Off The Rails's blog

Northern: ASLEF Reps Carry On Capitulating

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...

Stay on guard in SWR dispute!

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...

Merseyrail strikes off, but SWR strikes go ahead

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...

EMT strikes continue

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...

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

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...

Condolences and solidarity: track workers killed by train

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...

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

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...

Network Rail: A Dismal Deal

RMT has accepted the lousy offer from Network Rail, as the majority of reps went along with the leadership's line that it was all that could be achieved for now, and that the union could break an offer it had signed up to at a later stage.

So Network Rail workers are now saddled with an RPI-only...

New SWR strikes up the ante

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...

Network Rail Workers: Reject this Shabby 'Deal'!

The new issue of Off The Rails is attached.

With RMT's Executive recommending a settlement that scraps important working conditions in return for an inflation-only pay rise, Off The Rails urges rank-and-file reps and activists to fight back.

Network Rail: Waiting for Good Dough

(Apologies to Samuel Beckett and Consolidated)

A Network Rail track worker writes ...

Here we are again, just like last the last pay claim. Leave it long enough and pretend that the final offer is somehow a great achievement.

Just to remind everybody, not one of the original demands in our...

Ticket Offices saved!

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...

The Sound of Silence

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...

Paddington Aslef says: love socialism, hate Brexit

Paddington Aslef branch, organising Great Western Railway drivers, has passed the following motion on Brexit:

Paddington Branch notes that since the UK voted to leave the European Union, none of the promises made by the Leave Campaign have been delivered. Rather than having £350 million a week to...

RMT AGM: support these motions!

Supporters of Off The Rails, a platform for rank-and-file rail workers published by Workers' Liberty, have proposed and supported a number of motions in their RMT branches, for submission to the RMT AGM. These include motions on:

  • RMT officers' pay - Bakerloo branch
  • The "Free Our Unions" campaign...
  • Merseyrail: no backing down

    Merseyrail still seem intent on making a deal that robs one group of workers to pay another, by cutting cleaners' jobs to retain guards' jobs. A second deal of this type was rejected by the RMT National Executive today (5 April). The deal also wanted to shift some door control functions to the...

    How guards keep trains safe

    A recently published Rail Accident Investigation Board report has again highlighted the important safety function played by the Guard. On 2nd March 2018 trains on the Kent suburban lines running through Lewisham ground to a halt in the icy conditions caused by the “Beast from the East”. One train...

    All Quiet on the South Western Front?

    A South Western Railway commercial guard writes:

    Since it told us about the deal, the union has told us nothing about what has been happening since. Guards are getting annoyed that we don't know what is happening in the talks.

    Although we are pleased that the deal between RMT and the company...

    Another win for rail workers

    Workers on South Western Railway (SWR) have struck another huge blow against Driver Only Operation, winning an agreement that a safety-critical guard will be retained on all SWR services.

    Guards in the RMT had recently returned a resounding 84% majority in favour of further strikes, in a re...

    Will Northern try to buy off drivers to undermine guards' victory?

    The breakthrough in the anti-DOO dispute is a cause for celebration, but some caution must also be exercised. No formal settlement has yet been reached, and the "other stakeholders" referred to in Acas chair Brendan Barber's letter to RMT General Secretary Mick Cash must be drivers' union Aslef....

    After Northern victory: don't let the bosses divide us!

    Off the Rails has been covering the recent developments in RMT's dispute with Arriva Rail North, operators of Northern Railway over the company's plan to introduce Driver Only Operation.

    In a letter from Acas chair Brendan Barber, RMT were informed that the company and Department for Transport...

    Northern workers win!

    After nearly 50 days of strikes, Northern guards have forced their employer, Arriva Rail North (ARN), to scrap a plan to impose "Driver Only Operation" (DOO). ARN has instead committed to maintain a conductor on every Northern train, including on services using new or newly modified rolling stock....

    Off The Rails bulletin - February 2019

    We've collated a few recent items from our blog into a printed bulletin, for distribution at workplaces.

    Look out for it in a mess room near you!

    Click here to download the PDF.

    Govia Thameslink Railway: a view from the frontline

    The DOO strikes on Southern have been over for a while now. The next big battle will be over proposed cuts to platform dispatch jobs, which are likely to be targeted on Brighton mainline stations. Lots of managers have been trained as "contingency" dispatch staff in the event of a strike. But as...

    Rail workers’ picket line attacked by far right

    On 5 January an RMT picket line of striking Northern guards in Manchester was attacked by far-right thugs connected to the Democratic Football Lads Alliance and the rump English Defence League. It seems the attack may have been an opportunistic action by far-right activists mobilised for a demo of...

    Drivers: don't sell your conditions!

    Rumours reach us that certain TOCs may be preparing offers to their drivers, via Aslef, aimed at heading off the possibility of united action against DOO.

    These offers may include the promise of a substantial pay rise, in exchange for effectively selling conditions: that means concessions on DOO...

    An open letter to fellow ASLEF drivers: which side are we on?

    To download the article below as an A4 bulletin, click here.


    “It has long been the tradition in ASLEF to respect picket lines whether they are our own or those of fellow trade unionists.” - ASLEF  members’ diary

    TIME TO MAKE THIS A REALITY!

    Dear Driver,

    I am writing to you, as a fellow...

    Aslef sells out on Southern: fight against DOO must go on

    As guards, and RMT drivers, at five Train Operating Companies (TOCs) strike again on 8-9 November to resist the imposition of Driver Only Operation (DOO), rail workers have received the demoralising news that Aslef members on Southern have voted by 79.1% to accept a deal that will see Aslef retreat...

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