TSSA endorses new policy proposals for economic growth

31 Oct 2013| News

For immediate release

31 October 2013

The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) has announced its official support for a new set of policy proposals put forth by think tank the Institute of Employment Rights (IER) to stimulate a strong and resilient economy.

The TSSA are the 15th major trade union to back the IER’s proposals, including Unite, Unison, GMB, NUT, NUJ, PCS, CWU, ASLEF, BECTU, AEP, ATL, RMT, UCU and POA.

Reconstruction after the crisis: a manifesto for collective bargaining, authored by renowned legal and public policy experts Professor Keith Ewing and John Hendy QC, calls on the government to encourage negotiation between workers’ representatives and employers on wages and conditions in order to reduce income inequality, improve living standards and create jobs.

This process – known as collective bargaining – is used widely in Europe’s strongest economies, including Germany, and was successfully employed in the UK and US to recover from the depression of the 1930s.

General Secretary of the TSSA Manuel Cortes said:
“The most economically just and equal societies on our planet have extensive collective bargaining coverage. Sadly, in the UK, over the past few decades, we have seen a shift from wages to profits. This means that working people are far worse off than they would otherwise have been. A return to widespread collective bargaining is needed to reverse this trend”.

Not only will current workers enjoy higher wages and better conditions – including a move away from exploitative employment terms like zero-hours contracts – but the resulting stimulation of economic demand through an increase in disposable income will create new jobs and see higher employment nationwide. The economic and social benefits of collective bargaining are briefly illustrated in this infographic.

President of the IER and Professor of Public Law at King’s College London, Keith Ewing, said:
“There will be no long-term solution to current economic gloom without raising wages and equalising incomes. Only by doing so will we stimulate demand, increase spending, and create real and fully productive jobs that do not need to be subsidised by the State.”

Chair of the IER and leading trade union lawyer, John Hendy QC, said:
“A fundamental problem with the British economy is the dramatic drop in the value of wages. As well as painfully diminishing the standard of living for most people (while the rich enjoy ever increasing wealth) this has depressed demand causing the loss of jobs, loss of tax revenue and one of the worst performing economies in Europe. A vital way to re-establish the value of wages, decrease inequality, and stimulate job creation, is to reinstate sectoral collective bargaining – that is collective bargaining on an industry by industry basis.”

Among the policies proposed by Ewing and Hendy are:

  • Establishing a Ministry of Labour to ensure workers have a voice in parliament separate from that of corporations;
  • The gradual reintroduction of sectoral bargaining – that is the negotiation on pay and conditions between trade unions and employers at a sectoral level;
  • Incentives for employers to engage with collective bargaining – such as disallowing companies which refuse to negotiate with their employees from public sector contracts;
  • An overhaul of trade union recognition legislation to ensure that workers always have the right to be represented by their trade union in work-related matters and that unions are recognised by employers if at least 10% of the workforce are members.

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For further information contact:

Sarah Glenister on 0151 207 5265 or sarah@ier.org.uk

The manifesto for collective bargaining:

Read the ten-point version of the manifesto here. The full publication is on sale here; review copies available for free.

Economic impact of collective bargaining:

Please see our infographic for a brief illustration of the economic impact of collective bargaining.


The Institute of Employment Rights was established in February 1989. It is a network of academics and lawyers acting as a focal point for the spread of new ideas in the field of labour law. It is an independent charity supported by trade unions representing over 6 million UK workers. See www.ier.org.uk; Tel: 0151 207 5265.

Professor Keith Ewing:

Keith Ewing is Professor of Public Law at King’s College London. He is President of the Institute of Employment Rights and Legal editor of the journal International Union Rights. He is also a Vice President of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedoms.

John Hendy QC:

John Hendy QC is a leading employment law barrister, operating from Old Square Chambers London and H P Higgins Chambers in Sydney Australia. He is Chairman of the Institute of Employment Rights, vice-chairman of the International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR)and a Vice President of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom. John is standing counsel to UNITE, ASLEF,CWU, NUJ, NUM, POA, RMT and UCU.


TSSA is an independent, UK-based trade union for the transport and travel trade industries. We have 30,000 members in the UK and Ireland, working for the railways and associated companies.