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ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan told food and hospitality workers that we should “no longer take what is happening to our communities.”
Addressing the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) conference in Southport today, the train drivers’ leader railed against the current state of affairs.
“I wake up every day and I don’t need to look hard to find something to make me angry,” he said.
“We have 1.5 million people living in destitution, over four million of us rely on foodbanks.
“Homelessness has doubled or trebled. How is this right?”
Mr Whelan received enthusiastic applause for paying tribute to fellow rail union RMT strikes against Northern and Merseyrail, where rail bosses aim to get rid of the guard role on trains.
Pointing to last year’s Grenfell disaster, he lashed out at Tories who had the “temerity” to criticise firefighters for their handling of the blaze.
“They say historians judge societies by how they treat their weakest,” he said. “Well, I would be ashamed by how I think they would judge us today.”
Concluding, Mr Whelan urged the BFAWU to keep faith, reminding delegates that the whole union movement is a “force” and a “way forward.”
He said: “What is our answer? It is not about one man, but Jeremy Corbyn is the man we should get behind.”
Summarising the culture of privatisation in Britain as “we make it, they profit,” Mr Whelan said that the unions are winning the argument with the public and, once the unions and Labour win the next election, “workers will organise and be treated with dignity.”
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