ASLEF at the TUC

15 September 2014

ASLEF activists had a busy week at the TUC. The union sent five delegates – Mick Whelan, general secretary; Simon Weller, national organiser; Alan Donnelly, EC president; Hussein Ezzedine from Edinburgh No 1; and Deborah Reay of Northern Line North – to the 146th Trades Union Congress in Liverpool. Executive committee members Dave Calfe and Marz Colombini and district organiser Colin Smith attended as visitors.

Mick called for a step change in political and practical thinking on transport to deliver a better railway for Britain. Speaking at a Question Time-style Action for Rail fringe – called Can Labour Deliver Radical Rail Reform? – on Tuesday night, he said: ‘We need legislation that allows us to run our own trains. We need a step change to get to where we want to be. And we need to put the wheels and the steel back together to build a new model railway, fit for the 21stcentury, here in Britain.’

And Mick, speaking in the transport debate on Tuesday afternoon, told congress: ‘The Rail Delivery Group is like the fox looking after the hen house. The train operating companies don’t look after the interests of passengers, or taxpayers, or those who work on the railway. They only look after the interests of their shareholders.’

Simon Weller, speaking from the podium on Tuesday morning on ASLEF’s motion on Alternatives to Austerity, said: ‘The austerity agenda was always an excuse for the Tories and their Lib Dem pals to give to their rich friends while attacking the rights of working people. After four years of this government, and its vicious policies,austerity is really beginning to bite – and to damage Britain.’

Alan Donnelly, speaking from the podium on Tuesday for our motion about Vulnerable Young Workers, told congress: ‘Economic recovery is an academic concept for the majority of workers, particularly young workers, who are trapped in a nightmare world of job insecurity, zero hours contracts and agency work, burdened by growing personal debt,often in the grip of unscrupulous money lenders, and with limited access to apprenticeships or further educational opportunities.’

Hussein Ezzedine, speaking for ASLEF on the motion on Sunday afternoon, said:‘Zero hours contracts, and the increased casualisation of labour, are a major threat to health and safety standards in many industries.’

And Hussein spoke from the heart on Wednesday morning about the plight of the people in Gaza. Delegates were visibly moved by what Ezzy had to say, and the Morning Star was quick to pick up on hi spassionate speech to congress.

Debbie Reay, moving an ASLEF amendment on the pensions motion on Monday morning, told congress: ‘We condemn this coalition government’s refusal to ensure that equal marriage is truly equal by ensuring equality of provision for survivor benefits in occupational schemes.We will continue to fight to overturn laws that allow pensions to offer reduced benefits to same sex couples.’

 

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