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Community Organising Project – March with us for the Alternative on 26 March 2011

14 February 2011

In an exciting initiative, TSSA has set up a Community Organising Team to engage with local communities up and down the country so that we may campaign together on issues that we share.

What is community organising?

Community organising is a process where a community comes together to act in the collective self-interest. Definitions of the size of communities can be varied. On a national level, one of the best known examples of this approach is the campaign that Barack Obama ran to win the presidential elections in the USA in 2008. Other campaigns are very much more localised so in Vancouver a “bus riders union” was formed of passengers opposed to cuts in bus services and in support of transit workers who were in dispute with their employer.

Why is it important?

In the UK, community organising is growing as a way to fight back against the draconian cuts being imposed by the ConDem government in virtually every area of society.

The government is cutting services everywhere, services that have been built up over years to provide assistance and support to those of us who cannot afford them. The media is full of stories of socially necessary services being cut – including subsidies to bus services, withdrawing funding for debt counselling…the list goes on. All of us are affected in some way but the theme throughout is that working people are going to have to pay more for less with the effect that the less well off end of society are the most heavily penalised.

It is difficult not to see that what is being imposed is anything other than a political manoeuvre to bring in Conservative Party policy – of a small state that passes the burden of providing services to the private sector, and paying for them to the people - on the back of having to deal with the deficit. What is easy to see is that as services are cut, many people will have to choose between trying to afford a private sector option, with all the expense, or go without. So, if a subsidised bus service is cut, for some this may mean that they cannot get to work or to see friends or to seek routine medical treatment. It may also mean that a bus driver is made redundant with all of the implications for that person and their family. When a ticket office is shut, assistance to people with small children or who have disabilities quite often disappears as well – because the workers have been sacked or redeployed elsewhere.

TSSA’s members hold down jobs in the railways, underground, buses, travel trade, shipping – and further a field in some cases – but all, apart from being employees are also members of their community, affected by the same issues that enrage family, friends and neighbours.

Where are we going to implement community organising?

The initial focus of our campaign is going to be within London where there have already been huge cuts to staff within Transport for London (TfL). Further cuts in funding have been imposed on TfL by the government, alongside reductions in subsidy to bus operators from 2012, from which we can see both more job losses and reductions in services. London is unique in that a third of all trips are by public transport whilst car use is far below the rest of the country.
Alongside the initial focus, we have already begun setting up campaign committees throughout the rest of the United Kingdom so that we can develop the campaign further.

What can you do – March for the Alternative on 26th March 2011?

There are a number of things that you can do and one of the most immediate is to commit to attending the TUC March for the Alternative event in London on Saturday 26th March 2011.

Coaches and trains are being organised by various unions and community groups across the country to take people to London for the event so that they can make their views known. Why not take your family and friends as well? If you are a member of a community group, get them to come as well. TSSA will be there so come and march with us – and make your opposition known!

If you want to join us, please register your attendance at http//

What can you do – become a community campaigner?

We are looking for people to come forward as community campaigners. If you:
- feel passionately about what is going on
- can simply see the injustice that the government is imposing on people and want to do something about it
- are worried about job losses in your company and want to involve your community in opposing cuts

Then why not become a TSSA Community Campaigner. If you’re interested and want more information, please contact me].

Whatever you do, there is no place for doing nothing –
Be part of TSSA’s community organising campaign!!

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