National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers

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The RMT covers the transport sector, and is one of Britain's fastest-growing unions,[1] with a current membership of 83,000.[2]

The RMT supported Brexit. It has active Parliamentary Groups at Westminster, the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, who work with the union to pursue a progressive transport and employment agenda based on the following principles:[3]

  • Public ownership and public accountability of the rail network
  • Increased employment of UK seafarers
  • Opposition to the London Underground PPP
  • Repeal of anti-trade union legislation and the promotion of rights at work


Transport Policy is taking on an increasingly European and global dimension where international capital is seeking to spread the privatisation of transport infrastructure and drive down pay and conditions. RMT is part of the fightback, working closely with transport unions at both national and international level. It is an affiliate of the European Transport Workers Federation , the International Transport Workers Federation and Union Solidarity International .[3]

RMT plays a full role in the Trades Union Congress , the Scottish Trades Union Congress and the Wales Trades Union Congress .

Politically the RMT is affiliated with the left wing political party the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition,[19] which it co-founded and encourages members to participate in.[20] The RMT is also affiliated to the Labour Representation Committee,[21] a pressure group which aims to promote traditional socialist principles within the Labour Party.


RMT campaigns on many fronts, including Transport, Workers' Rights, Abortion Rights, War, Anti-Racism, Social Justice, Press Freedom and Climate Change.

DOO: Driver-Only Operated Trains

Several train operators made a decision to move to "driver-only operated" trains; these will see the loss of guards on services, with the driver often being the only member of staff on a train. The RMT is not happy about this; they are well aware that driverless trains could be the next development. The RMT claims it will compromise safety, and independent inquiries have repeatedly stated that trains must have staff on board who are trained in protection and evacuation procedures.

Apr.2018The RMT organised a rally "Keep the guard on the train" outside parliament. After the rally, there was a debate in parliament, with MPs showing their support for the RMT action. The RMT announced further industrial action over the issue, on Northern Rail, Greater Anglia, South Western Railway, and South Western Railway. The rally marked two years since the beginning of the dispute with Southern Rail.[4]
Mar.2018The RMT called a 4-day walkout on South Western Railway over the Bank Holiday weekend on top of strikes on 4 other networks, Southern, Greater Anglia, Northern and Merseyrail.[5]
Sept.2017The RMT and the drivers’ union Aslef believe they can win improved pay and conditions for their members and ensure the safety of the travelling public - if Transport secretary Chris Grayling had given rail firms a free hand to negotiate. But the "dead hand" of Grayling has halted progress. Industrial action is planned at Southern Rail, Merseyrail, Arriva Rail North and Greater Anglia. RMT officials are furious that ASLEF negotiators have sought a preferential deal for their members behind the backs of fellow trade unionists. Aslef members have already rejected two offers recommended by the union — both of which offered concessions in exchange for drivers taking responsibility for closing train doors. The Rail minister Paul Maynard accused the RMT of "playing political games" over the Southern dispute.[6]
Nov.2016Southern Rail is planning to make driver-only operation (DOO) trains the standard across its network. Disabled passengers would have to book support 48 hours in advance to get on and off trains. A group of passengers is taking the Department for Transport to court over the situation. If they win, it could set a precedent across the UK. The RMT, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), and the Association of British Commuters (ABC) say this would be breaking the law, and in breach of the Equality Act 2010. Rail North also has plans to introduce DOO across their network, as does Abellio ScotRail. The RMT, DPAC and ABC held a protest and meeting on Nov.01 outside parliament. Jeremy Corbyn, Caroline Lucas and Andy McDonald gave their support.[7]


Sept.1990RMT: the NUR merged with the NUS to form the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT). National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport WorkersWikipedia-W.svg
1913NUR: founded by the merger of the GRWU, the UPSS and the ASRS to form the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR). National Union of RailwaymenWikipedia-W.svg
1910NTWF: formed as a trade union association of the National Sailors' and Firemen's Union, National Union of Dock Labourers, Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Labourers' Union. Although dissolved in 1927, it laid the foundation for the Transport & General Workers' Union (TGWU). National Transport Workers' FederationWikipedia-W.svg
1889GRWU: the General Railway Workers' Union founded, representing low-paid workers on the railways. General Railway Workers' UnionWikipedia-W.svg
1926:NUS: the NSFU changed its name to the National Union of Seamen (NUS). National Union of SeamenWikipedia-W.svg
1894:NSFU: the NASFU was relaunched as the National Sailors' and Firemen's Union (NSFU).
1887NASFU: the National Amalgamated Sailors' and Firemen's Union founded; it went into voluntary liquidation in 1893.
1880UPSS: the United Pointsmen and Signalmen's Society (UPSS) was founded. United Pointsmen and Signalmen's SocietyWikipedia-W.svg
1872ASRS: the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants (ASRS) was founded. Amalgamated Society of Railway ServantsWikipedia-W.svg


  1. ^ RMT is the Fastest-Growing Union in Britain. RMT. Accessed Aug.10.2018.
  2. ^ Welcome to Britain's Largest Specialist Transport Trade Union. RMT. Accessed Aug.10.2018.
  3. ^ a b Transport Policy: Political. RMT. Accessed Aug.10.2018.
  4. ^ A trade union just made a bit of a commotion right outside PMQs. Steve Topple, The Canary, Apr.25.2018.
  5. ^ Rail union calls walkout for Easter bank holiday. Graeme Paton, The Times, Mar.16.2018.
  6. ^ Transport chaos looms as rail unions widen strikes over driver-only trains. Rajeev Syal, The Guardian, Sept.23.2017.
  7. ^ The government may be breaking the law again, but this time Corbyn is on its case. Steve Topple, The Canary, Nov.02.2016.