Search for a Joint Interim General Secretary
The President had previously consulted with the EC over possible candidates for this position. One person had been approached and declined. A second person has been approached and agreed: he is Peter Pendle, AGS of the National Education Union and a former TSSA member. He has dealt with previous mergers of Trade Unions.
Equality Policy and Practice in the TSSA: Report for the union produced by Professor Hazel Conley and Doctor Stefano Gasparri.
Prof. Conley and Dr. Gasparri attended the meeting virtually. Prof. Conley confirmed that their report had been delivered to Frank Ward on 31st August 2022. Her comments included:
- The observation that the final sample size was smaller than hoped, but that this was due in no small part to people’s fears about coming forward.
- A perceived a lack of interest from the senior management team, meaning it took longer than hoped to get hold of documentation.
- The report has a greater focus on policy and practice than the Kennedy report.
- While some changes to the rulebook may be necessary, for the most part the EC can use the powers it already has.
- It is desirable for the President and Treasurer to have term limits, possibly the same as other EC members.
Actions arising from the Kennedy and Conley reports
The Kennedy report was received by the EC before the Conley report. The EC had been unaware that the Conley report had been delivered to the former Interim GS last autumn. The EC thus publicly accepted the findings of the Kennedy report a few hours after publication and committed itself to implementing the recommendations.
There are 45 recommendations in total from the two reports, though in reality there are slightly fewer because some of these overlap. The EC have prioritised the recommendations and, taking legal advice at various stages, are working through a list of actions associated with them. Completed actions include:
- The resignations of the former President and Treasurer.
- Dismissal of two members of the “internal leadership” (paragraph 30 in the Kennedy report) and suspension of the three others, pending investigation.
- Assumption by the EC of direct responsibility for staffing matters.
- The recruitment of Unions 21 to provide Governance training to EC members.
Other recommendations are close to completion, including appointments to a Change Management Team. The EC was addressed by one of the appointees, Simon Stone, who is an HR adviser and change management consultant.
The Change Management Team will be:
1 HR adviser
Reserve: Melissa Heywood
3 staff representatives
This group will be in place temporarily for 12 weeks.
Financial and membership matters
Duncan Bates will replace Marios Alexandrou on the Audit Committee. Paul Mangan will replace Duncan on the Audit Committee.
A presentation from Dionne Brown, TSSA Finance Manager, indicated that TSSA cashflow will get a little tight around mid-April.
The EC considered a report on property that had been drafted by the former Interim General Secretary but felt it was personal opinion rather than useful in any factual respect. It was reported that London rental income was reported to have recovered slightly as some workers return to the office which would have positive impact on TSSA Finances.
Membership has dropped a little since the previous period, but not dramatically. It will be interesting to see how the settlement of the dispute impacts membership. Anecdotally, the EC is aware of some people leaving but others joining due to their impression of the settlement. Recruitment week in April will proceed.
The EC discussed whether the conference in Cork should go ahead. It was agreed it would because (a) annual conference in Ireland was previously cancelled during COVID, and (b) the only realistic at this stage would be online, which was not considered a favourable way of conducting the annual conference in terms of accessibility and inclusion.
The 2022 was not officially closed. The SOC will be consulted over the best way to do this.
Conference 2022 actions report was discussed and agreed. Standing Orders Committee Report was also discussed and agreed. Elections – Nominations are now open for TSSA President, Treasurer and the following EC seats: Ireland, London Transport, London South, North East. Correspondence has been sent to branches regarding this. General Secretary Elections are currently postponed, and the Certification Officer has been made aware and is content with current position.
Branches have called for a Special Delegates’ Conference to discuss the proposed merger with the GMB, the EC agreed that this will go ahead (date yet to be agreed). Members are reminded that SOGs and Divisional Councils cannot call for an SDC.
The EC agreed to set up a fortnightly Q&A session about the proposed GMB merger and publish a Q&A section on the website on this topic.
Earlier in the year, TSSA were approached by the RMT for discussions. These letters were not shared with the EC to be discussed initially. This has now been rectified. The EC felt it would be inappropriate to have such discussions while merger discussions were happening with another union. Marios Alexandrou and Nicola Jukes did however, met Mick Lynch and John Leach from the RMT and had an amicable discussion.
Staffing matters will be a standing item on the EC Agenda from now on.
Data on sickness absence were received by the EC. Information about long-term absence and some other matters has been requested subsequent to the EC meeting to understand how we can better support staff. Secondments were offered to Staff for Organising Director Roles.
RDG members decision to accept pay deal There was considerable discussion of the settlement. It is clear there are divided views on this despite the vote. Anecdotal reports indicate that some non-managerial members have left, but also that some disgruntled RMT members have joined TSSA. One question was whether the decision to accept or reject should have been made separately by each TOC, but the EC were told that the RDG would only negotiate on behalf of all TOCs. Paul Beadle indicated that TSSA rail staff would still not receive a pay increase until the RMT had settled.
Martin Hartley will join the organising group that negotiates with the Rail Delivery Group.
Stand up to Racism Ricky Jones came to speak to the EC about the Stand up to Racism Marches taking place across the country on 18th March to mark UN Anti-Racism Day. The EC filmed a video in support of the event and
Gemma Southgate, EC member for Wales & Western will be speaking at the Cardiff event.
Divisional Council’s finances
Agree to raise bank balance rates from 200 to 500GBP.
Slough CLP political expenditure
Agree to London Bus and Rail ops request for affiliation fee.
Crewe and Cheshire General CLP donation request
Request from branch to donate £267.07 to local CLP. The EC will contact the CLP for further information about the candidate and selection process, as we need to be confident that their views are consistent with those of TSSA around issues like public ownership of railways.
Blackly and Broughton and Bolton West CLP’s
Same request as Crewe and Cheshire branch. Same response to be sent.
Invoice for affiliation fee Campaign against Climate Change
EC agreed that £150 to be paid.
Campaign for Better Transport
£15k affiliation fee requested. Although TSSA have been affiliated for a long time this is a substantial amount in the current context. The EC will request someone comes to present to the next EC meeting to do presentation before we decide on continued affiliation.
£250 to Manchester May Day
£250 to ITF Turkey Syria appeal