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December 2016 EC summary

13 December 2016

Summary of the key issues and decisions made at the meeting of TSSA's Executive Committee held on 1 and 2 December 2016

Apologies were received from Steve Leggett (London South) who was unable to attend due to work commitments. A minutes silence was held to mark the recent passing of Tom Kennedy who had retired in 2013 after 39 years employment in TSSA.

Industrial Relations

The General Secretary reported that members in London Underground stations had voted overwhelmingly in favour of both strike action and action short of strike, as part of our ongoing dispute with the company about station staffing. The EC authorised the actions taken to date and for General Secretary to instruct members to take strike action and action short of strike as required.

The EC considered correspondence from Scottish Divisional Council Chair Les Simpson, who reported that retired TSSA member Alistair Sutherland, who was employed by the Turnberry British Transport Hotel prior to retirement, has been stripped of his Rail Travel Facilities. Given that the owner of the firm that employed him is Donald Trump, President Elect of the United States, the possibility of negative media coverage ought to be cause for concern to the firm. It was agreed that Stevie Lawrence would take the lead on organising a protest outside Alistair’s former workplace, and that this would be resourced as required.

Time to Grow

It was reported to the Executive Committee that there had been a great deal of interest shown in the Time to Grow reps’ event that was scheduled for 16th and 17th February 2017 at Jury’s Inn in Birmingham. There are still places available and reps are strongly encouraged to apply. The deadline is 9th December 2016. You can find more details at www.eepurl.com/cnnE95.

TSSA Democracy

The EC received a report from the Scrutineers on the General Secretary election. A total of 3398 votes had been received with 9 spoiled papers, 1150 votes for Wayne Geoghegan and 2239 for Manuel Cortes. Manuel is therefore elected for a second five year term which will start in January 2017. The turnout of 18.9% is comparable to General Secretary elections held by TSSA in the past 10 years and higher than recent election in most other unions, although still disappointing.

Following representations from a branch, it was agreed that the deadline for responses to the consultation on the new TSSA Rule Book would be extended to 16 January 2017.

The EC will be proposing a number of rule changes at the 2017 conference. The purpose of the proposed changes will be as follows:

• To remove references to full and part members which no longer apply since the introduction of banded subscriptions
• To adopt neutral time wording to allow for fully enabling rule 42(a), which regards the time at which Conference may take place
• Staggering the terms of office for EC members to create stability as existed before the abolition of three EC constituencies

Organising and Membership

The EC agreed to consider proposals to improve the Helpdesk service, by developing a strategic partnership with Morrish, which may subsequently be joined by other GFTU affiliates, thereby reducing the cost.

Nadine Rae addressed the EC with an update on the Education Programme. This year 237 individual members have attended training, compared to 133 last year. Non-attendance of courses has also reduced, from 25% last year to 7%. Nadine has influenced the GFTU to refine the training they’re offering.

John Smith addressed the EC and provided an update on the measures that have been taken since the cyber attack on our network last year. He provided an update on the adoption of a new Information Security Policy, including improvements to our IT infrastructure, and confirmed that we have achieved Cyber Essentials accreditation.

Political and Campaigning

It was agreed that TSSA should establish a Campaign Committee, as agreed at Conference 2016. Chris Clark was nominated as its first convenor and will take a lead in organising the first meeting and setting a plan of activity. The President or Treasurer would also participate in Committee meetings according to availability, along with a broad cross-section of members from across the union.

The EC received a report on the annual Rail Fare Rip Off campaign that is being developed in partnership with Action for Rail. If you’re interested in joining the day of action on 3 January 2017 in your area, please email actionforrail@tuc.org.uk and copy in tarrys@tssa.org.uk by 9 December 2016 at the latest, so that they can ensure you receive the cards in good time.

The EC considered correspondence from the LU MATS & Operating Managers branch enquiring on the background of TUC’s position in favour of a third runway at Heathrow. A number of major unions with an inbuilt majority at Congress favour Heathrow expansion so while TSSA delegates have continued to make the case in support of our policy in favour of an alternative, the TUC position on this issue has not changed.

The EC agreed to donate £100 to support the Campaign Against Climate Change’s National Conference on ‘Climate Refugees’ which will take place at the NUT Conference Centre (Mabledon Place, London) from 10:00-17:00 on 11 February, and also to buy 10 tickets to be distributed to interested members. If you’re interested in attending, please contact collinsp@tssa.org.uk.

The EC considered a request for support for a follow up to ‘The World Transformed’, to be known as ‘Take Back Control’. It agreed to donate up to £5,000 in support of the events. This was agreed in principle, as long as sufficient events are organised to railway towns and/or areas where we have a significant number of members and there is a focus on bringing our railways into public ownership.

We expect an increase in the number of staff employed on stations on the Underground to be announced. This will be predicated on information received from the recent survey conducted by London TravelWatch, which was a direct result of our work with Sadiq Khan prior to his becoming Mayor.

The EC considered an invitation for TSSA to send representatives to the Cuba Solidarity Campaign’s Young Trade Unionists’ May Day brigade event which will take place from 27 April to 9 May 2017. It was agreed that Gary Kilroy, our only EC member aged under 35, would represent the EC, and a second volunteer would be sought to represent Future TSSA. It is hoped that this attendee will be elected.

The EC considered an invitation to send an observer to a meeting of the South West TUC meeting. The EC agreed to nominate Cheryl O’Brien.

The EC agreed to donate £100 to support the Latin America Conference on 26 November, while also reminding the organisers to contact us with more notice in of events in the future.

It was also agreed that TSSA would donate £5,000 from the Political Fund in support of the Scottish Labour Party’s campaign for a People’s ScotRail. In addition, it was agreed that we should allocate up to £5,000 to meet the cost of our rally for a People’s Scotrail to be held at Holyrood on January 4 2017.

Financial

The EC agreed the budget for 2017. Most items were projected to increase in cost in line with inflation. It was agreed that an increased range of services, including the Helpdesk and training, would be partly paid from the Provident Benefit Fund.
Specifically, £30,000 more (an increase of 30%) has been allocated to the Education Programme. Ireland has also been allocated a separate educational budget, And a budget of £35,000 has been put aside for the Time to Grow Training Seminar, which will take place in February 2017.

The Budget assumes no rental income from spring 2017, due to the compulsory purchase of Walkden House, and is based on current trends in membership. We will break even if our slow decrease in membership continues. However, if numbers remain as off today or increase, we will return a surplus.

The General Secretary reported that he had been approached by the GFTU who are also seeking property in London. Discussions will take place about the possibility of GFTU affiliates investing in our proposed new property, or renting space in it.

Donations

The following requests for donations/sponsorship were agreed:

· Banana Link Support - £50
· Hazards Campaign Appeal - £50
· York Disabled Workers Co-Operative - £50

We also received a letter of thanks for our donation to Medical Aid for Palestinians.

EC meetings

The dates on which EC meetings are planned to take place in 2017 are:

• 19th and 20th January 2017
• 2nd and 3rd March 2017
• 27th and 28th March 2017
• 22nd and 23rd June 2017
• 3rd and 4th August 2017
• 14th and 15th September 2017
• 26th and 27th October 2017
• 7th and 8th December 2017

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