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Executive Committee Report - July 2019

9 August 2019

Membership and Time to Grow Membership of the union increased by 50 members in period 7, which meant that the membership level was higher than that recorded at the end of 2018. TSSA reps who have attended the recruitment skills courses run since the start of the year have been engaging well in recruitment of new members, whilst TSSA staff have been engaging well with recruitment events.

Industrial Relations

Industrial Relations with Scotrail continue to prove challenging, with a number of industrial disputes continuing, including one involving Train Driver Managers, who are being instructed to regularly drive trains owing to a shortage of train drivers. The Executive Committee authorised the General Secretary to carry out a ballot of affected TSSA members and to call them out on industrial action should it become necessary.

Education

The Executive Committee agreed to endorse a proposal to organise equality training events jointly with employers, who would be invited to attend these events in order for us to progress our Inclusive Rail negotiating standard alongside reps and activists.

A proposal was also put before the Executive Committee to bring the administration of our education programme back in house. This step is being taken partly because the system is far more automated than in the past, but our relationship with the General Federation of Trade Unions continues and the GFTU will continue to supply tutors for our courses.

TSSA Democracy

The Executive Committee reviewed a report on actions following our Annual Conference in Glasgow. The report also detailed what next steps should be taken on a number of items, including on Item 60, where the Executive Committee agreed to a proposal that the General Secretary and Treasurer should arrange a meeting with Unity Trust Bank on the passing of this motion, which stated that Unity Trust ‘does not meet the expectation of Branches and is not very efficient in its dealing with the Association’.

The Committee also agreed to consult with branches which are affiliated to Labour Party Constituency Parties when nominations were being sought from candidates for office. It was acknowledged that, because of timetabling issues, there may be occasions where a decision would be limited to that of the branch committee.

The Executive Committee agreed to endorse two motions to TUC Congress, one motion on Brexit and the other on Buses. It was also noted that the General Secretary had been nominated for Section C of the TUC General council.

The Treasurer gave a full report to the Committee on the People’s Press Printing Society Management Committee meeting which took place on 6th July. The report included a business report, a trade union report from Tony Burke, Unite Assistant General Secretary and trade union liaison for the Morning Star, as well as a political update from Tom Gill, who is lead on a group called Labour4MorningStar.

Reports were received from North West Divisional Council and Crewe and Cheshire General branch. The EC extends its thanks to Frank Ellis and Steve Roberts for their reports.

Political and Campaigns

The General Secretary reported that he had received correspondence from Andrew Stephenson MP a junior minister in the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in response to a letter sent on 20th May raising TSSA’s concerns on the future of the steel industry, and in particular the subsequent knock-on effect that these troubles would have on the rail industry. Network Rail is a key customer of British steel. The letter from Mr Stephenson stated that the steel sector is of strategic importance of the UK manufacturing industry and for rail infrastructure.

A support group has been convened which includes representatives from British Steel, trade unions, local MPs, trade bodies and local leaders, as well as a sub-group whose focus will be on companies in British Steel’s customer and supply chain. It's also worth noting that following the letter from our General Secretary, Network Rail brought forward the procurement of rails from British Steel.

The Executive Committee received two detailed reports from James Walford and Harriet Miller on their participation in the Cuba May Day Brigade as representatives of TSSA. The Brigade took place on the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution and on the 60th anniversary of the inauguration of central Union of Cuba (the TUC of Cuba). The Executive Committee placed on record their thanks to James and Harriet and extended an invitation to them both to speak at a future EC meeting.

The Executive Committee agreed to commission a further Equality in the Rail Industry research project, at a cost to the association of £10,000. The last time this research was carried out was approximately five years ago.

This research revealed key equality issues affecting groups working within the rail industry, including that women were far less likely to be managers, that LGBT+ members of staff are more likely to have suffered discrimination or harassment than their colleagues, BAME and disabled members of staff are significantly more likely to be subject to disciplinary processes and have their work appraised negatively, while young workers are far less likely to be a member of a trade union.

This research will, amongst other topics, examine how the situation for protected groups has changed, whether for the better or worse.

The Executive Committee agreed to provisionally support the nomination of Keiran O’Neill, who is putting himself forward for the Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn SPC seat. The Executive Committee also agreed to provisionally endorse Katy Clark for the forthcoming Parliamentary Selection to be Labour candidate from Vauxhall. Both these endorsements are subject to local branch consultation.

The Executive Committee also agreed to a proposal from Harriet Harman MP that Labour MPs who are pregnant be protected from deselection processes.

The Executive Committee agreed to make a donation of £50 to Palestine Solidarity Campaign for the organisation of a one day conference on Saturday 12th October to discuss the current work undertaken by the PSC and to organise and plan for the future of the solidarity work with the Palestinian people.

The Executive Committee also agreed to make a donation of £1,250 to Woodcraft Folk for the organisation of a visit to the UK of at least ten Palestinian children to the global camp for children taking place here in 2020. The donation is equivalent to the cost of travel and accommodation for one child.

The Executive Committee agreed to make a donation of £50 to the STUC for a Disabled Workers’ Committee banner to display at key events including Pride, May Day, STUC and anti-racist events.

The Executive Committee also agreed to make a donation of £50 to Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA). ACTSA works for rights, equality and development across Southern Africa and raises

awareness of the complex issues facing the region through campaigning and advocacy work, advancing education, projects, and delegations.

The Executive Committee agreed to make a donation of £50 to Mechanics Centre of Labour and Trades Union History Trust in lieu of affiliation. The charities objects are to advance the education of the public including advancing its knowledge of the origins, growth and development of the Labour and Trades Union movements and promoting an understanding of the contribution made by the Manchester Mechanics Institute to the education of young people in the application of science to mechanical and manufacturing.

Financial and Notable Donations

The Executive Committee agreed to the following donations and affiliation fees:

• £10,000 for Equality in the Rail Industry research

• £1,250 to the Woodcraft Folk for Palestinian delegation

• £100 affiliation fee to People’s Assembly

• £50 to People’s Assembly for a demonstration outside the Conservative Party’s annual conference in Manchester

• £50 to Palestine Solidarity Campaign for a one day conference

• £50 for STUC banner

• £50 to Action for Southern Africa

• £50 to Mechanics Centre of Labour and Trades Union History Trust

• £50 to Morning Star to assist the newspaper’s International Editor’s visit to the country

• £50 to TUC LESE Campaign Fund

The Executive Committee agreed to a proposal from Karlson, the lessors of our printing equipment, to relocate the printing machines from their current home in Derby to a new renovated facility in our head office at Devonshire Square. The proposal includes that Karlson would supply the staff and materials for the new print room, with all TSSA’s print work being completed for a single annual fee.

There will also be a cost saving made by vacating our facility at Derby. The Treasurer will be given six-monthly updates on the progress of the project in order to maintain transparency and to ensure that the association gets best cost benefit from the plan.

Other business

Malcolm Wallace attended a Steering Group on behalf of TSSA for an event to commemorate the sacrifices made by railway workers during the First World War, which will be taking place at Southwark Cathedral on November 6th. A number of key sections of the event were discussed and a website for the event will open shortly.

The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on 3rd and 4th September

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