Black and white photo showing group who were part of 2000 rail workers lobbying parliament against Transport Bill in 1981

History & achievements

TSSA has a long and proud history of representing workers in transport and travel

TSSA history

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) can trace its root back to 1897. Now celebrating our 125th year, much has changed along the way.

Formed in 1897 as the National Association of General Railway Clerks, it became the Railway Clerks’ Association in 1899; then, in 1951, following the changes that took place in the transport industry during the post-war period, the current title of TSSA was adopted.

Single or Return, written by TSSA member Malcolm Wallace, is the first official history of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association and was published in 1996 as part of our centenary celebrations.

The book details many of the industrial and political changes faced by TSSA over the period and how the union and our members responded. From the first women working on the railways and becoming active in unions and politics, through to key industrial disputes and dates concerning privatisation and other major changes in our industries, this is a must read for anyone with an interest in railway and trade union history.

TSSA 125 anniversary pages

Find out about the celebrations and commemorative activity marking TSSA's 125the anniversary in 2022

TSSA Timeline

4 April 1897 An exploratory meeting for a railway clerks union was held at Sheffield Vestry Hall. Only 5 clerks were present, and a management spy reported back that “nothing would come of it”!

9 May 1897 First formal meeting of National Association of General Railway Clerks (renamed RCA in 1899) took place at the Wilberforce Café, Sheffield. Charles Basset-Vincent became our first General Secretary