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Executive Committee report, October 2015

9 November 2015

Summary of the key issues and decisions made at the meeting of TSSA's Executive Committee held on 29 and 30 October.

The Executive Committee welcomed Mike Wood as its newest member. Mike was elected to the casual vacancy for the London North West division.

Industrial Relations

It was confirmed that the pay offer made on Virgin Trains East Coast had been accepted. The dispute on pay and Night Tube on LUL continues, however.
The Tory Government has decided to raid pensions by increasing National Insurance (NI) contributions for both members and employers. This means that in the absence of changes to benefits, our members face a reduction in take home pay whilst employers will need to pay extra in NI contributions. The Government has given employers a statutory override to unilaterally recoup their increase in NI by reducing pension benefits which in turn reduces how much they pay into our members pension pots. It should be noted that following representations from our union, the statutory override does not apply to members who have a 'protected' status.

Network Rail is proposing to increase the retirement age for workers to 65 and capping pension pay increases to RPI. This means that any above inflation increase in wages will not be pensionable. Consultation with TSSA members is underway via a referendum. The General Secretary was authorised by the EC to ballot Network Rail members for strike action and action short of strike action if required.
The TOCs have approached the trade unions, wishing to reach a deal on changes to pensions. There have already been some informal meetings between the TOCs and the unions. In the next few weeks there will be a meeting of all the rail unions on this matter and it was agreed to send either the General Secretary or Assistant General Secretary, as well the President and the two EC members who attended a recent TOC reps’ meeting.  If agreement is not possible with the companies then there could be a national rail dispute on this matter.

TSSA Democracy

Following the circulation of TSSA Circular 216, which detailed the EC’s proposal to reorganise all branches in the union, and having received correspondence from the vast majority of Divisional Councils on the matter, the Executive Committee made its final decision on branch structure across the union.

It was agreed that branches would be reorganised broadly in line with the suggestions made by Divisional Councils. As the new Irish structure has only recently been constituted and had yet to consider the EC’s proposals, it was decided that no reorganisation would take place in Ireland until the Irish Committee had had an opportunity to examine the EC’s proposals.

Circular 247, which seeks the views of Divisional Councils and Branches on the suggestions submitted by Yorkshire North Branch and EC proposals, was sent on 7th October, with responses to be submitted by 20th November. Responses received will be considered by the Executive Committee at the next meeting in early December.

Organising and Membership

The EC was addressed by Stephen Joseph of Campaign for Better Transport. Stephen thanked the EC for the chance to speak and went through some of the campaigns that they take part in, including rail fares, buses and better integration of transport. They also campaign for a simpler and more flexible rail fare structure.

Stephen commented on the ‘Right Track North’ campaign to get serious investment in the North as well as smart cards, though Stephen stressed that this should not be at the expense of station staff. Campaign for Better Transport has also been involved in the ‘Save our Bus’ campaign, where they have seen the impact of cuts to bus services in rural areas and experienced meetings where hundreds attend and people protest by laying in front of buses, even in Tory shires.

The Campaign also undertake research. They have a forthcoming report regarding rail funding and finance making comparisons with other countries on how they fund their public transport.  Stephen also commented on the Nottingham parking levy scheme that funds improvements in local transport services.

The EC have agreed to extend a reduced-rate membership scheme until the end of 2016 for a vulnerable group of workers who are under attack at the London Transport Museum.


The EC considered a report on the transfer of TSSA’s finance function to GFTU. It was proposed that, during a two month ‘bedding in’ period, TSSA’s finance department and GFTU’s service would run parallel to each other. GFTU would take over fully from January 2016. This arrangement will result a significant cost savings which may be further enhanced as and when other trade unions use this new GFTU service. The EC agreed to this arrangement.

It was also noted that almost 40 branches have outstanding returns, however over 30 of them are due for merger under the new branch structure. It was agreed that the EC will keep a much tighter watch on this issue and will ask Divisional Councils to help to ensure that branches are up to date.


Campaign Against Climate Change are holding two protests, one in London on 29th November and the other in Paris on 12th December. It was agreed that a TSSA contingent would attend both rallies, with twelve TSSA members (including the General Secretary) attending the protest in Paris. Places would be taken on a first come first served basis although reps and having a gender balanced contingent will be given preference.

The TUC is organising a lobby of MPs, kicking off at 1.00pm at Central Hall in Westminster, against the government’s Trade Union Bill, the single greatest affront to the rights of trade union members since the 1980s. If you are able to, you are strongly encouraged to attend and support this event. Further details can be found at

Following an application for donations from Neil Findlay MSP, the EC agreed to donate £5000 from the Political Fund to assist Mr Findlay’s upcoming Scottish Parliament election campaign.

The latest Labour Party Trade Union Group list was given to the EC. TSSA sponsors two MPs, Cat Smith and Clive Lewis. The General Secretary commented that a new lease of life has been given to this group thanks to the new intake of MPs.

Andi Fox will represent TSSA at the next Palestinian Solidarity Campaign AGM in January 2016.


The General Secretary gave a report on the Solidarity with Greece group’s visit to the country. The report was very successful, with 3 Labour MPs, 4 councillors and 2 Prospective Parliamentary Candidates in attendance. Meetings took place with with Yanis Varoufakis and George Papandreou. A reporter from New Statesman is writing an article which will hopefully be published in either The Guardian or New Statesman. In addition, Geraint Davis MP has published a piece on Labour List.

Following correspondence from the Zimbabwe Amalgamated Rail Workers’ Union (ZARWU), the EC agreed to fund the manufacture of joint TSSA/ZARWU baseball caps for delegates at their next AGM in June 2016, as well as donate £2000 to assist ZARWU in funding the AGM. The General Secretary and president will be attending the AGM and will be accommodated at ZARWU’s expense.

This is a brief summary. For further details, please contact your Executive Committee member.

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