ASLEF in action

01 January 2018

(as featured in the ASLEF Journal )


ASLEF LabourASLEF adopts a twin track approach on the political and industrial fronts, to advance the interests of all our members. We engage industrially with the train and freight operating companies to secure the best terms and conditions for train drivers in England, Scotland and Wales and we engage politically at Westminster, Holyrood and Cardiff Bay because politicians make the laws and set the rules and regulations.

That’s why ASLEF was in action at the London Labour Party regional conference at Congress House in central London on 25 and 26 November.

Marz Colombini, EC member for District 1, was our delegate at the composite meeting which got this motion on the agenda, proposed by the TSSA and seconded by Kingston & Surbiton CLP. District 8 Organiser Finn Brennan spoke for the motion, which was adopted and is now London Labour Party policy.

‘Conference calls on Transport for London to continue to invest heavily in transport in London, with particular regard for increased affordability and accessibility for passengers, capacity, and secure employment.

‘Conference notes that the Conservative government has ended TfL’s operating grant. The withdrawal of the annual £750m DfT grant has led to TfL needing to make savings of £5.8 billion over five years, resulting in delays or cancellations to upgrades on the Northern and Jubilee lines, and important station capacity projects; cutting hundreds of jobs as part of a TfL transformation exercise; thousands of other jobs being placed under review, causing uncertainty for staff; significant sums of money being lost in severance payments; and staff cuts compromising TfL’s ability to provide a quality service.

‘Conference resolves that the London Labour Party should, before the council elections, launch a public campaign to reinstate TfL’s funding from the DfT; to bring TfL in line with other authorities and pay it from vehicle excise duty collected in the capital for the maintenance of the road network.

‘Currently fewer than 1 in 10 London Underground stations are wheelchair accessible, and alternative transport options do not exist. We call for a radical and rapid project of creating step-free access to rail and Tube trains to improve services, increase employment, and recognise the needs of disabled passengers.

‘Conference notes with concern reports that the implementation of Crossrail 2, scheduled for 2033, may be delayed by seven years or more. TfL has stated that 17 Underground stations face chronic overcrowding by the 2030s if Crossrail 2 is not completed on time. We note that Crossrail 2 and other public transport projects play an important role in London reaching its targets to reduce air pollution, which are currently at illegal levels. Strain on transport on the north–south spine, with inadequate station and line capacity, might have to be endured for more than 20 years. London needs an integrated transport system – which is currently undermined by the franchising system. We call on all London reps to press for the implementation of Crossrail 2 on schedule.

‘Conference believes that in order to deliver and maintain a safe, reliable and robust public transport system for London it is key to ensure that there are sufficient properly trained and qualified staff across all sectors of that system. We welcome the well-deserved praise given to front line staff by the London Mayor and others for their heroic efforts during the terrorist attacks on our city, and in keeping London moving on a daily basis. We note that if suitably trained staff are not available to deal with evacuations or emergencies then the consequences for public safety will be severe.

‘Conference notes with concern the large number of agency and contract staff employed in front line positions within London’s rail network, and across the capital’s transport industry as a whole. We call on TfL to take a lead by eliminating agency and contract roles for front line staff in all TfL branded operations and in those over which it has any degree of direct control and replacing these roles with permanent directly-employed staff. This would enhance the safety of the network and contribute to the effective application of agreed security procedures by ensuring all staff are properly qualified, as well as ensuring that low paid workers are offered permanent roles rather than being forced to work under exploitative and precarious agency conditions.

‘We welcome the recent revocation of the licence for Uber. We support this action as we support fair employment for workers and safe and accessible service for customers. We support the unionisation of workers and the legal cases taken on their behalf.’

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