Mick's Column

 

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

2018 - 2017201620152014  - 2013 - 2012 - 2011

Other archived columns:  2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005

 

Grayling's failings

 

July 2018

 

This month’s Journal captures the essence of your parliament, the annual assembly of delegates, which is at the core of our representative democracy with reps from virtually 50% of our branches commenting and building on existing and future policy. May I take this opportunity to thank all delegates, and visitors, for your contributions that made the debates so vibrant and valid? The executive committee will meet shortly to collate the items and action them in health & safety and industrial documents for the relevant company / functional councils to list and discuss in the machinery.

 

Our industry seems to get more and more surreal with GTR and Northern announcing timetables that cannot be delivered because infrastructure work, particularly electrification, that would facilitate the new timetables, is not in place. Training has not taken place on routes or tractions needed to facilitate or even operate the basic timetable, and where are the people responsible? The press seems to have finally cottoned on to the fact that the failings lie with Network Rail, the DfT, and the operators, although on one radio interview I was asked if we were getting revenge for the previous actions of GTR? How much worse would it have been without the goodwill of drivers, and all staff, who, in some cases, had their rosters ripped up on the lies of short-term planning? This timetable was known about months ago! We have areas without trains, hundreds of cancellations, overcrowding, and misery. Is it not time that certain people considered their positions?

 

Mark Carne is leaving Network Rail, having not taken certain bonuses for lack of delivery, and it is announced he is getting a CBE; timing and public relations at their best. Naturally, during this period, it is announced that 16 out of the top 20 best paid civil servants and senior officials in Britain operate under the DfT and the top ten all work in the rail industry. Actually 36 of the top 50 report to Chris Grayling. Obviously it is not performance related, and people are being paid for failure, not success. When are the shadowy Tax Payers’ Alliance going to speak out about this? Charles Horton is, belatedly, falling on his sword. I still have not met him – and hope now never to do so – but, no doubt, he will appear back in our industry at a future date somewhere else.

 

To end on a happy note, congratulations to Tosh on his council election win. Well done, mate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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