Off The Rails

Northern Rail: crap traction

Published on: Wed, 17/06/2015 - 00:14

Northern Rail is famous for its crap traction. The state of its rolling stock has been the subject of much comment in this publication, the national press, industry publications, social media and communications from the rail unions.

Off The Rails readers will probably be aware that the next Northern franchise is one of the likely destinations for the 'new' DEMUs currently being developed by the chancers at Vivarail.

These units will actually be re-furbished ex-District Line trains, retired from service on the Tube because they are outdated and not up to scratch safety-wise. In its

Network Rail: reject the deal!

Published on: Wed, 17/06/2015 - 00:10

As Off The Rails went to press, RMT members on Network Rail were balloting on whether to accept the company’s latest pay offer.

Strikes, involving RMT and TSSA, were initially planned for 24-25 May, but both unions suspended the strikes after Network Rail made a revised pay offer.

Consultation with reps and members in RMT returned overwhelming opposition to the new deal, and the union named new strike dates, for 4-5 and 9-11 June.

The company’s second improved offer involved a 2% increase in year one, RPI in year two, and some very ambiguous language about whether the pay increase would

London Underground: unions unite?

Published on: Wed, 17/06/2015 - 00:07

In an unprecedented show of unity, all four Tube unions (RMT, ASLEF, TSSA, and Unite) have declared disputes with London Underground over the 2015 pay settlement and the implementation of “Night Tube” (24-hour running). Ballots are due back around 30 June, with the potential for a joint strike.

LU has offered a 0.75% pay increase (meagre compared to the 2%+ figures won on DLR, Network Rail, Southern, and elsewhere), and wants to impose “Night Tube” without proper consultation and agreements.

RMT is concurrently reballoting station staff for further action in the dispute against job cuts,

Southern drivers' pay fight: momentum squandered?

Published on: Tue, 16/06/2015 - 23:52

As this issue of Off The Rails is being compiled Southern drivers are voting on a new and improved pay offer resulting from the October 2014 pay negotiations. The offer is much, much, worse than what we could expect with a slightly bolder strategy on the part of ASLEF.

Southern initially offered 2.65% to drivers, and claimed any more would be completely impossible as the franchise was coming to an end and they were legally unable to offer more. They used the same reasoning to argue they would be unable to offer anything more than a one year deal. This did not sit well with the majority

Off The Rails - Summer 2015

Published on: Mon, 15/06/2015 - 16:23

Off The Rails

The latest edition of Off The Rails, a platform for rank-and-file rail workers published by Workers' Liberty.

This issue includes news on...

  • Network Rail pay fight
  • Southern drivers' dispute
  • Northern Rail
  • London Underground
  • well as...

  • How we can regroup and fight back following the Tories' re-election
  • Jeremy Corbyn's campaign for Labour leader
  • Marxism At Work: Shift Work Explained
  • Ukrainian rail workers' appeal
  • ...and much more!

    Click here to download the PDF.

    Individual articles from the zine will appear here soon.

    Off The Rails - Winter 2014/2015

    Published on: Tue, 18/11/2014 - 21:52

    The latest edition of Off The Rails, a platform for rank-and-file rail workers published by Workers' Liberty.

    This issue includes news on...

  • Northern Rail pay dispute
  • East Midlands Trains Senior Conductors' dispute
  • London Underground jobs fight
  • Cleaners' struggles

  • Keep the Guard on the Train: interview with a campaign organiser
  • Fighting DOO
  • Can we force Labour to renationalise the railway?
  • ...and...

  • Marxism At Work: What are Trade Unions?
  • Back Findlay/Clark for Scottish Labour leadership
  • Support the Kurds!
  • Off The Rails goes to France
  • To read individual articles from the zine online

    Back Findlay/Clark!

    Published on: Tue, 18/11/2014 - 21:45

    Neil Findlay MSP and Katy Clark MP are standing for the leadership and deputy leadership of the Scottish Labour Party.

    Both of them are committed to rebuilding electoral support for Labour by a return to “the timeless Labour values of community, solidarity, fairness and justice.” They want Labour to adopt policies to attack poverty, unemployment, exploitation in the workplace, and health and wealth inequalities.
    The Blairite candidate for the leadership position, Jim Murphy MP, wants Labour to continue with the same programme of austerity-lite, letting the Tories set the agenda.

    Neil and Katy

    Tube jobs fight

    Published on: Tue, 18/11/2014 - 21:43

    Since November 2013, London Underground workers have been fighting a management cuts plan that could see hundreds of jobs slashed and every ticket office on the network close.

    Strikes in February and April, as well as overtime bans and other industrial action, along with the threat of further strikes, have pushed management back. They have been forced to delay the implementation of their cuts until early 2016, and make a number of concessions to the RMT (the only Tube union which has consistently fought the cuts).

    These concessions include a guarantee that any worker affected by the new

    Northern Rail workers vote on pay deal

    Published on: Tue, 18/11/2014 - 21:40

    ASLEF members at Northern Rail have voted to take strike action over pay. The result was 82.2% voting Yes on an 82% turnout.

    The union met the company's management on 17 November, where the company offered a further 0.3% in year one of the deal, plus commitments on "retention" talks for drivers. On 18 November, as Off The Rails went to press the union's Executive Committee had resolved to hold a referendum on this offer, with full details promised with the voting paper.

    This seems an odd choice for the union leadership to make, rather than rejecting what is still a measly increase with a very

    Northern Rail drivers: fight DOO!

    Published on: Tue, 18/11/2014 - 21:36

    Traincrew on Northern Rail and, presumably, in other TOCs/FOCs will have seen the blue rectangular stickers in driving cabs bearing the ASLEF and British Transport Police emblems.

    These stickers give a list of steps that a driver should take in the event of their train striking a person. The list includes obvious things like contacting the signaller and the BTP “Fatality Hotline”. What it does not include is that the driver should inform the guard.

    It is true that not all trains have a guard but that can be covered using appropriate wording. Where a guard is present, surely they are the

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