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‘Winning’ the general election for public transport

25 June 2013

In a hugely successful day, over 100 TSSA members and community supporters met at London Metropolitan University in early June to discuss how community organising can win support for public transport issues in the run up to the next election.


Attendees heard from an array of speakers, including leading community organiser from the US, Arnie Graf, famous for mentoring a young Barack Obama. Since Labour leader Ed Miliband convinced Graf of his commitment to embedding the Labour Party into grassroots and community organising, he has been advising the party across Britain on approaches to take. Jon Cruddas MP, who is leading Labour’s policy review, spoke about how adopting community organising can transform the character of the trade union movement and Labour Party so that we are much more closely engaged with the concerns of the community. Manuel Cortes laid out the opportunity we have to end the madness of privatisation and challenged the Labour Party to put itself firmly on the side of ordinary working people.

Our three pronged attack ahead of 2015

Community organising: Building alliances with our passengers and community organisations
TSSA members have a natural common interest with passengers, disability rights activists and environmental campaigners. Our strategy of building strong links with community groups paved the way for the vigorous campaign following the Transport Secretary’s announcement of RPI + three per cent fare rises. The successful campaign overturned this and by September 2012 fare rises had been restricted to one per cent above inflation. Through to 2015, our union will continue to build our work with our natural allies to win on issues like the defence of staffed ticket offices, amplifying our collective voice.

Re-frame the debate: Another way is not only possible, it’s essential!
Our campaign for public ownership of rail is inherently opposed to the agenda of the current Conservative government. If unchallenged, they would continue to have citizens believe that austerity and privatisation are the only option and any involvement of the public sector is inherently bad. Our strategy requires that we re-frame this debate to be able to demonstrate that not only is public ownership of rail better for passengers, it’s essential to deliver the kind of infrastructure investment our communities needs now and in the future. The private sector will not, and for the past 20 years since privatisation has not, made the kind of investment that the UK economy needs.

Campaign in marginal seats, to return MP who will support TSSA members
There are 107 ConDem held marginal seats that the Labour Party will be targeting in 2015. However, TSSA will
not have itself taken for granted by Labour. We are going to be prioritising working on the ground only with those Labour candidates who support TSSA’s policies publically. Our supported candidates will publicly support and advocate for the rights of working people, public ownership of rail and better employment rights for our members.


How you can get involved
Our political and community campaign is about TSSA members working within our communities to create a Better Railway. Can you get involved? To discuss how you can help, contact or phone 020 7529 8019.

  • Hold a Ghost Train action at your local station
  • Get involved in your local rail users’ group
  • Invite a TSSA community organiser to run a local campaign training session for you and 10 other community activists in your area
  • Find out more about becoming an elected representative – be that in your workplace, on your council or even as an MP
  • Sign up to to get campaign updates in your area


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