ASLEF Executive - January overview

30 June 2005

Executive Committee Report

Dear Colleagues 

In its January 2005 session, the Executive Committee elected Alan Donnelly (EC member District No 3) as its President, and Steve Usher (EC member District No 6) as Vice-President.

From the outset it is the intention of the entire Executive Committee to look and move forward together for the betterment of this trade union, ASLEF. While there will be ongoing issues from the past, we intend to remain focused on the job of representing train drivers. 

In this session we have dealt with a number of issues including industrial relations problems within certain companies. These matters are now being dealt with by company councils and District Organisers. As an Executive Committee, we fully support our representatives when faced with issues such as a breach of recognised agreements, over-zealous attitudes to discipline, bullying and/or harassment in the workplace. Where our members are treated unfairly by a company through a disciplinary process, then companies must understand that we will not sit by and allow that. Fellow workers seek redress in those circumstances and this EC will facilitate that in an appropriate way. 

In early February we attended a three-day Financial Training course at the TUC, along with ASLEF trustees. This training was provided as a result of the Kelly Report. It was designed to give both the EC and the trustees a better understanding of our roles and responsibilities towards our finances. This is to ensure that our investments and assets are dealt with appropriately. The training was very successful and our thanks go to Terry Segars of the TUC who allowed us the opportunity to learn in an enjoyable way. 

The Special Assembly of Delegates (SAD) also took place this month in Hereford – a new venue for us which proved very pleasant. The conference provided the opportunity for the Executive Committee to demonstrate that the recommendations of the recommendations made by Matthias Kelly in his report to ASLEF, are being implemented. There is no doubt that the Report had wide-ranging financial implications for us as a trade union – and they lay the basis for our future stability. 

Most notably, the Executive Committee has ensured that a Finance Committee meeting will take place on a monthly basis. It will coincide with the EC session and involve a representative trustee, the General Secretary, President and the Finance Manager who is employed at Head Office. Recommendations will be made from that body to us as an Executive, where final decisions in regard to financial matters will be made. 

We also take on board what has been said at the SAD in regard to the minutes of our meetings. We are determined that transparency and accountability will be reflected from the Executive Committee throughout the trade union. 

We have encountered some difficulties in regard to inter-union relations where some people sought to exploit what they saw as a weakness in ASLEF. They were undoubtedly mistaken. Our position was made quite clear at a meeting with the RMT facilitated by the TUC and attended by ASLEF’s President and acting General Secretary. ASLEF is, and will always be, the trade union for train drivers. Because we represent members from within the grade, we have first-hand experience of the issues faced by our members. A further meeting will take place later this month and we are determined to ensure that ‘poaching’ on either side is not acceptable. 

As members we are faced with difficult industrial issues – not least the numerous ‘harmonisation’ discussions taking place throughout the country. These processes are difficult, not least because of the way in which differing managements seek to exploit the opportunity to worsen conditions as we attempt to improve them. We recognise that these issues are at the forefront of many members’ minds given the potential implications to our future as train drivers. That is why it is vital that we support the work of all our negotiators, full-time officers and company councils involved. With that support and the opportunity for the membership to have the final say by way of referendum, we will ensure that justice prevails and the principles of the Drivers’ Charter are upheld and improved upon. 

You will be aware that a number of important elections are currently taking place within our union. It is not this Executive Committee’s remit to attempt to influence the membership in any way – but we do hope that as members you will participate in the democratic process of ASLEF elections. 

This year we celebrate 125 years of our proud trade union. This Executive Committee looks forward to working with you the membership in solidarity with the hard-working branch officers and representatives throughout our movement. 

The ASLEF Executive Committee 2005

Alan Donnelly

Steve Usher

Terry Wilkinson

Graham Walker

Hugh Bradley 

Tosh McDonald

Bryan Davies

Nigel Gibson

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