Mick's Column

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

Look to the future now, it's only just begun

December 2014

This time of year is, traditionally, a time for reflection about where we are – and where we want to be. We are a nation in decline where one in four of our children is living below the poverty line, homelessness is growing,and the bedroom tax and zero hours contracts set new lows for a so-called civilised society and the world’s sixth richest nation. Free speech is under attack from the gagging law and legal redress for ordinary workers – in employment and personal injury – is being priced out reach. We don’t want to live in that sort of world and, as trade unionists, we fight each day to retain the rights won by those who sacrificed everything in two world wars.

In our industry perverse decisions are being made that challenge the future shape and safety of the railway and many roles within it. Our officers and reps, as always, will be at the forefront to ensure this does not happen. The strength of this union has been demonstrated by the fact that we have not seen the sort of prolonged attacks on pensions, salary and recognition that have happened elsewhere under the dogmatic guise of austerity.

We want to live in a world where employers pay the right rate for the job and workers are not subsidised through welfare; where education and the NHS are available to all at no cost; and our children have a future in safe, regulated industries.

The future should always be one of hope and aspiration so my heartfelt thanks go to the executive committee, officers, representatives and branch officials who have this year, as in the past, strived to ensure that we always look forward and deliver for our members.

And I thank you, once again, for your solidarity and support and wish you and your family a Happy Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year.