ASLEF Conference day two

25 May 2011

The union’s annual conference (AAD) continued today in Swansea. Delegates debated travel facilities, heard speeches from Shadow transport minister Andrew Gwynne and Dave Tyson, employee trustee of the Railways Pension Scheme, and discussed several other items:

· Travel facilities continue to be a major issue for our members and apart from the insistence that all members should be entitled to the same as former BR drivers, it was pointed out that we are increasingly seeing erosions and restrictions, for example on High Speed routes and Southeastern services to and from St Pancras. There are also question marks over entitlements if train services transfer to tram or light rail. This will remain a central campaign within the union.

· Andrew Gwynne said Labour had not been radical or brave enough over rail when in government, but stressed that he was committed to a railway that did not allow excess profits and fat-cat salaries to leave the industry in which that money should be re-invested. He pledged himself to keep up the human face of railways, to simplify fares and oppose the fragmentation of the infrastructure. ‘The track is not for sale!’ he declared. Labour’s review of policy has no prejudices about ‘public bad, private good’ and he invited ASLEF to play its full part in defining party policy for the future.

· Dave Tyson, the elected members trustee of the railways pension scheme, spoke of the rush of companies outside the rail industry to close final salary schemes . ‘If FOCs and TOCs could close down final salary schemes, they would,’ he declared. He also spoke of the detriment of pensioners if the government changes calculations from the Retail Price Index to the Consumer Price Index, and said a legal challenge is being considered by rail union to see if it is possible to halt such proposals in their tracks.

In other debates delegates decided that:

· physical needs breaks (PNBs) (or meal breaks on London Underground) should be available after a maximum of five and a half hours work before a break and no PNB should be diagrammed within two hours of the beginning of a duty.

· Rest Day working should not be a part of the core conditions of any company.

· There should be suitable accommodation for the immediate family of any ASLEF member needing in-patient hospital treatment while on duty and away from the home depot for as long as the driver is hospitalised.

· If a driver leaves to leave the grade because of a fatality while driving and is redeployed into another grade they should retain the drivers’ rate of pay

· all newly qualified drivers should be on the full rate of pay from the day their do their first driving turn

· in the event of redundancies in other companies the principle of reduced hours will be used if necessary to avoid redundancy amongst our membership.

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