AAD Wednesday

24 May 2017

Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary, who presented AGS Simon Weller with his 30 year badge this afternoon, told delegates what this trade union, and our annual assembly of delegates, are all about: ‘We’re here to protect train drivers, their roles and their futures.’

Hussein Ezzedine, of Edinburgh No 1, added: ‘We’re not here to make friends, we’re here to make policy.’

And, talking about posting comments on social media, the GS warned: ‘If you’re not prepared to put your name on it, and put it on the mess room wall, you shouldn’t be putting it out on social media.’

 

Transport Benevolent Fund

 

Phil Talbot, organiser at the Transport Benevolent Fund, came to Bristol to explain the benefits of joining the fund. ‘We’re a charity supporting those who work in the public transport industry when they are in need, hardship or distress. For just £1 a week we offer a wide range of financial, health and welfare benefits to the member, their partner and dependent children.’

 

We share your vision

 

Claire McCarthy, general secretary of the Co-operative Party, told delegates: ‘We, in the Co-operative Party, and co-operative movement, recognise the vital role that trade unions play. We share a vision for a better society, one with a more democratic economy, where all communities have the same opportunities and services as those in the leafier places I pass on the train as I go around the country.

‘I haven’t read all of Theresa May’s manifesto – turns out she hasn’t, either – but I don’t have to, I know she has a different vision from us. One in which, when it comes to public services, including the railways, ideology trumps common sense.

‘While some of the rhetoric coming from the Conservatives sounds a bit different we know that this Conservative government is no different from its Conservative predecessors in not understanding the role or value trade unions play or the solidarity in the workplace that unions and co-operatives bring.

‘The Co-operative Party is proud of the relationship we have built with ASLEF. We share your vision of a modern, integrated, publicly-owned rail network, fit for the 21st century, run in the interests of passengers, employees, and the whole country.’

 

Standing together

 

Neil Duncan-Jordan, national officer of the National Pensioners’ Convention, said: ‘We were set up by Jack Jones, general secretary of the T&G, who felt that if men and women need the protection of a trade union when they were in a job, and they do, then they need the protection of a trade union when they are retired.

‘Right-wing think tanks like the Institute for Fiscal Studies say pensioners are getting something for nothing. That’s not true. Pensioners have paid in, one way or another, for what they get out.

‘Everyone deserves dignity in retirement. That’s why we need to bring care back into public ownership. At the moment the profits are huge but the private care companies don’t pay their workers properly.

‘And we need solidarity between the generations. The Tories want to divide us – suggesting one sector is doing better at the expense of others – so they can make more cuts. Don’t fall for it! We have to stand together!’

 

 

 

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