ASLEF pickets out at Waterloo

South West Trains ASLEF picket line at Waterloo station yesterday afternoon
South West Trains ASLEF picket line at Waterloo station yesterday afternoon

YESTERDAY’S 24-hour strike by 200 Aslef members working out of London’s Waterloo Station was 100 per cent solid and will be repeated tomorrow, Aslef EC member Simon Weller told News Line.

Weller said: ‘An agreement was put in place after privatisation in 1997 whereby drivers booking on or off prior to public transport starting would be provided with a taxi to or from work.

‘That practice worked comfortably until 2003 when they transferred the tax liability to the drivers at Waterloo, making it prohibitive for us, and we’ve been trying to resolve it through negotiations ever since.

‘Today’s solidarity is not just in relation to the taxi agreement, it reflects a commitment to protecting locally negotiated agreements.

‘Managers are driving trains today, working excessively long shifts, unfamiliar with the routes and we have safety concerns. Drivers with that level of competency would and should not be able to drive trains.’

Weller added: ‘Before privatisation in January 1997 we had staff trains through the night. The removal of these trains was the direct result of privatisation. We want renationalisation.’

Giving his first name only, John said: ‘We can’t speak out openly in fear of dismissal. We are gagged by our contract.’

He continued: ‘The trains should be brought back into public hands. The subsidy today is three times what it was under BR. Why should public funds be put into the pockets of private investors? It’s an absolute scandal.’

Mark said: ‘People expected change with a Labour government in 1997. But they haven’t changed any workers’ rights or anti-trade union legislation from the Thatcher era.

‘Workers are going to have to start saying no and standing up for themselves. We need to bring the Labour Party back to its worker roots and remove the Blairites and their right wing policies.

‘We are out again on Thursday and on the 13th and 15th of June to continue fighting on this important issue.’