Off the Rails Summer-Autumn 2013

Royal Baby 1894: Up the Republic!

In 1894, Keir Hardie (a proper Labour MP), delivered a speech in Parliament during a special session given over for MPs to give messages of congratulations to the Royal Family on the birth of the prince who would grow up to become King Edward VIII. We think his words ring very true today…

Labour and Tories: two cheeks of the same arse?

Recently the Tories drew level with Labour in opinion polls for the first time in 18 months due to the UK Independence Party's national vote collapse.

The probability of a second Tory government is increasing. The Tories want to cut our industry to the bone. But what would Labour do with it? Would a Labour government be any better? How can workers in our industry and across society have a say in politics as the major parties gear up for the next General Election?

No job cuts on London Overground!

Over 100 jobs on the London Overground network could be lost, as London Overground Rail Operations Ltd. (LOROL) seeks to move to “driver-only operation” (DOO).

The immediate impulse for cut is a 12.5% cut in central government funding for Transport for London, announced in George Osborne’s 26 June spending review. Moving towards DOO is also key recommendation of the McNulty Review into railway industry reform.

Democratise our unions!

The RMT is currently conducting a root-and-branch review of its internal structures. This means RMT members have a chance to say how they think their union should be organised.

Off The Rails has a charter called “The Fantasy Union of Rail and Transport Workers”, which sets out our ideal vision for how unions should operate. The FURTW would be a union led from the workplace up, where members were engaged in deciding strategy and industrial action were controlled by those involved in them. It would also be an industrial union.

Assessing the East Midlands Trains pensions fight

In the aftermath of the pension dispute some rank-and-file train driver members of ASLEF at Nottingham attempted to call the leadership to account over their undemocratic actions in settling the dispute against the clearly stated wishes of the membership.

East Midlands trains dispute

The 2 to 1 result in the ballot for action short of strike on East Midland Trains by on-train and platform staff is a welcome reversal of previous failures to respond to management attacks.

The dispute is due to a breakdown in industrial relations which covers several issues. One of these was rostering during the shutdown of Nottingham station for 5 weeks worth of long time planned engineering work.

Justice for the 33!

Agency workers staffed the north of the Bakerloo Line and the south of the District Line since London Underground took over from Silverlink in 2007.

Wearing LU uniforms without earning LU wages, agency workers delivered outstanding customer service on flexible terms that suited LU’s needs. When short of staff, LU phoned the agency, which got an agency worker to keep a station running at the drop of a hat: the kind of flexible staffing solution that LU would like to replicate everywhere.

Marxism at work: no to immigration controls!

Right-wing media and politicians are whipping up a storm of fear over immigration. If we believe them, immigration is to blame for unemployment, housing shortages and low wages.

The Home Office even has a van driving round telling “illegal” immigrants to “go home or face arrest”.

Workers need to see through the lies peddled by the ruling class. Division based on nationality and immigration status only benefits our bosses.

Domestic violence is a union issue

Every week, two women are killed by their partner or ex partner.

Many thousands more (and a smaller number of men) are victims of domestic violence. This is NOT an issue to be dealt with behind closed doors. It affects people at work and we need to take it up as a workplace issue.

Being a victim of domestic violence can affect how well you do your job, your timekeeping, your physical and mental well-being. But on a more positive note, going to work can be your means of escape, your opportunity to find support.

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