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. email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.