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Executive Committee Report - January 2019

21 January 2019

There were two apologies for absence - Matty Courtliff (Wales & Western) and Gary Kilroy (North West)

Industrial Relations

Following prolonged negotiations and a ballot for industrial action on DB Cargo regarding a dispute over pay, settlement has been reached between DB Cargo and our union.

On Freightliner, our union's decision to ballot for industrial action has moved Freightliner to engage in further talks on their threats to our members pension scheme. Discussions continue in seeking a negotiated resolution to this dispute.

Membership and Time to Grow

Membership of our union rose slightly in the last period of 2018, but net year-on-year membership dropped slightly. Recruitment weeks have yielded a rise in membership each time they have been held. This shows that our union can grow consistently if our members increase their recruitment efforts. Four more recruitment weeks are planned for later in the year - 11th to 15th March, 17th to 21st June, 16th to 20th September and 9th to 13th December.

Financial and Notable Donations

The Executive Committee (EC) approved the association’s budget for 2019.

The EC agreed to donate £200 to Love Music, Hate Racism - this donation includes support for a fortnight long anti-racism campaign which will be launched on Saturday 16th March, to coincide with the UN anti-racism international demonstrations taking place across the UK. You can find more details on Love Music, Hate Racism here.

The EC also agreed to pay £140 for two advertisements in ‘Cuba Si!’, the magazine of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, to help mark the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. You can find more details on the magazine and the Cuba Solidarity Campaign here.

The EC agreed to donate the sum of £350 to the Tolpuddle Festival, which will be taking place in Tolpuddle, Dorset from 19th to 21st July 2019. The union has been a long-standing participant in this event, which commemorates the Tolpuddle Martyrs, who were sentenced to transportation to Australia in 1834 for swearing an oath to work collectively to improve their working conditions as farmhands. You can read more on this festival here.

TSSA Democracy

TSSA’s young members’ group, Future TSSA, held their annual general meeting on 5th January. A full report on the meeting was presented to the Executive Committee. The meeting was addressed by TSSA’s President, Mick Carney, who spoke about the importance of recruiting young members, the relevance of trade unionism to young people and the detrimental effect of austerity on the futures of young people. The meeting was well attended, and the Executive Committee agreed to bring a rule change to Annual Conference to formally define the maximum age of a young member in the union.

The Executive Committee also considered a detailed report submitted by the Midlands Divisional Council on the state of the branches in the division and discussed some proposals to re-invigorate them.

The Executive Committee noted that hard copies of TSSA Circulars 253/18 and 254/18, which concern nominations for a number of Executive Committee positions, have not been received by branch secretaries. Hard copies have now been sent in the post and should be arriving very soon.

Political and Campaigns

The EC were addressed by Ramona McCartney from People’s Assembly. Ramona detailed the history of the People’s Assembly from its formation in February 2013 through to the march in London on 12th January 2019. It was made clear that the campaign is apolitical, and challenges all austerity regardless of the political affiliations of those inflicting it. A discussion followed, including on the future relevance of the campaign given that the Labour Party had an avowed anti-austerity policy.

The EC was also addressed by Andi Fox, who is Vice-Chair of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) and sits on the NEC of the Labour Party on behalf of TSSA. Andi is also a former member of our EC. Andi explained her role on the NEC, as well the many sub-committees that she attends as part of her role. It was made clear that the NEC does not set party policy, but is the governing body of the party. Andi was asked a number of questions from members of the committee, and a full and at times frank discussion took place on a number of contemporary subjects. Andi also committed to reporting to the Executive Committee on a regular basis.

The EC received correspondence from Ümit Yalçin, the Turkish Ambassador to the UK, appealing that we reverse our democratically reached decision to affiliate to the Freedom for Öcalan Campaign.

A letter of response has been signed by over a dozen General Secretaries, including Manuel Cortes, and meetings are being arranged with Turkish Minister of Justice and Turkish Ambassador. This union will not be intimidated into silence by the actions of any organisation or state. You can read more on Abdullah Öcalan and the struggle of the Kurdish people here.

The EC received an annual report on the work of Transform Scotland. Transform Scotland is a national alliance of organisations from the voluntary, private and public sectors for sustainable transport. The report detailed the work of the organisation in 2018, as well as the plan for 2019. The EC agreed to continue their involvement with Transform Scotland and pay the £250 affiliation fee.

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