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Welcome & Editorial - November 2013

1 November 2013

Welcome to the November edition of the TSSA Journal. We’ve an edition packed with the latest news, campaigns, comment and advice.

One of the worst aspects of many public-facing jobs in our industries, from travel agencies to rail platforms, is the threat of abuse or violence from the public.

Spanning everything from low-level abuse right through to robbery at gunpoint, as experienced by our President (p11), we need not only supportive employers but a legal framework to deter and punish offenders. That’s why it’s so worthwhile taking the action on page 8 to support the creation of a specific offence to combat attacks on workers.

In more positive news, Labour Party conference overwhelmingly backed our motion calling for the next Labour government to bring franchises back into public ownership as they expire (p12-13). There’s still the major struggle to convince would-be ministers to catch up with the strong feelings of Labour members and the public at large, but it’s a powerful marker which TSSA have set down.

A couple of weeks before, at the TUC (p14- 15), Labour’s then shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said, “I’ve got to persuade one or two people in the Labour Party – I’ve persuaded a lot – but one or two more, that [public ownership] is the way to go.” Sadly, Maria was subsequently given new responsibilities in Labour’s reshuffle, but it shows what our work at all levels, from local campaigning to top-level meetings, can achieve. Her replacement, Mary Creagh, was already involved in our campaign to Keep East Coast Public from before her appointment and we’ll be working closely with her in the weeks ahead.

There’s many ways to get involved in the coming months, starting on 5 November – 20 years on from the granting of Royal Assent to the Railways Act 1993, which started the privatisation of British Rail. There will be local actions across Britain – so do check the website for all the details.

Ben Soffa, editor

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