THE RIGHT wing in the ASLEF rail union are manoeuvring in an attempt to challenge left wing general secretary Mick Rix. A special recall conference has been called for 25 April to discuss removing Rix from his post. Rix beat sitting general secretary Lew Adams in an election two years ago. His victory was a reflection of anger amongst rank and file members at what they saw as the ineffective response of the ASLEF leadership to attacks following rail privatisation.
There are reasons to criticise Rix, such as his failure to lead strike action calling for rail renationalisation in the aftermath of the Paddington crash. However, this is not the reason he is being attacked by the right wing. They want a rail union that is more compliant with the New Labour government, not less. ASLEF members should make sure the witch-hunt against Rix is raised at their next union meeting and mandate their conference delegate to defend Rix. They should also call on ASLEF to oppose the government's plans to privatise London Underground.
- RAIL DRIVERS in Scotland are gearing up for strikes over pay. The 600-plus members of the drivers' ASLEF union are balloting now, with the result due in a fortnight.
They have already rejected two pay offers from ScotRail. The strength of feeling is shown by the fact that some services in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Inverclyde have already been hit by unofficial strike action and "unprecedented" levels of sickness.
- OVERHEAD LINE (OHL) workers, who carry out vital rail maintenance, are continuing to resist GTRM and Balfour Beatty's union-busting plans.
The two firms have put together a "joint venture", and are recruiting staff on terrible pay and conditions in an attempt to undermine OHL workers. The joint venture workers are rejecting a sweetheart deal signed by GTRM and Balfour Beatty with the AEEU union. Instead they are joining the RMT. The joint venture poses a huge threat to rail workers. But the RMT leadership has yet to rise to the challenge and campaign for strike action.
SOCIALIST WORKER has produced a four page special for rail workers. Order copies from 020 7987 1919.