Off The Rails

Bullying bosses threaten cleaners at Paddington

An image is circulating on social media of a notice handed to outsourced cleaners, employed by the contractor Interserve, at Paddington station.

It insists that the toilets "always have an attendant in view", and accuses cleaners of "hiding in the room." How are cleaners meant to distance safely...

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.

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


Dear Driver,

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

New bulletin for East Midlands Trains workers launched

Off The Rails supporters working for East Midlands Trains recently launched Nottingham Railworker, a new monthly bulletin for EMT workers. Here, we print some extracts from the first issue: We all make mistakes, the important thing is how we react to them. On that score then it would appear that EMT has failed dismally. After a 158 entered service in early February with a dangerous defect you might have expected an immediate inspection of the fleet to check that other units weren’t suffering from the same problem. Railworker believes that didn’t happen with key staff being left in the dark...

Stop Press: DBS job cuts

DB Schenker management have apparently announced depot closures and potential redundancies of 118 drivers and other staff. This looks to have been precipitated by the sudden drop in business moving coal to the UK's many coal-fired power stations. If there is less work, there should simply be more time off. Once again, we see the need to bring the railway back into public ownership - DBS workers should not be in a more precarious position than TOC employees just because of market forces. Is there no room for a fight to keep these workers in their jobs, keep the depots open and find other work...

Marxism At Work: Shift Work Explained

Our bodies have evolved so that we're awake by day and asleep at night. The brain’s ‘circadian clock’ monitors light levels and releases a chemical, melatonin, to prompt us to sleep when it’s dark; it releases other chemicals that keep us awake during the day. This gives our bodies their 'circadian rhythm', which affects temperature, digestion, heart rate and blood pressure. In the rail industry, many of us work shifts: outside regular 9 to 5 hours, especially nights, early starts and late finishes. In doing this, we're defying our natural rhythm and incurring the risk of health problems. We...

Regroup and fight back!

The election of a Tory government is a big blow for railworkers, and all working-class people. Here are five fronts we'll have to fight on in the next five years, and beyond... Take on the anti-strike laws The Tories were just elected into government by just 24% of the electorate (36% of those who voted), yet they want to change the law so over 50% of us have to vote yes before a strike can be considered legal. This is a serious threat: it is important that we defend ourselves against it and refuse to be cowed by it. A good start would be for all the rail unions to engage us in preparing a...

Solidarity with Ukrainian workers

The recent ASLEF Annual Assembly of Delegates (AAD) voted to affiliate to the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign, a network which raises awareness and builds support for the efforts of independent unions in Ukraine to struggle for workers' rights against both Western and Russian imperialism, as well as domestic Ukrainian oligarchs and capitalists. RMT AGM will also vote on a motion to affiliate to the campaign. Here, we reprint an address to ASLEF from the leader of the Free Trade Union of Railway Workers of Ukraine. Dear Brothers and Sisters, I am writing to you on behalf of the Free Trade Union of...

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