Industrial Relations Department

Any RMT member that has ever used the union's freephone helpline will have spoken to a member of Industrial Relations department based at Unity House in London.

get in touch: (helpline) 0800 376 3706


'IR', as it is commonly known, represents the hub of the union, dealing with issues that affect members on a day-to-day basis.

This frontline department will deal with anything to do with a member's terms and conditions and will give advice on a multitude of issues.

The Department has also taken responsibility for the Adviceline and gives advice on non-work related matters. This is not a legal helpline but the department can give advice on many issues. Where this is not possible, for example where financial advice or family law (including divorce) advice is requested then they can point you in the direction of Solicitors or professional advisers approved by the Union.

When it comes to work related matters the department can assist with issues such as  rosters, rates of pay, leave, disciplinary matters, the difficulties around PT&R (Promotion, Transfer and Redundancies), severance and ill-health severance (an area management are using more and more to get rid of staff).

In short, anything that is work-related, this department will deal with.

IR also co-ordinates all pay claims and conduct and count all referendums. It conducts all industrial action ballots up to the despatch and counting of ballot papers, which is undertaken by an independent scrutineer, the Electoral Reform Society (ERS). Most members will know that conducting Industrial Action Ballots  is a very important part of the union’s strategy in defending members’ terms and conditions and is fraught with legal difficulties.


The RMT helpline is entirely staffed by the Industrial Relations department and is open 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 9.30am to 4pm on Saturday.

A majority of the questions to the helpline are on work matters and are dealt with by the industrial relations officer who answers the phone.

However, where necessary they will pass a member on to the relevant department to deal with questions relating to membership contributions, financial matters, etc 


This is also staffed entirely by the Industrial Relations department and is also open 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 9.30am to 4pm on Saturday. The person who takes your call will deal with your query or take down details of your problem or question and phone you back at a convenient time with the necessary advice.

The staff profiles below will help members put names to faces and give you an idea of who you are speaking to when you contact the helpline.

This is for guidance only as any member of the Industrial Relations Department is more than willing to assist any member irrespective of their grade or company. RMT members can contact the helpline on 0800 376 3706 or


Alex Reid

Head of Industrial Relations

Alex is the manager of the department and the helpline. His main area is Network Rail Engineering and Infrastructure matters and all other Engineering, Infrastructure, S&T and Workshop matters. Alex also deals with Road Transport, Buses, & Taxis. Alex has a good knowledge of the complicated terms and conditions that exist within this group of grades. Alex, and James M work closely because of the Network Rail Connection.


James Murza

Senior Industrial Relations Officer

As the Senior Industrial Relations officer James, with 16 years’ service steps in to the breach whenever Kevin or Alex is away and is the main trainer and mentor to new staff and assists in their training.

At present James main area of expertise is Network Rail Operations (Signallers) He works closely with Alex because of the Network Rail connection.


Julia Mansbridge

Industrial Relations Officer

Julia has worked in the Department for 12 years and heads up the desks that deal with Train Operating Companies, Rail Freight and all ancillary rail employees. Julia's main area is the Train Operating Companies - a minefield of different terms and conditions.


Richard Leahy

Industrial Relations Officer

Richard has worked in the department for 3 years having been temporarily employed in the membership department. Richard works with Julia on the desk that deals with Train Operating Companies, Rail Freight and all ancillary rail employees.


Louise Dawson

Industrial Relations Officer

Louise has 11 years’ service and has responsibility for London Underground, and Docklands Light Railway. Louise has responsibility for all aspects of London Underground, including engineering, the cleaners and all other grades. .


Pauline Akrill

Industrial Relations Officer

Pauline has worked in the department for 15 years. Her main area of expertise is pay and she collates and reports on all company pay settlements. She also carries out referenda and ballots on these settlements/offers and ensures the RMT website’s pay and conditions data base is up to date on all pay settlements. Pauline also works with James R on Docks, Shipping and Offshore matters


James Rolles

Industrial Relations Officer

James has worked in the department for 11 years His area of expertise is Docks, Shipping and Offshore matters. James works directly with the National Secretary. Because legislation is different for our seafaring members and they are away at sea for extended periods of time it can be extremely difficult to service these members. James also deals with pay along with Pauline.