Labour Party conference: Monday

29 September 2015

Mick Whelan welcomed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and deputy leader Tom Watson to a joint ASLEF/Co-operative Party reception at the Hilton Brighton Metropole on Monday night.

He said: ‘I’m delighted that two of the great strands of our movement come together tonight. The trade union and co-operative movements have much in common, as organisations founded in the19th century to improve the lives of working people based on the principle that we achieve more together than we do as individuals. Collectivism and co-operation. Both movements have a renewed relevance amid the social and economic wreckage of 21st century capitalism.

‘I’m proud of the work ASLEF and the Co-operative Party have done over the last few years in looking at how we can bring our principles into the provision of services, particularly rail.That’s why we welcome Jeremy’s pledge to renationalise the railways. We can’t control what we don’t own.

‘We will find legal routes to take back rail operations from the snake oil salesmen of the train operating companies. We will secure Network Rail in the public sector and give it gradual responsibility for operations, as they come back in, to ensure track and trains are re-integrated. We will establish a public sector rolling stock company which will own our trains. And how about a public sector freight operator?

‘Passengers and employees must be at the heart of these changes. As we had a new industrial democracy in1945 during the great swathes if nationalisation so we must have one in the 21stcentury.

‘This new political era will require bold thinking in terms of the policy platform on which Labour fights the next election. And we pledge to work with Jeremy and others in the labour movement to make our vision of a publicly-owned railway a reality.’

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