Today from the Conference

28 July 2005

Keith Norman


Make the drivers cab fit for the 21st century train drivers’ leader Keith Norman told delegates at the ASLEF annual conference in Scarborough.


“Train drivers work at the edge of human endeavour” he said “but as long as the driver"s cab remains a technological desert, SPADs (signals passed at danger) will continue.”


Condemning the blame culture on the railway Keith Norman said privatisation had created a paper industry where senior managers would do anything to stay out of the High Court.


Faced with the clear and present danger that the fragmentation of the industry created railway managers sought to displace the blame on drivers he said.





Delegates endorsed a comprehensive package of safety policies after Tosh McDonald of Doncaster backed calls for a drivers’ health and safety rep at every location and depot.


Alan Rogers of Seven Sisters reported that London Underground managers were frustrated at the dangers caused by fragmentation.


“Tube managers must have a massive rabbit’s foot for luck” he quipped.


“If the Camden Town derailment had happened in a rush hour, tube passengers would have faced a disaster of unimaginable dimensions.”


Calling for united action with sister rail union RMT he condemned the callousness of private sector managers who allowed contract cleaners to work without safety training near tracks carrying huge voltages.


“And when I raised it with their managers I was told there was plenty more where they came from” he said.



Support for civil servants


Delegates pledged support for the 5 November strike of civil servants after Marion Lloyd of the Public Civil and Commercial Services Union won applause with a scathing attack on Chancellor Brown’s 104,000 civil service job cuts.


Contrasting call for a “redistribution of opportunity” with the reality of job cuts she asked “How would closing 500 benefit offices and 40,000 job centre posts help deliver services”.


“Its time to get the Labour government back on side” she concluded

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