Prisoners on the line: the ASLEF view

14 May 2007

There were several newspaper reports yesterday about a group of prisoners helping to maintain rail lines. It has emerged that seven inmates of Moorland Open Prison in South Yorkshire have worked night shifts on the London-Glasgow line.

ASLEF’s view was explained by general secretary Keith Norman. He said that he was ‘more than disappointed’ that the issue had not been discussed with the unions beforehand but said that ASLEF would not jump on any band-wagon condemning the arrangement.

‘We support genuine attempts to rehabilitate offenders – as much as we object to the use of cheap labour,’ Keith said. ‘But the essential points for us are that anyone working on the track is fully qualified for the work they are doing – and that they are not employed on safety critical work.

‘Otherwise we have no objections to the arrangement. We can’t argue for rehabilitation of offenders and then complain when it is put into practice.’

The Prison Officers Association welcomed the ASLEF view, saying it closely matched its own.

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