National Policy Forum 2020: Environment, Energy and Culture

ASLEF's submission to the National Policy Forum 2020 on Environment, Energy and Culture
  1. The Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) is the UK’s largest train drivers’ union, representing over 20,000 members in train operating companies and freight companies as well as London Underground and light rail systems, and, as one of the Labour Party’s founding unions, has been affiliated to the Party since its creation.

  2. The union agrees that we are facing a global climate emergency, and that significant action to stop global warming must be taken immediately. The Covid-19 crisis has proven than when drastic, far-reaching changes to the way we live are required, they can be taken. Similarly in order to rescue the climate, a dramatic shift in how we live our lives must be pushed forward.

  3. ASLEF is therefore encouraged to see Labour reconfirm its commitment to decarbonisation over the next decade.

  4. As a public transport union, ASLEF is strongly committed to prioritising public transport as a way of decarbonising travel. Increasing the frequency, reliability and accessibility of public transport - as part of an integrated, multi-modal system including active travel - is vital as we work to tackle the climate emergency.

  5. Public transport and industries working to develop new carbon-neutral alternative fuels for both transport and other purposes also offer an opportunity to create new ‘green’ jobs. ASLEF is pleased to see the just transition and the creation of new, high-quality green jobs included in this paper but would like to see a specific mention of public transport as both part of the solution to climate change and an industry in which good jobs for the future will become available.

  6. The union is further in agreement that a just transition to a more sustainable economy is a vital element of any shift to carbon-neutral industries. De-industrialised communities must never again be forced to bear the brunt of shifts in technology when there is ample opportunity to develop new industries, re-skill and up-skill workers and create new, high- quality jobs.

  7. In terms of considering short- and medium-term opportunities to redeploy workers in the wake of job losses and longer-term industrial transitions, there are many opportunities in the railway and wider public transport sector, not least engineering, design, planning, logistics and construction as well as the future operations of transport such as train driving and other roles.

  8. It is also encouraging to see a commitment to climate being at the heart of all decision making, and not existing in a silo outside of other policy areas. The climate emergency affects every part of society and every part of government and must be considered when making decisions at every level. It is also imperative that decisions relating to the climate and decarbonisation are taken with regard to equality and diversity. Socio-economically disadvantaged communities and groups with protected characteristics must not be treated inequitably.

  9. Attaching environmental conditions to the receipt of public money is a welcome policy suggestion and ASLEF agrees that any company or organisation in receipt of public money, either providing a contracted service or in receipt of a grant, should be required to operate in a fair and sustainable way. Alongside requiring these companies and organisations to adhere to workplace standards such as recognising a union, meeting environmental sustainability practices must also be required.

  10. The union also agrees strongly with the proposal to consider quality of life as a measure of success for our country and the economy rather than only prioritising investment and financial gain.