With ongoing uncertainty about the future of our railways, and Keith Williams' promise that the rail reform White Paper will be published "as soon as possible", we want to reassure you that TSSA is sitting at the top table negotiating to protect your jobs, terms and conditions in a railway fit for the future.
A “Black Swan” event is how the impact of the pandemic on the rail industry has been described by Keith Williams, the man appointed by the Government to review how the railways should be run in the future.
While Williams has not yet published his strategy, the open secret is that the Department for Transport (DfT) wants to slash the £800m per month subsidy to our railway, restructure the train operating companies (TOCs) and change how Network Rail (NR) operates.
Our Union has been predicting change for a while. In 2019, we held our Future of Rail conference including speakers from Network Rail and across the industry who spoke about how technology and skills would become more important.
But Covid has knocked things sideways. No-one expects passenger numbers to recover beyond 75% of pre-pandemic levels as businesses and individuals have adapted to more flexible ways of working.
The Government is seeking to introduce new legislation to fundamentally change the rail industry. There is already a project looking at how Managed Stations can be integrated, eliminating duplication of activity between TOCs and NR. This is a sign of things to come.
Our General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, is involved in regular discussions with the DfT and rail industry leaders from NR and the RDG with a clear aim – to ensure that the coming changes do not mean compulsory redundancies and a bonfire of our hard-won terms and conditions.
Our Union is negotiating on industry-wide agreements that will protect jobs and ensure a prosperous future for our industry. Our Future of Rail campaign is about ensuring our members' voices are included in any discussion about change, making sure employers provide training and up-skilling to meet future demand and providing continuity of employment.
We cannot predict exactly what the Government’s plans are for our industry, but we can predict that TSSA will be ready to meet the challenge, protect our members and organise for the future.