March 2012 A lost friend in Essex

01 June 2013

The union lost a valued friend last month. Andy Morrison was a national officer who worked as the Organiser for District 5. His sudden passing leaves a great gap in our lives. In many ways Andy was the perfect model for an ASLEF representative. He was a sharp and intelligent advocate for our members, a concerned activist in his local community and a dignified and honourable man. I will miss Andy’s counsel, his humour and his dignity.

Only last week we were at a union function together where he was his usual calm and charming self. Now he is gone and we are all the worse off for his passing.

I know that national officers can seem a little remote to the ordinary member. You don’t see us every day, as you do your local representatives. But I think we can be proud of all of our full-time officials. It is not always an easy job, and to do it properly needs hard work, dedication and conviction. Like Andy, they all work long hours with selfless determination for your interests.

That is why I was so outraged at the treatment that the Scottish edition of the Sun dealt out to our Scottish officer Kevin Lindsay last month. This rather foul rag smeared Kevin for going about his union duties, carrying out democratic decisions to defend an ASLEF member. For this he was derided as a ‘union firebrand’ who was ‘off the rails’, a ‘union chief demanding strike action’. The paper even invented anonymous drivers calling for Kevin’s dismissal. It was muck-raking prejudice in a blatant form.

My message to Kevin is that if the Sun hates you, you must be doing a good job. He was carrying out democratic decisions made by ASLEF representatives. And frankly the last people he needs lectures from is the scandal-ridden, spying, immoral Murdoch-owned gutter press.

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