Here you can find the regular column from ASLEF's General Secretary, Mick Whelan.
Strange days, freak weather and floods
What a strange month it’s been; virtually every media piece in relation to the recent Tube dispute involving our sister unions has concentrated not on the impact of proposed job cuts, or safety, but on how much train drivers earn. Odd, when we are not in dispute. Then we get the inevitable, unrealistic,demands that transport be declared an essential service with minimum service requirements rather than an onus on third parties to come to the table or stop interfering with the free collective bargaining process. The hypocrisy continues when those elected on a far smaller turnout, and mandate, than we deliver after jumping through draconian legislation, want to change the rules so they can impose rather than deal with those more democratically elected and representative of the employees’ wishes and needs.
I have spoken before about the maintenance of the infrastructure, both post-privatisation and after the recession, and the numerous issues around landslip have now been compounded by the freak weather and floods.Strange, then, as the railway family comes together during these difficult times to run ad hoc timetables and assist the rebuilding of our railways that the same media, and politicians, who castigate are incredibly silent.
We have had good news in relation to the unintended consequence of contracting out of the state second pension and the impact on pensions protected staff. But we will continue to campaign to ensure there is no impact on all staff in the railway pension funds.
The campaign against the Fourth Railway Package continues and we went to Strasbourg on February 25 to make the case that the flawed model of the UK should not be adopted across the whole of the EU.
The Collins review of the Labour Party link with the trade unions is complete and the conference to discuss its conclusions takes place on Saturday 1 March in London; we shall reflect on the implications in due course.
Thanks to all those keeping our industry running during these difficult times.