No scab force here

01 November 2017

Much has been made of recent comments made in or around the Tory Party conference in relation to rail, particularly in the media. But they raised more questions than answers. The announcement of £300 million for connectivity from the Trans Pennine region to HS2, for example. Not sure this is new money? More likely it was made to offset all the criticism of the culling of electrification across the East Midlands and Wales.


After the second announcement, of a national train drivers’ school, some said it’s an initiative for full employment, which this trade union has strived for decades to achieve. More sinisterly, though, others saw it as a strike breaking entity based on the very poor and redacted Gibb Report. The truth is that the DfT and the TOCs have not delivered the establishments we agreed, and demand, for a safely operated railway. If we do agree a national school, then it will be based on agreed requirements and because the trainees will get the route training at the company. There will not be a scab force to hand.


More importantly, they will, of course, be our members and, as trainees dedicated to the company, will be balloted in accordance with legislation. But if the government wants to scupper our buy-in to any proposals they are going the right way and, let’s be clear, any attempt to introduce the HGV model to our industry will be met with total resistance.


This trade union was formed on democratic principles 137 years ago after splitting from the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants. Those principles still apply today; to use every tool at our disposal to fight and campaign on behalf of our members as an industrial and political pressure group. That is how we achieve our aims and have our voice and, after the core work on terms and conditions, safety and wages, we campaign on all the things that impact on our members and their families. Then we battle for workers in other industries at home and abroad as part of the great trade union tradition we were established to carry out. Every year more and more items come to your parliament, AAD, for discussion to be the policy platform for this generation to proudly take forward. It is not enough to affiliate and donate; we have to stand up for what our members tell us to do.

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