COVID-19, TSSA and the transport industry The Executive Committee was updated on Covid-19 as it continues to grip Britain.
It was clear that the Government will not continue to fund the operation of Britain’s railways at the current rate in the short to medium-term - an average of £800m per month last year rising to £1bn a month during lockdown - and that the next twelve months were likely to be tumultuous for both the rail industry as a whole and the people who work in it.
The Executive Committee agreed in principle to authorise the General Secretary to engage in discussions with employers, DfT and Ministers on the future of our rail industry in a post-Covid world and to seek a structured approach to future engagement on this issue. The Executive Committee was assured that our General Secretary would give the protection of jobs and measures to increase ridership the highest priority in any discussions.
The EC also agreed to endorse the 2021 Operations Plan, which was prepared whilst recognising the challenges facing the railway industry. The Plan includes making Organisers accountable for the recruitment of members alongside reps and activists, requiring all branches to appoint an Organising Secretary by mid-2021, implementing a strategic approach to filling rep vacancies, continuing our work in equalities and continuing our ‘Future of Rail’ and ‘Going Beyond’ projects.
The Executive Committee agreed to accept the 2019 draft accounts, however, there remained one unresolved matter regarding the tax treatment of a historic transaction, which took place in 2010. The Audit Report had not yet been finalised, so the EC agreed to send out the accounts separately to branches, as was suggested at Annual Conference in 2019.
The balance of the unions investment portfolio continued to recover from the shock which affected world markets in April with the spread of the Coronavirus. As at the end of December 2020, the balance was approximately £250,000 short of its pre-Covid value, a total recovery of over £1m.
A ‘focus group’ type event which took place just before Christmas was very successful and yielded some good feedback from reps and activists on both what a new website should offer to members and non-members alike, as well as giving people the opportunity to appraise the current website and its shortcomings. This feedback and the discussions which took place were distilled into a detailed report, which was noted by the Executive.
It was hoped that the new website would be online by the end of March.
The EC agreed to respond to correspondence from London Metropolitan branch regarding the issue of a number of unfilled rep positions.
Following a request for a donation from Keiran O’Neill, who is a candidate for the Glasgow Maryhill and Sringburn Scottish Parliament constituency, the EC agreed to make a donation of £250 to assist in his campaign.
The EC also agreed to make a donation to Paul Beadle, EC member for London North West, who is standing as a candidate for County Councillor in Leicestershire.
The Executive Committee noted correspondence from the ‘Zero Covid Coalition’, founded by Diane Abbott MP and Ben Chacko, editor of the Morning Star newspaper.
The Executive Committee had received a large amount of correspondence on the 2021 TSSA diary, which included some members not receiving theirs until the new year and feedback on the quality of the diary. After some discussion, the EC agreed to set up a working party to discuss and come up with a series of proposals for future diaries.
Any other business
The Executive Committee noted reports submitted by Steve Whitehead on the National Pensioners’ Convention Finance Working Party.
The EC also noted reports submitted by the North West Divisional Council, as well a report from the Disability Working Group and the minutes from Crewe and Cheshire General branch meetings.
The Executive also agreed to amended Standing Orders submitted by London Bus and Rail Operators branch, Kent branch, Crewe and Cheshire General branch, LU MATS & Operating Managers branch, Midland Retired branch and London and Southern Retired branch.
The EC agreed to make a donation to Love Music, Hate Racism of £50.