AAD: Monday 21 May Tosh McDonald

21 May 2018

Tosh McDonald, ASLEF’s executive committee president, made his last address to conference as president this morning; he steps down from the EC at the end of this year and retires from the railway shortly afterwards. Tosh told delegates:

‘It’s been a busy and challenging year, but then every one of the 14 years I’ve been on the EC has been busy and challenging. I started on the railway in 1979, just a month after Thatcher was elected – I hated her then and I still hate her today – then we had Major, who privatised the railway, and I disliked him intensely, too, then Cameron and now May and they are all the same, they are there to do us in. The Tory Party is the most successful class-based political party in history. They look after the bosses. They are not there to represent us.’

Turning his attention to the Labour Party, to which ASLEF is affiliated, he said:

‘For a long while we had a party that didn’t look after us. It got lost. But this is the best cabinet – or shadow cabinet – I have ever seen. Under Labour, with Corbyn & company, we will bring the railways back into public ownership. And we will enshrine, in law, the rights of the workers. That’s why the whole party needs to get behind the party – and the manifesto on which we fought the last elecetion – and if there are some who can’t, then they should, as Len McCluskey said the other day, shove it where the sun don’t shine.’

Tosh added:

‘ASLEF is doing today what this union has been doing since it was formed, in Leeds, in 1880. Fighting for our members’ terms and conditions. Fighting for our members’ jobs. And fighting for our members’ pensions. It’s what we’ve been doing for 138 years.’

He also launched a coruscating attack on the privatised freight operating company DB Cargo. ‘The Tories’ doubled the tax on coal and we told them what would happen. But the company took no notice. They kept selling off land to balance the books. Management was just papering over the cracks.’

And he signed off, in his valedictory address, with a rallying call for members to ‘build a better world, for the many, not the few.’ Tosh got a standing ovation.



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