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

 

The truth about the Tube

 

October 2018

 

At the time of writing this column, between the Trades Union Congress and the Labour Party conference, we are still in dispute with the Tube. And once more, even though I know the strength of feeling and unity we always get, the solidarity demonstrated has been truly awesome. This has led to talks continuing, but we are a very long way apart.

 

Let me remind those not involved why we are in this position. The company, which has hidden for years behind the company plan when we wish to improve things, chose to obviate the framework agreement – the machinery – and announce a start date for Night Tube. No negotiation, no consultation, but an act of pure malicious bad faith.

 

Strange, as none of the unions involved are fundamentally against a properly resourced and funded Night Tube. Having acted in bad faith the company then declares a one-off payment, with no guarantees or limits on rostering or staffing levels to protect existing agreements, or the work/life balance, and health and safety is not even a factor for a system that saw an increase in sexual assaults last year.

 

Can 20,000 workers all be wrong? According to the press, it’s all about ‘greedy Tube drivers’ and comparisons are made with other workers outside the Tube, in a race to the bottom, which we will not get into (let’s have other workers paid properly, not false comparisons by those who do not understand the nature of what we do). We then get the lies that what they are offering is reasonable! Because Boris Johnson, a man with four jobs, who has just taken a 10% increase in one of them, and signed a contract for £500k in another, tells us so?

 

The other lie being propagated by the Transport Minister, and others, is that this is political and we are only on strike because we did not like a Tory election victory. But we were unaware either of the intended dishonourable and despicable act of bad faith that was going to take place or of who would win the election. If I had been I’m sure I would have placed a bet accordingly rather than running around the country pursuing our policy! Talks continued, and we jumped through the hoops of Maggie’s laws, and the timetable for action gets impacted by the state’s rather undemocratic system.

 

Whether on the Tube, or elsewhere in the rail industry, this trade union will continue to fight against bad faith, imposed conditions, and political lies. Now and in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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