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Our part in changing Westminster

22 August 2013

With just 21 months until the UK general election, members have been involved in a wide range of local political work which can help deliver for us all – both in the workplace and beyond.

Political officer Sam Tarry says, ‘We’re working to ensure we get policies that benefit our members, safeguard our industries and deliver representatives at every level of the UK’s political system who really listen to TSSA members – and work with us to get results’.

Dozens of members are learning new skills to support this work, with political schools and training sessions giving people the knowledge and confidence to make their voices heard, and in some cases, to stand for election themselves.

TSSA has been active in assisting candidates who share our values and support our policies win Labour parliamentary selections. We need a better deal from politicians for the rail industry and our work will help ensure this. We now have candidates that TSSA has supported in winnable Parliamentary seats across the country.

Nancy Platts, a TSSA member and now Labour candidate for the Tory-held Brighton Kemptown seat says, ‘I’m really excited about the innovative community campaigns we can run together. TSSA supported our local elections in East Sussex with phone banks, door-knocking and a social event that brought Labour and trade union members together. Our Labour vote in that campaign went up by 25 per cent and we can continue to increase our vote if we work together as a labour movement.’

Our marginal seat strategy means that we will strategically target our resources to help deliver not only a majority Labour government committed to improving the rail industry, but that we will have a long- term practical campaigning relationship with candidates who buy into our policies both on rail and workplace rights.

Clive Lewis, Labour’s candidate in Norwich South says, ‘I’ll be working with the TSSA locally and nationally to make sure the government and rail companies are held to account in the run up to the 2015 general election. In the coming months we’ll be working together to highlight shocking fare increases. It’s also why we’ll be holding a joint Norwich ‘Rail Summit’. Here we'll listen to the voices of rail workers, passengers and businesses and make the case for a future Labour Government re-nationalising our railways.’

Work is already underway in Hastings and Rye, Peterborough and Crewe and Nantwich, with other seats getting underway as we build our campaign capacity. This has included a major telephone survey, with nearly 1,000 TSSA members in key marginal seats being called. These conversations have given us a sharper understanding of the views of local members on TSSA’s priorities, work- place issues and political campaigning.

Our aim is to have a ‘Team TSSA’ in each marginal Parliamentary seat that we need to win. This doesn’t mean just campaigning for Labour – it could be assisting our community organising campaigns on issues like high fares, station de-staffing, keeping East Coast in public hands or working on a regional ‘rail summit’.

TSSA’s plans will only be as strong as our members’ commitment to get involved. We have an opportunity to really be part of an exciting project – the many members who attended the Political conference earlier this year left feeling enthused and excited about what TSSA is doing.

Be part of that – don’t leave politics to the politicians. It’s time to take back Parliament for the many, not the few, and make sure our voice is heard loud and clear.

To find out more contact Sam Tarry via tarrys@tssa.org.uk or on 07850 793971.

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