Mick's Column


Here you can find archives of the monthly column from ASLEF's General Secretary, Mick Whelan.

2019 - 2018 - 2017201620152014  - 2013 - 2012 - 2011

Other archived columns:  2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005


We continue to fight


January 2020


The message of hope for the future of our industry contained in my last column has been derailed by the result of the general election. The opportunity to recreate the voice of working people through the revoking of Maggie's laws, the Trade Union Act, and the Lobbying Act, which stifle the long-won freedoms of ordinary people, has been lost.


Crossrail for the North, HS2 to Scotland, an end to DOO, reopening of branch lines, a rolling programme of electrification, a better future for freight, and the delivery of integrated transport won't happen now.


Fares won't be cut by a third, there won't be free travel for under 16s, and we won't get a maximum temperature for drivers' cabs.


But we get up every day, regardless of who is in power, to fight politically, socially, and industrially, as we always have done, for each other and our industry - just as we have for the last 140 years.


We have not seen austerity in the way the rest of our communities have, but we have families and friends and cannot and do not forget the issues outside our industry. Some of the most disturbing images of the election were all those polling stations that were usually food banks. So the battle against zero hours contracts and faux self-employment in our industry, and elsewhere, continues. We want to help to build a better, more civilized, society and on these, and a multitude of other issues you tell us about, we will continue to fight.


As social democrats we respect the result and will work within the democratic process - but part of that process are our international treaties and bodies such as the ILO to which, as a nation, we subscribe; and that ensrine the right to strike, the ultimate sanction against poor or dishonourable employers.


So if the new government does attack our industry with minimum service requirements let's send them a message they will understand. We will not be signing up and any company that does will be in immediate and continuous dispute with this trade union - and we will not be found wanting in protecting each other and our rights.


Because we will not betray the legacy of those railwaymen who, in 1880, had the vision and the courage to form our trade union as an industrial, political and social pressure group.


ASLEF is more important now than ever.



Yours fraternally,


Mick Whelan, general secretary


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