Vote for the railway

28 November 2019

We are not able, as train drivers who provide a public service, in a 24/7 industry, to celebrate Christmas and New Year fully. But we hope that the security and safety of everyone in this party period is paramount, and that the travelling public takes a moment to think of all those in the railway family doing the necessary maintenance and upgrade work that keeps our railway running, and who want to see their own loved ones over the festive fortnight.

 

We have the cynical timing of a failing government seeking to impose a poor antiworker Brexit, not getting their own way, and forcing an election when students have gone home for the holidays and those in seasonal work may have their ability to vote impacted. Democracy denied is democracy undermined.

 

So I would urge all those eligible to vote, regardless of their electoral preference, to register; and those who may have problems at this dark, cold, time of year to get a postal vote, out of respect for all those who fought for everyone to have a voice.

 

Naturally, as an affiliated union to the Labour Party, we have a pronounced bias to the party that will protect our NHS and schools, give a free broadband guarantee for a better start in life for our children and grandchildren. That will improve education, build houses, restore trade union rights, and do away with the bedroom tax, zero hours contracts and faux self-employment. That will introduce green policies that will take our economy forward with a just transition with quality, unionised, jobs for future generations.

 

Labour will do a Brexit deal and put it to the people with the option to remain on the ballot paper. We remain in favour of Brexit but believe, after all the concerns raised by those on both sides of the debate, that no one was fully informed, and so support this way forward as sensible.

 

Labour will nationalise water, mail and rail. The party has promised a rolling programme of electrification, an extension of HS2 into Scotland, Crossrail for the North, and more connectivity, as well as the re-opening of branch lines. Support for publicly-owned rail freight and the end of driver only operation – something against which we have campaigned for 30 years. There is a lot for our industry in this Labour manifesto – and far more for the country as a whole.

 

As always, we will enter the New Year in a spirit of renewal and hope. Thank you for all you do and please may you and yours have a great Christmas and holiday period. Please be safe.

 

Yours fraternally

Mick Whelan, general secretary

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