Category: Campaigns

Emily Young

Building the Union at HS2 Ltd

Two people sitting in front of a huge pop up banner with a desk in front of them. The desk has TSSA recruitment materials on it. The man is wearing a purple shirt and blue lanyard, the woman is wearing a yellow dress and holding a cup. The pop up banner says "HS2 Workplace forum and TSSA" and has a picture of a black woman on it.

HS2 is a transformational project for the UK. Construction is in full swing on Phase One of the project linking the West Midlands with London, Parliamentary permission has been secured to build up to Crewe and plans are already in place to continue up to Manchester and the Northwest.

As a new railway project, the TSSA is recognised to represent the workforce at HS2 Ltd, the Government body that will deliver HS2. The TSSA is a huge supporter of High-Speed Rail and has been one of the biggest champions of its development all the way to Scotland.

Bringing the staff together is an important part of every company's calendar, and that is no different at HS2. This year the All-Staff event took place in Birmingham, bringing together 1500 people from across the project to take stock of what has been achieved and to look forward.

As you would expect, the TSSA played an important role in the conference, hosting a stall at the employee exhibition to answer questions and build our membership.

The engagement from staff was fantastic, with many existing members popping by to say thank you for our hard work, not only supporting people through the pandemic, but all the work going into the ongoing pay negotiations. There were also many potential new members who were keen to have an open conversation about joining the union.

This was a real testament to the positive relationship the TSSA reps have built with the company and the collective culture at HS2. We have all worked hard to ensure there is a constructive culture of trade union influence within the organisation. We had some really great discussions with members about the issues that matter to them the most. These all fall under the banner of fairness.

HS2 Ltd is a unique organisation which has grown hugely over the years it has been in existence and has at times struggled to evolve with the changing dynamics of the workforce and the needs of the project.

The TSSA continues to campaign for better workplace conditions and the All Staff Event in Birmingham was a great opportunity to raise our profile and talk about the importance of collective bargaining and continuing engagement with the company.

HS2 Ltd straddles a space somewhere between a Civil Service department, an engineering firm and a private sector consultancy. Once the project is delivered, the company will close, and our work transitioned into operation alongside the traditional railway, supporting TSSA members for generations to come.

It is certainly unique, and the requests from our members shape the strategic direction of the union in their ongoing collective discussions with the company throughout the year. We will continue to get out and about among the staff and advocate for our members at HS2 Ltd.  

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