EC report June 2022

Delegates at TSSA conference holding up signs that read "We demand better!"

This is a summary of the TSSA EC meeting which was held on 7 June 2022.

Key points: Despite recent recruiting successes, overall membership is still falling. The recruitment freeze makes it difficult for the TSSA to operate as effectively as would be wished (with many staff overworked), and the Association’s financial outflow currently exceeds the inflow. The EC agreed to the sale of £1 million worth of shares to ease the situation in the short term. The EC sees it as critical that the merger with the Boilermaker’s proceeds as soon as possible.

Campaigning ahead of the potential industrial action ballot has led to a substantial number of new members in Network Rail. Despite this, however, TSSA is losing members overall. Total membership in Period 5 was 16,930, down from 17,530 in Period 4.

Given the lifting of all restrictions, and the lack of any news to report on this topic, the EC agreed to drop this as a standing item.

No accounts were available for this meeting. In response to concern expressed about this, the EC heard that this was a staff resourcing issue. Due to staff absence the audited accounts had been prioritised over the monthly accounts. It is anticipated that accounts will be available for the next meeting. It is also anticipated that next year’s audited accounts will be published in good time.

Payment of branch returns
Some EC members had experienced problems with the membership system failing to update when their branches did returns. The AGS said he would investigate.

TSSA/Boilermakers merger
The Executive Committee approved the latest report on the merger.

It was noted that legal advice alerted us to the possibility of one deviation from the conference motion: namely, this would be that rules for the District may need to be decided by the TSSA District, not TSSA as currently constituted. Our General Secretary had alluded to this during the debate at Conference. An emergency EC meeting will be called if this is confirmed by the Certification Officer.

EC will approve the rule book and then go to Conference for their approval.

Recruitment of staff
TSSA has agreed with the GMB to begin recruitment immediately after the merger. The current agreement is not to recruit if membership goes below 17,750 members, which it has.

Equality policy and practice in the TSSA
An update report was received about the research being conducted by Professor Hazel Conley and Dr Stefano Gasparri of the University of the West of England. They have analysed TSSA documentation in relation to Equalities policy, have conducted 11 interviews with individuals and members of several groups, have further interviews scheduled and are “still awaiting volunteers from two SOGS (LGBTQ+ and Future TSSA) and more volunteers from EC members, organising directors and paid organisers”.

It is anticipated that the report will be delivered by 31 August, in time for the September EC meeting.

The last scheduled meeting did not happen because of annual leave commitments.

Investments committee
The key point from the Investments Committee is that the TSSA’s outflow is exceeding the inflow, such that we are £72,000 in the red which is having a serious impact on our ability to manage our cash flow effectively.

The EC approved the sale of £1 million worth of shares (net).

A pension discussion was deferred until next month.

LU elections
These are overdue and will now begin in June with a call for nominations.

Reports were received about the following groups or topics, with suitable responses arranged in several instances: the TUC, the STUC, TSSA Anglia South, LU MATS, NL Branch, BTP Reps, Equality Bargaining Standards Award, GFTU Young Members, Casa Memoria la Sauceda visit, LME TU Network, Durham Miners, Cuba Solidarity.

In particular:

  • A request for a donation from Newham Resists (via Anglia South) was declined, on the ground that the group had campaigned against Labour in the local elections.
  • The EC agreed with the proposal from BTP reps to be granted their own branch within TSSA, while noting the national nature of the branch might pose some logistical challenges.
  • The first company ever was awarded a bronze standard in TSSA Equality Bargaining Agenda, more information to follow in an official announcement.
  • EC members were invited to make the Casa Memoria la Sauceda visit in September.
  • A donation of £150 to the Durham Miners was agreed by the EC.

Furthermore, the EC heard that TSSA was now receiving so many requests for support from political candidates that it was no longer feasible for the GS to review these (Selections, Triggers and Internal Elections). Nicola Jukes, Martin Hartley volunteered to review such requests together with the President assisted by our representative on Labour's NEC and the TSSA Head of Communications.

Following an address by Paul Novak, the EC agreed to support his nomination as General Secretary of the TUC (Francis O’Grady steps down later this year).

Agreed to send £150 to Friends of Durham Miners.

Letter of solidarity to Cuba – to note but also invite a young member to address a future EC meeting.

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