AAD Friday

26 May 2016

Paul Routledge, the son of a railwayman, and a journalist who, in a long and distinguished career, has worked for The Times, The Observer, the Independent on Sunday, Daily Mirror, and Huddersfield Examiner, and written books about Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson, and Arthur Scargill, was on sparkling form on Friday morning. Paul, who loves railways, and railwaymen, said he had enjoyed ‘listening to the discussions this morning – to the authentic voices of the footplate’ and suggested the TOCs should do a little more of that, too. He held up a copy of the local paper, the Strathspey & Badenoch Herald, in which Charlie Whelan, Gordon Brown’s former spin doctor, ‘says ScotRail should be listening to their drivers rather than their accountants.’ He recalled his days working at Westminster, or what he called ‘that mad Gothic shed by the river’, and as an industrial correspondent. ‘Ray Buckton knew how to play the media. He’d get us into the office at Arkwright Road, and say “I’ve never seen the lads so angry – the telegrams are flooding in from every depot!” Great lad, and a great leader of this union.’

AAD voted unanimously to change the title of national organiser – the second most senior elected position in this union, currently held by Simon Weller – to assistant general secretary. ‘We’re talking about the title, not the man, but it needs to be the correct and recognised title,’ said Cliff Holloway.

AAD voted 49-24 for a motion moved by Phil Devonport, Marylebone, and seconded by Cliff Holloway, Euston, that referenda are not required to be conducted where the changes to t&csi nvolving a four day week, 156 rest days, is voluntary.

Mick Whelan reminded delegates of the Scottish miners’ leader who liked to say, ‘Let’s meet as colleagues and leave as comrades’ and then AAD ended, in the traditional way, with everyone singing the Red Flag, led in a beautiful baritone by Dave Vaughan, of Newton Heath, aka the a cappella ace.

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