Scottish independence: Train drivers’ union say no

Aslef members unanimously backed calls to stay in the UK. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Aslef members unanimously backed calls to stay in the UK. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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ASLEF, the main train drivers’ union, today became the first union to oppose Scottish independence in a unanimous vote at its annual conference in Edinburgh.

Delegates also agreed to affiliate to the Better Together campaign for Scotland to stay in the UK, despite concern from some that it had received funding from Conservative donors.

Scotland district secretary Kevin Lindsay said no Aslef branch north of the Border had supported independence for Scotland.

He said: “This is not about bashing Alex Salmond. It’s about a vision for Scotland within the United Kingdom.

“You didn’t get asked on your way here to Edinburgh for a passport, you got asked for a ticket.

“The preferred option of the SNP is the pound issued by the Bank of England and controlled by the Bank of England. There’s an indication in that name of who will be running the Scottish economy.

“I want a United Kingdom that delivers for the working-class people of this country. Let’s not put borders up, because borders divide people.”

Better Together national organiser Victoria Jamieson said: “We are delighted to have the full support of Aslef. The voice of trade unions must be heard and trade union members will play a crucial role in this debate.

“Aslef have been campaigning positively for a just Scotland in a just UK, and their members have been telling us that solidarity means working together; not putting up borders to divide working people, and risk the undercutting of workers in a race to bottom.

“The union has also been right to point out that there are many unanswered questions over separation which could impact upon their members, whether it’s cross-border pension schemes, rail infrastructure investment, terms and conditions, or rail regulation.”

Aslef has 1,800 members in Scotland and 18,500 across Britain.

A spokesman for Yes Scotland said: “More and more trade unionists are agreeing with Yes Scotland that Westminster isn’t working for Scotland, not least because of the damaging effects to our welfare system and the agenda of austerity and cuts.

“We will continue to engage constructively with the STUC and trades unions on their vision for a just Scotland - and we will continue to make the case that a fully empowered Holyrood Parliament is far more likely to help deliver that vision than the same old policies from Westminster. After all, Scotland is wealthy enough to be a fairer nation.

“Alternating Tory and Labour governments have resulted in one of the most unequal societies in the western world. Our discussions with individual union members have been encouraging with many of them are coming round to the view that only a Yes vote offers a better way.”