Mick's Column

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

Rollercoster ride for a better, brighter, future

June 2015

What a rollercoaster ride of emotion! I was despondent after a general election result that will destroy civil society, our rights, real jobs,and force us to accept food banks, with welfare underwriting rogue employers who refuse to pay proper wages to hardworking families and make them reliant on social subsidy to survive. In Scotland we have the problem of reinventing Labour as a viable alternative. But we should see this as an opportunity because now is the time to make the argument about policy, and delivery for people, not on the basis of self-determination, an issue which has divided the communities we should be serving.

I am enormously proud of the efforts of those of you who went out and campaigned – and especially those who stood as candidates – and the experience will serve you, and us, in the future. Whatever your political persuasion, because of the timescales for the election of a new Labour Party leader, and the selection of a candidate to run for London Mayor, we are increasing our efforts to give you, and your trade union, the right to be part of the process. Please fill in the form (see page 4 of this month's Journal).

So to conference and no evidence of a fractured society based on individual greed, but of a real community, with real people recounting personal experiences that touched the intellect, and the heart, and informed the decisions required to reaffirm existing policies and drive our future programmes. Those decisions will be collated, discussed, and sent out by the EC in the coming weeks for raising in the machinery and stakeholder forums. The passion, empathy and unity you showed demonstrated that behaving as a trade union is what it is all about. Pay and conditions may be core but have to based on the historical values for which we fought and which make us what we are. I am extremely heartened by what I saw and heard at AAD and I know we can have a brighter, better, future.