Monday, October 19, 1998 Published at 00:44 GMT 01:44 UK
Business: The Company File
Union boss hops on board Virgin
Lew Adams - to work for the company that named a train after him
Lew Adams - the outgoing leader of train drivers' union Aslef - has landed a job with Virgin Trains.
Mr Adams, 58, failed to be re-elected as general secretary in May this year.
The move to Virgin Trains - owned by tycoon Richard Branson - will anger his opponents, but Mr Adams said he is unworried.
Only a month ago Virgin named one of their trains after Mr Adams - The Black Prince. It was a name given to him by a national newspaper during a train strike.
John Monks, general secretary of the TUC, said he was "entirely comfortable" with Mr Adams jumping ship to a privatised rail company.
BBC Industry Correspondent Stephen Evans said: "He now has to work with Richard Branson and it is hard to imagine two more different men.
"The only thing they have in common is railways and a reputation for straight dealing."
"That is what Lew has always done and will continue to do for this industry."
Mr Adams started working on the railways on his 15th birthday, rising after driving steam trains to lead Aslef, one of the strongest unions in the UK.
He led the union through a period of huge change in the industry, when the national rail network passed into private ownership.
"Throughout the whole of the privatisation process nobody at train driver grade was made compulsorily redundant," said Mr Adams.
"At the end of the day there was one - it was me."
Dave Rix, a union official from Leeds and a member of Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party, won the leadership ballot by more than 4,558 votes to 3,357.
Virgin Trains has been under fire recently because of delays to the trains it runs on the West Coast mainline.
Cabinet ministers were among passengers whose arrival in Blackpool for the Labour Party conference in September was delayed by problems on the route.
But Mr Branson rejected the accusation, saying he intended the line to be the best in Europe, if not the world, in three-and-a-half years' time, at the end of the current franchise.
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