n Better Rail gets creative n Transport fit for London n Ireland: Jobs not debt
Fighting the Axemen
in this issue
Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association General Secretary: Manuel Cortes
Joining TSSA T: 020 7529 8009 F: 020 7383 0656 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Your membership details T: 020 7529 8018 E: email@example.com Helpdesk (workplace rights advice for members) T: 0800 3282673 (UK) 1800 805 272 (Rep of Ireland) Website www.tssa.org.uk (UK) www.tssa.ie (Ireland) @TSSAunion facebook.com/TSSAunion TSSA Journal Editor: Ben Soffa E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 020 7529 8055 M: 07809 583020 General queries (London ofﬁce) T: 020 7387 2101 F: 020 7383 0656 E: email@example.com Irish ofﬁce from Northern Ireland T: +3531 8743467 F: +3531 8745662 from the Republic T: 01 8743467 F: 01 8745622 E: firstname.lastname@example.org TSSA Journal is published by TSSA, Walkden House 10 Melton Street London NW1 2EJ Design and production: Wild Strawberry Communications www.wildstrawberry.uk.com
Views published in the Journal are not necessarily those of TSSA. Acceptance of adverts for products or services does not imply TSSA endorsement. TSSA Journal is printed by TU Ink on Leipa Ultra Silk comprised of 100% post-consumer waste. The polythene wrapper is oxo-degradable. Vol 109/issue 1227
Irish workers struggling under the weight of bank debt. Coverage of the mass protests on page 7, whilst similar ‘street theatre’ campaigning is discussed on 12-13.
18-19 Christian Wolmar sets out his vision for moving transport in London towards a brighter future.
editorial March sees the fiftieth anniversary of the Beeching Report, whilst we’re now 20 years on from the start of the Tory’s programme of rail privatisation. Both were disasters for transport workers and the public alike, and both have had to be at least partially reversed.
4–10 News and campaigns u Privatisation: 20 years on u Fare rise protests
u Big win at Amey Consulting u Ireland: Jobs Not Debt
u Members receive Honours
u Winning for TSSA in Labour
13 General secretary: ATOC still not listening 12–13 Better Rail campaign gets creative 14 Fighting prejudice against travellers 15 Glenis Willmott MEP: The EU and public ownership
16–17 Wolmar: Moving London forward 18–20 Salveson: Beeching 50 years on 21 Building our branch 22–23 Advice: Morrish solicitors and Helpdesk 21 Letters
CC BY NC delete08
In this issue Paul Salveson looks at the Beeching Report, the campaign against it and examples of the lines reprieved or re-opened since the ‘Beeching Axe’ struck (pages 18-20). General Secretary Manuel Cortes reports on ATOC’s first ever meeting with the rail unions (page 11) and how the Government look set to put off major franchising until after the 2015 election. With franchise extensions expected to be offered as ‘management contracts’, the pretence of private sector investment by TOCs falls away, just as the collapse of Railtrack back in 2002 started the flow back from the fully private model John Major and co had envisaged. No one underestimates how much effort will be required to fully reverse the failed experiment of privatisation, but we’re working hard to upgrade our direct access to the levers of power through the Labour Party (page 10). With Labour odds-on to form the next government, TSSA is looking to train up and support people to organise around our goals within the party or to become local or Parliamentary candidates. Even if you’re not yet a Labour member but want to find out more, do have a read and get in touch. As ever, your letters, thoughts and ideas for future articles are always welcome. This is your magazine, so do get in touch if you’re involved in something that should be shared with other TSSA members. I hope you enjoy this issue. Ben Soffa, editor
news ply” old off chea s g in e b s t e ass question of o n is e r e h T “ 1995
er 28 Novemb
“Fares will be lower, following privatisation”
20 March 1997
“Governme nt to be broad funding after privatis ation is exp 19 Decemb ly similar” ected er 1 995
20 years on: the scam of privatisation THIS JANUARY MARKED the 20th anniversary of the introduction of legislation allowing for the break up and sell-off of British Rail. The measures, which finally made it through Parliament in November 1993 can now be clearly seen as one of the most scandalous and wasteful acts of vandalism against public services carried out by the last Conservative government. Each of the above claims by the Prime Minister of the day, John Major, proved to be false. Assets were chronically undervalued in the rush to sell them off as fast as possible. The Porterbrook rolling stock operator was privatised for £527m yet just six months later was sold on for £825m – a tidy £300m profit for half a year’s ‘risk’ of guaranteed profits. Whilst the sell-off was a disaster all round, the process gave huge windfalls to shareholders and didn’t even maximise the short-term gain for taxpayers – Railtrack was privatised for £1.9bn but just
three years later had a market value of £7.8bn. Far from remaining ‘broadly similar’ as Major claimed, taxpayer subsidy has gone up fourfold, up from £930 million to £3.8 billion per year, whilst fares have more than doubled, up over 102 per cent since 1995. TSSA planned to run a somewhat cheeky press advert on the anniversary, noting ‘It wasn’t just Edwina who John Major screwed – he also screwed our railways and millions of passengers’. After this was banned by the advertising regulator, the ensuing coverage raised the disaster of privatisation without the Association actually needing to run the advert! The Association will be using the anniversaries of the later stages of the legislation to further raise just how badly the experiment of privatisation has failed. You can help spread the message of the campaign by highlighting the facts above in a letter to your local paper.7
Thee Grreat e Railway Disaster eat
Edwina: “I suppose this is the end of the line, John.” It wasn’t just Edwina who John Major fooled around with... He also fouled up our trains and millions of passengers. Twenty years rs ago the To ories voted to sell off our railways to private firms:
w Fares have more than doubled, up 102.5% since 1995*
axpayer subsidy has gone up fourfold, up from £930million to £3.8billion** w Ta w We now have the most inefficient rail network in Europe and the most expensive fares** w We also have the only privately-run railway in Europe. Germany manyy,, Italyy,, Spain and France all have
publicly-run railways. largely
Let’s have Let’ hav a public railway that puts passengers ahead of private prrrofit ofit
Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association www.tssa.org.uk Sources: *House of Commons Library; **The McNulty Report, May 2011
FareFail message is louder than ever IN JANUARY, RAIL fares rose by an average of 4.2 per cent – in many cases a lot more. It is the tenth consecutive year that fares have risen above inflation, and with wages stagnant, many travellers can no longer cope. Commuters right across the UK have lost out, but for those in the South East, where daily rail travel is the most common, the story is the bleakest. In 2003, an annual season ticket from Sevenoaks, in Kent, to London cost £1,660. Today, it costs £3,112 – a rise of 87 per cent. Even when you take into account inflation, this is a huge – and unacceptable – increase. The impact is now becoming really noticeable. Rising fares have put a severe squeeze on family budgets, already faltering in the tough economic climate created by George Osborne’s austerity dogma. Add it to the mix of wage stagnation, child benefit
cuts and soaring utility bills and it is understandable why public anger towards the government’s rail fares policy is building. Many who use trains have no other option but to do so – in this context, they regard the year-on-year fare hikes as a tax on going to work. This has meant the spiralling cost of rail travel has become a political hot potato. In February, Ed Miliband announced his intention to ‘stop the train company price rip-offs on the most popular routes’. For its part, the Government has sought to downplay the impact of fares.
Transport Minister Norman Baker said in January that the current system was ‘not ideal’ but that fares are ‘not as expensive as presented’. The need for even-greater public pressure on politicians to commit to a strategy for lower fares has been behind the re-launch of the ‘FareFail’ campaign, which TSSA has participated in from the start. Railway employees never see the benefit of ever-rising fares, and by involving ourselves in a broad coalition with rail users, we can play our part in a powerful alliance, including people interested in looking beyond fares, and
Ed Miliband: Labour will ‘stop the train company price rip-offs on the most popular routes’.
willing to argue for the retention of staff and services. That’s what lay behind the ‘FareFail’ days of action on 2 January and more recently on 14 February, when our Valentine’s day event – ‘Love Trains, Hate High Fares!’ – saw actions at over 40 stations nationwide. It’s all part of our effort to keep the pressure up, build relationships with rail passengers and remind politicians that together, we cannot be ignored. Thanks to the involvement of TSSA members, the movement against runaway train fares is gaining ground and winning new allies – in 2013, let’s make it a key issue in the debate around public transport, the environment and the economy. 7
CC BY NC Joanna Kiyoné
To find out more visit www.togetherfortransport.org or contact TSSA Community Organiser George Woods email@example.com.
news TSSA rep Colin Savage tells the story of a great win at Amey Consulting, where through a concerted organising campaign, hundreds of extra employees now have the benefits of collective bargaining.
Winning at Amey – agreement signed at last IN THE AFTERMATH of a dispute over pay and the weakening of collective bargaining in 2011, workers at Amey had already been seeing people doing the same work and the same hours receiving very different pay rises as a result of an earlier TUPE transfer. People realised they had no real say in their futures, they needed a collective voice and collective bargaining with the employer. Those already covered by a earlier collective agreement realised their group was diminishing, with the growth in numbers of those outside the arrangement weakening it further. Instead of fighting each other, the groups joined under one banner – TSSA. TSSA reps began a campaign for fairness, a voice and collective bargaining. Many on both sides doubted we could achieve the levels of recruitment to legally require recognition. Yet they overlooked one thing: We had forged one, strong, committed team who valued fair play and fair pay for all and were willing
Reps Jim Mckinney, Colin Savage, Tarnia Wilson behind senior regional organiser Alan Valentine, signing the agreement with Sean Roberts, business director for Amey Consulting Rail.
to fight for it. Working together, reps began a successful three month recruitment campaign. The target, of 40 per cent +1 was daunting, but we had faith in ourselves, our group and our message. In three months over 110 members were recruited, which was no small feat. We exceeded the target and have continued to build on it since. Are we ‘done’? Nope, this is a marathon not a sprint, but with each step forward there
are more runners in our team and less spectators watching from the sidelines. Our team travelled hundreds of miles to attend meetings with staff to talk about joining TSSA to build that voice – to show they were not alone, there was a better way. Jim Mckinney, Tarnia Wilson, Patricia Massop, Dave Merrett, Dave Marshall and Paul Messenger, ably assisted by TSSA staff Alan Valentine, Luke Chester
and Ray Barber. Many more provided useful contacts, spoke to their colleagues and encouraged them to join. Our thanks go to all of them. For the staff within Amey Inter Urban (Operations) Rail, TSSA was successful and added several hundred staff previously on personal contracts into collective bargaining. Thanks to members’ efforts there are now more than 500 extra staff in Amey covered by collective bargaining than in 2010. To the few still denied collective bargaining, we will work hard on your behalf to correct this. If you are in this group let us know. 7
i Do you believe in fair play and fair pay? Do you want a voice in your future, a voice that is listened to and given the respect it deserves? Contact our organising team on firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to one of the reps on email@example.com. Are you a new member that has unanswered questions? Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Railway Employees Privilege Ticket Association Available to all in the transport industries, TSSA members, family and retired staff. REPTA offers many free, discounted and special rates, listed in our 80 page Yearbook, sent with your membership card. New for 2013: membership discounts at National Railway Museum, free Limited Personal Accident cover for travel on public transport. Discount cinema tickets continue for 2013. You can book rail travel with Raileasy via our website.
£4.50 per year. Additional cards for family members £3. Send cheques/POs to REPTA, 4 Brackmills Close, Mansfield NG19 0PB. Tel: 01623 646789. Include name, address, email and date of birth for each + code ‘TSSA’ or join at www.repta.co.uk.
Over 60,000 people joined the protest in Dublin
110,000 march against austerity in Ireland shrunk by over 25 per cent in the last three years. Irish Congress of Trade Unions general secretary David Begg told protestors in Dublin that the recent deal with the ECB had not solved the problem: ‘1.8 million people [in work] cannot possibly pay off a bank debt burden of €64 billion – especially a debt they played no part in running up. There is nothing fair about this deal. We saved the European banking system in 2008, an act of extraordinary solidarity with Europe – now we want some solidarity in return’. TSSA’s senior Irish organiser Patrick McCusker adds, ‘Irish people have taken on an incredible 40 per cent of the total cost of the bank crisis across the EU. Each Irish citizen has already paid €9000 compared with an EU average of €190 per person. The disparity between the pain
inflicted on the Irish people, with less than 1 per cent of the total population of the EU, (and just 1.2 per cent of its GDP) and the contribution from many other, richer, states is unacceptable.’ ‘Bank debt and austerity have prevented any hope of economic recovery. We cannot just stand by and let our children and grandchildren face a future of unemployment, emigration and poor public services all to pay the debts incurred by gambling banks who’ve paid nothing for their
greed, dishonesty and incompetence.’ Marchers sent a strong message to the troika, other EU governments and working people across Europe that only a comprehensive write down of Ireland’s debt burden can save the economy from decades of recession. The €64 billion debt will hang round the necks of generations of Irish people for decades to come unless the burden is lifted. This is a struggle we cannot afford to give up on.7
Manuel Cortes joined the TSSA members marching in Cork Bob Teahan
ON SATURDAY 9 FEBRUARY an estimated 110,000 people joined the ‘Lift the Burden – Jobs not Debt’ marches called by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Demonstrations took place across the country to call for urgent action to tackle the growing unemployment crisis and the €64 billion debt burden which is crippling the country. Over 60,000 took part in the Dublin protest, while at least 15,000 turned out in Cork, 13,000 in Waterford, 10,000 in Limerick, 7,000 in Sligo and 5,000 in Galway. TSSA, other unions, community organisations and a wide range of civic society groups who have been hit hard by the current and former government’s austerity policies joined the protests. As the trade unions warned, these polices have devastated the economy and society. The Irish domestic economy has
Tory corporate funding exposed A NEW WEBSITE reveals the millions of pounds paid to Tory MPs and their local parties by corporate interests. SearchTheMoney.com lists the publicly-declared outside earnings and donations of each Conservative and reveals just how many are doing private work on the side or are assisted with ‘research’ by large companies. The site – supported by TSSA – reveals a number of rail companies, including First Great Western, Grand Central and DB Schenker / EWS all donating up to £55,000 to MPs or the Conservative Party directly. 7
Why not search the site for your nearest Tory MP and share what you find in a letter to the local press? www.searchthemoney.com.
New campaign for justice at work THE RIGHT TO organise in a union and take strike action are internationally recognised human rights, but legislation brought in between 1979 and 1995 means workers in Britain have fewer rights than 100 years ago. Lawful ballots with huge majorities are often frustrated in the courts, whilst
notification periods before action can be taken reduce our ability to respond flexibly. A new campaign to call for the positive protection of our right to organise and defend our interests at work is soon to be launched, with support from TSSA and dozens of other
unions. The campaign calls for laws that will allow unions to better protect their members, prevent undemocratic legal maneuvers by employers and restore and extend collective bargaining. After decades going backwards, and the gap between rich and poor widening, it’s time to make a change. We need to build the strongest demand possible for modern unions laws that allow unions to operate democratically and freely. 7
i You can join the launch rally on Saturday 23 March from 1.30pm to 4.30pm at Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London or find out more at www.tradeunionfreedom.co.uk.
Members receive New Years Honours ONE OF TSSA’S longest-standing members, Doug Reynolds, was made an MBE for services to the community. Doug joined TSSA’s forerunner, the Railway Clerks’ Association after leaving the RAF in 1946. He held positions at branch and company level and was chair of the London South East Divisional Council. Doug served as a councillor for 30 years and was the first Labour Mayor of Kingston, in 1974. After retirement Doug threw himself into voluntary work and even at the age of 92 is still chair of the Kingston Pensioners’ Forum and president of the local RAFA and the Probus Club. Doug told the Journal, ‘It’s just very nice to be recognised for the work you’ve done in the community’.
Member and transport campaigner Jon Honeysett was also awarded an MBE ‘for services to rail in Kidsgrove’, receiving a personal letter from the Department for Transport’s Permanent Secretary congratulating him on his award. Jon has spent years campaigning for local services as well as raising rail electrification, disability access and ensuring the railway is as green as possible. Jon said, ‘It was with great surprise, and delight, that I discovered I had been awarded the MBE. Although a retired TSSA member for many years, I was warmly greeted by our Association members when my wife Sarah and I joined the TUC march in October’. 7
Jon Honeysett MBE
THE ARTICLE ON Equal Pay in the January edition of the Journal correctly noted that an equal pay claim must be brought within six months from termination of employment. It is important for members and reps to appreciate that there are other triggers which may mean that the six month time limit starts to run. Members who are TUPE transferred need to make a claim within six months of the date of the transfer (because the transfer for equal pay purposes means ‘termination’ of the old employment). Likewise, where there are any significant contractual changes (such as promotion), an equal pay claim must be lodged within six months of the date of such changes. Members who think they may have a claim should contact their local rep without delay, or email email@example.com. 7
Correction: Due to a production error, a previous version of the TSSA membership form was included in the last issue of the Journal. Please accept our apologies for any confusion caused.
A politic al voic e Sam Tarry, TSSA’s newly-appointed political officer introduces our work to increase members’ political power in the run up to the next election.
Keeping the heat on! Building our political voice WE ARE NOW just over two years out from what could be one of the most pivotal elections in decades. With austerity policies driving down living standards and the industries TSSA members work in facing huge challenges, we need to build our collective power to lead change and influence decision-makers in our communities and to shape the debate at a national level. Before becoming TSSA’s first ever political officer, I’ve been running campaigns in the community organising team, from ‘Sack Boris’ to building coalitions on fares
and against staffing cuts. Outside of work, I’m a Labour councillor in Barking and Dagenham, so used to the challenges of engaging and representing people locally. TSSA recognises that as a smaller union, our numbers alone don’t guarantee we’ll be heard. We need to punch above our weight to get the best deal for members and to win on the issues that matter to our union. Whether that be on public ownership of rail, our Better Rail strategy, or in the development of members seeking to become political representatives themselves, we need to get organised. We
need to build our power – and our ability to support those politicians fighting our corner, and of course opposing those that don’t. We need a stronger voice – and my work as political officer will be to help build this. We also want to work with TSSA members interested in becoming political representatives, offering training on how to become a local councillor, or even an MP, MSP or AM. We will be organising campaigning in support of TSSA-endorsed candidates at elections and running more training on community organising.
To build our political power as a union – you – as a member, are essential. Could you help with these campaigns, think about standing for election, or speak to people in your workplace or community? We’ll be there to support you every step of the way. Pioneering community organiser Saul Alinsky once said, ‘Action comes from keeping the heat on. No politician can sit on a hot issue if you make it hot enough.’ Let’s turn up the heat! 7
Interested in being involved? Contact Sam Tarry on firstname.lastname@example.org.
TSSA has a longstanding and positive relationship with the Labour Party – but we know that we need to build our power within it as well as better support those members already involved so we can win on our issues. We need more TSSA members equipped with the knowledge and confidence to get involved, and to think about standing for office, at a local, devolved, UK or European level. If you are a member of the Labour Party (or indeed another party) we would be very keen to hear from you. Whether you are active, hold a position, or are just interested in meeting other TSSA members who are also involved in the Labour Party, then please get in touch. We are looking to launch a new TSSA Labour Network later this year and we want as many members involved as possible.
general secretary Manuel Cortes
In the last week of January, almost 20 years to the day since the hapless John Major and his Transport Secretary John MacGregor published the 1993 Railways Act, the railway unions met with the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) for the very first time. ATOC wanted to discuss our recent pronouncements on fare increases and public subsidy. As you may be aware, the legislation which sold off our railways had a tortuous journey through Parliament before finally passing on 5 November 1993. Rail privatisation was then – and continues to be – very controversial. Unfortunately, those events of 20 years ago were just the opening salvo in what has clearly been an unmitigated disaster for passengers and taxpayers alike. John MacGregor, told the House of Commons in February 1993, ‘I see no reason why fares should increase faster under the new system. In many cases, they will be more flexible and will be reduced’. Yet, recently published data by the House of Commons Transport Select Committee shows that average rail fares have more than doubled – an increase of over 102 per cent since 1995. In addition, taxpayers have been helping foot the bill for the spiralling costs that fragmentation introduced into our industry as public subsidy has increased fourfold. In the year to April 2012, a staggering £3.88bn of support was required. Rail fares expert Barry Doe has recently unveiled figures which show that some walk-on fares have increased by more than three times the rate of inflation since 1995 – an eyewatering 208 per cent! Given all of this, you would have thought that the collective voice for train operators would have tried to strike a conciliatory tone when we met nothing could be further from the truth. ATOC seems to be like the alcoholic who can’t admit they have a problem. In what was largely a preprepared statement read to us by its Chair, they claimed that everything we said on fares or public subsidy was either untrue or misleading. How can this possibly be the case? Our information comes from either the Department for Transport, the House of Commons or from their very own
‘ATOC want us to shut up because our message is clearly catching the public mood.’
‘It took 18 years for ATOC to meet us – why would we stop the campaign that made it possible?’
ATOC: 18 years to meet us, yet nothing new to say
National Rail Enquiries website. Frankly, if franchise agreements were not shrouded in secrecy, we may have had greater access to better data. However, transparency is not ATOC’s forte. Their members repeatedly refuse to release details of franchise agreements under so called ‘commercial confidentiality’ – complete nonsense when taxpayers’ money is at stake! There was at least one positive outcome of this rather fruitless exchange. The reason why ATOC wants us to shut up is because our message is clearly catching the public mood. As I said to its Chair, it has taken 18 years and many requests for you to agree to meet with the unions – why on earth would we stop the campaign that has made it possible? Of course, we won’t! Instead, we will turn the volume up even louder. We launched Together for Transport on the basis of seeking to empower public transport users, with Better Rail and Action for Rail providing a clear voice from rail workers in this debate. It is clear that this strategy is already starting to pay handsome dividends. It is the growing public discontent which made ATOC, all of a sudden, wish to speak to the rail unions. Let’s face it, we have a broken franchise system and passengers have had more than enough of rip-off fares. The Government’s recent decision to offer short-term contract extensions to train operators appears all too convenient. It means many franchise decisions may well be pushed back beyond the general election. In other words, Ministers have put the future structure of our railways in the ‘too difficult’ box. As you well know, public ownership is the only sane way out of this expensive madness. Growing passenger anger provides our biggest potential ally in making this a reality. Our aim is to help build a rail users’ movement with enough power to have an impact on the outcome of the next general election. We want to galvanise passengers’ anger into a powerful force, that if need be, can compel what will hopefully be an incoming Labour administration into running our railways in the interests of passengers and not for the benefit of shareholders!7
Talented TSSA gets creative
As part of the Better Rail campaign, the ‘Year of Horror 2013’ got off to a strong start, with TSSA members and allies taking action against fare increases and threats to services. In 2010 TSSA helped bring together the #farefail coalition, whose actions since then have highlighted the inflation busting fares imposed by the government each year. Right from the start of the year, TSSA members have been joining with community activists and allies in carrying out leafleting sessions at stations across the UK.
Action at London St Pancras on January 2 marked the day fare increases were introduced. The action gained widespread coverage across TV and the press, with general secretary Manuel Cortes giving interviews underlining both fare increases and threats to staff.
February actions Valentines Day saw ‘Love trains, hate high fares!’ actions at over 40 stations, including below 'The Meeting Place' lovers’ statue at St Pancras and hand-painted placards at Oxford. ‘Farefail Fridays’ also began – weekly Friday actions with the Ghost Train in places where passengers have been hit by the ‘top 10’ fare increases.
The events marking the 150th anniversary of the London Underground saw a picket in defence of the funding of London Transport Museum, facing a 25 per cent budget cut. Watch the video, including clueless Mayor Boris Johnson declaring the Museum to be in ‘fine fettle’ whilst he oversees cuts that threaten many of its activities: www.tssa.org.uk/London TransportMuseum. Fares leafleting continued at stations throughout the UK, with the ‘Ghost Train’ visiting York. TSSA’s Film Group took the campaign into the community, with Reps interviewing passengers about what they thought of the fare increases.
March action – save the date! 27 March is the 50th anniversary of the Beeching Report. Check our website for soon to be confirmed details of the action day jointly called by TSSA and other rail unions.
Better Rail Street theatre
Film Group Our TSSA Film Group took the Ghost Train up to York to highlight horror fares and see how passengers in Yorkshire are feeling the pinch. You can see some interviews at www.tssa.org.uk/better-rail-films. Pete Worral, a TSSA rep at Network Rail, asked Katie for her opinion. She said, ‘I think it’s disgusting, because it’s starting to get to the point where people can’t afford to get to work and back, they’re just far too high!’ Another passenger told Manjit Gill ‘I don’t really see how they can justify putting train fares up when the service I receive isn’t better than it was when the trains were a lot cheaper. Actually, it would be a lot cheaper for me to drive, which is the thing I don’t really want to do, because I am green and I do try to do the best for my environment, but now I feel I’m kind of being bullied into the prospect of having to buy a car, because it would be so much cheaper for me.’ During 2012 our Film Group volunteers have put together a series of videos to highlight the negative impact of the government’s programme of change in the railways. These include a short film, interviews with passengers on fare increases and cuts to station staff and asking TSSA members and the public what they think will make a better railway. In 2013 they will be interviewing more TSSA members about their role on the railway, the skills they have and what they are doing to fight for a better railway. You can see the Film Group’s work at www.tssa.org.uk/ better-rail-films.
This summer we plan on bringing our ‘horror’ theme to life by introducing an element of street theatre as part of our actions, using the horror characters we introduced in the November Journal. There is a long history of using street theatre – performed in any busy place, often with just a few props – to make a political point. Brief sketches can get people thinking and debating in a way that addressing them with a megaphone never would. Are you interested in taking part in street theatre workshops? No previous experience is required. Sign up for street theatre workshops on www.tssa.org.uk/better-rail. We will have costumes for some of our Year of Horror characters, but we need your help to develop their ‘story’ and discover ways to communicate this to the public. That’s why we will hold workshops run by actors who will help you discover your hidden talents and have some fun!
Crazed Ticket Vending Machine Our CTVM will visit stations and amuse passengers with its crazy tickets and comic breakdowns! Passengers tell us consistently they want more staff, not more machines. Help our CTVM show its true colours this summer!
Freddie Cuts We first met Freddie Cuts at the 20 October demonstration. Now we need to make sure our politicians got the message that the proposed cuts to ticket offices and station staff are horrific! Help us tell Freddie Cuts’ story and why we need to fight the horror cuts!
Toxic Waste Monster Over £1 billion could be saved each year if the railways were returned to public ownership. How can we impress upon people they need to fight the toxic waste that’s being defended by the Tory-led government? Help us find a way to banish the Toxic Waste monster into the wastelands of privatisation! Sound interesting? Sign up for Street Theatre Workshops today! www.tssa.org.uk/better-rail.
Get active in the fight for a better railway Over the next few months we will have a programme of actions on fares, Ghost Train visits to stations and visits to local MPs. We need you to sign-up to help us be heard by decision makers. Now is the time to get involved and make a difference. What you can do right now: Pledge to help get our postcards on fares out to passengers: www.tssa.org.uk/pledge l Come along with other TSSA members and Reps to visit your local MP, or sign up for our Political Lobbying course www.tssa.org.uk/better-rail l Sign up for workshops on Street Theatre www.tssa.org.uk/better-rail l Tell us what you think will make a better railway on www.tssa.org.uk/better-rail-ideas l
For more information contact Nadine Rae on email@example.com.
prejudic e against travellers Last year TSSA’s Conference passed policy condemning the harassment and discrimination faced by one of the most marginalised communities in Britain and Ireland. Here, London-resident Irish traveller Marion Mahoney, writes of her experiences along with Gill Brown of the Traveller Law Reform Project.
‘Until barriers are broken down, nothing will change’ I AM AN Irish Traveller living on a council run Travellers’ Site in London’s Tower Hamlets. We pay rent and Council Tax – this has been my family’s home for years. In 2004 we heard, by chance, that Crossrail was coming through where we live. We asked our council and MP about it but got no response. It was only when we went along to a meeting on Crossrail, aimed at the local Asian community, that we saw a map that showed a shaft they were going to be drilling right where our site is. When I asked if they knew about us, no one did and all they could say, both then and afterwards, was that we would have to leave or be evicted. For people in top jobs to talk to us the way they did was shocking – just writing us off, there and then.
We were afraid for our children’s future, but with support from the London Gypsy and Traveller Unit and our London Assembly member, we kept at it. Eventually I went to Parliament where I’d been asked to give evidence to Crossrail Bill Select Committee. We came up with an idea to move to the site of a nearby derelict factory, and now – some years on – we are about to move there. These days we have good communication with Crossrail – but it took a lot of work to get there. I have told this story because it shows how the way that many people think about gypsies and travellers comes from the top. All the authorities showed either almost complete ignorance or held stereotyped assumptions about us. No one was going to support us
when they were planning to move us out of our legally rented homes, and what’s more, no one knew anything about our culture or who we really were. It is this which keeps us hidden and out of the mainstream. I believe that much more needs to be done, especially in schools. Most gypsy and traveller children start school with a disadvantage from the start: the parents of many other children only know about us from the tabloid press and pick up prejudice against us. Over the years I have heard of parents and even teachers saying, ‘Don’t mix with them’, ‘They are dirty’ or ‘They will steal from you’. Often a traveller child may be the only one in the class and try to hide who they are, but when it comes out, the bullying can start and without the school
stepping in, that child is on the path to having poor education outcomes, just because of who they are. Often the tabloids and ignorant radio and TV entertainers, use the word ‘pikey’, despite us trying to fight it. It is a derogatory word and is very offensive to gypsies and travellers as it means the lowest of the low and people who don’t count. It’s the same as the offensive words used in recent times towards black and Asian people – and it has the same result. Gypsies and Irish travellers are recognised ethnic groups and covered by the Race Relations Act so please, if you see or hear anything offensive about us, stand up and do something. We want nothing more than for our children to be educated and integrated whilst, like many other groups, keeping our own culture. Until barriers are broken down, nothing will change. I want to thank the TSSA for passing the resolution at your conference condemning the harassment and racism we face from the tabloids and elsewhere. We are used to fighting for our own rights and it means a lot when people come out on our side. 7
To find out more, see the London Gypsy and Traveller Unit on www.lgtu.org.uk.
Europe European Union rules get blamed for everything from the mythical ban on re-using glass jars for homemade jam to preventing the renationalisation of the railways. Labour’s leader in the European Parliament, Glenis Willmott MEP, asks whether EU rules are really a barrier to bringing Britain’s fragmented railway system back under public control.
Glenis Willmott MEP
Are EU rules really a barrier to reuniting the railways under public control? ‘IT’S AGAINST EUROPEAN LAW’ is one of the arguments often raised against reunifying the railways under public control. The others are that the involvement of the private sector brings innovation, greater investment and greater efficiency, and that it would cost too much to buy back the assets. But as the Rebuilding Rail report by independent think tank Transport for Quality of Life very clearly shows, European rules do not dictate that railways must be fully privatised. Nor is there a requirement for railway infrastructure to be in private ownership or a ban on train services being operated by a government-owned enterprise. The EU has been involved in railway policy since 1985 and since then several waves of EU law have indeed promoted and extended competition. But when John
Major’s Conservative government decided to separate track and trains during privatisation 20 years ago, it went far beyond any EU rules. As Rebuilding Rail shows, the UK – not the EU – has decided that the railways must be privately owned, that the running of passenger services and railway infrastructure must be completely divorced, and that trains must be leased from private companies. What EU rules do require is that freight and international passenger services must be open to competition; railways must hold assets, budgets and accounts separate to those of the State; the manager of railway infrastructure must draw up separate accounts to the provider or providers of passenger services; and that certain ‘essential functions’ of infrastructure management must be independent of train operators.
In several other European countries, either all or a large proportion of passenger and freight services are under public ownership: l In France, both the train operator SNCF and the infrastructure operator RFF are state-owned. l In Germany the state-owned operator Deutsche Bahn runs 90 per cent of passenger services. l In Italy, the state-owned railway company FS Holding owns both the national rail infrastructure manager RFI and train-operating company Trenitalia. l The Spanish railway is almost entirely in public ownership. l Even in Sweden, the first country in Europe to take steps towards privatisation, the state-owned rail operator SJ operates more than 80 per cent of all passenger services. European law relating to railways continues to develop. In September, one of the
chief legal advisors to the European Court of Justice said that the German model, in which the transport operator is integrated with the infrastructure manager, conforms to EU rules. In October, transport ministers and MEPs agreed a ‘recast’ – or consolidation and amendment – of EU rules, restating that national rail networks must be open to private competition for rail freight and cross-border passenger services. In January the European Commission published proposals for a Fourth Railway Package that would open up domestic passenger services to competition. These must be approved by the European Parliament and Member States before they become law. But other European countries have managed to retain the railways under public ownership and there is no reason why the UK could not do the same.7
Christian Wolmar Millions of Londoners and commuters are totally dependent on the city’s transport system coping with ever-greater demand. Christian Wolmar takes a look at the policies required to keep London on the move.
Moving London in the right direction London is a booming city and it’s going to get better. Successive governments have been accused of channelling railway investment into the capital and there’s no doubt that this is the case. Just look at how the railway scene in London will change by the end of the decade. The expanded Thameslink will allow up to 20 trains (24 theoretically) per hour through the capital, linking a whole host of new destinations south and north of the river. Then on the east-west axis, there will be Crossrail, a new railway being built to the highest standards of any in the country, with emblematic stations.
Between them, these two lines will create the equivalent of the much lauded RER network in Paris, with, at its heart, Farringdon station which will become the only one in Britain with trains heading in all four points of the compass as well as benefiting from a frequent Underground service just one stop from King’s Cross.
Crossrail 2 is being promoted by business interests, but with very little support from Transport for London
Together with the continued refurbishment of the Tube system and the wonderful expanded London Overground routes, London will have the kind of rail service that many other cities can only dream about. But it’s not enough and this is where the lack of vision and strategy of the current Mayor, Boris Johnson, is letting down Londoners. First, on the rail front, there are no concrete plans – or even a blueprint – for any expansion. Crossrail 2, the old Hackney-Chelsea route, is being promoted by business interests, but with very little support from Transport for
Christian Wolmar Boris Johnson, rooted in ‘Mr Toad’ Tory policies, does not understand that domination by private cars is coming to an end one of London’s key tourist sites. But after that, nothing much changed and sadly we now have a Mayor who blusters and talks the talk, but actually has no understanding of how to make London a more liveable city. Boris Johnson scrapped plans to give Parliament Square the same treatment as Trafalgar Square, leaving another tourist hot spot to remain as a roundabout for fast moving cars. The wonderfully evocative statue of Winston Churchill is left marooned in the inaccessible central square. Oxford Street remains a red barrier with up to 300 buses per hour and a shameful accident record. Yet study after study has shown that pedestrianisation leads to commercial success for local retailers. No one shops from inside their car. And all this boils down to one simple policy. The number of cars coming into central London must be further reduced. Everything flows from that simple concept. There are a whole host of measures which can be used to discourage car use and encourage alternatives: reducing fares, creating more cycle and bus lanes, getting rid of gyratory systems that have become speedways, expanding the congestion charge zone and making it more sophisticated, creating a universal 20 mph limit, pedestrianisation (especially of Oxford Street) and much more. My particular favourite is to rip up the northbound lane of Park Lane, hewn out of Hyde Park in the 1960s, and give the space back to the Royal Park. Other cities across the world have realised the importance of this strategy. Copenhagen has led the way with a long term strategy of reducing car use and boosting cycling to levels where it will become the dominant mode in the city centre. Paris is closing off a busy Seine embankment road to accommodate cycling and walking. Even in New York there have been massive changes, with a network of excellent cycle lanes being
quickly established and Times Square being pedestrianised, resulting in the renaissance of what had been a rather dingy area. The same trend of squeezing out private car use and improving public transport, as well as facilities for cycling and walking, can be seen in cities as far afield as Bogota and Buenos Aires. But not in London where we have a Mayor who refuses to do anything that may affect ‘traffic flow’ or take away space from cars. So we have cycling superhighways that are little more than advertisements for Barclays Bank, with no understanding that they need to be continuous and safe, and money spent on the crazy ‘dangleway’ across the river which is great as a tourist attraction but serves little transport purpose. All this must change. As the veteran transport commentator Adam Raphael wrote in Transport Times recently, ‘the simple truth which the Mayor refuses to admit is that you cannot civilise London without restraining traffic’. That must be the task of the next Mayor who will benefit from the superb new train services that will undoubtedly bring yet more people into the centre of the capital who will want to get to their destinations by walking, cycling and taking buses, not driving. 7
i Christian Wolmar, who is seeking to be the Labour candidate for London Mayor in the 2016 election would welcome invitations to come to speak at branch meetings and can be contacted through his website, www.wolmarforlondon.co.uk.
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London. The Mayor, rightly, is however pushing for more suburban lines to be taken out of the wasteful franchising system and be given to Transport for London as part of a further expansion of the London Overground network, but that seems to be the extent of his railway policy. Moreover, that lack of vision extends into other aspects of transport and this is letting down all those who live or work in the capital. Cities are changing and Boris Johnson, rooted in old fashioned ‘Mr Toad’ Tory policies, does not understand that. Essentially, looking at it from a historic point of view, the age where private cars dominate the urban landscape is coming to an end. For around 50 years after the invention of the internal combustion engine, cars were allowed free rein into cities that actually were not built to accommodate them. So buildings were demolished, historic streets widened, car parks created and so on. But then city planners realised that this wasn’t working, and instead started imposing restrictions on cars. We got traffic wardens, parking meters, controlled parking zones, restrictions on deliveries and bus lanes. Parts of central London such as the heart of Swinging London – Carnaby Street and Leicester Square – were pedestrianised, and no longer did new office blocks have to provide car parking. It was realised that allowing cars unrestricted access to the centre of the city was not the way to bring about economic success. Quite the opposite. It was realised that encouraging cars into city centres merely created congestion and gridlock, and it was people travelling in on trains and buses who did the shopping and spent the money. Public transport was seen as the key and investment in the Underground began to flow once again after a 20 year post war hiatus. To some extent Ken Livingstone understood this. He introduced the congestion charge zone and greatly improved bus services, making the network reliable enough for people to be able to get to work confidently using the bus. But then he rather ran out of steam. He introduced a great scheme to improve Trafalgar Square in the face of much fuss from taxi drivers and opposition politicians, and it has greatly improved
The only addition to the tube map planned under Boris Johnson is carrying the equivalent of just two full tube trains per day, despite millions being spent on the ‘dangleway’.
Moore/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Britain’s railways and communities are still paying the price for the catastrophic decisions made 50 years ago this month in the Beeching Report. Paul Salveson looks at what was lost, what was saved and the lessons for modern campaigns against railway cuts.
The Beeching axe – 50 years on The name of ‘Beeching’ has entered the English language. To ‘do a Beeching’ implies a reckless act of destruction. It was Dr Richard Beeching, the first Chairman of the British Railways Board, who was the infamous ‘axe man’ responsible for the closure of thousands of miles of railways in the 1960s and 1970s. His report, ‘The Re-shaping of British Railways’, was published 50 years ago, on 27 March 1963. The recommendations of the report were enthusiastically adopted by the Conservative Government of the day, which had of course appointed him with a clear remit to ‘sort out the railways’. Transport Minister Ernest Marples, who had made his fortune from road-building, warmly endorsed Beeching’s advice to close thousands of route miles of the national network. The unions put up a lukewarm opposition despite their members’ futures being on the line – nearly 9,000 clerical and supervisory jobs alone were under threat, and many more in the ‘waged’ grades. Yet it is hard to escape the
conclusion that a stronger fight could have been mounted. The National Union of Railwaymen’s general secretary, Sid Greene, was of the traditional right-wing school which was most comfortable having ‘a quiet word’ with the men in power. William Evans, the retiring general secretary of Aslef, described the report as ‘a very able document and an entirely honest attempt to rationalise the railway system’. Evans’ comments were repudiated by his executive. The first statement from the TSSA came from future Labour minister Ray Gunter who told a TV interviewer that the Beeching report was ‘one of the bravest efforts I have known in industry to face the economic facts of life.’ Labour’s transport spokesman George Strauss welcomed the report though expressed concern about ‘the proposals to curtail railway services on the drastic scale suggested.’ Fighting talk, indeed! What we were seeing was the culmination of the post-war pro-roads consensus which viewed railways as a thing of the past. At best, their future lay in a small number of main-line routes.
The report’s targets were not just littleused rural branch lines. Important commuter routes such as Liverpool to Southport and Leeds to Ilkley and Wetherby were on the death list. Main lines such as Edinburgh to Carlisle via Hawick (‘The Waverley Line’) were to disappear, leaving major Borders towns isolated. Thankfully, some routes managed to survive, but many lines which could have played an important role in solving today’s transport problems were mercilessly cut. Any BR manager who had ideas for reducing costs of local lines such as ‘pay-train’ operation was told in no uncertain terms to shut up if he wanted a career to look forward to. Most rank and file members of TSSA were horrified at the implications of Beeching but felt helpless in the face of a Government determined to implement the report. The rail unions discussed options which included a national rail strike but this was rejected by the TSSA. However, the unions managed to extract improved resettlement and redundancy terms. The fight was lost before it hardly
Paul Sal veson concept of public transport, well-meaning but misguided social democrats who saw rail subsidies as a regressive, beneficial only to the middle classes, and a variety of lobbying interests who would benefit from the expansion of road building, car ownership and road haulage – including trade unionists opposed to the development of rail freight services. Threats to cut large swathes of the rail network continued throughout the 1980s. The Serpell Report (1983) presented ‘options’ which included a network of just 1,630 route miles – a loss of 84 per cent. The report, published during Thatcher’s reign, was a disgrace from beginning to end. Thankfully, the hornet’s nest of outrage it stirred up ensured it was quietly shelved. However, some of its proposals for bus substitution continued as ‘live’ options, with routes such as
objections – including one from a dog! This was a highly effective campaign which enjoyed very broad support which included but went way beyond the unions. This was the railways’ equivalent of the miners’ strike; failure would almost certainly have led to a new round of line closures. It was a model for how to campaign effectively. In the face of huge opposition, the Government backed down. The Settle-Carlisle went on to prosper, today carrying growing volumes of both passenger and freight. By the late 1980s – after the turningpoint of the Settle-Carlisle’s reprieve – rail closures were less and less acceptable. However, the 1990s still saw the occasional outburst from ill-briefed politicians, reflecting a continuing undercurrent within Whitehall that was hostile to rail. However, the direction of policy
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began. Closures followed in rapid succession, making opposition difficult and fragmented. BR was under pressure to deliver results and line after line went with hardly a whimper of protest. ‘Last trains’ became local carnivals with trains carrying many times their normal passengers. I can remember the last train from Horwich in September 1965, hauled by a steam locomotive cleaned and embellished by local enthusiasts the night before, departing from this railway town to the accompaniment of dozens of exploding detonators. It was all a bit unreal. Cold reality set in very quickly, with many towns and villages virtually cut off. The so-called ‘replacement bus services’ lasted a few years, sometimes just months, before they were withdrawn. We are still counting the cost. There was some local resistance. Probably the strongest fight was waged against the closure of the Waverley Line, with riotous scenes on the last day. Like many more Beeching closures, this route is now, at least in part, being re-opened at very considerable cost. It should never have been shut in the first place. Subsequent accounts of Beeching by railway historians have bent over backwards to be positive about the report. However, a new book puts a more critical slant on the Beeching legacy. ‘Holding the Line – how Britain’s railways were saved’ is written by two highly experienced railwaymen, Lord Richard Faulkner, former adviser to the British Railways Board and a Labour peer, and Chris Austin OBE, who spent many years at the BRB and subsequently held senior roles at the Strategic Rail Authority and then ATOC. The book is the first detailed account of successive attempts to reduce the size of Britain’s railway network, of which Beeching was only the most well known. The book shows, with clear evidence, that there really was what almost amounted to a conspiracy in government circles to destroy what was once the best railway system in the world. The authors write: “There was no single conspiracy to destroy the railways, but individuals from various parts of the political spectrum were drawn to the supposed Holy Grail of a much smaller network and a ‘profitable’ core. They included right-wing free market ideologues opposed to the
As well as passenger trains, the Ribblehead viaduct on the saved Settle – Carlisle line now sees dozens of freight movements a day, relieving the overcrowded West Coast route.
Norwich – Sheringham, Shrewsbury – Chester and Newport – Gloucester under consideration. Today, these are all flourishing routes; they could have ended up as nothing more than cycling paths. The last major attempted closure came in the early 1980s when British Rail announced its intention to shut the Settle-Carlisle Line. The route had been threatened, but reprieved, in the 1960s. The announcement led to a high-profile campaign which saw over 23,000
switched from what do with a stateowned BR towards how best to privatise it. Ironically, the complex and highlyregulated structure that emerged in the 1993 Railways Act gave greater protection to local railways than they had ever enjoyed before. This did not prevent some rear-guard attempts at further reductions in the network. The Northern Rail Review was undertaken as recently as 2005 but found that ‘the Northern Rail franchise is an efficient and well-managed operation
Route to be retained Route to be closed
Today, the main problems facing Britain’s local railways are not lack of passengers but shortage of capacity to meet constantly rising demand. The socalled ‘basket-case’ lines of the 1970s are now carrying trains which are bursting at the seams with passengers. The challenge of the next 20 years will be to provide the capacity – both extra trains and more track capacity – to meet the sort of growth that the so-called experts of the 1960s dismissed as a pipe-dream. It was the romantics like John Betjeman and the unheard rank and file railway workers who were proved right, not the ‘realists’ such as Beeching and Serpell who were so disastrously wrong. 7
i ‘Holding the Line: how Britain’s railways were saved’ by Richard Faulkner and Chris Austin is published by Ian Allan (RRP £19.99) but available on special offer to TSSA members at £13.95 including postage. Use voucher code HTL13 on www.ianallanpublishing.com or write to: Offer HTL13, Marketing Department, Ian Allan Publishing Ltd, Riverdene Business Park, Hersham, Surrey KT12 4RG. Cheques should be payable to Ian Allan Publishing Ltd.
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and that there are no obvious and acceptable ‘quick wins’ to improving value for money’. By then, the ‘community rail’ initiatives around the UK had shown real results, with increased passenger numbers leading to a virtuous circle of improved services and facilities, and more passengers. It’s possible that if ‘community rail’ had not come along when it did, in the mid to late 1990s, we might not have escaped without some line closures in the early 2000s. Apart from being wary of trusting in ‘the expert’, a key conclusion in viewing the history of actual and attempted rail closures must be the importance of organised, ‘professional’ campaigning. This is different from having ‘words in ears’ in the corridors of power. It is about largescale mobilisation of the kind that saved the Settle-Carlisle Line, involving communities, unions, businesses and other interests. It is about building allies beyond the narrow ‘railway’ interest and making the wider case for rail in economic, social and environmental terms. More lines might have survived if the unions had been less focused on getting good redundancy terms for their members and more on reaching out to the wider community to oppose some of the most outrageous closures. Are we out of the woods now, 50 years after Beeching? Over the last 20 years, the regional Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs) have done much to promote line and station re-openings. Beeching has gone into reverse, at least in some parts of the country. If we hadn’t had the PTEs our local rail networks in the big Northern and West Midlands conurbations would be like Bristol’s – virtually non-existent. And few would argue that devolution of rail powers to Scotland, Merseyside, London and Wales has been anything other than a success. We need more devolution, providing we get the right size, funding and governance structures in place. As the Northern PTEs move towards a single ‘rail executive’ body, with their county and unitary council neighbours, there are grounds for hope that rail in the North will finally get the attention it deserves, matching the investment that has gone into the Scottish and London rail networks.
organising Anthony Barrable with Chris Bond, Melissa Heywood, Martin Hill and Kevin Williams
Building stronger branches WHILST THERE ARE now many more ways to hear about union activity than there were in decades gone by, branches can still play a vital role in helping members raise concerns, discuss issues or plan action within a company or region. Throughout TSSA there’s a great diversity of branches – with some more active than others. The Journal caught up with one branch which has returned to a high level of activity after a number of years in the doldrums – East Midlands Trains No 1 Branch. Branch chair Kevin Williams takes up the story of how both the branch and TSSA’s membership in the company has been revived: ‘I first became a rep when we were being TUPE transferred because of the creation of the East Midlands franchise. I guess I just started by talking to people, whether they were members or not and giving them the basic information. In
the space of a couple of months we gained 15 or 20 members just at Nottingham station. I think that’s the main way all of us have grown our membership and the number of people turning up at meetings – it’s just talking to people and being visible. We’ve built up the number of members from perhaps 20 per cent back then up to over 80 per cent density at Nottingham today.’ ‘Back then, the branch was totally dormant. Our TOC is spread over such a wide area and with different shifts, people were finding it really hard to make evening meetings, so we settled on lunchtime meetings and it just snowballed from that. We always advertise meetings widely and have had people up from London and right across the region.’ Regional organiser Anthony Barrable, who helped get the branch functioning again, adds, ‘We did a survey on
whether members did want their own company-specific branch, which they did, and then we looked at where the members were and found Nottingham had the highest concentration of interest.’ Branch secretary Melissa Heywood told the Journal, ‘We’re a team that all work together. Several of us have been to TSSA’s branch officer training which was really useful – we also linked up with other branches in the Divisional Council to learn about how they run their meetings.’
Martin Hill, who is now on TSSA’s TOC Council, adds, ‘We’re all in this to fight for a better railway but we know there’s different ways to interest different people. As a Learning Rep, I’ve really been pushing forward that agenda and through that, we’ve found a different group of members who want to get involved.’ Chris Bond underlined ‘A lot people think a branch is just for reps but we’ve been trying to get it across that it’s for everyone.’ 7
Renewing your branch TSSA will shortly be launching a guide to branch renewal and development, detailing a step by step process towards transforming your branch. This will include tools to help you evaluate your current work and develop an action plan towards building activity, attendance and impact. All branches will be sent a copy, but to receive one directly, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Does your branch want to propose a specific organising project or take up actions around the Year of Horror 2013? Contact email@example.com.
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TSSA personal injury service
“I was in shock – I hadn’t realised the extent of my injuries” Jane was on her way to work. After getting off her train, she slipped on liquid that had leaked onto the platform while rubbish bins were being washed. “At first I reported it to the station Health & Safety officer to get the mess cleaned up so noone else slipped on it – there weren’t even any warning signs about. I was in shock, so hadn’t realised the extent of my injuries which worsened over a short period.” Jane had suffered serious injuries to her shoulder, elbow, wrist and thigh,
which later required surgery and numerous months of physiotherapy. “When I got to the office I reported it to our TSSA Rep and they told me to call the TSSA Injury Helpline which was the best thing I ever did.” Jane was then put in touch with Joe at Morrish Solicitors, TSSA’s legal experts in accidents and injury claims. “I got advice on medical treatment for my injuries from a specialist very quickly and Joe, the solicitor, was fantastic,” says Jane. “Claiming for a personal injury isn't as
time consuming as you might think and Morrish solicitors deal with everything for clients, giving advice and a friendly prompt service every step of the way!” Joe contacted the cleaning contractor involved, alleging they had failed to adopt basic health and safety measures and had breached regulations. Initially, they refused to admit liability, so Joe commenced court proceedings. Following negotiations and submitting evidence, the cleaning company admitted their mistakes
and the case was settled before a trial. Jane accepted a significant settlement for her injuries. “I couldn’t believe the cleaning company refused to admit they were at fault initially, as they had made basic health and safety mistakes. I really appreciated the support provided by TSSA and Joe at Morrish solicitors. I know they give advice on claims for personal injury, help members get advice on treatment and recover compensation on a no win no fee basis where appropriate. I was able to get proper rehabilitation
with my compensation and thanks to them I am now back at work.” l Based on a real life case. Certain details have been altered to protect identities. Morrish Solicitors LLP provides expert legal advice for accidents and injuries to TSSA members and their families, wherever the accident may have occurred. Call 0800 093 0353. Morrish Solicitors is a Limited Liability Partnership and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Accidents do not happen - they are caused! As a member of the TSSA, should either you or your immediate family suffer injury through someone else’s negligence, you will be entitled to FREE legal advice and representation from our specialist personal injury lawyers Morrish Solicitors LLP. No money will be deducted from any compensation recovered and no charge will be made to you or your family for the advice and representation you receive. If you’d like to find out more, call us today and we will look after you. ACCIDENTS AT WORK
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hel pdesk If you have a question about your workplace rights, call our employment law specialists on 0800 3282673 in the UK or 1800 805272 in the Republic of Ireland or email firstname.lastname@example.org Hours: Monday to Thursday 8am–6pm Friday 8am–5pm
worked for my employer for nearly 30 years, and I am being made redundant on 1 March. They tell me that I will receive £12,900 redundancy plus they will pay me four weeks in lieu of my contractual notice. I have been transferred under TUPE three times but I thought I would get more than that. The equivalent of five months’ salary doesn’t seem a lot for all those years.
Do the firm need to consult us? Q. I am the rep in a small travel agency which used to have 10 branches but now only has four. There are about six staff in each branch. The owners are closing it down and making us all redundant. I say they must have a 30 day consultation period where more than 20 staff are being made redundant but they say they don’t have to. Who is right? A.Here comes the lawyer’s definitive answer: it depends. The law says there must be consultation where there are more than 20 redundancies ‘within an establishment’. The problem then arises over what constitutes an establishment. The company is no doubt trying to claim each shop is a separate establishment to prevent the compulsory consultation. There has been a lot of case law over what is meant by ‘establishment’, and the latest Employment Appeals Tribunal decision seems to be that establishment means the unit to which each employee is assigned. Therefore if fewer than 20 people work at a particular branch, then for consultation purposes the establishment does not meet the criteria for compulsory consultation. This does not mean that your work as a rep is over. You can still represent each individual member, making sure the employer is following proper procedures and statutory requirements, and make sure the members know and get what they are entitled to (see the previous answer).
Republic of Ireland
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A. It looks as though they are offering you the statutory redundancy pay and you’re dead right it isn’t a lot, but sadly that’s all you get. Under the statutory scheme you are entitled to one week’s pay for every year of employment, up to a maximum of 20 years. For each year over the age of 40 that
increases to a week and a half, so you get 20 x 1.5 weeks = 30 weeks’ pay. So far so good, but the employer can cap that amount. The cap was £430, however, the (slightly) good news is that from 1 Feb it is now £450, so you are entitled to the current maximum statutory redundancy pay of £13,500. You are also entitled to statutory notice pay of one week for every year worked up to a maximum of 12 weeks. You can also be paid for any untaken leave. If you have taken more than your accrued leave they cannot take that back unless your contract says so. As you have been TUPEd, check your original contract to see if that says anything about redundancy pay. If that offers you better than the statutory pay, then that’s what you should get.
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Q. I will be 63 in April. I have
Redundancy pay – is that it?
letters This is your chance to share your views with thousands of other TSSA members. The deadline for the next issue is 8 April. Letters may be edited for length or clarity. Email email@example.com or write to TSSA Journal, Walkden House, 10 Melton Street, London, NW1 2EJ.
We’re a global movement When you were probably suffering from the cold, Mitch Tovey and I took a trip to Uganda and Rwanda. We didn’t expect to see a great deal of trade union activity but when we arrived at the Rwandan border after a lengthy and bumpy bus ride, we were amazed to see an International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) poster encouraging trade union recruitment and organising to fight HIV/AIDS. The ITF, to which the TSSA is affiliated, has been campaigning against HIV/AIDS for many years, as transport workers are particularly vulnerable because of the nature and conditions of their work. Another poster, which gave Mitch some delight, was promoting a football match between Arsenal and Southampton in a local hall. Mitch, a Spurs supporter, noted with glee that the price to watch the match was 4p which, in his opinion, was sheer robbery! During our time in Uganda a number of people asked for our views
on gay rights and marriage – we gave no quarter and put forward our opinions with some vigour. They were not well received but despite our differences we found people very welcoming in both countries. We also managed to see a great deal including the memorials to those hundreds of thousands that had been murdered in Rwanda. We had a discussion with the commissioner responsible for Uganda’s co-operatives and met the general secretary of the Uganda Co-operative Alliance who gave us a detailed review of the movement’s current progress. Among our many interesting days was one spent at Jinja where we visited a Fairtrade factory that exports dried fruit to the UK. Malcolm also gave a talk on catering to staff and students at a training hotel. However, the town’s real claim to fame is that it is the source of the Nile and it is also where Gandhi’s ashes were scattered. It was a great holiday. Malcolm Wallace and Mitch Tovey
Benefits of membership for retirees I am a retired BR employee but I have chosen to keep my TSSA membership. I also happen to be visually impaired. When I came across an ATOC article in the Railway Pensions Scheme’s ‘Penfriend’ newsletter, I was dismayed to learn that safeguarded (ex) employees who carried an endorsement on their Staff Travel card reading ‘and attendant as holder is (partially) blind / disabled’ would no longer be entitled to travel alone using their staff travel facilities. The reasons why this is wrong are too many to go into here, but it overturned the practice of the previous 20 years at a stroke. I put together my case for objecting and approached ATOC directly. I was informed that ATOC had looked at the decision and saw no reason to change their position. I then presented my case to my local branch after which TSSA HQ agreed to refer my case to Morrish solicitors.
After correspondence between Morrish and ATOC, ATOC have now confirmed that they accepted my case and that subject to DFT agreement the rules would be clarified and practice reverted. The main interests of TSSA must remain with its active employees, but TSSA has recently recognised formally the importance of serving its retired members by sanctioning the creation of an official Retired members group. The handling of my complaint and result has justified – if justification were needed – my decision to keep up my membership of TSSA after my retirement. In these days of systematic cuts, the voice of the individual is easy to disregard but having the backing of organised support may sometimes achieve otherwise unachievable goals. I would urge any readers who are coming up to retirement to retain their membership or any former members to rejoin. A C Hart Darlington No 1 branch
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