July 2011 - Preparing our defences

01 June 2013

THE union’s 2011 annual conference took place last month and the executive committee has been set fresh objectives for the coming year. I have noticed a welcome change in the AAD over the years. Not long ago this event was full of conflict, speechifying and posturing. It was all very dramatic and theatrical, but not necessarily fruitful. Now it has a more thoughtful and professional atmosphere.

 

Delegates apply themselves to solving problems and finding polices we can support together. It is an exercise in unifying rather than scoring points.

 

ASLEF has changed in the recent past. For too long we operated our finances on ‘a wing and a prayer’, deciding what we wanted to do and hoping the money would somehow turn up. The section of the Annual Report on our finances was something of a side issue at conference. Not any more: delegates went over the accounts with a fine tooth comb. I was delighted to tell them the union had made an operating profit of over £380,000 - not because I’ve become an amateur accountant, but because I am a train driver and a trade unionist. In the most basic terms, especially now, we need a sound financial base in order to improve our conditions and our union.

 

Over the coming year we will have many serious industrial issues to face. The government will seize on the McNulty Report to attack our conditions and cut back our industry. The companies will hide behind the government as it eagerly attacks our pensions. As well as organising ourselves tightly, we will need to win passengers, politicians, sections of the media and transport opinion-formers to our cause. This all costs money. Thanks to careful management of our accounts over recent years, we can afford to take on this challenge with confidence. That is why we will win.

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