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Welcome & Editorial - September 2012

5 September 2012

Welcome to the September edition of the Journal - something of a ‘demo special’.

The TUC’s ‘A Future that Works’ demonstration on Saturday 20 October looks set to be huge – putting even more pressure on the government to change course from their disastrous ‘austerity at all costs’ model. Even if you’ve never considered joining a protest march before, please think about coming along – ideally bringing your family members and friends too. With our ‘horror cuts’ theme, we want it to be a really fun and empowering day for all involved – see pages 10-17 for all the details. I really hope to see you there!

Elsewhere, Virgin are set to be out of the UK rail ‘market’ for the first time since 1997 after the loss of the West Coast route. No other franchise decision has ever seen so much public debate, not just due to Richard Branson’s high profile, but due to the growing sense that the whole franchise system is rotten. Over 100,000 have signed a petition (albeit, one heavily pushed by the Virgin media-machine) calling for the decision to be reconsidered. Meanwhile, many commentators have expressed concern that the high premiums of the FirstGroup bid may bankrupt the franchise. The most cynical amongst us might even welcome the firm going belly-up and breaking the 15 year contract early, noting how the East Coast route is still in public ownership almost three years after National Express handed it back to the DfT.

In this issue we also remember the contribution of the late Tom Jenkins CBE – TSSA’s general secretary from 1977 to 1982. Tom guided the union through some turbulent years and is remembered by Lord Rosser on page 8.

As always, your letters, either in response to articles or raising any other point of interest are very welcome, as are suggestions for articles. This really is your publication so please do get in touch.

Ben Soffa, editor

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