The fourth day of the ASLEF conference

23 May 2013

  • Heard a presentation from Dave Tyson, Trustee Director of the Railways Pension Scheme
  • Continued its backing for the NPC
  • Agreed to back organ donor register scheme
  • Heard from political commentator Owen Jones

 

PENSIONS : GLIMMER OF LIGHT

Dave Tyson, a Trustee Director of the Railways Pension Scheme for the past 16 years, said it was his view that the next valuation is ‘slightly on the brighter side’ due to the strong returns being delivered by our investments and the current buoyancy of the markets.

But he also spoke about the government’s consultation exercise on the abolition of contracting out and the statutory over- ride for protected persons.

The proposals are clear and unequivocal and do nothing to protect the rights of our members along with all those employees in the RPS.

‘Very simply the government wishes to tear up the protection given to rail employees so that they can off set the employers increases national insurance contributions,’ Dave said. ‘I am confident that ASLEF will as always be leading the charge to defeat such proposals and I will do all in my powers to resist!

NATIONAL PENSIONERS CONVENTION

The union has signed up to the key principles of the National Pensioners Convention, which are

  • a National Care Service which is delivered free at the point on need
  • funding that is shared across society as a whole and not based on either pensioners paying for pensioners or just those individuals that are affected
  • a service which does more than the current system; widening access and improving the quality of care, especially in the area of dignity and safeguarding
  • a commitment to professionalise the care sector through improved pay, terms and conditions, training and regulation
  • a recognition that the needs of the private sector are not necessarily compatible with the delivery of social care that that society expects and older people deserve.

ORGAN DONOR REGISTER

The union is to introduce an organ donor register within the membership after an appeal by John Metcalf from the Carlisle branch.

The idea came from the experience of one of our members who had a liver transplant in June last year. ‘Today he is on the footplate, no doubt cursing his 66,’ John said. ‘Without a transplant, he would not be with us at all.’

He pointed out that 19 million people have joined the NHSorgan register, but said that simply having a donor card is not enough. ‘In a recent survey, 96% said that they believe it is right thing to do, but only 30% have joined the register.

If a person with a donor card dies, no organ can be used without the permission of the family. ‘It seems astonishing, given that the dead person wanted to give it, that 43% refuse to allow an organ to be used.’

ASELF will promote the organ donor register scheme through the Journal and on the website and seek to encourage it in other unions.

OWEN POINTS OUT WHAT LABOUR’S LACKING

Owen Jones electrified conference with a barnstorming speech in which the columnist, agitator and author called on workers to take the fight to the Tories and stop this Conservative-led coalition in its tracks.

‘Power concedes nothing without demands,’ he said. ‘It never has and it never will. If we lose the next election it will be because our people, not inspired by the Labour leadership, vote with their feet and stay at home instead of going out to vote.’

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