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Welcome & Editorial

12 December 2011

A look at the December / January issue from Journal Editor, Ben Soffa

As we reach the end of 2011 and look towards the start of a new year, there’s no shortage of changes that will have a huge impact on our union and our industries.

We have a new General Secretary in Manuel Cortes – who lays out his priorities on page 9 and is interviewed on pages 10- 11. ‘We’ also have a new Transport Secretary. Justine Greening has a number of momentous decisions to take in the coming months – choices examined by Christian Wolmar on pages 14-15.

The new year will also bring a less welcome change for millions of passengers – higher fares. Whilst the Chancellor backed away from the previously announced rise of 8 per cent, even the use of the ‘inflation plus 1 per cent’ formula will make transport significantly less affordable for many. With average pay settlements such a long way short of inflation, most people are enduring significant real terms pay cuts. We look at the campaign against the fare rises on 12 and 13 – do get involved, whether as an individual, workplace or branch.

The financial difficulties faced by Thomas Cook are a real cause for concern, with TSSA reps and officers meeting the company to ensure staff are kept informed and are in the strongest possible position however the company and its creditors respond.

On a more positive note, we’ve seen several quick victories due to highly energetic campaigns by reps over recent weeks – most starkly at Transport for London. Over 100 jobs were due to be outsourced and, quite literally, sent to Coventry, but with just 12 hours before the plan was due to be agreed, TfL u-turned. The strategy employed? Building an alliance of service users (in this case, taxi drivers), staff and other campaigners into an unstoppable force. Let’s hope for many such victories in 2012.

All that remains to be said is that I hope you enjoy this edition of the Journal, and to wish all readers and their families a happy and healthy New Year.
 

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