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Joint Union Statement on TSSA/RMT Talks No.4

5 October 2011

"TSSA and RMT met again as planned on Tuesday, 4 October 2011 for friendly and constructive talks to discuss sectoral and geographical organisation of our respective union memberships and possible future opportunities for trade union organisation in the event of a potential merger in the transport, travel and offshore energy sectors currently represented by the two unions.

"It is clear that there are very substantial overlaps between our two unions in terms of industrial and sectoral organisation and in our existing structures as well as significant potential areas for growth and new organisational opportunities for a merged trade union in the sectors we organise.

"We discussed a broad range of principles, including that any new union organisation resulting from a merger between us will be based on lay member-led Branches and that every individual union member will be attached to a union Branch. The primary functions of the Branch will be to campaign and to promote the organisation of workers in our sectors into the trade union, the representation of members and to be the foundation of a sound democratic structure in order to ensure accountability of the union to its members.

"Branches will be allocated their own financial resources based on an agreed formula. The spheres of influence and numbers of Branches in a merged union will be a matter for discussion under an agreed process that will fully involve all relevant parts of the merged union organisation at local, regional, divisional and national level.

"We recognise that different members in different sectors may have different aspirations and organisational needs, which will need to be fully considered in the process of branch organisation as part of any merger. Particular groups of members will need to continue to be grouped together in order to maintain a collective identity within a merged union organisation, i.e. shipping and offshore grades, bus workers, management grades, travel trade, etc. Consultation with these groups of union members through their respective union structures to ensure that their identity and their democratic rights are protected is an essential part of the process we have outlined above.

"We intend to continue to meet and explore further the organisational and democratic questions raised by a merger between our unions. All developments will be reported to our respective union executives. In addition we will continue to agree joint statements to members, branches and activists.”

SIGNED:Gerry Doherty (general secretary TSSA), Bob Crow (general secretary RMT)

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