I know Christmas will be welcomed by so many of you. It's a time for peace and reflection and for spending time, if possible, with our loved ones. This festive season there's no denying it's been a difficult year. We've had more lockdowns, and the announcement of big cuts to our industries and of course we have already seen big job losses in our travel trade and recruitment freezes across almost everywhere we organise.
This has sadly meant that our membership has started to decline and this trend will continue next year as people start leaving our rail industry through voluntary severance as the Tory Government seeks cuts of £2bn per year.
And of course the situation within Transport for London remains completely uncertain as the Tories have failed to provide the long-term funding deal public transport in London is crying out for and as a result, 600 station job losses on our Tube have recently been announced.
As you are probably aware, our union is in merger talks with the Boilermakers to ensure that we remain fighting fit to protect your interests in the tough times which lie ahead.
You will have the final say on any merger through a ballot but if the merger does go ahead, your interests will be protected well into the future. You can read more about this here.
But we should not forget that it has also been a year of wins and successes for our TSSA family.
We started the year with a four-year above-inflation pay deal in London Underground, protecting our members’ pay until 2023, and showing the power of our union.
We’ve successfully defended our Thomas Cook members’ rights to redundancy and won over £20,000 in payments for five of our members.
At the Labour Party Conference in September, we helped secure an overwhelming majority for a Socialist Green New Deal which puts the decarbonisation of transport, trade union rights and a just transition at the heart of Labour’s approach to the climate crisis.
Our reps’ hard work in Great Western Railway paid off as membership in the Rosters and Recourses department rose to over 50 per cent this month, allowing us to formally request the company to recognise us for important bargaining rights like pay, health and safety and terms and conditions.
We will have tough battles in 2022, none less so, than the fight to save your jobs and protect your standard of living as inflation continues to rise. But we know that no matter what happens we are stronger when we stand together and you will no doubt need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our members in your workplace and beyond to fight the attacks that are coming our way.
I wish you and your loved ones a peaceful, happy, and safe Christmas break, and a hopeful and healthy New Year.