Banners held high

31 May 2018

We can, and always will, strive to do, and be, better and a number of events I have attended recently have brought home that we do not thank our officers and representatives enough. The constant barrage of phone and email communication that impacts on their personal lives shows their dedication should not be underestimated and the comparative levels of success, when you hear what is happening elsewhere, is stunning. So, on behalf of all of us, may I take this opportunity to thank you.


You will see from reading the Journal that we have been busy at the STUC, Welsh Labour Party, May Day, and TUC rally. At the Scottish TUC our motions were successful; this was also the case at the WLP and it is our intention to continue to campaign and lobby to make our case for the industrial and other issues that affect our members everywhere.


I was glad to see people turn out for May Day – International Workers’ Day – particularly from Salisbury, a city reliant on tourism, that hasn’t had the support from central government it needs to help it recover from the Novichok incident, as I learned when attending their CLP recently. It does no harm to remind ourselves that no one has ever given us anything. We have had to fight for rights, recognition, terms and conditions, and those who did the job before us have given us the platform, and the voice, we seek to maintain today.


On a wet Saturday tens of thousands of trade unionists and members of civil society came together to challenge austerity and the damage it is doing; it is great to be part of a wider movement but even better to be there with a large contingent of ASLEF members and their families with banners held high, even in the rain. Thank you!


Finally, two big announcements. First, the digital railway. From the way it was trumpeted you would think it was happening tomorrow. Of five pronouncements four were to do with HS2 and the other the south end of the East Coast. Mark Carne was more realistic when, interviewed on BBC, he said it will take 10-15 years. No wonder he is moving on! Second, the consultation on the 55 million rail fares in this country, something we have highlighted for the best part of two decades, but it is only a consultation and apparently has to be revenue neutral. So let’s not get too excited!





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