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Executive Committee report, March 2014

25 March 2014

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

Date Thursday 20th March 2014

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

Strategy

The General Secretary, supported by TSSA members with appropriate technical knowledge, will meet Maria Eagle MP on climate change and the consequent need for enhanced investment in railway infrastructure.

The TSSA staff reorganisation has been difficult but the final staffing level will be 46 full time equivalent posts, a significant decrease from the 58 (52 full time and 12 part time) employed at the end of 2013 and more before then. The Helpdesk and the print facility at Derby will now be retained.

Democracy

Three EC seats have been filled unopposed: London SE – Steve Leggett (2nd term), Ireland – Gerry Kennedy (2nd term) and London Transport - Chris Clark. Nobody stood for the Liverpool North Wales and Cheshire seat and this will be left vacant and reviewed after conference.

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 on Costs & Democracy and Income, which had been responded to by around 30 branches/SOGs/Divisional Councils, was discussed in detail again by the EC. The report will be amended to take on board the most popular views expressed by the branches etc and a final report will be put to Conference.

Industrial Relations

TfL staff will be balloted for industrial action for the first time, over an imposed performance management system and a pay freeze with any future increases being non-consolidated bonuses. The TfL Central branch is asking for support in leafleting, phoning members, attending picket lines etc. See the website for information.

The London Midland Train Crew Managers had been on strike for a total of 4 days but a positive outcome was expected.

Finance

The draft accounts, being prepared for conference in May, indicate a serious deficit, and an increase on last year. The staff reorganisation and the actions in the EC report to conference are aimed at addressing this structural deficit to give the TSSA a sustainable future into the medium term.

The TSSA will affiliate to the General Federation of Trade Unions at a cost of 92p per member so around £20,000. The benefits will be significant especially in the area of education but also research and expertise in IT, Communications, health and safety and project management. Overall this should lead to significant savings.

A budget of £4,905 for the very active Retired Members’ Group was approved for the year ahead.

Small donations were agreed:

  • £25 to the Workers Memorial Day
  • £50 to the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign national conference
  • £50 to the Del Singh Memorial
  • £50 to the Medical Aid for Palestinians
  • £50 to the Queen Elizabeth Foundation for disabled people
  • £50 to the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance
  • £50 to the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign

Campaigning

TSSA re-affiliated to the Campaign for Better Transport at a cost of £12,500.

Organising and Membership

The successful National Health & Safety Reps Training Seminar, in Sheffield on 13/14 February, had received positive feedback. It was at the forefront of what trade unions are doing in this area and a further similar event will be held next year.

41 branches are now doing online financial returns.

The membership decline has levelled off with a loss of only six members this period. We are hoping to turn the corner and to start growing very soon.

Political

Reports were noted from: Dunfermline and West Fife Constituency Labour Party, Neil Findlay MSP, Graeme Morrice MP for Livingston.

When reviewing the talk by Mary Creagh the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport at the last EC meeting, the General Secretary reported on the debates on economic policy at a high level of the Labour Party. The manifesto may break from the neo-liberal recent past towards the earlier old labour social democracy it is not yet clear whether this might extend to railway ownership.

International

The General Secretary has been invited to the retirement event for Gideon Shoko, the General Secretary of the Zimbabwean Railway Workers Union. The TSSA has undertaken several joint projects with this union which is also active in the International Transport Workers Union.

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