Mick's Column

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

It's your voice - please use it.

August 2015

It is ironic that the government, in the year of the anniversary of Magna Carta, announces a Trade Union Bill that will erode and destroy our basic freedoms which have evolved over centuries. The basic tenet is to damage the right to strike with thresholds for ballots far and beyond those required in elections; strictures on picketing; and new powers for the certification officer. We are asked why we do not have electronic voting; the bill enshrines postal voting to limit participation and increase the cost. The greatest hypocrisy is the greater thresholds for essential services, including transport, when in most cases the government is the employer. Double standards!

We are determined to fight these bad laws. Because when has there been a strike against a good employer? Who hasnít hurt people, broken agreements, or bullied their staff? We will always stand together for the collective good. As highlighted by the unity shown on the Tube and in other recent and successful ballots. And what a speech in defence of all workers and communities by our president at the Durham Minersí Gala. It visibly moved more than 100,000 people. They identified and agreed with Tosh and reaffirmed what we need to do. Thanks, too, to the large contingent of ASLEF members who went to Tolpuddle to celebrate the six farm workers transported for coming together to talk about wages and conditions at work until a public outcry got their return. The right to free association is ours, not in the governmentís gift.

We are standing behind Jeremy Corbyn, Tom Watson and Sadiq Khan for the leadership and mayoral elections. Itís sometimes said there is no difference between those at Westminster. Well, Jeremy and Tom are two leaders who think freely and inform the debate with intellect and belief. Sadiq is someone who knows London and its needs.

The form for your free right as a trade union member to vote is in this Journal. Itís your voice; please use it.