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October 2018 EC Summary

8 November 2018

Summary of the key issues and decisions made at the meeting of TSSA's Executive Committee held on 30th October 2018.

TSSA Womens’ Conference

TSSA’s Womens’ Conference took place on 27th and 28th October in Manchester. The Conference was opened by Andi Fox (former EC member and vice-chair of Labour’s National Executive Committee) and the General Secretary. TSSA’s Self Organised Group, Women in Focus, gave a presentation to delegates on their work and actively encouraged women members to become more involved in the union generally and in WiF in particular.

There followed sessions covering sexism, misogyny and institutionalised and ingrained attitudes to-wards women in the workplace, a session on womens’ safety, with a presentation from Farhan Hayat on the case of Suzy Lamplugh, the estate agent who disappeared in 1986 and, after a prolonged search, was officially declared dead in 1994, and a session on the challenges for employees and employers on menstruation and menopause.

Other speakers included Members of Parliament Rebecca Long-Bailey, the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who spoke on the environment, and Angela Rayner, Shadow Secretary of State for Education, who spoke on her own personal experiences as a single mother from a working class background who became a care worker, trade union representative and subsequently Member of Parliament.

Nicola Jukes gave a report on her work as a TSSA delegate at the International Transport Workers’ Federation Congress in Singapore and there was a session for delegates to help with constructing motions for debate at TSSA Annual Conference.

The event was great success, which attending EC member Nicola Jukes (North East) described as ‘invigorating and empowering’.

International Transport Workers’ Federation Congress

The General Secretary, President, Treasurer and Nicola Jukes (EC member for North East) attended as delegates for TSSA at the ITF’s Congress, which took place in Singapore from 14th to 20th October. Delegates attended the Road, Rail, Urban Transport, Tourism and Womens’ sector conferences, with the General Secretary being elected to the ITF Tourism Committee.

It was clear that with globalisation, workers’ issues had similarly become globalised and so trade unions must be more internationalist in their approach to fighting employers exploiting their workers across the globe.

Nicola Jukes made a speech at the ITF Womens’ Conference on menopause. There are 800,000 women members of ITF. There were discussions on basic human rights, including access to toilet facilities, while Nermin Al-Sharif, general secretary of the Dockers’ and Seafarers’ Union of Libya, spoke passionately about the battles she faces on a daily basis with death threats and intimidation from Libyan authorities, including an attempted car bomb attack.

Industrial Relations

The process of balloting members at DB Cargo has begun, following the Executive Committee’s decision reported last month. Members at DB Cargo have not received a pay rise for three years and have rejected a pay offer from the employer that effectively amounts to a pay cut. Clearly, DB Cargo needs to make a favourable offer to our members to avoid this dispute escalating.

Walkden House at 17 Devonshire Square

Work to fit out the second floor of the building has now been completed and TSSA staff have begun the process of occupying their new office. Work continues on the training room and boardroom in the basement and it is anticipated that this will be completed in the next three weeks.

Political and Campaigns

The Executive Committee received a full and detailed reports from Sarah-Jane Potter and Nicola Jukes, who were part of our delegation which attended this year’s Labour Party Womens’ Conference on 22nd September 2018. TSSA backed a motion on women’s health and safety for referral to the main Labour Party Conference, although a motion on women and the economy was selected for referral. There will be another Womens’ Conference in February 2019, and the EC agreed that those delegates elected to attend the September Conference would also attend the February Conference.

The Executive agreed to pass their thanks to both Sarah-Jane and Nicola for their reports.

Cat Hobbs, founder and director of the campaign group We Own It, addressed the Executive Committee of the work of the group and the successes scored by the campaign. Cat first became involved in her local area to campaign for improvements to the Severn Beach railway line, which resulted in an extra train per day being scheduled. We Own It campaigns for the nationalisation of utilities including electricity, gas and water, but also to fight creeping privatisation in our schools and the NHS. We Own It also campaigns alongside other friendly organisations for the nationalisation of our rail network.

We Own It have organised an event taking place in London on 10th November, called Public Ownership 2.0 - There Is Such Thing as Society. The event will include workshops on the NHS, water, public transport and energy, and will end with a Q&A with John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. You can still get tickets here. The EC agreed to make a donation in principle to We Own It of £5,000.

The Executive Committee agreed to continue our support for CLASS - The Centre for Labour and Social Studies. CLASS is a think-tank established in 2012 to act as a centre for left debate and discussion. Originating in the labour movement, CLASS works with a broad coalition of supporters, academics and experts to develop and advance alternative policies.

CLASS forwarded to the Executive Committee a strategy and work plan for the next two years, as well as a copy of its annual report for the year 2017-18. The EC agreed to contribute £6,000 to CLASS. You can read more about their work here.

The EC received a report from Global Labour Institute Network, detailing a Political Education Meeting which took place in Geneva on 28th and 29th September. The Executive agreed to make a donation of £1,000.

The Executive Committee was contacted by Trade Union Friends of Bhopal, a new group consisting of members and representatives of various unions supportive of the Bhopal Disaster survivors. Trade Union Friends of Bhopal aims to build a network of unions and union members, starting here in the UK but aiming to spread worldwide.

The Bhopal Disaster, which took place on 3rd December 1984, was one of the worst industrial accidents ever, when a deadly methyl isocyanate gas leak from a chemical plant in Bhopal, India killed an estimated 3,787 people at the time and subsequently caused respiratory illnesses and birth defects for the past thirty four years as the chemical leaked into the local water system. The owner of

the chemical plant, US firm Union Carbide, treated the victims of the disaster with complete con-tempt, failing to install work methods or safety devices which would have prevented the leaking gas from escaping the plant, instead blaming the disaster on a rogue employee. They also refused to pay compensation to thousands of victims of the disaster.

The EC will respond to the Friends of Bhopal to inform them that affiliations are passed at Annual Conference, but in the meantime will donate £50. You can read more on Trade Union Friends of Bhopal here.

The EC received correspondence from Young Fabians, the oldest left of centre think-tank run for and by young people. Young Fabian are researching and underrating to compile a pamphlet called A Nation Divided: Building a United Kingdom. The EC agreed to donate £50 to Young Fabians, you can read more about them and their work here.

Time to Grow and Organising

Membership of TSSA passed 18,000 members for the first time in ten months. Whilst this is a note-worthy achievement, the need for continued recruitment is vital to secure the long-term future of the association.

The first recruitment skills courses for reps are scheduled for the following dates in London:

* Tuesday, 27 November

* Thursday, 29 November

* Friday, 30 November

* Monday, 10 December

* Tuesday, 11 December

* Thursday, 13 December

Attendance for reps at a recruitment training skills course will be compulsory. Reps wishing to register for the above-mentioned courses in London can register here - http://bit.ly/2zAqgsL

Donations and Funding

Donations and funding were authorised to the following:

£6,000 to CLASS

£5,000 in principle for We Own It

£1,000 to Global Labour Institute Network

£50 to Trade Union Friends of Bhopal

£50 to Young Fabians

The next meeting of the Executive Committee would be on 4th and 5th December in Quorn.

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