TUC 2012: Aslef will be moving the motion at this year's TUC calling for support for Action for Rail, a campaign aimed at saving our industry from the government's austerity policies and staving off the implementation of the cuts-riddled McNulty report.
I can almost hear an echo of Mandy Rice-Davies - "Well, he would, wouldn't he?"
Yes, my first consideration is defending the terms and conditions of UK train drivers.
But a successful rail network is not just vital for Aslef members. It is integral to all our social and economic welfare.
Passengers, environmentalists, commuters, businessmen, holidaymakers - even motorists - all have a vested interest in an efficient, affordable, accessible and reliable rail service.
The rail unions collectively challenge fundamental assumptions that the rail companies and the government seem to share - like "It's OK for fares to rise every year," "Cutting staff is always a good thing" and "We can leave railways to the free market."
Our campaign encourages passengers - not "customers" as the companies call them - to join us in asking: "Why should fares rise at all?" rather than "How much will they go up this year?"
We want questions to be asked about staff cuts like "Doesn't my safety matter?" "Who is on hand to offer assistance to passengers with disabilities?" and "Where is there a person to ask about the cheapest fare?"
We want an answer to the question "If franchising and private investors are the best way to fund rail, how come we have some of the worst services in Europe?"
Also, if they have three seconds to spare, we will encourage passengers to consider why Britain has the highest fares in Europe.
It shouldn't take longer. It is glaringly obvious that British rail is expensive because money gushes out of the industry every day, into the hands of the profit-greedy speculating investors who own rail franchises.
In other countries profits are reinvested in rail rather than dished out to accountants, lawyers, consultants and other leeches.
And their railways aren't split into different franchises, so they can make and control an interdependent network.
The government encourages this profit lust and now has plans to sell off track and signal maintenance.
We are in a sorry state when even safety is for sale.
Last time the Tories handed track safety to the private sector, the free-market Railtrack company presided over 41 deaths at Southall (faulty warning system), Hatfield (broken rail) and Ladbroke Grove (badly placed signal).
Because of the public outcry rail maintenance was taken out of the free market. Now it is planned to privatise much of it again, presumably until the next carnage.
We believe we can stop them if rail workers, passengers and transport and environmental pressure groups unite behind our campaign.
Our argument is simple and direct.
Why should passengers pay more to get less?
We want cuts to fares, not staff. We want to cut private profit, not public services. And as a successful Action for Rail campaign will show - we're not alone.
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