrail dispute is still going strong, with guards not working Sundays or overtime. But management have not even offered a meeting, let alone a retreat from their scrapping of overtime rates.

Scotrail’s social media posts telling passengers we demand a 50% rise in overtime payments are...

Why do so few union members vote? What can we do about it?

Out of every five RMT members, four did not vote in the recent General Secretary election. Why is this, and what can we do about it?

The problem of low turnout is not confined to RMT. The large public-sector union Unison elected a new General Secretary in January with a turnout of just 9.8%, The...

For a real fight on track worker safety

It's great that RMT is developing a strategy for improving track worker safety. RMT has emailed (see below) to tell us to say it is sending a document about improving lineside safety to top safety people at Network Rail, asking for a meeting to discuss it.

Off the Rails thinks it would be great...

Williams/Shapps Review: more of the same, and worse

Reading the Government’s Williams-Shapps Rail Review is like watching someone say they’re too hot in a jumper and deciding to put on an overcoat. The report slams the inefficient ways the rail industry is organised, especially the ridiculous “delay attribution” industry that results from the...

RMT National President: Let's Talk About the Left Platform

With RMT due to spend the whole year embroiled in national elections, Off The Rails is please to see this move towards discussion of platforms and candidates - a break from the habit of candidates declaring themselves and expecting others to fall in line.

A group of left-wing activists in the...

Continuing the EMT strike!

After a 20 month delay, due to Covid and a change of franchisee, guards on East Midlands Railway will resume their fight against unfair starter contracts and T&C busting rostering with 3 strikes on consecutive Sundays starting on May 16th, the first day of the new timetable.

Reps have paid close...

Stitch up over Merseyrail drivers' pay?

On 13 April the ASLEF Executive Committee met to hear reports from the Merseyrail Drivers' Company Council and the District 3 Full Time Officer Andy Hourigan.

Merseyrail's pay 'offer' to drivers for 2021 was 0% on pay, and a stipulation that any changes to Terms and Conditions negotiated needed...

Anti-Protest Law is Bad News for Rail Workers

The Conservative Government is pushing through a new law, 'The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill', that will restrict our right to protest effectively. It will empower the police to stop 'disruptive' protests, ie. ones that have an impact and get attention. The government is thinking of...

Fight for better pay and conditions!

What is going on with pay in our industry? It seems that the TOCs that make up the Rail Delivery Group, under orders from the DfT, are making a standardised pay offer, something like "0% on pay and any changes to Terms and Conditions must be 'self-financing'".This raises at least a couple of...

Scotrail: Five down, one to go

Scotrail conductors now have five Sundays' action under their belt with one more scheduled. Each as been as solid as as the first, and quality Sunday time has been had by all.

The company has tried a poisonous campaign to portray conductors as harming key workers - apparently ignoring the fact...

Solid start to ScotRail conductors' strikes

The ScotRail conductors’ strike got off to a cracking start yesterday. Solid action saw every train cancelled other than a few DOO trains in the central belt.

Guards are angry that the company has taken away their enhanced pay rates for rest day working, especially as drivers are still being paid...

South Western: DOO Battle Draws to a Close

The dispute over DOO (driver-only operation) on SWR seems to be drawing to a close as the fire that was present at the start has been extinguished in a prime example of what not to do with an active and angry group of workers.

The dispute started way back in August 2017 when management refused to...

Capital Delivery Faces Jobs Cull

Network Rail’s Capital Delivery Eastern has told its staff that up to one third of of jobs are going. So much for ‘Build Back Better’! Everyone is now worried about what's coming our way.

Capital Delivery Eastern is responsible for many big projects such as the current scheme to remodel the track...

Advance Warning of NR's Intentions

A track worker writes ...

Network Rail has circulated a list of aims to 'recover' from the effects of lockdown and Covid 19. We have a big fight coming our way. We will need strong organisation and unity to win it. But although some people will say that means not criticising the union's actions...

Network Rail: resist job cuts!

RMT has announced it plans to move to a national dispute "footing" with Network Rail, after thousands of potential job cuts were announced, as part of cutbacks that involve halving the frequency of safety-critical maintenance work.

Network Rail workers also face an open-ended pay freeze, as do...

Off The Rails, February 2021

Our printable Off The Rails bulletin urges action to break the pay freeze that companies across the industry are trying to impose, and looks at various issues within Network Rail. Download it here.

Network Rail: no backdoor job cuts!

Last year, Network Rail pushed through a costly reorganisation called 'Putting Passengers First'. It created new regional structures, devolved some centralised functions, deleted some job roles and created others. It displaced people, but it did not intend to reduce headcount overall.

But before...

Pay: Network Rail says "Don't get your hopes up!"

We've been told that pay talks for all grades in Network Rail will start in February. But the company has set the tone by emailing us to say that the TOCs are freezing pay and money is tight.

The pay rise for ops and maintenance was due in January, so Network Rail has already dragged its heels...

Network Rail: do black workers matter?

Network Rail has just published its ethnicity pay gap report for 2020. The results are a bit better than Network Rail's first report last year but still show big problems.

The ethnicity pay gap is the difference in the average hourly rate of pay for workers from black and ethnic minorities...

Happy New Year?

The Network Rail Chief Executive's New Year's message to staff was a warning about financial challenges facing the industry, rail reform and uncertain times ahead.

January 2021 is also the first time that Network Rail employees are no longer covered by a No Compulsory Redundancies Agreement. As...

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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