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Letters - March 2012

2 March 2012

This is your chance to share your views with thousands of other TSSA members. The deadline for the next issue is 9 April.

Letters may be edited for length or clarity. Email or write to TSSA Journal, Walkden House, 10 Melton Street, London, NW1 2EJ.


Comes with a health warning
The simple office accident which resulted in long-term health problems described in the last Journal reminded me of a similar incident. A few years ago I was in the Colchester Contracts office to assist an overloaded colleague. Whilst adjusting an oldstyle Track Gauge (as usual, whilst in conversation), I felt a sharp and deep penetration into the tip of my right index finger. Misaligned, the oily split-pin securing the thumbscrew had gone right in. Yeowww – and a big laugh to the BB Rail supervisors from across the way! Track Gauges go where all sorts of ‘nasties’ reside. You name it...but I guess I must have just been lucky!

Sadly to recall though is the story of a former colleague who returned for the ‘last day’ celebrations at the Paddington CCE Office, before it was moved to Swindon. Having lived with an amputee, I immediately noticed she had an artificial limb and asked her how this had happened. A road accident, surely?

The awful truth was that one summer (opentoe sandal weather), this young woman had been told by her manager to go and investigate a report of flooding in the ‘Ladies’. From the inch-deep water and doubtless a skin abrasion, an infection got into a toe, then her foot, then the ankle. Several operations resulted in the loss of her leg above the knee to fully remove the infection. The tragedy was that her manager could instead have called the plumber.

Colin Thompson Anglia Number 1 Branch

A ‘thank you’
I would like to thank everyone for their overwhelming support over the last few months. It is to be regretted that a General Secretary who has brought so much to TSSA should feel the need to leave in such a way but I wish him much success in whatever path he now chooses to follow. If anyone has any remaining questions please contact me directly at yeoh@tssa., call me on 07894 587 844 or write to me at my address in the diary and I will reply to you.

Once again, thank you!

Harriet Yeo President TSSA

A door we have not properly opened
In mid-January TSSA Health and Safety reps met to explore how we can better organise and represent our members in this important aspect of their work.

When we asked ourselves what the three biggest health and safety concerns were, the conversation focused on bullying, harassment, and the stress caused by understaffing and job cuts.

We would be interested to know your views on these and other worries about health and safety. In an effort to build our effectiveness in this area we considered several ways to take things forward:

  • Creating a database of Safety Reps and safety professionals in membership
  • Improve the supply of safety information eg via Reps Bulletins and on the website
  • Ensure TSSA participation in various safety events such as Workers Memorial Day
  • Form a group of experts to inform and advise the Executive Committee
  • Plan meetings and seminars for safety reps to share experiences and organise
  • Work with other trade unions where problems are shared

We also felt that it was important to cover welfare and occupational health issues. This group, with probably a few more members, will meet again soon to take this forward and we would welcome ideas and suggestions from members.

Andy Bain
Network Rail North
London Branch


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