From the Conference

28 July 2005

Mediaeval anti-union laws

 

Anger at Britain’s anti union laws was turned into gold when delegates to ASLEF’s conference collected £1740 for the sacked strikers at a Sheffield engineering firm.

 

Eddie Grimes, the leading shop steward at Cooks engineering told delegates he and his workmates had been locked out since 2001.

 

They went on official lawful strike following a ballot after their skinflint employers imposed swinging pay cuts.

 

Mr Grimes told shocked delegates that he and his members were sacked on day one of their dispute and despite an employment tribunal ruling in their favour were still out of work.

 

President of the ASLEF EC Dave Tyson said: “It is vital that Britain’s mediaeval anti-union laws are repealed and our country abide by the UN’s International Labour Organisation conventions. Employment protection from day one and a framework for legal solidarity action are vital if we are to level the playing field with employers.”

 

 

In a wide ranging debate on conditions of service delegates renewed support for ASLEF’s train drivers’ charter.

 

 

Iraq.... and policy parallels highlighted

 

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament chair Kate Hudson sharply criticised the speech by prime minister Blair to the Labour conference.

 

“The war – described as illegal by UN secretary general Kofi Annan as illegal – and the continuing obscenity of the occupation of Iraq remain the single most important issue in British political life” she said.

 

Calling for an early date to be set for the withdrawal of British troops she said “The overwhelming majority of British people oppose this war and want the occupation to end she said".

 

In a tribute to the work of the peace movement acting general secretary Keith Norman said “Two track renewal workers killed in Britain. Two British soldiers killed in Iraq. This is the human price for mistaken policies.

 

Privatisation of the railway has introduced cowboy contractors who cut corners in the pursuit of profit. And the blind pursuit of policies made in the Pentagon puts the lives of our soldiers at risk.”

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