Off The Rails Summer 2011

McNulty: War on Railworkers

Roy McNulty published his report, ‘Realising the Potential of GB Rail’, on 19 May. The report will inform the Government’s transport policy, with a White Paper expect this Autumn. The key recommendation is: cuts. Savings of £1bn a year should reduce the cost of running the rail network by 30%.


According to an article in the Times (12 May), ‘David Cameron is facing growing pressure to take on rail unions amid anger over workshy practices that are said to be putting the future of the network at risk.’

So the rail unions are putting the network at risk? Not according to the opinion, for example, of the Potter’s Bar accident enquiry judge. He recently ruled that ‘Overall responsibility for the breach of duty lay with Railtrack at senior management level and their failures were significant and extensive.’

Heathrow Express

Heathrow Express workers have won a much-improved pay deal - with the company’s attempted productivity strings dropped. They achieved it through solid industrial action following years of sustained work to build up union organisation.

London Midland

In March, London Midland announced plans to cut 122 full-time and eight part-time jobs; the number could rise to 300+. Opening hours will decrease in almost every ticket office; some will close altogether. We hear that smaller stations such as Apsley and Tring and will be entirely unstaffed.

Network Rail Signallers

Network Rail has announced plans to cut signallers from 6,000 to 2,000 over the next 30 years. NR plans to centralise signal-boxes, and to reduce ECRO centres from 13 to 2 and halve the number of Electrical Control Room Operators it employs.

The pretext for this is new technology. We welcome technological progress that makes our work easier, safer and more effective. But we do not have to accept that it has to lead to job cuts. Instead, new technology can be used to bring about improved services, reduced working hours and better conditions, without loss of jobs or pay.

Save Bombardier Jobs!

Marching for Jobs

Workers rallied in Derby on 23 July to protest the loss of 1,400 jobs at the Bombardier train manufacturing plant.

The losses come as a result of the government’s decision on 16 June to award the £1.5 billion contract for new carriages for the Thameslink rail line to German manufacturer Siemens.

How To Win

Some recent disputes have, to great effect, employed the sorts of tactics and strategies that can turn an industrial dispute into a real weapon, used to force concessions from bosses rather than just to register a protest.

Are Cuts Necessary?

Q. Why is the Government making massive cuts in public spending?
A. Because it cares about financial institutions not about ordinary people's needs.
Week to week, governments get cash for their spending by selling bonds to international financial institutions. The ability to sell with a low interest rate for payment depends on the international financial institutions having confidence in government finances.
So these cuts now are all about keeping the banks and international institutions that fund day-to-day government expenditure happy.

East Midlands Trains

Since we last reported, East Midlands Trains has sacked another guard’s rep, this time under the Managing for Attendance procedure. We lost a ballot for strike action and action short of strike to defend Heather Turner (a previously sacked rep) so we did not ballot in this instance. Both cases are now at different levels of the Tribunal machinery.

To rub salt in the wound, the company also made a divisive pay offer this year. They offered two awards - one that would be better for the guards and another that was better for all the other train crew excluding drivers.

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.