ASLEF becomes tenth union to back IER Manifesto for Collective Bargaining

Submitted by sglenister on Fri, 11/10/2013 - 09:20

For immediate release

11 October 2013

Railway union ASLEF has announced its official support for the Institute of Employment Rights' (IER's) latest package of policy proposals Reconstruction after Crisis: a manifesto for collective bargaining. This makes the organisation the tenth union to give the manifesto their backing, including Unite, Unison, GMB, NUT, PCS, CWU, UCU, RMT and ATL.

In its report, the IER puts forth a detailed guide to the implementation of wider collective bargaining in the UK in a flexible and gradual manner. The aim of this approach is to reduce income inequality – and thus strengthen the economy – in way that can only improve wages and conditions and create new jobs.

Mick Whelan, General Secretary of Aslef, said: "Since ASLEF was founded in 1880, we have always sought, and fought for, the right to collective bargaining in the railway industry, and we believe the Institute of Employment Rights' proposals in the Manifesto for Collective Bargaining are a realistic and promising method of implementing this. Employers, and right-wing governments that represent their interests, hate, and try to undermine, collective bargaining agreements because, at heart, they want to hire and fire at will and pay as little for our labour as they can. The attack on collective bargaining in this country by big business and the Conservative Party has resulted in the deterioration of the terms and conditions of employment of many working men and women. That’s why, after the privatisation and fragmentation of our industry, we want full sectoral bargaining for the railway."

John Hendy, co-author of Reconstruction after the Crisis: a manifesto for collective bargaining, said: "A fundamental problem with the British economy is the dramatic drop in the value of wages. As well as painfully diminishing the standard of living for most people (while the rich enjoy ever increasing wealth) this has depressed demand causing the loss of jobs, loss of tax revenue and one of the worst performing economies in Europe. A vital way to re-establish the value of wages, decrease inequality, and stimulate job creation, is to reinstate sectoral collective bargaining - that is collective bargaining on an industry by industry basis."

Professor Keith Ewing, co-author of Reconstruction after the Crisis: a manifesto for collective bargaining, said: "There will be no long-term solution to current economic gloom without raising wages and equalising incomes. Only by doing so will we stimulate demand, increase spending, and create real and fully productive jobs that do not need to be subsidised by the State."


Notes to Editors:
For further information, contact:
Carolyn Jones, Director of the IER
0151 207 5265

The manifesto for collective bargaining:

Read the ten-point version of the manifesto here. The full publication is on sale here; review copies available for free.

Economic impact of collective bargaining:

Please see our infographic for a brief illustration of the economic impact of collective bargaining.


The Institute of Employment Rights was established in February 1989. It is a network of academics and lawyers acting as a focal point for the spread of new ideas in the field of labour law. It is an independent charity supported by trade unions representing over 6 million UK workers. See Tel: 0151 207 5265.

Professor Keith Ewing:

Keith Ewing is Professor of Public Law at King’s College London. He is President of the Institute of Employment Rights and Legal editor of the journal International Union Rights. He is also a Vice President of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedoms.

John Hendy QC:

John Hendy QC is a leading employment law barrister, operating from Old Square Chambers London and H P Higgins Chambers in Sydney Australia. He is Chairman of the Institute of Employment Rights, vice-chairman of the International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR)and a Vice President of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom. John is standing counsel to UNITE, ASLEF,CWU, NUJ, NUM, POA, RMT and UCU.


ASLEF is Britain's trade union for train drivers. Its 18,500+ members are employed in the train operating companies, the freight companies, London Underground and some Light Rapid Transport.

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