We will not betray your future

2023-07-01 -
Mick Whelan wearing a suit and ASLEF tie

Colleagues, we now have a situation with every sector, including ours, in dispute with a Westminster government which patently doesn’t care. With the ultimate distraction – a known liar who, as Prime Minister, made the laws, and told the public on nightly bulletins what we could and couldn’t do, and then knowingly broke those very laws and partied – swigging drinks and ignoring social distancing and laughing at the rest of us – whilst many people were not able to say a proper goodbye to their loved ones.

And, true to form, once more the Liar Johnson has run away from public – this time Parliamentary – scrutiny. Attacking a group he originally welcomed, and with the majority of MPs on the Privileges Committee from the Tory Party, finding Mr Johnson guilty! And then – you couldn’t make it up, but we didn’t have to – the story becomes the current Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, hiding from the vote and refusing to comment on the savage judgement of Mr Johnson by his peers.

From profiteering to scandals in the VIP lane and MPs standing down to avoid the inevitable, I believe this government has lost all credibility and we need a general election now. 

In the meantime we have a Transport Minister making videos about all the things he has done in his first six months including working with the unions. I have a simple question: when was that? At the moment Mr Harper is at the G7 praising the infrastructure and investment in rail that he claims is not sustainable here in the UK and a Rail Minister talking up alternatives to electrification with no detail or proposed finances.

We have a little issue caused by the Tories called a national rail strike but no contact, no solutions, just deflection based on their deceit. You, as always, continue to humble the executive committee and me with the latest high returns in the 10 recent re-ballots and we need the same in the next tranche that will be hitting your doorsteps shortly.

As we go around the country your support for our action is solid and the demands from our members is that we continue. We are in this for the long haul. For those of you who will be balloted for the first time I am sure that you will equal the strong returns and mandates we get time after time.

This is your future, built on the flexibility and productivity of the past, and we will not betray it. The operators saw what loyalty their twisted masters gave them in returning TPE to the OLR. What price now their bad faith and twisted deals, done in the hope that rail workers would, long-term, sponsor bigger bonuses for senior managers and bigger profits for shareholders?

Our tactics and strategy have turned out to be correct. There are no short cuts in what is a Westminster-only problem – we have done pay deals in Scotland and Wales, with freight companies, and open access operators – created by the Tories and the TOCs for increasingly political reasons during 13 years of economic illiteracy compounded by ideological dogma. Stay strong, stay safe, and we will prevail…

Yours in solidarity,

Mick Whelan

General Secretary