Friday at AAD

28 July 2005

Energy policy


Delegates varied a busy and businesslike session revising the union’s rule book to hear miners’ union general secretary Steve Kemp spell out the case for an new energy policy.


The technology exists to manage Britain’s massive coal reserves in an ecologically sound way he said.


“Clean coal is viable and desirable” he said but warned that a private energy market might neglect Britain’s skilled workforce and deep reserves to rely on imports of coal mined in poverty pay regions of the globalised economy.


Steve Kemp joined with ASLEF leader Keith Norman to recount episodes in the great strike to save Britain’s coal industry and celebrate the close bonds of solidarity between train drivers and miners.


Delegates dug deep to send the miners leader away with £845 for the sacked and victimised miners fund.


MMP backs Public ownership


Labour MP Alan Simpson who chairs the union’s parliamentary group welcomed the renewal of the union’s activity on the parliamentary and political front.


He welcomed the decision of the Labour Party conference - by a big majority - to back rail’s return to public ownership.


Political Funds


Unions representing millions of workers had won ballots to retain their political funds Jennie Smith of the Trade Union Co-ordinating Committee told delegates.


Without a political fund ASLEF and the other rail unions – whose ballots commence on 15 October – would be unable to campaign effectively.


Pointing out the effectiveness of the union’s Take back the Track and Drive Down the Hours campaigns she warned against complacency.


ASLEF’s success in persuading the government to retain criminal injuries compensation payments for drivers affected by suicides depended on the resources unlocked by the union’s political fund she said.


Firefighters experiences


Delegates listened with interest to firefighters union official John McGhee who reviewed his union’s experiences during their recent pay and conditions dispute.


Firefighters had won a £50 per week pay increase he said and were dealing with a raft of changed working arrangements.


Thanking train drivers for their support during the dispute he said that both unions had learnt the hard way that maintaining union unity was vital in confronting the employers.

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