New Year Resolutions

19 December 2018

We should always begin a New Year full of renewed hope and energy but it is difficult, this year, having seen how austerity has damaged the lives of so many people. That we have not seen that impact on our members is a tribute to our officers and company and functional councils, supported by our other representatives, and our branches, that give our trade union structures the great strength, through unity, that we have. That’s why I want to take this opportunity to thank them – and to thank each and every one of you because belonging to a trade union is a choice.

Some people think we are an insurance policy. That is not, and never has been, the purpose of this union in its 138 year history. People founded this trade union to improve the lives, the futures, and the safety of each other, and their families, communities, and others. To operate as an industrial representative group and as a political and social pressure group to campaign for and deliver the policies generated by members through branches and our annual assembly of delegates.

The internal and external campaigns we have been part of are a tribute to the moral compass, integrity, and intelligence of generations of train drivers and I am sure there is more – much more – to come.

If I did New Year’s resolutions the first would be for a publicly owned, vertically integrated, railway that is safe and well-invested and seen, as it should be, as part of the means of economic generation on a public service basis, that does away with the massive differentials of salary and investment, and that works for staff, passengers, and taxpayers.

The second would be a government that looks after young and old as it’s meant to, not creating inter-generational conflict; no bedroom tax; a fully- funded NHS; no in-work or pension poverty; no children starving outside or inside term time; public services fully-funded and staffed and back in full governmental control – no more outsourcing.

Third would be a massive housing and infrastructure programme to stimulate the economy, drive employment through real jobs, not zero hours, or faux self-employment, and pay real wages so that in-work poverty is eradicated, and we have a country with assets generating taxes for future investment. Affordable houses for our kids, with affordable transport links, and proper well- paid futures, with no student debt, and dignity into retirement.

Unfortunately, I don’t do New Year’s resolutions and there are so many other things that also need doing we shall just have to do it the way we have always done – by fighting and campaigning together on all our member-generated policies.

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