Mick's Column

Here you can find the regular column from ASLEF's General Secretary, Mick Whelan.

Look to the future

December 2016

Itís the time of year when,traditionally, we take stock; when we reflect on where weíve been, where we are and where we want to go. I had hoped to be rather more upbeat about the future for our families, our industry, and our country, but recent international events, and the dogmatic approach of Maggieís grandchildren, do not encourage this! If Donald Trump, as President of the United States, carries out half the pledges he made whilst campaigning, the world is going to be a more dangerous place. Using Britainís future as a political tool, and not preparing for all possible outcomes, as David Cameron did with Brexit, was the ultimate in political callousness; and then Theresa May appointing Liam Fox, David Davis and our old friend Boris Johnson to negotiate the terms of leaving seems like a very bad dream.

Six and a half years of Conservative-led coalition, and Tory government, have created a country where one in four of our children are living below the poverty line and homelessness is growing, as are zero hours contracts. Shameful in a so-called civilised society, and the sixth richest nation in the world.

We donít want to live in that sort of society; we want to live and work in a world where employers pay the right rate for the job, where education and the NHS are available to all, at no cost, and where the next generation has a secure future in safe and properly regulated industries. Thatís why, as trade unionists, we are fighting every day to retain our hard-won rights and I know our officers and reps have worked exceptionally hard on your behalf this year.

For our freight colleagues, under threat of live redundancies, and uncertain futures, our thoughts are with you at this very difficult time; and for those taking up the cudgels against DOO,for a safer, and properly staffed railway, thank you.

The future should always be one of hope and aspiration so my thanks go to the executive committee, officers, representatives and branch officials who have this year, as in the past, striven to ensure that we always look forwards and deliver for the union. Thank you for your solidarity and support and I want to wish you and your family a Happy Christmas and a safe and prosperous new year.