Mick's Column

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

He wants to break us but doesn't know you

May 2016

While, on behalf of our members, we try to deal with the uncertainty in the steel industry, it is hard not to have serious concerns for the future of those directly employed. The governmentís belated action, to deal with an issue of which they had prior knowledge, is not just woeful and inadequate but negligent; particularly for voting against tariffs to protect our steel industry in light of the increased tariffs the Chinese have announced. Car manufacturers are concerned for the future and it has serious implications for the supply chain. As a country, we cannot afford to be at the whim of another nation dominating the market, destroying competition, and then ramping up the price of essential materials in the future.

The Wilkinson affair rumbles on. There is, apparently, no retraction of his lies about £60k a year three day a week train drivers and we are not aware of any action being taken against him. But his influence in directing, from his £265k a year seat, the poor ITTs, and the consequences of seeking to impose conditions outside our agreements, has started on southern GTR and Gatwick Express with other TOCs gearing up with similar nonsense. He said he would break us and we have asked the Department for Transport and the government whether this is their policy? Surprise, surprise! That question has not been answered. They obviously do not know you, or what you expect from your union.

Transport for London are at it again. They wonít pay the due rise until June. What a poor employer! Morale was already low and the system is creaking. Our hopes lie with a new mayor who not only cares about London but those who work to keep the capital running.

Like many of you, I have stood on picket lines showing support for the junior doctors. They know, better than anyone, what safe patient care is and how to achieve it. Mr Hunt, who seems to have gone missing in action,patently does not and now we are having to recruit another 4,000 doctors from abroad. Add to that the thousands of teachers leaving their profession every year, exacerbated by academy dogma, and vocation is a dirty word in 2016.

We have lost a true friend and comrade in Bro Steve Grant,former district organiser on the Underground. Our thoughts are with Doreen, his family and friends. He was, and will be remembered as, one of the best.