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TSSA members attend ‘political school’

31 March 2014

With the General Election just over a year away, and local and European elections weeks away, TSSA has been stepping up the level of political activity. TSSA exists to give our members power – in the workplace, and in the world around us.

Reps & staff meet shadow rail minister Lilian Greenwood MP at the political school.

Over the past year, TSSA has worked with Unions Together to train members who want to represent their own community. Putting frontline workers back at the heart of local decision-making – whether as local councillors, or even as MPs. Politics cannot be left to the politicians!

In January over 20 members of TSSA, together with union officers, came together at a ‘political school’ to learn more about creating political impact at both a community and national level. The event was organised by Unions Together, the grouping of the 15 trade unions affiliated to the Labour Party. TSSA and Unions Together campaign for the Labour Party because we believe that working people are better off with a Labour government. And we campaign within the Labour Party because we want to ensure that Labour stands up for the needs of our members.

The political school in January was the second such event over the past year, in addition to the ‘Organising to Win’ political conference which over 100 members attended. At least three of the participants from the earlier school have gone on to stand in local council elections in May, with some thinking longer term about standing for Parliament.

Andi Fox, TSSA executive member for Yorkshire also represents the union on Labour's national executive.

Mary Sithole, TSSA rep on C2C who attended the September political school found the experience really empowering: “As a mum who balances looking after my children with my work commitments, and representing TSSA members in the workplace, the course really opened my eyes to the importance of building our union’s power at every level. I learnt new skills, and felt more confident giving speeches after the training.”

Chris Clark, recently elected to TSSA’s Executive Committee representing London Transport, took part in the January political school: “The event really helped boost my confidence, gave me a deeper knowledge of how to campaign in my community and workplace, and made me realise how trade unionists are getting organised to make our voice heard in the Labour Party – so I’m proud to be standing against a vicious Tory council in Croydon this May, for TSSA and Labour”.

Given the success of these political schools, some TSSA members are going forward for further more intense training in standing for office and taking on community leadership roles. TSSA is only as strong as our members, and this work is vital to building our members’ power and skills, and applying that pressure to impact in our industries and beyond.

Following the political school, and the ramping up of our political strategy of both campaigns and policy lobbying until the general election 2015, TSSA is identifying a growing number of members willing to get involved in their local communities, and indeed those who are themselves sitanding for election.

• If you or another TSSA member is standing for election, or are interested in attending a TSSA political school please do contact Sam Tarry on or on 07850 793971.

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