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TSSA’s community organising gains global attention

4 January 2013

TSSA members recently took part in the rail and road workers conference of the global union alliance, the International Transport Workers’ Federation. The meeting in Toronto brought together 200 delegates from 76 unions in 44 countries.

ITF delegation.jpg

On his return, TSSA Treasurer Mick Carney told the Journal, ‘What I found out was that despite our many cultures and creeds, our problems remain almost the same. Nearly all governments are following a neo-liberal agenda, with working people being asked to pay the price for the greed of the bankers. Argentina for example, has cut 4/5ths of its railway staff. Workers in Zimbabwe haven’t been paid for five months and counting and even Indian Railways, whilst still heavily staffed, are looking to make drastic cuts despite their economy still growing strongly. Across the globe, it is the same picture, with a few notable exceptions: Venezuela’s socialist government has continued to expand its railway system and China, whilst paying scant regard to health and safety, continues to grow at a rapid rate.’

Mick presented TSSA’s community organising strategy to the conference. Even with the speech needing to be transmitted through  many interpreters, it was well received to the extent that Mick has now been appointed to the ITF community organising team.

Mick adds: ‘After the conference I decided to stay on for a few days. Being a railway worker I decided I would take a trip out on the rails. It was here I found one of he most disturbing aspects of Canadian rail: ‘bustitution’. Even getting out on one of the supposedly main lines from Toronto during the morning peak, many of the ‘trains’ are actually buses. Whilst all public transport is to be supported, chipping away at the system like this threatens the appeal and viability of those services that remain as actual trains. In total, just eight trains a day run in and out of Canada’s largest city – a very worrying trend we must be on our guard over.’

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