ASLEF at the TUC

12 September 2017

ASLEF has sent five delegates – Mick Whelan, general secretary; Simon Weller, assistant general secretary; Dave Calfe, EC vice-president; Cliff Holloway of Euston branch; and Garry McKenney of Sheffield Midland – to the 149th Trades Union Congress in Brighton from Sunday 10 to Wednesday 13 September. Executive committee members Marz Colombini and Howard Kaye, district organisers Dicky Fisher and Nigel Gibson, and Women’s Representatives’ Committee chair Deborah Reay are all attending as visitors.

Mick paid tribute to ‘the McDonalds workers’ historic strike’ and slammed employers who refuse to pay the minimum wage when he spoke from the podium on Monday morning in support of a motion moved by Ronnie Draper, general secretary of the Bakers, Food & Allied Workers’ Union, about wage protection.

And he joined Kelvin Hopkins, Labour MP for Luton North, Jacqui Johnson, former president of the UCU, and Paul Embery, national organiser of the TUAEU – Trade Unions Against the European Union – for a fringe in the Gresham room at the Old Ship Hotel on Monday lunchtime.

Debbie chaired a fringe in the Grand Hotel on Monday calling for the decriminalisation of sex workers. She said: 'The truth is you will never get rid of sex work and sex workers – people have been trying, and failing, for thousands of years – and we believe that sex workers, like other workers, need and deserve our protection.’

Dave told a few unvarnished truths about the real state of rail industry safety in a debate about the dangers of light touch regulation. Speaking from the podium on Monday afternoon, he said: ‘The Rail Safety & Standards Board is owned by rail industry stakeholders. Trade unions and the ORR only have observer status within the organization. ASLEF believes that the RSSB should be separately funded and truly independent of industry. The ORR is funded by the rail industry through licence fees and safety levies. It regulates health and safety standards and compliance across the whole rail industry and monitors Network Rail’s upkeep of rail assets to make sure the rail industry is competitive. However, the enforcement of safety standards sometimes conflicts with economic concerns and this raises questions about how independent this body can be while working alongside other companies in the industry.

'As train drivers, we want a safe, efficient, and modern railway delivering for passengers and business in Britain. We do not want to see the safety of our railway compromised by a desire to cut costs and increase profits for privatised train operating companies.’ We want the government to take a robust approach to regulation and inspection on our safety-critical railways. Let’s not allow our railway to return to the dark days when we had Clapham, Purley, Southall, and Ladbroke Grove.’






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