Members of the Aslef trade union went on strike this week in solidarity with a London Underground driver who was transferred from the trains to station duties.
The driver in question failed to stop for three red signals, two of which were within a 4 week period. He had been driving a train for just 11 weeks before he was transferred off the trains.
London Underground could, quite justifiably, have sacked this dangerous incompetent but they kept him in their employ in a job in which he wasn’t risking the lives of thousands of people (some of those trains carry in excess of 1,200 passengers each at peak times). After driving through the first red light he was made to carry out 3 days of training with another driver in the cab. After the second he was made to undertake another 5 days of training and take another 5 days out of the cab. It was only on the third occasion that London Underground said that it would be unsafe for him to continue driving.
But all those chances weren’t good enough for the militant trade unionists in Aslef who think that it’s unreasonable to have threatened the driver (allegedly) with disciplinary procedures if he didn’t agree to the transfer. They would prefer that he was allowed to continue driving despite clearly being dangerous. If ever there was an argument for needing to curtail the activities of trades unions, surely this exemplifies it?
The English Defence League are coming to Telford next weekend to protest in Wellington, motivated by the (alleged) muslim paedophile gang currently standing trail for grooming teenage girls.
Labour councillors have come out in opposition to the march and are getting behind Councillor Mike Ion’s campaign to deny the EDL their right to peaceful protest on the basis that he doesn’t agree with them, rather than concerns about them causing trouble. Councillor Ion does, however, express concerns about violence erupting if fascist left wing thugs like UAF come out to hold their usual violent counter-protests. Councillor Ion’s campaign has even attracted the support of the new leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, Kuldip Singh Sahota which doesn’t bode well for the next four years.
Now Shropshire & Telford Trades Union Council has organised a “unity” counter-protest to celebrate multiculturalism which will be held in another part of Wellington at the same time. Most members of the vicious left wing fascist group, UAF, are union activists as well and will undoubtedly be out in force in Wellington to incite violence.
I have three questions about this counter-protest:
- What the fuck has this got to do with workers’ rights? Trades unions are there to promote workers rights, not organise protests against activities that have nothing to do with workers rights.
- Is this kind of activity compatible with the constitution of the unions represented by the trade union council or the council itself?
- Have union members voted to support the action?
The EDL have a legal right to peaceful protest – it’s in the Human Rights Act. Similarly, union members, UAF, Socialist Workers Party and other left wing fascists have a right to peacefully protest against them. But trades unions? If it’s not in their constitution then the organisers of the protest are acting ultra vires and are leaving themselves open to prosecution from any union member who opposes their action.