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Executive Committee report, September 2015

12 October 2015

Summary of the key issues and decisions made at the meeting of TSSA's Executive Committee held on 17 and 18 September 2015.

Industrial Relations

Talks continued at ACAS to resolve the ongoing dispute in London Underground. Reports suggested that progress was slow and tortuous.

TSSA democracy

The Executive Committee agreed two motions that will be submitted to TUC Congress in Brighton on 13th to 16th September. A short report was given by the Treasurer on the TUC Congress. Both TSSA’s motions, which were on pensions and public ownership of the railways, were carried, as were our two amendments, which were on civil liberties and casualisation.

The General Secretary was duly elected to the TUC General Council (section C).

Organising and Membership

Following the circulation of TSSA Circular 216, which detailed the EC’s proposal to reorganise all branches in the union, there have been some items of correspondence from a number of Divisional Councils and branches on the matter. These items of correspondence will be noted and responded to in due course.

Branches are encouraged to channel their views on the proposed changes to branch structure via their appropriate Divisional Council. The Executive Committee will look favourably at any suggestions that Divisional Councils make.

Correspondence was received from Yorkshire North branch suggesting that Divisional Councils are allowed to send delegates to Annual Conference. Two delegates would be elected by each Divisional Council and they would be required to be workplace representatives. Of each delegation, at least one of the two persons must be from an 'under-represented group', such as those members under 26 years of age, LGBT, BAME and/or female members. Divisional Councils would also have the right to submit one motion to Conference, one amendment to the preliminary agenda and one amendment to an EC reserved motion.

It was agreed that a circular would be distributed to all branches which would include the letter from Yorkshire North, as well as other suggestions to improve the effectiveness of our democracy, including affirmation of union policy for a fixed period of time, working with Standing Orders Committee to minimise the need for remit/oppose statements improving the process of submission of motions and amendments to include better use of online technology.

Any proposed changes would require rule amendments.

It was noted that net membership of the association had declined to below 20,000 and it was of the utmost importance that recruitment of new members was made a priority. Branches are encouraged to invite TSSA organisers to their next meetings in order to kickstart local recruitment initiatives.

Finances

Following agreement reached at the last EC meeting to enter dialogue with Union Income Benefit, who are interested in offering a range of financial services to union members, including TSSA, representatives of UIB gave a presentation to the EC on their services and potential benefits to members.

Services available include insurance, pre-paid payment cards, shopping discounts and a service where UIB will contact lapsed members and encourage them to rejoin the union. There will be no financial liability to the association.

It was agreed that TSSA would sign up for UIB services.

The Executive Committee agreed to make the following donations:

  • £10,000 to Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leadership campaign
  • £10,000 to Angela Eagle for Labour deputy leadership campaign
  • £1,500 to Tom Watson

These donations will be sourced from the Political Fund. A further donation of £50 was given to SERTUC.

Political

TSSA’s supported candidate, Jeremy Corbyn MP, convincingly won the election for the leadership of the Labour Party, garnering almost 60% of the vote in the first round of votes. Tom Watson MP, candidate for the post of Deputy Leader, won after three rounds of voting. TSSA’s supported candidate for the role, Angela Eagle, was given Shadow Business Secretary.

In London, Sadiq Khan MP, TSSA’s choice as candidate for Mayor won the candidacy after an election of London-based Labour Party members.

The Trade Union bill passed at its second reading in Parliament. The bill will now pass to committee stage, where it will be heavily scrutinised by Labour.

The EC agreed to support the Trade Unions for Energy Democracy initiative, which seeks to advance democratic control of energy in a way which promotes solutions to climate change, energy poverty, workers’ rights and the degradation of land and people. We agreed for the TSSA logo to be carried on future publicity material for the initiative. A spokesperson from TUED will be invited to speak to the EC at a future meeting.

The following members of the EC will be attending the following political events:

Cuba Solidarity Campaign: Cuban Futures Conference - Steve Leggett (London South) Venezuela Solidarity Campaign AGM - Mick Carney (President)

International Brigade Memorial Trust AGM - Stephen Lawrence (Scotland)

International

Seven Labour MPs have now confirmed that they will be attending the Solidarity with Greece groups’s visit to the country and it was also confirmed that a reporter from the New Statesman magazine would also be part of the group. Meetings had been arranged as part of the trip with Yanis Varoufakis and George Papandreou.

The President submitted a full and detailed report on his experiences in Palestine following the visit of the TSSA delegation to the area in July. It was agreed that a conference on the issue of Palestine would be suggested to the unions which took part in the visit (ASLEF, PSC, RMT and TSSA) with a view to holding the conference later this year or at the beginning of 2016.

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

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