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TSSA Conference backs Unite merger talks

18/05/2013

The merger of the TSSA rail union with Unite took another major step today.

14 May 2013

The TSSA union’s annual conference in Glasgow voted overwhelmingly in favour of detailed merger talks leading to "a stand alone rail sector within Unite".

It is planned that the outcome of the talks would be put to the TSSA’s 24,000 members in a secret ballot in the autumn. If they say "yes", a merger would take place next Spring.

Manuel Cortes, TSSA general secretary, said: "There are detailed talks still to take place but if we are successful, I think this will be good news for the rail industry and the wider Labour movement."

Unite and TSSA in talks to form first ever cross-transport union

01 May 2013

Unite the union and TSSA have today (May 1) announced that they are starting discussions to form Britain and Ireland’s first-ever cross-transport union, organising and representing workers across all forms of the transport industry.

Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey said:  “I welcome the opportunity to bring TSSA into the Unite family, making our union stronger.  For the first time, workers across all forms of transport will be united in a single union – that can only help hard-pressed employees, and put big transport companies on notice to shape up.  TSSA’s proud traditions in the rail sector, its present commitment to organising workers and the strong industrial logic make this a natural step to take.”
TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said:  “This will secure a very powerful voice for TSSA members well into the future.  As a result of privatisation and deregulation, the vast majority of TSSA members now work for the same multinational companies as transport workers within Unite.  In addition, the negotiating hand of our travel trade members will be greatly strengthened by being part of a union that organises the airline industry.  Teaming up with Unite will deliver a stronger campaigning union – a force to be reckoned with!”
Subject to the successful conclusion of talks and the approval required by both unions’ constitutional structures and by relevant legislation, it is hoped to secure the transfer of TSSA’s engagements into Unite in early 2014.  Of  Unite’s 1.5 million members, around 250,000 are in the various transport sectors.  TSSA’s membership is mainly in the rail industry, with some employed in the travel trade and across other forms of transport.

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From Cab Trade News, Winter 2011.

BORIS’S COVENTRY U-TURN

by Jim Kelly

In the same week that Mayor Boris Johnson’s spokesmen were praising Boris’s commitment to keeping jobs in London, as well as touting the wacky scheme for a new airport in the Thames Estuary, the Director and Deputy Director of LTPH were putting forward recommendations to the TfL Finance & Policy Committee to cut almost 100 compliance, licensing and enforcement jobs in London and “outsource” them to private sector firms operating in ether Northampton or Coventry.

Prior to this, at the beginning of November, UNITE London Cab Section had decided to boycott a hastily arranged consultation meeting chaired by the Deputy Director to discuss the further privatisation of what used to be called the Public Carriage Office.

UNITE took the view that we were not prepared to accept the premise that relatively well paid, unionised, professional jobs based in London should become the latest casualty in the fragmentation and decimation of the organisation that oversees and administers London taxi drivers.

Since Boris’s election in 2008 the organisation which administers our working lives has initially been absorbed into a large TfL bureaucracy, then has slowly been allowed to lose its distinct, separate status. Now we see the final stage, whereby a privatised, remote, deskilled rump workforce run entirely for profit takes control of the finest taxi service in the world. Surely this series of events could not be agreed by the same Boris that assiduously courted the taxi vote in his election in 2008.

Compliance and enforcement are the cornerstones of a safe taxi and private hire industry. London can often resemble the wild-west with licensed private hire vehicles openly ranking outside any nightclub of their choosing.

In one suburban area, licensed taxis from Epping licensing authority have been reported queuing in unofficial ranks late at night outside popular night spots.

With these very real problems biting into our living standards, as well as flouting the law, London clearly needs more, not less, compliance and enforcement. That means a highly trained, motivated workforce with experience of the problems. These people are needed at the coal face, not at some distant remote firm, which may win a contract on the basis of providing the absolute minimum in order to line its shareholders pockets.

Unite London Cab Section was therefore happy to support our comrades in our fellow transport union, TSSA, in their appeal for solidarity in the fight to preserve their jobs, terms and conditions. TSSA is one of the unions which organises staff in LTPH at Palestra. It is their members’ jobs on the line with these proposals.

The picket of the TfL Finance and Policy Committee held at Windsor House on the 23rd November was a celebration of a victory, with the news that LTPH had withdrawn its proposals the day before. We welcome this development and were pleased to be present at the picket to share in TSSA’s success.

UNITE feels that the cutbacks at LTPH need, not just to be halted, but to be reversed. We stand for an efficient, effective and distinct section of TfL properly resourced to be able to carry out all its functions in order to protect the travelling public. The present Mayors policies of cutbacks and privatisation of taxi functions have come to a dead end.

The results can be seen all over London on any night of the week.

 

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