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August 2016 EC summary

11 August 2016

Summary of the key issues and decisions made at the meeting of TSSA's Executive Committee held on 4 and 5 August 2016

Apologies were received from Steve Leggett and Gary Kilroy (work commitments)

Industrial relations

The pay dispute on Virgin Trains East Coast has been resolved. However, there continues to be issues on VTEC, including cuts in staffing and deteriorating industrial relations. VTEC will be making a presentation to TSSA reps on their plans on 11th August.

On Network Rail, the EC authorised the General Secretary to call industrial action over a dispute amongst 'on-call' managers. Staff who work on-call are paid different amounts and whilst Network Rail have made an offer to try to address these disparities, our members are not satisfied with the offer and action short of strike may prove necessary.

On Eurostar, Train Managers voted 86% in favour of strike action and also action short of strike in a dispute over rostering disparities with colleagues based in Belgium and France. A long standing commitment on the part of Eurostar to address these disparities and work life balance issues has still not been met. The EC authorised the General Secretary to call industrial action.

TSSA members working for Govia Thameslink are to be balloted for industrial action in a dispute over the closure of 34 ticket offices and the loss of 46 jobs. The EC authorised the General Secretary to call industrial action.

In Ireland, TSSA members working for Dublin Bus have rejected a 8.25% pay offer (workers have not received a pay rise for ten years). The Irish Committee authorised a ballot of members for industrial action and the EC gave the General Secretary authority to call industrial action.

TSSA Democracy

The Executive Committee agreed a Code of Conduct for EC and General Secretary elections. The Code of Conduct is intended to ensure that elections are conducted in a fair, open, democratic and respectful manner.

The Executive Committee agreed that a call for expressions of interest in the post of General Secretary will be made on 10th August. The date of the election will be announced following discussions with Electoral Reform Services who will run the ballot.

A very small number of branches submitted written responses to TSSA Circular 130, which invited views on a proposal of a rule change whereby branch representation at Conference could be determined on the basis of not more than one Delegate for each 300 members or fraction of 300, but no branch may send more than four Delegates. Branches should submit their views by 6th September. Branches are strongly encouraged to do so.

Organising, Membership and Strategy

Membership of the association continues to slowly decline. The EC approved a report detailing the Operational Plan for 2016/17. The plan includes a number of key objectives, including growing the size of the union, to build capacity and power by increasing union activity and to build visibility and grow our union through organising around equality and diversity. Individual EC members would take the lead on the delivery of locally agreed recruitment plans and would give recruitment updates at every EC meeting.

It was also included in the plan that Organising Secretary training would be made a priority in the new year. A role description for Organising Secretaries would also be drafted for EC approval.

Following correspondence from SE Wales branch, it was agreed that some members in their branch would better served by being transferred to Wales No.1 branch. The matter has been referred to the Divisional Council.

The EC agreed that contact would be made with all Divisional Councils requesting them to take the lead in reviewing the branch structure in their division, following the restructure which was agreed last year. Responses would be sought for consideration at the EC meeting in December.

Political

The EC was given a full verbal report from Andi Fox, who is TSSA's representative on the Labour Party NEC and TSSA’s EC member for the North East. Andi broke her holiday to travel to London in order to participate in the NEC meeting which took place on 12th July to decide whether Labour's leader, Jeremy Corbyn, would require the nominations of 51 MPs in order to stand in the upcoming leadership election or stand without nominations as the incumbent. It was agreed by a vote that Mr Corbyn could stand for election as the incumbent without the need to seek the nominations of MPs. Andi was thanked by the EC for her commitment and personal sacrifice in attending this NEC meeting.

It was further reported that following the vote, after some NEC members left the meeting on the understanding that the issue of Mr Corbyn's nomination was the only item of business, the NEC then agreed to impose an embargo on party members (including those that would have been eligible to vote by virtue of joining an affiliated trade union) who joined after 12th January which would preclude them from voting in the election, as well as to increase the fee to become a 'supporter' from £3 to £25.

The EC agreed to authorise the underwriting of a legal challenge to this decision, alongside ASLEF and the Fire Brigades' Union. It was stated that the decision of the NEC had disadvantaged approximately 950 TSSA members and 1100 of the three unions. It was noted that a crowd funding exercise had already raised a considerable amount of money for the payment of legal costs.

The EC also agreed unanimously to nominate Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader and to make a contribution of a staffing secondment, office space and £10,000 to his campaign to be paid from the political fund.

Correspondence was received from TfL Central branch of a resolution passed on the issue of Labour Party joiners who were refused membership by the Party's 'Compliance Unit'. Applicants have been refused membership or members have been expelled for, in the view of the Unit, failing to share the values of the party. The decision of the Unit is final and there is no appeal process. The EC agreed to respond to TfL Central branch and to write to the General Secretary of the Labour Party on this issue.

International

The President gave a full report on the recent visit to Zimbabwe to attend the AGM of the Zimbabwe Amalgamated Railway Workers' Union (ZARWU). The situation in Zimbabwe is bleak for members of ZARWU, some of which haven't been paid in eighteen months and the railway company continues to withhold union subscriptions paid by paybill deductions. However, ZARWU continues to organise and fight for its members, despite the extremely difficult circumstances.

A written report was also published on our website, and can be found here bit.ly/Zimreport16

It was agreed by the EC that Cheryl O'Brien, EC member for the Wales and West division would represent TSSA at the Women's Employment and Gender Policy in Urban Public Transport Companies in Europe Conference in Brussels on 17th and 18th October.

It was agreed that Stephen Lawrence (Scotland), Gerry Kennedy (Ireland) and a young woman member to be selected by Future TSSA and the General Secretary would attend the International Transport Federation Conference in Brussels on 5th to 9th December.

Finances

The following requests for donations/sponsorship were agreed:

• JC4PM - 30 tickets for an event in Doncaster to be sourced and a £1,000 donation to the tour
• Champ - a cross-community organising group based in Northern Ireland will receive a £500 donation towards the cost of organising a fringe event at Labour Party Conference
• £50 to the Battle of Cable Street event in October
• £50 to Museum of Labour and Trade Union History in Manchester
• £100 to Stand Up to Racism
• £200 towards the filming of a documentary about London Recruits, who went to South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s to help the ANC fight apartheid. More details can be found at http://www.londonrecruits.org.uk
• £10,000 to Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership campaign
• £500 to Union News, a website dedicated to publishing articles about the trade union movement. More details at www.union-news.co.uk
• Stonewall - a LGBT equality organisation (www.stonewall.org.uk). Agreed to joint promotion of equality issues among our members at a total cost of £1,800 plus VAT.
• Labour Transport Group - £2,000 to include a contribution to a fringe event at Labour Party Conference to be chaired by Chris Clark, EC member for the London Transport division


This is a brief summary. For further details, please contact your Executive Committee member.

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