Tories -

18 July 2006

In an unexpected outbreak of sanity, the Conservatives have admitted they were wrong about at least some aspects of railway privatisation. Specifically, Shadow transport secretary Chris Grayling has conceded that creating one company to manage the rail tracks and another 25 to run the trains has led to too much time spent debating contracts rather than improving the service. ‘Oddly enough, this statement by the Conservative Party is true, ‘says ASLEF leader Keith Norman. ‘But it is only part of the truth. Waste is an integral part of a privatised railway.’

 

Keith says the Conservatives must be the last people to realise that a fragmented and privatised industry slows decisions and costs money.

 

‘You have only to look at the 103 rail pension schemes to see the unnecessary bureaucracy. You have only to examine the lawyer’s paradise of franchise contracts to see pointless and expensive activity. You have only to look at the salaries of the heads of privatised companies to see wasted money.’

 

Keith welcomed the increased investment in rail by Labour since 1979 – but, he says, we need to ensure that our public money is spent effectively. ‘The only way to secure this is by re-nationalising the entire network, and fully reintegrating track and rail.’

 

Another measure floated by the Conservative is the introduction of share-ownership schemes. ASLEF believes these schemes have failed elsewhere, they are divisive, they do not incentivise workers, and would only add extra layers of bureaucratic activity.

 

‘Good industrial relations are secured by managers treating its workforce with respect, consulting openly with the trade unions and ensuring workers have decent working conditions and a reasonable salary for the jobs they undertake.

 

‘No one wants gimmick solutions.’

Back »

By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies. For more information please refer to ASLEF’s Privacy Policy