ASLEF conference day three

26 May 2011

The third day of the ASLEF conference heard an impressive speech from Wales’ First Minister in which he backed a not-for-profit rail model, before it set a number of industrial policies.

· Speaking at the ASLEF conference in Swansea, Carwyn Jones, Wales’ First Minister, declared that he and the Welsh government began with a belief in cooperation ‘in public services, not in competition’. That was his starting point for trying to develop rail in Wales and to minimise the effects of the UK government’s severe budget cuts. Carwyn stressed the importance of integrated transport strategies, and spoke with pride of some of the achievements of rail – with growing passenger numbers, punctuality better than UK and two railway lines opened. The Assembly was investing in stations to make them more accessible and encouraging lines up the valleys, as well as arguing and championing electrification of main line to Swansea, rather than halting at Cardiff. He said, ‘We want a railway we can be proud of and I can see no reason why the model should not be on the not-for-profit basis we have adopted for water in Wales.

· The union is to argue for a minimum of quadruple time plus time worked plus a day in lieu for attendance on Boxing Day for members working for London Underground. It is also to put to management that any agreements struck over the delivery of services for next year’s Olympics should become permanent conditions, with a priority given to claims for a four-day working week and improved annual leave.

· Discussing health and safety items, the conference declared that where toilets are provided on a train at least one should be working properly before starting a journey of half an hour or more; argued for free sanitary wear whenever there is refurbishment; and insisted that members be provided with modern lightweight lamps rather than the old bardic ones.

· Delegates backed calls for regular services by railhead treatment trains (RTTs) during the leaf fall season.

· Drivers should be provided with speeds relating to the TPWS over speed trips that are placed at permanent speed restrictions. With the assistance of the membership it may be possible to post information on the union’s web site, but there were concerns that it must be both accurate and updated.

· Conference also discussed the issue of treatment of drivers who develop diabetes, insisting that any driver forced to leave the job because of medical grounds must be given suitable alternative employment.

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