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Going Beyond Blog of Learning Opportunities

This blog is a place to share the learning opportunities through Going Beyond, our Communities of Practice education programme.  You can request to join a Community of Practice here:

 Displaying posts 1 - 6 of 6

  • Going Beyond for Racial Equality

    Author: Nadine RaePosted: 30 October 2020

    Going Beyond for Racial Equality - TSSA's New Community of Practice

    October was Black History Month and I am pleased that TSSA has been active and focussed on bringing people together around issues of race in the workplace. In response to our members who are BAME and who wish to support BAME colleagues, we have established our Going Beyond for Racial Equality Community of Practice, to explore what we can do as a union to improve equality, diversity and inclusion for BAME people in our workplaces. Click 'Read More'...

    Over the past two years we have worked to build an active BAME network and really explore the lived experiences of our members who are from black, asian and minority ethnicity communities. Unfortunately for some members, those experiences have included casual and blatant racism, subtle micro-aggressions and experiences that make workplaces feel unsafe, unsupportive and in some cases hostile. The impact on people facing this kind of environment each day, is extremely damaging to mental health, self-esteem and their ability to perform and contribute at work. In some cases, safety can be compromised, where bias and prejudice clouds the decision making and reactions of people in safety critical roles and roles that manage other people. During the covid pandemic, safety for BAME people has been a significant concern. Our BAME members who are key workers have raised concerns about their exposure to Covid-19 through their job roles and we have worked tirelessly with employers and government to ensure they and others are safe. In times when you know you are at a higher risk than other people, you need to also feel confident your concerns are being heard and will be addressed, and that you are safe at work. More than ever TSSA is needed by BAME workers in transport and travel.

    We also have other members who have been moved by local and global events this year and want to know what they can do to end racism and support BAME colleagues. Our work building the Inclusive Rail campaign for LGBT+ people has made it clear that allyship is essential for changing negative culture and making our workplaces inclusive. We encourage anyone who wants to be an ally for BAME people to get involved in our community of practice. Our BAME members want to have the same opportunities to contribute and progress in their careers that other people experience and we all can help that become a reality.

    Going Beyond for Racial Equality is a community of practice that will help all TSSA members and supporters talk about race, about prejudice, about privilege, about equality and find practical ways we can bring about change and make our workplaces inclusive of BAME people. You can request to be part of the community of practice here:

    Nadine Rae

    TSSA Organising Director


    If you have any about your safety at work due to covid-19 visit or contact our helpdesk



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  • Why Inclusive Rail is an important campaign for all TSSA members

    Author: Nadine RaePosted: 04 August 2020

    As I said in my recent newsletter, it has now been two years since we launched our campaign at Westminster, releasing our Role Model Posters and our LGBT+ Inclusive Workplaces Bargaining Standard. Inclusive Rail has fast become one of the most important campaigns TSSA has run in the 21st century. We have achieved many things over these past two years, and all TSSA members can and should be proud to promote this campaign for inclusion in their workplace. Our aim is to make the railway inclusive for LGBT+ people by 2025. An ambitious aim, but one that will impact all members of TSSA should we achieve it. In this blog post, I will outline three main reasons why all members of TSSA should support, promote and get involved in Inclusive Rail. At the very least this is because the support and interest we get from members regarding this campaign has outweighed any other campaign of recent times. Click ‘Read More’ to find out more… 


    1) We can learn from our Inclusive Rail success  

    Our Time to Grow Strategy action point 12 is ‘Learn from Ourselves and Others’ and this is exactly the case with our successes from Inclusive Rail. All the things we have done for Inclusive Rail can be done for other campaigns and help other groups of workers. Everything can be applied in other work from the campaign activities to the materials we have developed and the monthly communication we have established with all members.  


    We have engaged over 5000 people in our campaign activities to date through a variety of ways. People have joined TSSA, completed #NoBystanders cards, become active in our LGBT+ Network, participated in our 5-year placard challenge to share what you think will make the railway inclusive by 2025, attended network and forum events and visited our workplace stalls and education sessions. That means almost all those 5000 contacts have actually been 5000 conversations, where we have been able to build visibility of TSSA, share our values, and the reasons why people should join and get involved in TSSA. As a result, we have built our LGBT+ Network from 5 people to 50+ members. The response we have had on the materials such as our powerful Role Model posters has led to opportunities for our members to share our campaign and aspirations with others, at conferences such as Network Rail’s Archway conference, Stonewall’s prestigious Annual Workplace Conference and globally, with international trade union federations. 


    More directly, reps are seeing the value of applying this learning to their own projects. Gurprit Bhakar, TSSA BAME Network member attended our Equality in the Workplace seminar in 2019 and heard about our invitation for members to become LGBT+ allies: ‘We can encourage people to be allies for BAME workers too’.  


    2) Respected colleagues and workplace leaders are joining TSSA  

     Shane Andrews, Chair of Archway, has been a TSSA member for many years and has volunteered to be a new Role Model on our poster series. He has volunteered to be a part of our poster campaign because it enables him to be a visible face of LGBT+ leadership and to empower people at work. Other members have joined because they are taking leadership roles in the workplace and see the work we have done with Inclusive Rail as supporting their vision. Our union is leading on equality, and those who are active on equality issues in their workplace see the value in being a part of TSSA. Our ’10 Reasons to Join and Support Equality’ video highlights some of the reasons why people should join and get involved.


    3) We are setting the standard in the industry  

    We launched our very first Equality Bargaining Standard as part of the Inclusive Rail campaign in 2018. Over the past two years, we have gained commitments from companies to work towards our bronze, silver and gold standards for LGBT+ Inclusive Workplaces. Now two years on, we are beginning our first audits against our very own standard. In conjunction with Stonewall, we are helping companies on their journey of inclusion and leading the industry through our Inclusive Rail Industry Forum and our new LGBT+ Inclusive Workplaces Community of Practice. Everything we are doing in our Community of Practice will guide companies to achieve our gold standard, whilst also enabling our members to show leadership in their workplaces on LGBT+ issues. This model of working, including the use of Bargaining Standards, is being replicated in other areas of equality (see our Neurodiversity at Work Equality Bargaining Standard) and has the potential to support our industrial bargaining also. Inclusive Rail has proven that our members engaging with companies over standards is a successful strategy for our whole union. 


    And finally, there is a change within TSSA to become a more welcoming, inclusive organisation that doesn’t just talk about our values - we live them. This is demonstrated throughout the Inclusive Rail campaign and gives TSSA a level of credibility within the rail industry and throughout the UK and Ireland that it has never had before. We are proving month to month that we are not shying away from addressing hard issues and campaigning to change people’s lives. That is exactly what Inclusive Rail is trying to do and it is working. Through campaigns like Inclusive Rail, we will build a bigger, stronger and more inclusive, TSSA. 

    EQ Agenda cover

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  • What is a TSSA Divisional Council?

    Author: Steven RobertsPosted: 31 July 2020

    Divisional Councils have the traditional role of branch governance, ensuring that the member branches operate in accordance with TSSA rules and supporting any branches that may find themselves in difficulty. Divisional Council also act as a forum where branches can get together with other branches in their Divisional Council area to exchange information, experience and best practice and to create networks of communications. For this reason, my own Divisional Council moves their meeting to different venues in their area and allows members of the local branch to attend as observers. This helps in building TSSA activity in areas where it might be less visible and active. Keep reading to find out more about Divisional Councils...

    Divisional Councils are organised on an area basis and group together all the branches within that area. Each branch elects a number of delegates to their Divisional Council based on the number of members in their branch. The delegates are elected on an annual basis. Each Divisional Council area has a member of the TSSA Executive Committee, elected by the members of each branch in that Divisional Council area.

    As an example of how a Divisional Council can make a difference, the North West Divisional Council supported the efforts of a small number of Liverpool members in re-establishing a Merseyside branch, and, before the Covid19 lockdown, it was assisting the Crewe & Cheshire General branch in surveying its members in an attempt to increase member participation.

    NW Division Council 2

    Although we do have a certain amount of ‘business’ to conduct, at least half of our meetings are given over to a guest speaker. Recently Graham Stringer MP talked to us regarding ‘Public Transport in the North West’; Laura Smith MP talked about ‘My First Six Months in Parliament’ and Manuel Cortes addressed the question of ‘Where Now’ following Labour’s 2019 election defeat.

    Divisional Councils are also perhaps best placed to form links with various Regional Organisations such as the Regional Trades Union Councils, and the growing Regional levels of Government.

    Steven Roberts
    Secretary Crewe & Cheshire General Branch &
    Communication Officer North West Divisional Council


    Follow TSSA North West Divisional Council on Facebook:

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  • Important information for New TSSA Reps

    Author: Nadine RaePosted: 01 July 2020

     When starting your journey as a TSSA Workplace Rep it can really help to get information on your role, your rights and how you can support members through workplace issues as soon as possible. Here is a quick summary of some key information that will help you get started in your role. Keep reading to find out more…

    ACAS Code of Practice 1 – Disciplinary and Grievances

    Your employer will have processes and policies on disciplinary and grievances, negotiated with the union, and they should reflect the key principles included in this code of practice and associated guides. TSSA may have negotiated better and stronger policies and you will need to follow those specifically when representing members, so do remember to ask for and check your company documents. This code of practice is periodically updated so refer back to the website to keep up to date. Please note for information on Ireland and Northern Ireland please contact our Helpdesk.

    ACAS Code of Practice 3 – Time off for Trade Union Activities & Duties

    One of the first questions a new rep asks is “Can I get time off for that union meeting?”. This code of practice will help you understand what you are entitled to in terms of time off. Often further clarity is required so TSSA may have negotiated specific arrangements with your employer. If you have any difficulty in getting paid release for union meetings and activities, discuss it with your union organiser or contact the Helpdesk to see what can be done. Ongoing issues of release can be very frustrating for reps, so addressing this early on is important. This code of practice is periodically updated so refer back to the website to keep up to date. Please note for information on Ireland and Northern Ireland please contact our Helpdesk.

    Health & Safety Executive – Consulting Workers on Health & Safety

    Written by the Health & Safety Executive as a guide for employers, this book outlines the law and guidance on how to consult and involve employees and their representatives (that's you!) on health and safety matters at work under the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 (as amended) and the Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996 (as amended). It explains the relationship between the two sets of regulations and how they affect you and your workforce; in some workplaces you may have to consult under both sets of regulations. Again, find out about your workplace processes, committees and structures also, to ensure they are complying with the regulations and any agreements with TSSA.

    10 Reasons to Join and Support Equality Poster

    TSSA Equality Agenda

    Our union takes the lead on equality in our industries. Our Equality Agenda sets out the good work we are doing and how members can get involved. Our strategy to engage employers in these issues and create real change for our members is explained here, along with 10 reasons why people should join TSSA and support equality!

    Reps Areas

    Our TSSA Website includes areas for reps where we have many resources and tools to support you dealing with a variety of issues. Don’t wait for the course or event that will cover the issues you are working on now – look through this information and get the support you need immediately.


    Any member of TSSA can access our Helpdesk on a range of issues. Not only for emergencies, you will have a direct line to our solicitors and be able to source any point of law or be signposted to the right support within your union to tackle your issue. As a rep, this is an invaluable resource where you can ask specific questions about legal matters to help with a case or be linked with other reps in your area to discuss any matters further.

    Going Beyond

    Our Going Beyond Community of Practice approach to education is a key part of the support and development of every TSSA Rep, especially when you are starting out in your role. All new reps will be added to the Onboarding Community of Practice for New Reps once you have completed your first Reps Intro Session. Over the first 6-12 months in your role, through the Community of Practice (CoP) you will have access to a range of information, events, materials and network opportunities to help you in your role. Your learning will be continuous and you will have the ability in the CoP to identify and answer questions on topics that matter in your workplace now.

    For more information on Going Beyond and Communities of Practice visit

    So if you haven’t already, request to attend the next Reps Intro courses, read the information and resources in this blog post and start your learning journey as a TSSA Workplace Rep today!

    Nadine Rae

    TSSA Organising Director


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  • Updates on your Communities of Practice

    Author: Nadine RaePosted: 07 June 2020

    I am excited and motivated by the way you and other TSSA members are embracing our Going Beyond programme and Community of Practice (CoP) approach to education. The opportunities are endless for us to learn about key themes and topics in a deeper way, steering us to the right path to address key issues for TSSA members. Here are a few of the ways that Going Beyond will deliver for our members:

    1. People who join a CoP will be influencing the programme of learning, through the questions you have as a result of attending an event, or reading a blog post or taking part in a discussion. New information will be sourced or a new event will be developed to meet your learning need.
    2. Education resources will be developed as we go along, either from recording a guest speaker at an event, or sharing articles we find on a topic, etc.
    3. Learning can happen all the time and is not restricted to in-person meetings or events. Our interactions and online resources are there for you all the time, right when you need it.
    4. Going Beyond expands our learning opportunities from our traditional education approach of in-person events, to include online video conference events, blogs, social media interaction, more space to talk and develop our understanding through specific events that generate discussion, not just impart knowledge.
    5. Each CoP will follow a Spiral of Learning that will lead us to make conclusions and apply our learning in a practical way to the benefit of all TSSA members. Hence - community of practice.

    We are building momentum in this new approach. Here is an update for you on each CoP.

    Addressing Bullying & Harassment

    The first CoP to be launched, there are now several Blog posts and two online events that have been held and well attended. CoP Organiser, Andy Hollingsworth has also organised two upcoming CoP discussion events to bring CoP members together to talk through people's learning from the guest experts. You can find the event information here: People are clearly searching for answers on how to address bullying and harassment, which is exactly what the CoP aims to do in all our exploration of ideas, culminating in our Challenge Bullying conference to be held in November.

    Mental Health & Wellbeing

    This is by far our most popular community of practice for TSSA members. CoP Organiser Steve Loft has been a long time member of TSSA and has shared some of his expertise and knowledge in the field of mental health and wellbeing in this Going Beyond Blog. Do search for his blog posts using the 'Author' filter function on the right hand side of the Blog page.

    The learning from this CoP is going to be critical to enable TSSA to transform workplaces, making them more responsive and accepting of people's mental health and wellbeing needs. Upcoming events include a first discussion with the CoP Our Question on Mental Health where you will have a say in what events and topics the CoP will explore in the rest of 2020. We also are holding A Global Conversation on Mental Health with international guests sharing the challenges in their contexts and how they link with our own. This CoP will be part of launching TSSA's Mental Health & Wellbeing Equality Bargaining Standard this year.

    Flexible Working

    We are in the middle of a global experiment of remote working, which is one way to provide flexibility in work. So how are we going to make the most of that? Our first event for this CoP will be for Reps to discuss what good practice we want to keep as a union. This will be followed by an event to be scheduled in July, with people who are leading change for their company's in the area of flexible working. This CoP will be developing TSSA's new Equality Bargaining Standard for Flexible Working, through exploring new concepts and innovation and learning what makes a difference and identifying the key components our union needs to set as our our standard.

    Representing Members

    Our first two events for this CoP were around the subject of a Safe Return to Work during Covid-19. More events will be scheduled from July.

    Onboarding of New Reps

    We have a great opportunity to provide new reps with the best learning experience we have ever been able to provide, through the community of practice approach. Our first online Reps Intro Sessions have been scheduled to give a grounding in the role of a rep. This will be bolstered with online learning on our Blog and interaction in our social media spaces. Some of our experienced reps will be sharing their knowledge and experience through our CoP, providing a group mentoring experience.

    Future of Rail

    This is another popular CoP with members and also potential members. We haven't announced any events yet but we have some exciting events on the boil including accessibility of our railway and what that means for the future of rail, driving innovation in technology, exploring public funding of infrastructure, and we will be sharing new rail environmental resources. This CoP is where we hope our members who are leading on innovation will share their experiences and vision for the future of rail, so do get in touch if you have something you would like to share.

    Neurodiversity at Work

    TSSA members are extremely proud of our work on neurodiversity. Establishing this CoP will amplify the learning of our Equality Reps, acknowledging their expertise, and drive commitments to our Neurodiversity at Work Equality Bargaining Standard. Next year will be the 10th anniversary of TSSA's research report that launched our Neurodiversity Programme and this CoP will be setting the direction of our work in this area for the next 10 years. Events will be announced starting in September.

    Leading People

    Our members who manage people or aspire to manage others are going to benefit significantly from our new community of practice approach. Almost every CoP will explore an element of leadership, so our Leading People CoP will benefit from the accumulated learning from our entire Going Beyond programme! Over the next two months a series of events will be announced on leadership, including specific events on leading in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, or 'VUCA', environment.

    Skills Reps

    Our union learning reps and those who are supporting Apprentices, or working on issues of performance reviews and career progression will be leading TSSA's skills agenda. Understanding how the transport and travel industries are changing will be critical to establishing a strategy to reskill, retrain or help a just transition for those whose jobs are at risk of change. We also welcome the influx of apprentices and new workers into the rail industry, and our reps have a clear role in ensuring their training and development meets a standard. This CoP will have events from September and will seek to develop our union's approach and strategy for skills development in our industries.

    LGBT+ Inclusive Workplaces

    Our Inclusive Rail campaign aims to make the railway inclusive of LGBT+ people by 2025. This is an ambitious aim and we will need to work with allies and supporters to achieve it. Our union's work in this area is industry leading and the CoP will be bringing together people leading on LGBT+ inclusion to ensure companies are aspiring to and achieving our TSSA 'Gold Standard'. Events have just been announced for this CoP.

    More to come

    Over the next three weeks you will hear more from CoP Organisers on the events they are leading and about the learning you can do now. You will also soon find some events from our Self Organised Groups to engage with people on the extremely important topics of equality that are affecting our members. More will be posted in our Going Beyond LinkedIn group, and this Going Beyond Blog, so please do join the group and comment on the posts.

    I look forward to hearing your ideas.

    With kindness,

    Nadine Rae

    TSSA Organising Director

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  • Weekend learning

    Author: Nadine RaePosted: 29 May 2020

    10 Reasons to Join and Support Equality Poster As we head into the weekend I thought I would share with you an article on who invented the weekend... Unions of course! read about weekends and other great terms and conditions unions have won for us. And if you are not a member yet - JOIN! Read this article about weekends and other great union achievements in this TUC article from Heart Union week in February 2020:

    Have a good one!

    Nadine Rae

    TSSA Organising Director

    10 reasons illustrated

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