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Executive Committee Report - March 2020

23 March 2020

COVID-19 The Executive Committee was appraised of the current situation on the spread of the Covid-19 virus across the world and the possible contingency measures which may have to be taken, particularly if restrictions are put in place on gatherings of people. The situation is evolving daily and the Executive Committee is keeping the situation under constant review in order to best protect TSSA’s members and staff.

In light of daily-changing developments, the Executive Committee took the decision to postpone 2020 Annual Conference until the Autumn, as well as delay the Executive Committee election for the North East division.

The Executive Committee has also recommended that branches do not hold meetings for the foreseeable future.

Further details are included in TSSA Circular 48/20. The text of this circular can be found here.

Guest Speakers

The Executive Committee were given presentations by two groups. The first was from Jacqueline Young and Clare Bremner of Network Rail on ‘Intelligent Infrastructure’, which is a digital asset management programme which is anticipated to lead to reduced costs and delays by better predicting the need for maintenance and replacement of assets. Network Rail stated that they aimed to have an open-door policy with the trade unions, including by setting aside time for update meetings and what are called ‘workstream board meetings’.

The second speaker was Bert Schouwenburg, who spoke to the Executive Committee on behalf of Action for Argentina. Bert spoke on the Neo-liberalism that has swept South America for the last 45 years, including most recently in Argentina, where former president Mauricio Macri negotiated from the International Monetary Fund a credit line of some £22bn in exchange for IMF-stipulated privatisation of public services and attacks on workers’ terms, conditions and pensions.

Item 29 at 2019 Annual Conference was remitted to allow the Executive Committee to seek assurances that the association would be affiliating to the most appropriate organisation for highlighting and campaigning against the struggles which have beset Argentina. The Executive Committee agreed to affiliate to the Action for Argentina campaign.

Finance

The Executive Committee examined and approved its budget for 2020. The budget includes the fit-out costs of our new print room, which is now fully operational, as well as building management costs for 17 Devonshire Square, which is now fully let.

The Executive Committee also agreed to the answers given to questions and supplementary questions submitted on the 2018 Report and financial statements.

Reports were received and noted from both the Audit Committee and Investments Committee.

Democracy

The Executive Committee received a report from the Midlands Divisional Council which stated that the Council would no longer meet owing to the non-availability of officers. The Executive Committee

agree that issues related to the continued functioning of branches would be overseen by the Executive Committee member for the Midlands whilst work takes place to reinvigorate the Midlands Divisional Council.

The Executive Committee considered and approved a report from the Scrutineers on nominations for a number of elected bodies and positions, including the EC. Paul Corcoran (Ireland), Al Stoten (London South) and Marios Alexandrou (London Transport) were all elected unopposed. The North East EC member election will be delayed for a period of six months whilst the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to affect branch meetings and other gatherings.

The Executive Committee considered a report on the progress of items passed at 2019 Annual Conference.

Membership and Time to Grow

Membership of the union has increased and is now well above the 18,000 mark. A recruitment week which took place in January 2020 yielded a further increase in membership, however the EC is aware that there may be a slowdown in recruitment as the effects of the spread of COVID-19 takes hold and disrupts workplaces.

Political

Following a ballot of members, the Association nominated Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner for the positions of Leader and Deputy Leader respectively.

The Committee received and considered correspondence from Lloyd Russell-Moyle, MP for Brighton Kemptown, Rachel Maskell, MP for York Central and Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party and MP for Islington North, all thanking the Association for its support in the General Election of 2019.

The Committee considered a request from Patsy Cummins, who is standing for the London Assembly seat for Croydon & Sutton. The Committee agreed to donate a sum of £200 from the Political Fund.

The Executive Committee also received correspondence from Matt Kerr, who is standing for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in Scotland. The Committee agreed to donate £200 from the Political Fund.

The Committee received correspondence from Gordon Brown regarding his plan to set up a think tank called Our Scottish Future, whose mission will be to engage in public and media platforms in Scotland and elsewhere to uphold the case for ‘cross-British national border solidarity’. The Committee agreed to invite Mr Brown or a deputy to a future EC meeting to discuss his plans.

The Executive Committee agreed to continue its support and affiliation with CLASS, the Centre for Labour and Social Studies. The Committee was also given a full report on the work of the organisation over the last twelve months. You can read more about CLASS here. The total affiliation fee is £6000.

International

The Executive Committee invited submissions from young members to join the Palestine Solidarity Campaign delegation to Palestine in June 2020. After considering all these submissions, the Committee decided that Claire Baker (Underground No.1 branch) and Faisal Farooq (Avanti West Coast) would join the delegation on behalf of TSSA.

The Executive Committee also agreed to enter TSSA into a partnership with the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers, which is a general union representing workers in the United States and Canada. The partnership will initially look at working jointly on organising and education programmes, as well as sharing resources in these areas and in communications. You can find out more about the union here.

The Executive Committee considered correspondence from LU MATS & Operating Managers branch, which raised concerns regarding support from the Association for EU nationals applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. It was agreed that the Association would offer limited support to members affected but only in circumstances where their employer has declined to give support.

The Committee received correspondence from the acting General Secretary of ZARWU, the Zimbabwe Amalgamated Rail Workers’ Union. The letter expressed gratitude to the TSSA for its continued support, including limited financial support, and asked if a meeting could be arranged with officials of TSSA as soon as possible. The Committee agreed that a meeting would be held between TSSA’s General Secretary and ZARWU’s General Secretary as soon as they had been elected and that the existing agreement with ZAWRU will extended by another two years.

The Committee agreed to donate a sum of £50 to Brazil Solidarity Initiative following their invitation to affiliate. This donation was not an affiliation, however an affiliation could be passed by a motion at a future Annual Conference.

Campaigns

The Executive Committee agreed to donate £15,000 to the Campaign for Better Transport Campaign for their planned work in 2020, which includes work on reshaping the railways as part of the Williams Review, ensuring that the needs of passengers are at the heart of the railway and improving local transport integration. You can read more about the campaign here.

The Committee agreed to a request from Show Racism the Red Card to endorse their ‘Wear Red Day’ event on 16th October.

TUC London East and South East Young Workers’ Future Leaders Programme is scheduled to begin on 30th April and continue into October (correct at the time of writing). The Executive Committee agreed to pass details onto Future TSSA for their consideration.

The Committee received correspondence from People’s Assembly Against Austerity, which re-quested a meeting with the General Secretary and Committee on the planned relaunch of the campaign. This was agreed by the Committee.

The Committee agreed to make a donation of £50 to Maternity Action following their invitation to affiliate. This donation was not an affiliation, however an affiliation could be passed by a motion at a future Annual Conference.

The Executive Committee agreed to donate £500 to the Trade Union Football and Alcohol Committee towards their fundraising gig planned for May 8th. The event is planned to take place in the New Cross Inn, London SE14 from noon until midnight.

Notable Donations

The Executive Committee agreed to the following donations and affiliation fees:

• £15,000 to Campaign for Better Transport (see above)

• £6000 to CLASS (see above)

• £500 to Party for Partisans fundraiser (see above)

• £200 to Patsy Cummins, who is standing for London Assembly (see above)

• £200 to Matt Kerr, who is standing for Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party (see above)

• £200 to Manchester May Day celebrations

• £100 to Banner Theatre

• £50 to Brazil Solidarity Initiative (see above)

• £50 to Maternity Action (see above)

• £50 to Rubery Old Folks Entertainment Fund, which provides trips and and a free Christmas meal to for former workers at the Longbridge car factory

Other business

The Executive Committee noted two reports from Steve Whitehead on the National Pensioners Convention Executive Committee and the NPC Finance Working Party. The EC recorded its thanks to Steve.

The Executive Committee agreed to sign TSSA up to the TUC Charter for Apprenticeships, which includes giving apprentices productive work, fair pay, high quality training and development, trade union engagement, full apprenticeship accessibility to applicants, contribute to a safe working environment and ensure that apprentices complement the workforce. TSSA is one of the first trade unions to sign to this charter. Full details of the charter can be found here.

The EC approved to appoint four new Organiser apprentices last year.

 

 

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