ASLEF: A vision for the future of Scotland's railway
ASLEF, the train drivers’ trade union, has set out its vision for the future of the railway in Scotland ahead of COP26 [the 26th United Nations conference on climate change, to be held in Glasgow from this Sunday 31 October to Friday 12 November].
Kevin Lindsay, ASLEF’s organiser in Scotland, said: ‘This country cannot meet its environmental obligations and tackle the climate crisis without a world class rail service, for passengers and for business, that moves people and goods around our country efficiently, in an environmentally-friendly fashion, and helps shift people, from cars, and freight, from HGVs, onto trains.’
Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary, said: ‘Boris Johnson is all blow and no go. He talks the talk but will not walk the walk. If the Westminster government is really committed to a net zero strategy, we need the investment in infrastructure to get us there. Which means, on the railway, a proper programme of electrification.’
The ScotRail franchise will be taken back from the Dutch company Abellio three years early after a catalogue of cancellations, late trains, poor management decisions, and service failures.
In a report launched today [Thursday 28 October)] at the Scottish Parliament, A Vision for Scotland’s Railways sets out a transformative agenda for the future of passenger and freight services.
The report – by ASLEF and the other three rail unions, the RMT, TSSA, and Unite – calls for the newly created publicly-owned structure to be clean, green, affordable, properly staffed, punctual, and reliable; a service that meets the needs of communities and businesses whilst delivering on Scotland’s environmental targets.
It calls for an end to profiteering, ticket office closures, job losses, and budget cuts. And it rejects the call by some politicians to use the covid-19 pandemic as cover for a reduction in the services that passengers and businesses want. It also exposes the failure of privatisation and calls for the Caledonian Sleeper service, currently run by Serco, to be brought into public ownership and for any new system to ensure that the rail workers who understand how Scotland’s railway works are placed at the heart of decision making.
Kevin added: ‘This report brings together the four rail unions in Scotland, speaking with one voice, and setting out our vision for a railway based on quality, sustainability, and excellence. The end of the disastrous Abellio franchise gives us the opportunity to start afresh with a railway that meets the needs of all our people whilst valuing the key workers who deliver services.
‘This report is our vision of a railway run as a public service in the interest of the people and the communities of Scotland, not to make a profit for a foreign company. It is the basis for building a world class rail system of which all of us in Scotland can be proud. We have a great opportunity, and we should grab it with both hands.’
NOTE to editors: The report will be launched outside the front entrance to the Scottish Parliament at 11am on Thursday 28 October. All MSPs and media have been invited to attend. Union members and representatives will be available for interview and copies of the report will be available for collection.
For further information please call Kevin Lindsay on 07789 276746 or contact:
Media & Communications
77 St John Street
Tel: 020 7324 2407
Mob: 07977 498794