Rail union TSSA has welcomed Labour Conference giving its strong backing to a motion calling for the party to support fair pay in the ongoing national rail dispute.
The motion also opposes the proposed mass closure of ticket offices and ‘supports all Labour MPs attending picket lines until an outcome is reached’.
The joint motion from TSSA and sister union Aslef won the overwhelming backing of delegates in Liverpool after TSSA Executive Committee member, Nicola Jukes called on the annual gathering to ‘stand shoulder to shoulder with rail workers’, while recalling her personal experience of the Hatfield rail disaster'.
TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, responded by saying - “Our Labour Party has sent a crystal clear message to this inept Tory government in backing our motion.
“There will never be any compromise on rail safety and the Tories’ cuts to the railways are a direct threat. I'm delighted to have a firm commitment from Conference that our party understands the fight our rail unions are in for the future of our railways.
“We utterly reject the planned closures of ticket offices while demanding a fair deal on pay, job security and conditions for our magnificent members.
"I look forward to seeing our Labour MPs standing with us on the picket line as one united Movement offering a vital alternative to Tory polices which have no place in 21st century Britain.”
*The full text of the motion is as follows -
Composite 3 – INVESTING IN INFRASTRUCTURE (1)
Conference notes that successive Tory governments have made promises about levelling up in the UK. Sadly, they’ve failed to honour these promises of investment that would help achieve a fairer, more prosperous Britain. One of the most obvious betrayals has been the scrapping of key infrastructure projects.
Conference notes the current rail dispute which has seen rail workers take industrial action at levels not seen in a generation in the face of threatened job losses, ticket office closures and falling pay.
Parts of our country have suffered from decades of under investment in industries broken by privatisation and fragmentation. Rail is a prime example of this. Profit has consistently been prioritised and short-termism has led to an industry at risk of managed decline. This has led to the cancellation of the eastern leg of HS2 and huge parts of Northern Powerhouse Rail to name just two.
Modern infrastructure combined with a valued and skilled workforce in our key industries will help foster economic growth and an efficient economy. They’re also vital in bridging the gaps in prosperity and opportunity between various parts of the country.
The Labour Party must pursue policies which accept borrowing to invest in essential industries, including both infrastructure and the workforce, is the sensible and economically prudent way forward, especially considering the need to cut carbon emissions.
Many rail workers are going into a third or fourth year of a pay freeze, despite being hailed as vital key workers in the coronavirus pandemic and for stepping up to deliver exceptional services after Queen Elizabeth’s death.
Conference notes that a good way of showing solidarity with workers taking strike action is to visit them on picket lines. Conference opposes proposed mass closure of ticket offices. Conference supports a negotiated settlement in the rail dispute and supports all Labour MPs attending picket lines until such an outcome is reached.
Conference reaffirms the Party’s commitment to a publicly owned railway and the delivery of infrastructure projects including the eastern leg of HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and a rolling programme of electrification. Conference also stands in solidarity with workers taking industrial action over the cost of living
crisis, believes in fully staffed services that support communities and opposes cuts to staffing in essential industries.
Conference believes that investment in our rail network – in both infrastructure and people – is vital to meet our climate commitments, boost the economy, improve air quality and improve accessibility and connectivity. Conference believes that rail services should be run in the public interest under public ownership.