TSSA Pension Scheme
On behalf of the trustees of the TSSA Pension Scheme, Iain Anderson presented the valuation report. This concludes that the scheme has continued to perform well and no wholesale changes are needed, though the trustees have concluded there is some scope to de-risk the strategy and proposed to act accordingly. The report was approved by the EC.
Recruitment of TSSA organisers
Adverts have gone out for organisers now, in preparation for the anticipated conclusion of the merger with the Boilermakers. The EC recognises the desirability of improving the level of diversity among its organisers, as indicated in a communication from the E-mix group. Hazel Conley’s report on equalities within TSSA is expected before the end of August, so the EC will consult this before considering possible changes to the recruitment process.
Update on Industrial Action
The General Secretary told the EC that he had appeared on LBC Radio on the morning of 26th July to discuss the industrial action. He would also be on the picket line at Euston the following day. TSSA had just given notice to seven train operators of action on 18/20 August and for action short of strike in another 4. At Southeastern, notice had been given of continuous action short of strike.
There was some discussion of ticket office closures. EC member Gemma Southgate (Transport for Wales) noted that planned ticket office closures only affect England. TfW is specifically trying to protect ticket offices.
- TSSA has been spending less than budgeted mainly due to the number of staff vacancies that we are carrying. We have budgeted for a deficit and sadly we are on course to register one by the end of the financial year. Our income isn’t matching expenditure, and we are about to take the predicted hit on rental income (as a result of the rental “holiday” requested by tenants at Walkden House). In addition had we had a full staff complement, the end of year deficit would be at least £500k higher.
- The management accounts are now much more closely aligned to the year-end accounts.
- Regarding the forthcoming merger, the arrangement is that anyone who doesn’t want to be part of the new merged organisation will be allowed to leave under severance and the rest of our staff will effectively be treated as a TUPE transfer.
- Regarding the disagreement with HS2 over the value of TSSA’s previous HQ (compulsorily purchased), TSSA has a rearranged meeting with HS2 in the week beginning 1st August and we are expecting some progress.
Merger with the Boilermakers
The TSSA Annual Conference agreed that several protections needed to be clearly agreed as part of the merger deal. However, because the Boilermakers conference happens every 5 years they can’t change their rules until 2026. Therefore, TSSA and the Boilermakers are working on a legally binding legal document which enshrines the protections agreed by our Conference into the merger agreement. Discussions on this matter continue with the involvement of solicitors and barristers on both side of the Atlantic. Thankfully, the Certification Officer isn’t overly concerned about this matters but wants to be kept informed as progress is made.
Appointment of an acting National Secretary / Election of a new National Secretary
The timescale for the merger with the Boilermakers is not ideally aligned with the current GS’s term of office. The EC had previously agreed that it would be undesirable to expend resources – which are currently very limited – to organise an election for a GS who at best would only be able to remain in post for a few months. Following correspondence with the Certification Officer, the following process has been agreed. TSSA will advertise for a temporary Acting National Secretary, to be recruited from its current staff, with the proviso that this person will not stand for the position once that election takes place. The election of a new National Secretary will happen once the transition to the new organisation has been completed and no later than within one year of completion of the merger.
Artificial Intelligence and Algorithmic Management Systems (AMS)
The use of AI & AMS in employment situations is increasing. The 2019 TSSA Annual Conference passed relevant motions on new technology, and the TUC has a working group on AI and AMS which has produced some publications. Mick Carney, Gemma Southgate and David Hardman agreed to form a working party for TSSA to develop a staff representative guide for distribution to activists.
Various items of correspondence were considered, not all of which need be considered here – but responses will be sent where necessary. The EC noted that motions for TUC LESE had been received too late to be acted upon.
- The EC agreed a request from Steve Whitehead to give a presentation at the October meeting in relation to the National Pensioners Convention.
- EC member Paul Beadle agreed to step in to fill a vacancy on the management committee of the People’s Printing Press Society.
- The EC agreed to ask the TSSA Communications Team to promote a new set of posters received from the Railway Benevolent Fund.
- Young Members delegation to Palestine – we will send a gender-balanced 2-person delegation