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Executive Committee report, April 2015

21 July 2015

Summary of the key issues and decisions made at the meeting of TSSA's Executive Committee held on Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th April 2015.

One EC member was not present due to sickness and there is one vacancy, and one was absent for part of the meeting.
 

Strategy

After a period of focussing on cutting back on costs the TSSA is now in a position to look outwards and the EC approved a comprehensive Recruitment Strategy, to be applied over the next three years. This will be launched at conference with the aim of engaging delegates as the starting point of this strategy which will require a culture change across the union: branch divisional council and SOG activists, reps, staff and as much as possible the membership as a whole.  This will, arguably, be the most important topic for debate at conference.

A report from the Communications Working Party was agreed.  This included issues to be presented to Conference next month, including a Guidance for Branches, plus many ongoing improvements to communications.  It is closely related to the above Recruitment Strategy.

 

Industrial Relations

Ballots for industrial action authorised for:

  • Network Rail – pay and a breakdown in industrial relations due to the victimisation of a rep
  • First Great Western management grades – de-recognition and refusal to undertake duties not normally undertaken in their role
  • Virgin East Coast - pay

During the recent Translink dispute in Northern Ireland a number of members did not receive ballot papers and TSSA will take this up with the election agency involved.
 

TSSA Democracy – Annual Conference business

In response to the consultation exercises on the proposals to rewrite the Rule Book and the Strategic Plan involving Divisional Council mini-conferences the EC will not be progressing these issues.  Instead there will be an open debate on the union’s democratic processes early in the conference.  Delegates will be encouraged to prepare for this and to contribute to the debate as the views of conference will be considered by the EC in later related motion.

Much of this EC meeting was concerned with preparation for Annual Conference in Eastbourne 16-18 May.  There are 71 motions and a busy programme for this, the TSSA’s parliament for democratic policy making.

 

Organising and Membership

The implementation of the TSSA staff reorganisation is close to completion and will have reached the target of 46 staff by the end of May.

Discussions are continuing with the GFTU on the outsourcing of finance activities.

The application from London SE and London SW divisional councils to hold a joint weekend school in March 2016 at a cost of £4000 was agreed.

TSSA health and safety reps are invited to attend the ORR’s trade union health and safety reps conference on 3 November at the Network Rail Westwood Training Centre near Coventry.

The TSSA Retired Members Group will be asked to elect an EC member for the National Pensioners Convention and to elect two National Council members from their own membership.

The EC agreed that the size of the delegations to the TUC conferences should be as follows, to match the size of the full TUC delegation (current size in brackets):
TUC 5 (5)
TUC Black workers 5 (6)
TUC Disabled workers 5 (6)
TUC LGBT 5 (6)
TUC Womens 5 (4)
TUC Youth 4 (4  - by TUC Rule)
 
The EC noted the following recent reports:
Scottish Labour Party

The first annual TSSA journal has been distributed.

The TSSA has significantly improved its IT security and will make further enhancements in response to a hacking incident in 2014 and a further threat earlier in 2015.  Members have been made aware of this and have been reassured that there is no need for concern over financial data.
 

Finances


The TSSA Annual Report – 31 December 2014 was agreed by the EC.  Some minor changes were made to the draft which has already been sent to branches.  Significant improvements have been made and the operating deficit was £1.278m (last year it was £2.436m). After including other incomes such as dividends and rent the pre-tax deficit was £568k.

TSSA voted in favour of the proposed changes to the Articles of Association in Unity Trust Bank. Most of the shares in this bank are owned by trade unions and TSSA will consider supporting any further shares issue.

Branch financial returns are now internet only and now only 18 branches are behind with these returns. EC members are liaising with branches that have problems with this or alternatively they can ask for help from the head office or their Divisional Council secretary.

£50 donations were made to:

  • TUC Disabled workers conference social
  • STUC Annual Congress fringe event
  • Peoples Assembly demonstration 20 June
  • Movement against Xenophobia
  • James Connolly festival.

Political and Campaigns

Michael Dugher, the shadow Transport Secretary, attended a 30 minute Q and A session.  He was very frank and the EC appreciated his views on the railways which were significantly closer to our policies than those of the previous shadow secretary.

The EC agreed to contribute £5,000 to Action for Rail for 2015/6.  However, several concerns had been raised about the organising of events, with TSSA being given only late notice, so the donation will be dependent on a satisfactory meeting the TUC.  We will also meet with community groups to improve organisation.

TSSA will donate £5000 to the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS).  This think tank produces excellent research and documents, many of which are in line with TSSA policy.
 

International

Marcos Garcia, the first secretary at the Venezuela Embassy and Francisco Dominguez the secretary of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign had a 30 minute session with the EC.  They spoke of the progress being made in Venezuela and Latin America generally.  In Venezuela poverty has been significantly reduced, most now receive free education, the health facilities have significantly improved and the infrastructure is being developed, including expansion of the railway network.  However, there are grave concerns about violent right wing attacks and economic sabotage supported by the USA.  A recent Executive Order, claiming that Venezuela threatens the security of the USA, and which has been opposed by all the South American states, is very worrying and they asked that the British Government opposes this US threat.

The above is a brief summary.  If you want more details please ask your EC member.
 
 

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