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Conference backs Unite merger talks

25 June 2013

After a comprehensive debate at TSSA’s annual conference, delegates overwhelmingly backed the holding of talks with Unite, with the aim of agreeing a merger. Negotiations are now progressing, with any agreement needing to clear a vote of all TSSA members for it to go ahead.

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TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes told the TSSA Journal, ‘If agreed by members, this will create Britain and Ireland’s first-ever cross-transport and travel union, organising and representing workers across all forms of the transport industry. I believe this will greatly strengthen our hand in negotiations and increase our ability to deliver a far better deal for you at work.’

Conference passed a motion requiring a number of guarantees be built into any deal, including the creation of a new stand-alone rail section of Unite, which will have its own conference, committee and dedicated resources.

Delegates spent several hours discussing issues relating to the merger, with the general secretary answering dozens of questions put by branch representatives. The vote to proceed with the plan was in the final event almost unanimous.

As negotiations progress, updates will be distributed to members, with a ‘question and answer’ day with TSSA’s Manuel Cortes and Unite’s Len McCluskey scheduled once the terms of any agreement are known. That would be followed by an all-member ballot and, if passed, a two year transitional period as Unite and TSSA’s structures are combined.

Whilst indications are very positive, Manuel remarks, ‘We all need to remain focused on the day- to-day work of the Association. I know our reps, activists and staff will continue working extremely hard to protect members’ interests as we discuss how we best strengthen our voice for the future.'

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