Feb 2009 - Signed sealed - and Snubbed

01 June 2013

IT really irritates me when people try to pull the wool over my eyes. I’ve always believed that if you’ve got something to say, you should say it. It’s the only way issues can be discussed and resolved. I can’t stand people who make promises to your face when you know they intend to stick to it only so long as you’re in the room and the ink’s still wet on the paper.

It irritates me with management, I can’t stand it in business and I loathe it in government.

I have known countless disputes that begin when managers ‘misinterpret’ an agreement. Often it’s not a case of interpretation at all – it means that at a later stage they find what they have agreed to be inconvenient. If you’ve shaken hands on something, you should abide by it. Both sides need to be clear about what they are agreeing, and then accept that they’ll stick by it. It is precisely a failure to do this that has led to a current ballot in EMT.

It’s the same with the firm that won the contract to be the sole provider of aggregate materials for the Olympics development. When they put pen to paper a couple of years ago, Aggregate Industries undertook that ‘74% of the aggregate materials will be transported by rail and 25% by water.’ It simply isn’t happening – to the detriment of our freight train drivers. We are taking up what we see as a breach of faith in Parliament, as we report in the article on page six. It is appalling that a commitment can be given so easily and ignored so effortlessly.

The government’s policies on Royal Mail and Heathrow fall into the same category. Labour’s manifesto said clearly that Royal Mail would not be privatised: now Peter Mandleson, safe with his peerage in the Lords, shamelessly invites private firms to take shares in the postal service. What sort of moral example does the government give to industry and management when the government leads the way on breaking unequivocal promises?

The government also knows that it cannot possibly meet the formal undertakings it has given to the international community on global warming now that it has said it fully supports the expansion of Heathrow.

The attempts to justify this particular breach of faith are insulting. They were even trying to fob us off with the argument that we might still meet our promised targets because (maybe) planes will become more eco-friendly by the time the extra runway is built!

And trains, like pigs, might fly.

Back »

By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies. For more information please refer to ASLEF’s Privacy Policy