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Executive Committee report, February 2014

24 February 2014

Summary of the key issues and decisions made at the February meeting of TSSA's Executive Committee

Date Thursday 13th February 2014

13 of 15 EC members present. One was absent for medical reasons and the other for work commitments.

Strategy
The TSSA staff reorganisation is progressing but has been delayed by 4 weeks while the staff side conduct their own review of the organisation.  The Joint Staff Council will next meet at the end of February.

Health and safety of members is an important area of work for trade unions and the recent Health and Safety Reps Training Seminar in Sheffield was reported on.  43 attended this second such seminar and excellent feedback on its usefulness was received.  TSSA will select representatives to attend safety committees run by the Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB).

Democracy
The annual conference in Leeds in May will be shorter than previously and will start on the Saturday.  Branches should note the tighter processes to fit the programme and ensure that they make themselves aware of the details and plan well.

The EC report to conference is currently with branches for consultation. At the next EC meeting the responses will be considered and a final report will then be prepared for debate at conference.  At conference the report will be amendable and the appropriate Rule Alterations will then be put to conference.  The report covers a wide range of issues related to saving money and increasing income and these will impact significantly on TSSA’s democratic processes, its offices and service to members.

The EC noted several reports:

  • Divisional Councils - Anglia and London NE and Lancs and Cumbria,
  • A branch report from DRS,
  • South East Region TUC
  • The Palestine Solidarity Campaign AGM

Industrial Relations
The successful first stage of the dispute with LUL on the threat to close all booking offices was discussed.  The members on strike and those who had supported them had shown great resolve while facing powerful opposition.  The public support had been much more than could have been expected.  The proposals for each station will be reviewed over the next 7 weeks - exactly what the unions had been seeking.

Authority was given to the General Secretary to arrange strike action after an overwhelming vote by London Midland duty train crew managers in a dispute over pay and differentials.

Finances
A significant investment was made in the Milnsbridge Cooperative Society (The Red and Green Club) near Huddersfield.  TSSA’s £40,000 is expected to be matched by the RMT.  Discussions will be necessary to maximise the protection of any TSSA investment as part of the co-operative and discussions will take place with the TSSA Trustees before the investment is formalised .The investment will allow this, one of the oldest socialist clubs in Britain, to develop its wide range of functions.  The club is actively supported by TSSA members and we will look at holding TSSA events there.

Small donations were agreed:

  • £50 to the Institute of Employment Rights to support a Collective Bargaining Manifesto
  • £50 to the Cuba Solidarity Campaign to support an international Commission on the Miami Five
  • £50 to the TUC Black Workers Conference
  • £50 to International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • £25 for sponsorship of a TSSA member raising money for his daughter’s medical condition

Campaigning
The annual Campaigns report was discussed by the EC.  Included were the Better Rail Campaign, Keep East Coast on Track, Action for Rail and the Campaign for Better Transport, amongst others.

Organising and Membership
A paper on recruitment was discussed and at the March meeting the EC will start on developing a recruitment strategy as an integral part of the restructuring and new democratic processes that will be put to conference.

A new education programme till July 2014 was agreed by which time longer term decisions will be taken on our education programme.

Political
Mary Creagh, the new shadow transport minister addressed the EC and answered questions.  She appeared to have not yet fully grasped the transport brief and she did not go nearly as far as Marie Eagle with regards to the option of rail public ownership.

The Collins review on the relationship between the Labour Party and affiliated trade unions and party funding was discussed.  The report will go to a Special Labour Party Conference in March. The EC agreed to back the rule amendments that will be presented to the Special Conference as they specifically deal with election of future Party leaders and Mayoral candidates for London. The proposals potentially give trade union members a greater say in the process by removing the absurdity of MPs having a third of the vote in the current electoral set-up and ensures that all votes carry the same weight. 

The proposed changes were initiated by Ed Milliband after the right wing media created a stir after Unite the Union reportedly recruited a number of its members to the Labour Party in Falkirk to give support to a union backed candidate in the contest for selection for the local election for MP. 

International
The TSSA is affiliated to the International Transport Workers Federation and the EC agreed to send a small delegation to its next four-yearly congress in August in Sofia, Bulgaria.

After the EC meeting EC members had a briefing by Union Solidarity International, a body that coordinates international solidarity.

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