Belabored: Train Strikes Revive British Unions, with Alex Gordon

Belabored: Train Strikes Revive British Unions, with Alex Gordon

The president of the RMT joins the podcast to talk about the union’s recent strike and what’s next for rail workers.

Alex Gordon and Mick Lynch at a rail strike rally outside Kings Cross station on June 25, 2022 in London, UK (Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

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There’s been a lot of talk about a “hot strike summer” in Britain, and that’s mainly because of the excitement around the rail workers’ strikes. In June, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) went on strike for three days over pay and proposed cuts to the train system. Though people around the country rallied to the cause of the strikers, the dispute remains unresolved and there are more strikes coming up, with other rail unions joining the RMT on the picket lines. I met up with Alex Gordon, the president of the RMT, to talk about the state of the unions, the prospects for a revival of class consciousness, the privatization and financialization of rail travel, the looming climate breakdown and transport workers’ role in fighting it, and so much more.

We also talk to Laura Hancock of the Yoga Teachers Union-IWGB about their campaign against sexual harassment, and Matt Cole of Fairwork about the leaked Uber files. With updates on the Medieval Times union and what happens when “hot labor summer” means workers are laboring in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. For Argh, we consider nurses’ battle against “moral injury” and the hell that is working in chain-owned pet hospitals. 

Thank you for listening to our 251st episode! If you like the show, you can support us on Patreon with a monthly contribution, at the level that best suits you.

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Harry Davies, Simon Goodley, Felicity Lawrence, Paul Lewis and Lisa O’Carroll, Uber broke laws, duped police and secretly lobbied governments, leak reveals, The Guardian

Kelle Howson, Callum Cant, Alessio Bertolini, Matthew Cole and Mark Graham, Protecting workers in the UK platform economy, Fairwork

Julia Jacobs, The Knights of Medieval Times Will Carry Union Cards With Their Lances, The New York Times

Medieval Times Performers United on Twitter

Oxford yoga teachers call for stricter regulation, BBC

Yoga Teachers Union-IWGB

Polly Smythe, Britain’s Workplaces Are Not Ready for Extreme Heat, Novara Media

Zia Weise and Karl Mathiesen, The frontline workers at risk in Europe’s heat wave, Politico


National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT)

James Meadway, This could be the labour movement’s summer of gloryThe New Statesman

Alex Finnis, What dates are the train strikes next week? When RMT strikes are planned and how rail services are affectedi News

Cat Hobbs, The government’s ‘Great British Railways’ is privatisation rebrandedopenDemocracy

Yves Smith, Matt Stoller: The Liquidation of Society versus the Global Labor Revival, Naked Capitalism

Argh, I wish I’d written that!

Sarah: Kari Lydersen, Nurses in the U.S. Are Suffering ‘Moral Injury”, In These Times

Michelle: Jarod Facundo and Brian Osgood, “Welcome to Hell”, The American Prospect