Wolverhampton, Bilston & District TUC   Secretary Report November 2002

W'ton TUC EVENTS

Thurs 21st November 7.15pm delegate meeting Civic Centre, open to all Tuists also meeting of Palestine supporters
Thurs 19th December 7.15pm delegate meeting Civic Centre, open to all TUists

for latest info check our website http://www.wolvestuc.org.uk (600 hits in first four months)

Get your own "@wolvestuc.org.uk" email address. Contact the Secretary to establish your own address that you can pick up on your own computer e.g. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We are limited to 100 names so act fast!

Email - if you would like to receive the Trades Council mailing by email, or if you are happy to receive email only and do not require a paper mailing then contact the secretary on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Two strikers from the AEEU/GMB William Cooks of Sheffield Foundry will address the delegate meeting on their 18 month dispute.
In January 2001 when William Cook Heavy Foundry castings plant in Sheffield, proposed new terms and conditions, a pay cut after 5 years of freeze and a £50/week cut the men had accepted last year. This was unanimously rejected at a union meeting, and the Heavy Foundry began to organise a ballot.
On 16 March `01, new contracts arrived through the post, along with a letter placing the men on notice of dismissal if the contracts were not signed by 13 April. They were even told their finishing date, depending on length of service.
The ballot result was 100% for strike action, and the Heavy Foundry went out for a one-day official strike.
The next day, they discovered they were locked out, their jobs had been advertised and scabs were being hired.
The men were invited, but declined to sign a contract repudiating industrial action.
They're still out, and over 90 - including colleagues from another foundry - have been dismissed. Though some have found other work, around 70 are still in dispute.
The lockout comes up against the Employment Relations Act (1999). The men want their jobs back on the original terms and conditions, with compensation for the lockout period.
This dispute seems unfortunately similar to that of the TGWU Friction Dynamics strikers.
Fax messages of solidarity for the sacked William Cook steelworkers via GMB Office Sheffield, on 0114 273 9601.

 
The FBU's pay campaign safety info and model letters produced by the FBU for TUs to use with their employersare on the website
Since the last meeting.........
Don't Attack Iraq, Justice for Palestine Day of Action


Wolverhampton, Bilston & District TUC Secretary Report October 2002

W'ton TUC EVENTS


Thurs 17th October 7.15pm delegate meeting Civic Centre, open to all TUists

Sat 26th October lunchtime Boycott Israeli Goods activity at a supermarket in W'ton

Thurs 31st October noon to 1pm as part of Day of Action anti-War/for Palestine, meet Queen's Square

Wed 20th November 7pm Palestine supporters meeting, Advice Centre 138 Leicester St, W'ton

Thurs 21st November 7.15pm delegate meeting Civic Centre, open to all TUists

for latest info check our website http://www.wolvestuc.org.uk (600 hits in first four months)

Get your own "@wolvestuc.org.uk" email address. Contact the Secretary to establish your own address that you can pick up on your own computer e.g. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We are limited to 100 names so act fast!

Email - if you would like to receive the Trades Council mailing by email, or if you are happy to receive email only and do not require a paper mailing then contact the secretary on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Two strikers from the AEEU/GMB William Cooks of Sheffield Foundry will address the delegate meeting on their 18 month dispute.
In January 2001 when William Cook Heavy Foundry castings plant in Sheffield, proposed new terms and conditions, a pay cut after 5 years of freeze and a £50/week cut the men had accepted last year. This was unanimously rejected at a union meeting, and the Heavy Foundry began to organise a ballot.
On 16 March `01, new contracts arrived through the post, along with a letter placing the men on notice of dismissal if the contracts were not signed by 13 April. They were even told their finishing date, depending on length of service.
The ballot result was 100% for strike action, and the Heavy Foundry went out for a one-day official strike.
The next day, they discovered they were locked out, their jobs had been advertised and scabs were being hired.
The men were invited, but declined to sign a contract repudiating industrial action.
They're still out, and over 90 - including colleagues from another foundry - have been dismissed. Though some have found other work, around 70 are still in dispute.
The lockout comes up against the Employment Relations Act (1999). The men want their jobs back on the original terms and conditions, with compensation for the lockout period.
This dispute seems unfortunately similar to that of the TGWU Friction Dynamics strikers.
Fax messages of solidarity for the sacked William Cook steelworkers via GMB Office Sheffield, on 0114 273 9601.

Since the last meeting.........
The FBU's pay campaign reached the West Midlands as noisy firefighters took to the streets of Birmingham, 23-9-02. Firefighters from as far away as Scotland and Ireland joined the march. The employers' initial interim offer of 4% has been rejected by the FBU, which is demanding a 39% rise which would boost a basic firefighters salary from £21,500 to £30,000 and allow many to come off benefits. Mick Rice Secretary, Birmingham TUC recalled TU support for the 1977 dispute ``we offer the support of our trades union council movement as we did then. Public services are being treated shamelessly.``

Don't Attack Iraq, Justice for Palestine demo, 28-9-02. Our coach was completely full and dozens were disappointed who tried to book at the last minute. 400,000 were on the biggest demo for decades. Marchers started entering Hyde Park while we were still all on the embankment and were still doing so for at least 4 hours. Even when we eventually left, every service station was full of protesters too. Two other coaches also went from W'ton, from the mosques and 102 coaches went from B'ham.
Wolverhampton TUC joined with local mosques for the Day of Action for Palestine, 14-9-02. 100+ letters to MPs were signed on an Information stall in the city, followed by a public meeting at Dunstall Community Centre of 90 which far exceeded expectations. The action was held to mark the 20th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacres and highlight the cause of the Palestinian people. We had coverage on Radio Wolf and Morning Star.

Wolverhampton, Bilston & District TUC
Secretary Report August/September 2002

W'ton TUC EVENTS

Wed 11th September 7.30pm B'ham Council House, Collmore Row CATUC meeting on the effects of Sept 11th 2001 on racism & privatisation

Sat 14th September 11am-2pm stall in Queen's Sq. on 20th anniversary of Sabra & Shatilla massacres.

Sat 14th September 6.30pm public meeting Dunstall Community Centre

Thurs 19th September 7.15pm delegate meeting Civic Centre, open to TUists

Sat 28th September 8.45am W'ton TUC coach from Faulkland Street to London for Don't Attack Iraq demo, £3 unwaged £8 waged

Mon 7th October early start possible trip to 1st day of Friction Dynamics ETs in Liverpool - contact Sec for details

for latest info check our website http://www.wolvestuc.org.uk

Email - if you would like to receive the Trades Council mailing by email, or if you are happy to receive email only and do not require a paper mailing then contact the secretary on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Current State of the TU Movement

The media's "summer of discontent" of trade union militancy has not materialised as some of the ultra-left and right-wing had hoped for. Power cuts and mountains of rubbish have not been seen. Yet the trade unions movement is in one of its strongest positions since the Thatcher years when the Tories introduced swathes of anti-trade union laws to neuter the unions.
Trade union membership in Britain has stabilised at around 7 million, making us the biggest force to be reckoned with in society.
What we have seen this summer is the first council strike in over 20 years when a million workers took strike action over poverty pay. Despite the employers' (already second) final offer, new concessions have been won to bring bottom scale pay rates over and above £5 per hour.
Railway unions RMT, ASLEF AND TSSA have also been forced to take strike action to win pay deals and to protect health and safety. Firefighters are currently running a pay campaign that could result in the FBU's first national strike for over a quarter of a century. Postal workers in the CWU are also likely to resort to action in face of job cuts and privatisation.
Younger and more progressive leaderships have been elected in many unions this year. The NUJ and RMT have both recently elected "wreckers". Blair-supporting officials in the PCS and Amicus-AEEU unions have attempted to ignore the democratic vote of their members, trying to declare themselves leaders. They no doubt took their mandate from George W. Bush. However the elected, progressive General secretaries have now taken up their positions.
Most trade unions have been reviewing their links to new Labour. While virtually all unions have fought to preserve the links to the Party that they originally helped to set up, many have cut the cheques that they send each year. Instead their conference delegates have been deciding to spend their money on political campaigns run by their own unions, to support their own members. Five years of new Labour haven't brought the kinds of changes to society that trade unionists have been fighting for. That is why there seems to have been a leftward shift and return to mass struggle.
Leaders of the other main unions such as the TGWU, GMB, UNISON and Amicus -MSF, which were the mainstay of new Labour supporters, have also been speaking out against government policies that are angering their members. Fights will continue against poverty pay, privatisation and the anti-trade union laws.
Despite improvements to the trade union laws by the government, much is still to be done. There is a need to repeal all these laws and replace them with a Workers' Charter that would fall into line with international law and guarantee the right to strike in Britain. This is exemplified by the struggle of the 87 Friction Dynamics workers in Caernarfon. These TGWU members were sacked after their Victorian employer locked them out for seven weeks following a week's strike over health and safety. He then sacked them in line, he believed with Labour's new laws. They are still fighting for their jobs 14 months later.
Trade unionists just want to be able to organise on the same playing field as the employers.
This summer's trade union action has given confidence back to trade unionists that our membership is more than just an insurance policy. The future is ours, but we must make it happen.

W'ton, Bilston & District TUC Secretary's Report July 2002


Our trades council website is up and running, we've had 100 hits a month since it went on-line.
http://www.wolvestuc.org.uk type in the whole name if your search engine doesn't pick it up.
The position of President is vacant, we are seeking nominations from branches


Music Festivals - need names for bar workers God's Kitchen all nighter, Stratford 27th July extra places available, need to know immediately. Leeds festival 23rd-25th August (need to know by 18th July) and New Year Eve all-nighter, Alexandra Palace, by 6th November

Respect anti-racist festival and Cuba Solidarity fiesta Sat 20th July Victoria Park noon til 8.30pm featuring de la Soul

Tolpuddle Martyrs festival Sunday July 21st Dorset
Coventry TUC have organised a coach which is likely to leave at 8.30am. Contact me asap

The West Midland County Association of Trades Union Councils is planning a seminar 7.30pm till 9.30pm Wednesday 11 September 2002 in Birmingham City Council house. The theme will be the impact that 11 September 2001 had on the TUC campaigning priorities against privatisation and racism. There will be a local and national speaker on each issue followed by discussion.

Paris Trip 2002 - The details of the Paris trip to the Fete de l'Humanite are now available. This will take place between the Thursday 12th September and Monday 16th September 2002. You can obtain the brochure on their website or ring.


Stop the War Coalition demo London Sat 28th September Don't Attack Iraq

From House of Commons Library Research service- estimated annual tax payments 2000/1 indicate that that the poorest 20% of households pay 41% of income in direct and indirect taxes while the richest 20% of households pay 37% of their income. The other income groups pay between 35% and 39%.

Next W'ton TUC delegate meeting: Committee Room 1, Civic Centre, 7-15pm, Thursday 17th September
Next Executive Meeting: Briefing Room 1, 7-30pm Thursday 10th September

2002 Affiliations Affiliated membership now stands at 11,916
amicus-MSF 0558, amicus-MSF Craft 13/D, ASLEF, CWU(W.Mids&Worcs), CYWU, FBU, GPMU, ISTC(Hall Palm), ISTC(Monmore Tubes), NASUWT, NATFHE (Wulfrun), NLBD, NULMW, NUT, POA, TGWU 5/748, TGWU 5/836, UNISON General, UNISON Healthcare, UNISON South Staffs
GMB, NATFHE(Bilston), RMT & UNISON Health branch affiliations are overdue.

 

W'ton, Bilston & District TUC Secretary's Report June 2002

STOP PRESS:
Our trades council website is up and running, check it out
http://www.wolvestuc.org.uk type in the whole name, if it is not being picked up by your search engines.
The position of President is vacant, we are seeking nominations from branches

Music Festivals - need names for bar workers at Leeds festival 23rd-25th August (need to know by 18th July) and New Year Eve all-nighter, Alexandra Palace, by 6th November

Tolpuddle Martyrs festival Sunday July 21st Dorset
Coventry TUC have organised a coach which is likely to leave at 8.30am.
Contact me asap as they may be able to start the coach from Wolves we have enough.

Paris Trip 2002 - The details of the Paris trip to the Fete de l'Humanite are now available. This will take place between the Thursday 12th September and Monday 16th September 2002. You can obtain the brochure on their website or ring.

Friction Dynamics demo - Over 1000 people were clapped by local people as we entered the town square in Caernarfon on June 8th after our march alongside the 87 sacked Friction Dynamics strikers. The strike has received tremendous support from people and even businesses in the area. T&G contingents came from as far away as Scotland and they were joined on the demo by other unions, trades union councils, Labour and Communist Party. Craig Smith a US millionaire bought the Ferodo brake linings company and then as Friction Dynamics started laying off workers, slashing conditions and tried to smash the union. There are outstanding court proceedings in the US relating to pension funds and asbestosis compensation that he has taken.
Bill Morris, TGWU General Secretary pledged continuing solidarity from his union "until justice is delivered." He said " The TGWU has lobbied up front and behind the scenes but I cannot conceive how the Labour government has just stood by for the last 12 months. We want fairness not favours."
Gerald Parry, the Friction Dynamics T&G branch Chair, sacked after 34 years, praised the support of trade unionists. He said that "trade unions were the only defence for working people. We must fight for our jobs and protect our union so that we may hand them over to the coming generations. Craig Smith has a total lack of respect for working people, our culture and our community. Speaking as a member of the Labour Party, we elected the government for a number of reasons. Protecting and defending the likes of Craig Smith wasn't one of them. Craig Smith isn't welcome in Wales."

Justice for Palestine demo Sat May 18th - we organised a coach to London and 36 went on it another dozen people also went down the night before. Reports estimated it at 50,000, though there was no coverage in any of the daily newspapers except the Morning Star which was praised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Next W'ton TUC delegate meetings:
Committee Room 1, Civic Centre, 7-15pm, Thursday 20th June & Thursday 18th July
Next Executive Meeting: Briefing Room 1, 7-30pm Thursday 11th July

2002 Affiliations Affiliated membership: 11,726
amicus-MSF 0558, amicus-MSF Craft 13/D, ASLEF, CWU(W.Mids&Worcs), CYWU, FBU, GPMU, ISTC(Hall Palm), ISTC(Monmore Tubes), NASUWT, NULMW, NUT, POA, TGWU 5/748, TGWU 5/836, UNISON General, UNISON Healthcare, UNISON South Staffs
GMB, NATFHE, RMT & UNISON Health branch affiliations are overdue.

 

W'ton, Bilston & District TUC  Secretary's Report May 2002

2002Affiliations Affiliated membership: 11,726
amicus-MSF 0558, amicus-MSF Craft 13/D, ASLEF, CWU(W.Mids&Worcs), CYWU, FBU, GPMU, ISTC(Hall Palm), ISTC(Monmore Tubes), NASUWT, NULMW, NUT, POA, TGWU 5/748, TGWU 5/836, UNISON General, UNISON Healthcare, UNISON South Staffs
GMB, NATFHE, RMT & UNISON Health branch affiliations are overdue.

The position of President is vacant, we are seeking nominations from branches

Justice for Palestine demo London Sat May 18th - we've organised a coach
leaving 8.30am Faulkland St £3 unwaged £8 waged tickets limited.
Kamaljit Singh 07763 100831

Friction Dynamics demo is now Sat June 8th and not Sat May 25th Bill Morris is speaking. Contact me asap for a place on the minibus to Caernarfon. Check out latest info on www.frictiondynamex.co.uk

Music Festivals - need names for the following events by May 18th:
27-30 June Glastonbury, Somerset & 5-7 July Finsbury Pk, Oasis

also for dance event, God's Kitchen, Stratford 27/8 July (need to know by 8 June)


May Day Festival - 8th year went very well with over 200 again attending the event. Speakers from W'ton TUC, IWA Derek Robinson(opp.) and Rob Marris MP, who missed the Wolves play-off for it! All the entertainment went smoothly. £117 was raised from a collection and from the bar which we will present on the demo and £117 for the Gujarat Earthquake Appeal.


Workers' Memorial Day Sunday 28th April
Biggest turnout ever in the 11 years that we have commemorated Workers' Memorial Day with 50 people in attendance. Speeches were made by W'ton TUC, T&G, FBU & Dennis Turner and the Industrial Chaplain gave a service.
6 wreaths were laid and a WMDay hymn was sung to the tune of the red flag. Civic flags were flown at half mast as a mark of respect.

Tolpuddle festival Sunday July 21st
Coventry TUC have organised a coach which is likely to leave at 8.30am.
Contact me asap as they may be able to start the coach from Wolves we have enough.

The West Midland County Association of Trades Union Councils is planning a seminar in the evening of Wednesday 11 September 2002 in Birmingham. The theme will be the impact that 11 September 2001 had on the TUC campaigning priorities against privatisation and racism. There will be a local and national speaker on each issue followed by discussion.

Next W'ton TUC delegate meetings: Committee Room 1, Civic Centre, 7-15pm:
Thursday 16th May & Thursday 20th June
Next Executive Meeting: Briefing Room 1, 7-30pm Thursday 13th June

W'ton, Bilston & District TUC Secretary's Report March 2002

2002Affiliations Affiliated membership: 11,726
amicus-MSF 0558, amicus-MSF Craft 13/D, ASLEF, CWU(W.Mids&Worcs), CYWU, FBU, GPMU, ISTC(Hall Palm), ISTC(Monmore Tubes), NASUWT, NULMW, NUT, POA, TGWU 5/748, TGWU 5/836, UNISON General, UNISON Healthcare, UNISON South Staffs
GMB, NATFHE, RMT & UNISON Health branch affiliations are overdue.

The position of President is vacant, we are seeking nominations from branches

Our website is in production - details soon

Last month we hosted a delegation from the Friction Dynamics dispute. The dispute at Caernarfon-based car parts manufacturer Friction Dynamics, has been running since April last year when TGWU workers voted 91% for a week's strike over proposed removal of statutory health and safety rights, cuts to holidays and shift changes. After the strike there was a lock-out and scabs were brought in and a pay cut proposed. In June 2001 they were sacked after voting to continue strike action.
We donated £150 and donations have also already gone from a number of our affiliated branches. We hope that branches are in a position to make donations to the dispute.
Sat May 25th W'ton TUC minibus to Caernarfon for solidarity demonstration. www.frictiondynamex.co.uk

Music Festivals - this year's events are detailed in enclosed leaflet which has space for your union logo on the front and is for distribution.

It is now almost certain that the USA will go to war with Iraq this year. US army, navy and airforce commanders and 1000 command and control personnel are already in position in the Persian Gulf, ready to coordinate the 200,000 troops Bush plans to send there. The bombing raids against Iraq by US and British planes which have continued consistently since the supposed end of the war on Iraq, have intensified, Bush is about to demand that US weapons inspectors be allowed into Iraq where they were blatently caught spying last time. He also wants to make economic sanctions that our TUC has opposed even harsher. Bush's plans will bring a further catastrophe of nightmarish proportions to a people who have suffered enough in the last decade, and could easily cause the whole Middle East to explode. We need to keep up the movement for peace here.

May Day Festival plans in progress Wed 1st May, Dunstall Community Centre doors open 7pm, eve of council election day.

• Afghanistan and After, teach-in 10am-4pm, Bordersley Centre, Camp Hill circus, Birmingham sat 23rd March, contact me or www.btuc.org.uk
• Conference to defend asylum seekers - Manchester Sat 23 March
• Sunday 24th March anti-fascist activity, Tipton contact me for details
• Workers' Memorial Day Sunday 28th April 12.30pm wreath laying and speeches at the WMD tree. There will be a service in St Peter's church at 11am directly preceding our event led by the Industrial Chaplain with a theme of WMDay. Please distribute the enclosed artwork in your mailings.
• Tolpuddle festival July 20/21

Next W'ton TUC delegate meetings: Committee Room 1, Civic Centre, 7-15pm: Thu21 March & Thu18th April
Next Executive Meetings: Briefing Room 1, 7-30pm Thu 11 April & Thu 9th May

 

W'ton, Bilston & District TUC Secretary's Report Feb 2002

2002 Affiliations Affiliated membership: 11,726
amicus-MSF 0558, amicus-MSF Craft 13/D, ASLEF, CWU(W.Mids&Worcs), CYWU, FBU, GPMU, ISTC(Hall Palm), ISTC(Monmore Tubes), NASUWT, NULMW, NUT, POA, TGWU 5/748, TGWU 5/836, UNISON General, UNISON Healthcare, UNISON South Staffs

GMB, NATFHE, RMT & UNISON Health branch affiliations are overdue.

The position of President is vacant, we are seeking nominations from branches
New Executive Committee Officers:
Rob Marris (Vice-President), Nick Kelleher (Secretary), John Grant (Treasurer)
Dave Joynson (Minutes Secretary), Don Ash (Publicity Officer) & Satwant Sagoo

The EC is currently looking into the possibilities of setting up our own website. We have been quoted for set-up and running costs with no expertise required to update. Is anyone willing to take on the responsibility of keeping it updated should we set one up?

This month we will be hosting a delegation from the Friction Dynamics dispute. The dispute at Caernarfon-based car parts manufacturer Friction Dynamics, has been running since April last year when TGWU workers voted 91% for a week's strike over proposed removal of statutory health and safety rights, cuts to holidays and shift changes. After the strike there was a lock-out and scabs were brought in and a pay cut proposed. In June 2001 they were sacked after voting to continue strike action. www.frictiondynamex.co.uk

We are also looking for assistance with the organising of this year's May Day rally which will be on the eve of council election day.

Next W'ton TUC delegate meetings: Committee Room 1, Civic Centre, 7-15pm:Thu21 Feb&Thu21 March
Next Executive Meetings: Briefing Room 1, 7-30pm Thu 14 March & Thu 11 April

• Searchlight Voluntary & Public Sector Employees Combatting Hate, Drum, B'ham Thurs 28 february
• Conference to defend asylum seekers - Manchester Sat 23 March
• Tolpuddle festival July 20/21

 

W'ton, Bilston & District TUC Secretary's Supplementary Report 9-1-02

2002 Affiliations (so far)
CWU(W.Mids&Worcs), GPMU, MSF Craft 13/D, NASUWT, NULMW, POA, UNISON General, UNISON South Staffs Affiliated membership: 8,263

Branch affiliations are overdue now so please follow up your own branch since I waste a lot of time doing this over the year which could be spent campaigning.

Nominations have been received thus:
Nominated by:
President NO NOMINATIONS
Vice-President Rob Marris UNISON General
Secretary Nick Kelleher UNISON General
Treasurer John Grant UNISON General
Minutes Secretary Dave Joynson UNISON General

Other members of the Executive Committee:
Nominated by:
Satwant Sagoo UNISON General

A team of five worked for us at G.A.Y. 2002 all-night dance event at Alexander Palace on New Year's Eve. We raised £336, in addition to last year's total of £2,275.


W'ton TUC delegate meetings take place in:
Committee Room 1, Civic Centre, 7-15pm, THIRD Thursday each month except August

Thu 21 Feb Thu 21 March Thu 18 April Thu 16 May
Thu 20 June Thu 18 July no August meeting Thu 19 September
Thu 17 October Thu 21 November Thu 19 December

Executive Meetings 2002 Briefing Room 1 7-30pm
Thu 14 Feb Thu 14 March Thu 11 April Thu 9 May
Thu 13 June Thu 11 July no August meeting Thu 12 September
Thu 10 October Thu 14 November Thu 12 December

WB&DTUC Secretary's Annual Report of Work for year ending 2001
_____________________________________________________________________________________

 2002 offers our labour movement the choice of peace and progress or war and reaction.  George Bush has left us in no doubt about the priorities of the oligarchy that he represents by referring to the coming year as a “war year”.  He rallied support with the ultimatum “you’re either with us or against us” and our government responded with a blank cheque for Washington’s declared war on terrorism.  A selective war at that, since Miami hosts quite a collection of anti-Cuban terrorist groups assisted by the CIA, and US support for the state-sponsored terrorism of it’s Israeli ally.

 Throughout Britain, the US and the EU, emergency “anti-terror” laws are eroding hard-won democratic rights and assisting far-right racist groups to portray asylum- seekers and ethnic minorities as a threat.

 No financial restrictions are placed on the capacity of the top brass to send troops, planes and warships across the world to support war.  Yet pensioners are told that the country can’t afford the level of state pension that was achievable half a century ago.  We are told that NHS and education facilities can only be brought up to standard by private finance initiatives that siphon off public assets into private profit.  Similarly for prisons, transport and local authority services, privateers will be making money out of public service.  Yet the government has the ability to borrow cheaply through the issue of bonds to ensure sufficient investment capacity.  Indeed union reports have shown that it could be cheaper for public services to borrow commercially than being forced into PFI deals.  In the wake of Railtrack, who could ever again assume that the private sector can provide efficiency?  Its only objective is to generate shareholder profit.

 In his new year message, John Monks, General Secretary of the TUC called on the government to stop relying on “gimmicks and spin” and to improve Britain’s ailing public services in 2002.  He accused ministers of lacking a coherent public services policy, instead oscillating between declarations of the need for more investment and announcements of more privatisation.  He went on to predict that 2002 will be “a challenging year for the unions.  There are good signs such as new recognition deals that show that unions can reach out to new workplaces, but continuing manufacturing job losses will hit membership.”

 Manufacturing still accounts for a quarter of jobs in Wolverhampton, though those employed has fallen by 7% in the last 5 years.  Service industries have increased and jobs in education and property have risen by over 50%.  The finance sector and public administration have both had significant job losses.  Unemployment has mirrored national trends, but rates are much higher than  West Midland and national figures.  Major job losses in companies that have been the mainstay of local manufacturing such as at Chubbs and Goodyear will not be replaced without a coherent government strategy to redevelop British manufacturing.

Affiliations - 21 trade union branches affiliated to us; (same as last year) with 12,672 affiliated members, (400 up  on last year), CWU(W.Midlands), CYWU, FBU, GMB(W70/Willenhall), GPMU, ISTC (Wednesfield No.2), ISTC (Monmore Tubes), ISTC (Hall Palm), MSF Craft 13/D, MSF 0558, NASUWT, NATFHE(Bilston), NATFHE(Wulfrun), NULMW, NUT, POA, TGWU 5/748, TGWU 5/836, UNISON General, UNISON Health, UNISON Healthcare.

Meetings averaged 13.4 - this was down on last year.  With some regular delegates unable to attend this year, we will need to look again at bringing in new delegates.  There is still a huge potential for increasing our affiliation base particularly within the TGWU.  Again I urge delegates can assist by contacting unaffiliated branches with which they have dealings .

This year we affiliated to: ACTSA, Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, Cuba Solidarity Campaign, Liberty, National Abortion Campaign, TU CND, TUIREC, Walsall WEA, W.Mids County Association of Trade Union Councils, W.Mids Low Pay Unit, W.Mids CND, W'ton Race Equality Council.

Delegates were sent to the national Trades Union Councils' Conference, Sandwell Unity Conference Against Racism & Fascism, Cuba Solidarity TU conference and observers to the Women's TUC, Black Workers’ TUC and Lesbian & Gay TUC.  We also sent representatives to the Race Equality Council, W'ton May Day Committee and the West Midlands CATUC.  We also had co-optees on W'ton City Council Scrutiny Panels.

Motions .were passed against the US/UK bombing of Afghanistan and against the anti-union laws.  A motion was also passed in support of the Freedom & Justice for Samar & Jawad campaign on behalf of two Palestinians convicted in connection with the 1994 Israeli embassy bombing and denied the right to a fair trial.

Speakers addressed council on a variety of other issues over the year: Searchlight, the anti-fascist magazine, Zimbabwean TUs, against Afghanistani war, NHS anti-privatisation campaign, victimised shop stewards, campaign for repeal of anti-TU laws, history of our banner, Turkish political prisons and stress at work. 
There were reports from the Lesbian & Gay TUC, Women's TUC, Black Workers’ TUC and Trades Councils' conferences as well as regular workplace reports.
We hosted a delegation of senior women trades unionists from Zimbabwe accompanied by their general secretary and assisted at 24hrs notice a group of 10 Turkish marchers on route from Liverpool to London, highlighting the plight of political prisoners in Turkey.

General Election - Our President Rob Marris is now Wolverhampton SW Labour MP and we again have a labour government.  Prior to the election we held a meeting co-hosted with the AEEU and MSF branches, Labour, why a 2nd term?.  As part of a worrying trend of increased fascist activity, the NF stood in W'ton SE and got over 550 votes seemingly without a leaflet drop or campaign, which makes their vote even worse.  As they do, they have claimed to be standing again but there has been no activity.  The BNP continue to cause trouble in neighbouring Tipton but attempts to whip-up race hatred, Oldham-style seems to have failed.

Workers Memorial Day 28th April.  We had less than half of those who turned up last year, maybe because it was a Saturday.  It did work very well though.  We did three local radio stations about asbestos, this year's theme.  Flags were again flown at half mast, more speeches were made, a banner was made to publicise us and we even sung a song, though maybe this shouldn’t set a precedent!
Workers' Memorial Day, will be on Sunday April 28th this year.]

Wolverhampton May Day Festival - we continued our 1st May rally and it was as big if not bigger than last year with over 200 adults and kids, despite not overwhelming support from delegates.  Speeches, stalls, food and kids entertainment went down well though we did have trouble with some of the entertainment not turning up.  We have developed publicity around the event to a limit now with the number of people involved in the organising.  May Day and Workers’ Memorial Day are our main annual events.  Being only a few days apart adds to organisational problems so we should take it upon all of ourselves to at least bring people and assist with publicity.
Peace Work-
In October we filled a minibus down to the first national demonstration against the war on Afghanistan.  Several thousand copies of a leaflet that we produced were distributed in the city centre.  A public meeting was held with TU, Palestine Solidarity and CND speakers and although the turnout was small compared to other meetings held locally by TUCs, we got a write up in the Express&Star and a radio interview.  Subsequently a coach was filled for the anti-war demo in November in conjunction with Wolverhampton Coalition Against the War who did the bulk of the work.

Morning Star - half of the music festival money we raised went on adverts for our meetings and for our book as well as on donations to the Morning Star, the daily paper of the labour movement.
Incidentally, the History of Wolverhampton & Bilston TUC is available from the Secretary £2.50 inc. p&p or at £1 for bulk orders.

Gujarat earthquake a committee was set up to raise £100,000 by the IWA, council, religious groups, Asian businesses and us.  The target is well on the way to being reached but it will be a long term project.

Iraqi sanctions - some work towards ending them was attempted.

Dudley UNISON strike - we gave assistance as best we could until the jobs were finally privatised.  Their action was the longest strike action in the history of the NHS and although they never achieved their objective undoubtedly their struggle has saved many other workers around Britain from being forced to undertake similar action, as many PFI deals have been quietly shelved.

Music Festivals - Wandsworth & Battersea TUC run the Workers’ Beer Company which is now a huge organisiation which co-promotes major music festivals.  Bar workers are recruited by labour movement organisations and their wages are paid to their groups.  The workers get free entry, some free food and beer and the clincher, hot showers and proper toilets!  We have sent teams of young trades unionists and raised £2,275 this year at Resolution 2001, Homelands, Fleadh, Jam in the Park, National Adventure Sports and Leeds festivals.  This is the third year that we have done these festivals and have now raised £6,670.  This is now more than we receive in affiliations, previously our only income.
23 different people joined teams this year for us and with only a few being delegates, it shows the potential for getting new people involved in the trade union movement.  MSF, T&G and UNISON were involved this year.
Leaflets will be supplied in late March to branches for this year's festivals.  Widespread circulation could gain involvement from your younger members and as has happened this year, acted as a recruitment tool. 

Increased security - just after the AGM when Searchlight spoke, the Secretary suffered two arson attacks, hate mail and malicious calls.  In a letter to the police, fascists claimed responsibility but as yet nobody has been caught.  Security has been stepped up including the use of a PO Box for the trades council.

Future Work
We have increased participation over recent years and along with Birmingham and Coventry TUCs are one of the most active in the West Midlands.  However this year has been very much standing still and continuing with the usual sort of work that we have already been involved with.  The TUCJCC’s main priority for the coming year for the work for trades councils is to assist in recruitment to unions.  We will continue this by promoting trades unionism  in our communities through the general work that we do but must we must be ready to work with unions in more direct work.
Thanks to the executive committee for it's work and to UNISON General for copying the mailings.
Nick Kelleher, outgoing Secretary,  9 Jan 2002