Off The Rails's blog

Southern drivers reject sell-out: back to the picket lines!

The votes are in, and Aslef drivers on Southern have delivered a resounding "no thanks" to their leaders' sell-out deal, blowing the dispute against Driver Only Operation wide open again.

The scores on the doors were 54.1% against the deal and 45.9% for it, on a high turnout of 72.7%.

The...

Southern Drivers Set to Reject ASLEF Sell-out

We seem to be well on course for Southern ASLEF members to vote overwhelmingly to reject the DOO sell-out. The feeling in the depots is that the deal contains nothing new that GTR weren't offering before the strikes.

Tuesday's joint branches meeting was very opposed to the deal. The only defence...

Arriva Rail North: traincrew gear up to keep the guard on the train

On a late gloomy Monday evening in February something happened in Leeds, something unprecedented. The RMT Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Regional Council had the week prior made a decision to begin to mobilise its Arriva Rail North Guard and Driver members for the fight ahead, the fight against Driver...

Southern drivers: reject this sell-out!

This is the text of a special bulletin produced by supporters of Off The Rails, a platform for rank-and-file rail workers, urging ASLEF drivers on Southern to vote to reject the deal aimed at settling the dispute over "Driver Only Operation" (DOO).

To download a PDF copy of the bulletin for...

Network Rail pay: a no-score draw

A track worker writes ...

RMT has accepted Network Rail's pay offer. It looks good on paper, but it's an award without a fight.

It's an inflation-proof settlement with the no redundancy clause extended for another two years (the duration of the deal).

It seems that the union has grabbed...

Support Crossrail construction workers' strike!

Workers at the Crossrail construction site on Tottenham Court Road, Central London, are striking in protest at the forced displacement of Terry Wilson, their site steward, to a different workplace.

Terry was transferred after 200 workers protested at Crossrail's headquarters to demand increased...

Southern: This Is War

In the history of workers' struggles in the early 20th century, and occasionally since, the term "labour war" has been used to describe an industrial dispute that reaches an almost military pitch. Such disputes saw workers mount armed pickets, to defend their strikes against the police, right-wing...

New strikes on Southern

RMT has announced further strikes on Southern, on 7-8 September, involving both guards, who are resisting the introduction of Driver Only Operation, and station staff, who are fighting against ticket office closures and the de-skilling of their role.

When the union suspended the last set of...

Southern Strikes Suspended: Don't Let The Bosses Off The Ropes!

The RMT has suspended the rest of this week's strikes on Southern. Many striking guards will have received that news, which came after a day which saw a solid strike and well-supported pickets across the Southern network, as well as a lively demonstration at the Department for Transport, with...

"We don't just sell tickets"

Workers at Southern struck again on 21 June, in their dispute against "Driver Only Operation" (DOO). One of the strikers spoke to Off The Rails.

Off The Rails is a platform for rank-and-file rail workers. Check out the Off The Rails Facebook page here.


What is your dispute about?

It’s...

East Midlands Trains: reverse Sunday working deal!

An EMT driver reports...

In April 2016, after seven months of talks, East Midlands Trains (EMT) proposed a deal to its drivers that would guarantee a Sunday service.

Presently, and for many years previously, drivers have not had to work on Sundays. A lot of us are induced to work, in the main...

DOO, Northern, the DfT and the Danger Ahead

The Northern Exposer reports:

Staff at Northern are just settling into a new era under the control of German national rail operator, Deutsche Bahn. The franchise changed hands on April 1st, aptly enough April Fool’s Day.

The regime started much as the last one ended, with spin and propaganda...

Northern Rail: No DOO, No Compromise!

We have been reporting for some time on moves within the UK rail industry, supported by the Department for Transport, to move most or all passenger trains to Driver Only Operation (DOO). Where DOO is in operation it means trains can enter service with only one member of staff - the train driver - on...

The Problem Is Privatisation

The news that the London Overground franchise will be transferred to Arriva will undoubtedly be met with indifference by many workers, who will rightly see it as a case of "meet the new boss, same as the old boss".

Despite being run under the TfL aegis, London Overground was already privatised...

Breaking the Blockade

Signallers are refusing to go along with unsafe blockades. 

Time was that trackside gangs could talk directly with the signal box and organise the protection they need. But these days, unless there is a failure, they have to go through the planners. So if the planners get it wrong, there is a...

Whose industry is it, Mr. Wilkinson?

A DfT official has been forced into an apology after making derogatory remarks about train drivers at a public meeting in Croydon.

Peter Wilkinson, the director of Rail Passenger Services, told the audience that those of us who planned to resist cuts and attacks on our terms and conditions could...

Transport for London faces further funding cuts

This post was written by a support of our sister blog Tubeworker, a blog and bulletin for London Underground workers, by London Underground workers.




Between 2010 and 2015, the Tories cut government funding to TfL by over a third. In November last year, they announced that from 2016 they would...

GTR Southern: Defend the Role of the Guard!

As it prepares to get rid of guards, GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway) Southern wants its trains to have cameras on their sides and CCTV in the driving cabs for drivers.

These trains would have an on-board supervisor (OBS). But this post will not operate the doors or hold a safety-critical licence...

Rail workers: fight the pensions sell out!

Off The Rails readers may be aware of the legislation coming into force this April that ends the contracting-out of the Second State Pension, resulting in higher National Insurance contributions for both employees (a 1.4% increase) and employers (3.4%). The Tory government has also passed some...

On The Gravy Train

Former Tory government minister Esther McVey has been appointed chair of the British Transport Police Authority by her former colleague, Transport Minister Patrick McLaughlin. The part-time £32,000 per year job entails just 60 days work each year and comes with a £35,000 expense account.

The...

"The Polished Turd"?

Off The Rails readers may remember our report in the last couple of years on accessibility issues with Class 142/144 "Pacer" trains operated by Northern Rail, among other TOCs.

These aging units do not currently comply with accessibility requirements as set out in the Disability Discrimination...

DOO statement

Traincrew unions Aslef and RMT have issued a joint statement clearly stating that they "will not agree" to the introduction or extension of Driver Only Operation, including in the form of "Driver Controlled Operation" or "Driver Door Operation".

The statement goes on to set out some of the main...

What is Off The Rails?

Off The Rails is a platform for rank-and-file rail workers, published by the socialist group Workers' Liberty. Off The Rails has existed for many years as a printed bulletin, but we've now launched this blog to provide a more regular and accessible forum for news, views, and discussion about workers...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.