The TSSA rail workers’ conference took place in Southport last week. It came immediately after the first report of the Pensions Commission – a body set up by the rail unions and employers to review the current pension scheme.
The defence of the railway final salary pension scheme, and the fulfilment of joint rail union demands to make the employers pay the spiralling cost of the scheme, is the biggest test we have faced for years.
The executive committee submitted an emergency motion to conference reiterating the core demands of the pension campaign and authorising a strike ballot if negotiations fail.
Delegate Dave Roberts said, “We did not fight for years for our pension rights only to have them sold out by a third party.”
An emergency motion was amended to welcome the departure of Tony Blair and John Prescott from office.
It was further amended to fix any support TSSA would give to Labour leader or deputy leader candidates to their commitment to bring the rail industry back into public ownership.
Gerry Doherty, the TSSA general secretary, argued against this position on the grounds that it was likely that none of the candidates for deputy leadership were likely to support this.
He was defeated.
It now seems likely then that TSSA will not be able to endorse any candidate for leader or deputy leader as none of them are likely to be willing to support renationalising the railways.