ASLEF reaches agreement with Labour on workplace rights, rail industry structure, regional transport, rail freight, the Lobbying Act and the Middle East Peace Process

21 July 2014

Commitments included:


· On workplace rights agreed wording was ‘We believe in safe and healthy workplaces and are committed to reducing the toll of workplace industries and ill-health and to achieve this we will ensure that the prevention of occupational illnesses, diseases and long-term health conditions including cancers are given greater priority and no workplace is free from inspections by health and safetyauthorities, with a better independent inspection regime for perceived low-risk workplaces…Working with stakeholders we will carry out a review of the legislation and guidance in relation to temperature in the workplace to ensure that workers are protected, as far as possible, from excessive temperatures.’


· On rail industry structure agreed wording included: ‘We need a different approach which puts the public interest first, reverses the presumption against the public sector…review this government’s failed franchising process as a priority…legislating to allow a public sector operator to be able to take onlines and challenge the train operators…tackle the monopoly market for rollingstock…create a new guiding mind for the railways, bringing Network Rail together with a new passenger rail body to contract routes, co-ordinate services and oversee station.’


· On regional transport: ‘In addition to Crossrail and the Thameslink upgrade Labour supports ongoing investment in London’s transport infrastructure to boost growth and jobs in the capital and to ensure a sustainable future for the city’s economy.’


· On rail freight: ‘For HS2 to truly achieve its full potential in terms of reducingtransport carbon emissions, it is essential that rail freight is considered when looking at the many new paths which will become available on the East Coast and West Coast Mainlines. The last Labour government recognised the environmental and economic benefits of getting more freight on to rail and this work must continue. Labour supports continued investment in the Strategic Freight Network to electrify key routes as well as ensuring gauge clearance toallow higher capacity and longer trains on paths to key ports and diversionary routes. It also believes that access charges for rail freight must be set at a reasonable rate to ensure that competition with other modes is fair.”


· On the Lobbying Act: ‘Labour supports real reform of the lobbying industry which is why we would bring in a universal register of all professional lobbyists with a code of conduct backed by sanctions. Labour will repeal the discredited Lobbying Act rushed through Parliament by the coalition and consult widely on the best way to achieve real reform of the lobbying industry. We will create a‘broad and wide’ statutory register of lobbyists covering everyone who engages in lobbying as part of their employment.’


· On the Middle East: ‘Labour remains committed to acomprehensive peace based on a two state solution, international law and asecure Israel alongside a secure and viable state of Palestine. Labour willuphold the principles of equality for all Palestinians and Israelis by respecting human rights and applying international law in all relations and dealings with Israel and the Palestinians. Labour recognises that the illegal settlements and their continued expansion in the West Bank remain key obstacles to resolving the conflict. Labour has taken and will maintain domestic action to introduce labelling transparency. Labour will not encourage or support any investment or financial activities within illegal settlements, and will seek a Europe-wide approach to settlement products. Labour also supports an immediate end to the blockade of Gaza, allowing the free movement of trade, aid and people.’


Commenting on the agreed wording ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan said ‘I am pleased we havebeen able to agree these policies with support from organisations across the Labour Party. This agenda presents a positive step in the right direction. We will focus on working to achieve a Labour victory at next year’s general election.’

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