ASLEF delegation brings condolences from U.K.

From left: Martin Samways, ASLEF Executive Committee President, and Mick Rix, ASLEF General Secretary, during the BLE's Seventh Quinquennial Convention in Miami Beach, Fla.

During the afternoon session on September 26, the two top officers of the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) spoke to BLE delegates about the long history of friendship between the two unions and the need for solidarity in the face of transportation globalization.

ASLEF General Secretary Michael "Mick" Rix and Executive Committee President Martin Samways spoke to BLE members about the need for friendship across continents.

"In 1906 and 1909, we were very pleased to receive representation from the then-presidents of the BLE when they were guests of our union in the U.K., and that bond of friendship has lasted all that time," said Rix.

Rix said ASLEF borrowed several ideas for its founding from the BLE, which was formed in 1863. "Your own journal is called the Locomotive Engineers Journal. Well, we pinched that idea in the U.K. and, 1886, we started a Locomotive Journal, very much similar to your own," he said.

Rix offered his condolences to the people of the U.S. for the atrocities of September 11 from the people of Great Britain. He believes that this incident and the reaction that has followed will strengthen bonds between the two countries.

General Secretary Rix also discussed the effects of globalization on the workers of the world.

"Globalization is having a serious effect on the workers of the world and trade unionists," Rix said. "Safety and workers' rights have been put last in the quest for profits."

During his speech, Rix invited BLE members to work together with ASLEF members against the effects of globalization. He also urged BLE members to work with all other workers around the world against competition between workers and to create a level playing field for all.

"Workers in the transportation industry have a right to collective bargaining and solidarity action without recourse to the courts," said Rix, who received several ovations throughout his speech.

Samways also brought condolences and greetings to all BLE members from the United Kingdom and spoke out against the problem of globalization.

"We must not walk away from those workers not in trade unions," said Samways. "We believe in furthering the rights of workers in all the world from whatever background and from whatever dialect they speak, and I believe it an honor to be able to do it."

Both men expressed appreciation for the hospitality shown to them by BLE members and walked away from the podium to standing ovations.

2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers