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National Reps Training Seminar: The future of transport and travel

6 November 2012

This year TSSA’s multi-day training event for reps took place in Sheffield – a historic venue for TSSA, where the Association was founded 115 years ago.

NRTS crowd

Our 5th annual NRTS was opened by general secretary Manuel Cortes and the president of Sheffield Trades Council Martin Mayer. Delegates then heard from the New Economics Foundation who gave an insightful presentation on how flawed austerity policies are damaging the prospects for economic recovery.

The overall theme of NRTS was to look at how we can invigorate our members, incorporate more into our activities and help build change. Reps worked through how we could implement these organising principles across various campaigns, from the re-nationalisation of the railways to making sure members feel supported by an effective local branch.

On the first day everyone worked together to create a ‘problem tree’ – a visual map of all the major problems that arise in the workplace. The rest of the seminar was spent looking at the changes needed to overcome these and how we can enable that change to happen.

NRTS tree

Delegates worked in teams to plan elements of their campaign, such as how to engage the company, community and other supporters to form a coalition, or at least to build bases amongst potential allies. Others looked at how to make their campaign personally relevant to potential supporters through, for example, workplace skills, the idea that workers should be providing quality services to the public, with socially-useful (rather than just profit maximising) fares and environmentally sustainable practice.

One example was the project worked on by the team from the Midlands, who planned out a campaign for bringing the rail network back into public ownership, with a vision to ensure lower fares for all. Their plans included working with MPs, local councils, community and commuter groups and the DfT, including activity through social media and the national media. Methods were developed with the aim of getting the policy into the next Labour manifesto, strategies for gaining the support of local and commuter-related groups and finding a leading figure to front the campaign.

TSSA education officer Ade?le Potten-Price, who organised the event adds ‘When all the groups presented their plans we had a variety of really well thought through strategies – but I must say the song and presentation from the London South East team was truly a sight to behold!’

Can you help your local reps, activists or branch with skills, contacts or other forms of help? Everything and everyone counts towards building our capacity to support members. Not sure how to contact your local branch? Contact the helpdesk: 0800 328 2673 Eire: 1800 805 272.

NRTS memorial

Delegates pay their respects at the Hillsborough disaster memorial

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