Renewing our mandate to protect your working conditions.
With the next round of negotiations between TfL and the Government on future funding for London’s transport system taking place soon, ASLEF is determined to protect our members pay, pensions and working conditions.
The current government funding runs until the end of March; TfL says that it needs around three billion pounds in support for the financial year 2021/22 and a long-term funding agreement to replace fare revenue. Like every other major urban public transport system, only Government backing can fill the gap left by the economic damage of the pandemic.
So far, the Government have engaged in brinkmanship and political games. They seem much more interested in trying to seek political advantage by blaming the Mayor and the unions for TfL’s problems, rather than acknowledging that the current funding model just does not work anymore and that a new solution is needed. An emergency funding package was only agreed when the TfL Chief Financial Officer was about to declare the organization technically bankrupt.
Government ministers have been open about their intentions. They want “workforce modernization” and “pension reform” in return for continuing to fund TfL. That means cutting wages, worse working conditions, and reduced pensions for staff.
Last year, ASLEF asked management for a commitment that any changes to current working arrangements would only come about by agreement. When they refused to give that commitment, we balloted our members across London Underground and got huge a Yes vote. That made management step back from their plans and forced them to keep working through the agreed machinery of negotiation.
We now have to ballot our members again as the law says that our mandate is only valid for six months. Members will start to receive ballot papers from February 15th. It is more important than ever that we get another huge Yes vote. The threat we faced last year has not gone away; it is greater than ever.
Without a mandate to take action, it will be impossible to make management negotiate on any possible changes. They can simply ram through cuts to wages, working conditions and pensions just as other large employers like British Gas and the airline industry are doing.
The reasonable living standards that our families enjoy can not be taken for granted. They can only be protected if we show that we are prepared to fight for them. ASLEF aren’t seeking a confrontation; but we need to show that we have the support of our members to defend them when we need to do so.
So, when your ballot paper arrived next week, please Vote Yes and send it back immediately. Problems with the post mean it is essential not to delay. Any vote not returned effectively counts as a “No” and a negative result or poor return will give management and the Government a green light to do what they want. Don’t let them do it.
Support your Union. Protect your future. Vote Yes.