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Executive Committee report, September 2014

6 October 2014

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

Date Thursday 18th and Friday 19th September 2014

One EC member not present due to work commitments. The new EC member for Wales and Western, Cheryl O’Brien, attended. The size of the EC has now been reduced from 13 to 10 plus the President and Treasurer.

The meeting was held at the Quorn Grange Hotel, near Loughborough, the residential training centre of the GFTU, which the TSSA has recently affiliated to. This affiliation is intended to bring significant cost advantages to training and some administrative activities.

Industrial Relations

London Underground is still talking about significant jobs losses although they will be less than their previous announcement of 1000. TSSA has asked for protection of wages but there had been no response and strike action is possible, and may be coordinated with other trade unions in health and government on 13, 14 or 15th October, leading to the TUC demonstration on 18th October.

The work to rule by Network Rail Bands 1-4 is continuing and though it is difficult to measure the exact impact EC members reported that the action was creating backlogs of work and significant concerns to NR.

On track machine operators in Volker Rail (previously Grant Rail) voted 100% for industrial action in relation to pay and several related issues, including rostering, bonuses, lodging payments and fatigue management.

Finances

Work on developing proposals for banded subscriptions is progressing well. At present it is expected that the proposal to go to conference 2015 will be that there will be three bands and that around 70% of the membership will be in the middle one. Those on high wages will be asked to pay more and this will be balanced by those on low wages who will pay less.

Donations were agreed as follows:

Latin America Conference £50

Film - To begin the world over again: the life of Thomas Paine £50

Union to union Bananalink £50

Unite Against Fascism at Labour conference £50

The EC was pleased to note that the membership withdrawals in response to the increase in subs in June was less than had been expected.

Campaigning

The Campaign for Better Transport has asked for financial support for its Right Track North campaign but we will ask them to clarify their position on booking offices and the sale of smartcards before taking any action.

Organising

Branch financial returns will soon have to be done via the internet so EC members will be liaising with branches that have not yet progressed to electronic returns

A recent TSSA research project into equality, with over 1000 responses, was discussed. The details on gender, disability and race equality will be developed further and the membership will be made aware of proposed actions.

A recent study on the impact on safety of job cuts in Network Rail revealed some worrying opinions from railway union members. The TSSA will progress this issue with other unions and do some quick consultation of our health and safety reps to get more evidence to use in future discussions with employers.

TSSA Democracy

The EC scrutinised the 44 responses to the recent consultation on the proposed Divisional Council mini-conferences and agreed a course of action. Branches will be balloted soon on proposed procedures and associated rule changes for agreeing at Divisional Councils the delegates, motions and amendments.

The EC working party on the Rule Book rewrite is progressing well and a detailed draft will be discussed at the next EC meeting.

The recently elected EC members are as follows:

North East Andi Fox

London South Steve Leggett

North West Gary Kilroy

Political

Four EC members spent the evening before the EC meeting supporting Derby City Labour Councillor Lisa Eldret (ex-TSSA employee) in moving a motion on freezing rail fares and asking for a national review of franchising. Hers was by far the best speech of the evening and the motion was easily won.

The TSSA would be submitting a ‘contemporary’ motion to the Labour Party conference. It calls for franchises to be taken into the public sector when they expire. The TSSA will also hold a fringe meeting on rail ownership which will challenge the position being taken by the leadership.

The Labour Party has requested that the TSSA contribute to the salary of a researcher until the general election. The EC agreed to this on the basis that there are strings attached:

  • TSSA will be represented on the interview panel
  • The researcher would work on the development of transport policy
  • This transport policy would be in line with TSSA policy - ie it would how to bring the franchises into the public sector if this would provide the best value (which we are convinced it will).

The Political Fund ballot is ongoing and closes on 29th September. We expect an overwhelming result in favour of retaining the fund.

A report from the Leyton and Wanstead Constituency Labour Party with whom TSSA has a sponsorship agreement was noted.

TSSA has been asked for support by prospective Labour candidates in the Holborn & St Pancras constituency (Frank Dobson MP will not stand again). We have no affiliated branch there and will not nominate anybody but will offer support to the successful candidate as the office is in this area.

The EC agreed to nominate the MP Paul Flynn for the Newport West constituency at the request of the local TSSA branch.

International

TSSA submitted an emergency motion to the TUC condemning the recent bombing of Gaza, resulting in the killing of nearly 2000 civilians and the injuring of many more. The motion was withdrawn in favour of a very powerful TUC statement against the Israeli Government and also criticising the British Government for its lack of response. Had the Palestinians killed hundreds of Israeli civilians then a very different response could have been expected.

Positive reports were made by the three TSSA delegates (Manuel Cortes, Mick Carney and Andi Fox) on the TSSA input to the recent International Transport Workers Congress in Sofia. One highlight was from a Quatari air hostess on the deplorable working conditions in that country, where foreign workers have their passports confiscated by their employer and so can't move to another employer or go home.

 

The above is a brief summary. If you want more details please ask your EC member.

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