Minutes of 150th Annual General Meeting WB&DTUC Thursday 16th January 2014
- Welcome to new delegates. Present: Sis Taylor(UNITE-CYW), Dugmore (UNISON), Kelsey (CWU), Battell (NASUWT) Bro. Cole & Grant (NUT), Kelleher, Deacon, Turner & Everall (UNISON Gen), Rahimi & Marris(UNITE), MacMillan & Childs (CWU), Juss(GMB), Grant (UCU), Scott (Ex&Star)
Apologies Sis Halfpenny (NUT), Brealey & Ceresa (UNISON Gen) Bro Thomas (Community)
- Minutes of 2013 Annual General Meeting agreed. Matters Arising: Sis Elson was unable to attend TUC Women’s conference as our observer. Halesowen Four (UCU) believed to be awaiting Employment Tribunal outcomes.
3. Presidential Address – Sis Taylor’s full report is printed in the WB&DTUC Annual Report. 2014 is likely to be grimmer than 2013. Need for support for the Black Country Peoples Assembly launch on 25th Jan. Tax evasion is around 25xbenefit fraud despite the current Channel 4’s Benefits St Birmingham programme. The legacy of Nelson Mandela who died in December was discussed. Blair was on his own at the funeral. It was remembered that a Wolverhampton Tory councillor had described Mandela as “a disgusting terrorist” when Nelson Mandela Older Peoples’ home was named. When Mandela visited Iran he was refused a meeting by the regime, with a political prisoner who had been imprisoned 28years, even longer than himself. Thanks recorded for Secretary.
a] Secretary spoke to the Annual Report. Some recent work had been done around the Bedroom Tax after a loophole was found for people in same property since 1996. There is a demo in 144 towns including Wolverhampton on Feb19th against Atos who have been routinely stopping disability benefits, resulting in thousands of deaths. There are 11 food banks and soup kitchens currently in Wolverhampton. PCS strike action also took place in 2013. A joint Black Country Trades Councils application for a £986.64 TUC grant has been successful to launch the Black Country Peoples assembly. These trade union councils have been doing successful joint work since last summer. It was noted that it was something that the West Midlands County Association of Trades Union Councils had not been able to in the last two decades. People’s Assembly is not an attempt at a new political party, though it was noted that Labour Party was ignoring it. It was hoped that the newly elected Executive Committee would have more quorate meetings this year. Reliable local trade unionists needed for this year’s festival work teams.
ASLEF, Community 17000, CWU, NASUWT, NUT, UNISON University, UNITE WM6150 & UNITE WM6151 so far affiliated other branches urged to send in asap.
b] Treasurer – £6,845.11 funds held highest total ever due to record money raised by our volunteers at festivals in summer (though £942.50 to be paid to Morning Star still.) Bro Grant thanked for his work as Treasurer and to Bro. Turner the Auditor.
5. Elections: officer nominations received from UNITE WM/6150 and NUT and the following were elected:
President (Chairperson) Marie Taylor CYW-Unite
Vice-President Rob Marris UNITE WM/6150
Secretary Nick Kelleher UNISON Gen
Treasurer John Grant UCU
Minutes Secretary Marion Halfpenny NUT
Publicity Officer Jenny Battell NASUWT (Sec. to send information about role)
Executive Committee Stuart Grant NUT
Auditor Adrian Turner UNISON Gen
Elections to be taken at next meeting due to lack of nominations:
- other members of Executive Committee
- our delegate Trades Union Councils conference in Cardiff Sat 14th & Sun 15th June [deadline 9-5-13] -Motions for conference (deadline 31-3-14]
- Nomination to be made for West Midlands TUCJCC rep [deadline 31-3-14]
TUC Equality conference observers taking place at Congress House, London.:
- Black Workers’ TUC Fri 11th – Sun 13th April [deadline 7-3-14]
- Disability TUC Wed 28 & Thurs 29 May [deadline 13-4-14]
- LGBT TUC Thurs 26 & Fri 27 June [deadline 2-5-14]
6. urgent delegate reports:
UNISON – Further government cuts mean that the Tory/Lib Dems have cut 52% of the council’s central grant meaning £123million rather than £98million now cutting 1400 jobs potentially rather than the 1,000 already proposed. All elderly services are under threat. Redundancy scheme cut to state minimum after anyone on over £20k pa. Council seems to be refusing legal pension rights for over 55s currently. Day of Action 4th Feb, Lobby on 5th Feb plan for demo at Uppal’s surgery.
7. Minutes from December delegate meeting agreed; matters arising: new mesh WB&DTUC banner purchased £60. Save Central Baths petition was presented and forced a council debate on 5th Feb when there will be a lobby jointly with UNISON. Jean Cooper no longer involved in Friends of Chainmakers; NUT contacts are now assisting.
8. speaker Stuart Grant Wolverhampton NUT Secretary laid out the ongoing teachers’ union campaign which began in 2011 with pension attacks. The Nov 30th national strike day of 2million trade unionists had been a pinnacle which was not sustained. NUT and NASUWT represent 90% of all teachers nationally and better than that locally. Action short of strike action had some local victories. Education minister Gove’s further attacks on national conditions had resulted in regional rallies and regional and national strikes. Workload is excessive and work-life balance is poor (2012 research showed 55% of teachers worked over 56hours/week). Additional work will break the camel’s back. Gove refused to meet teacher unions in December. Teaching is scrutinised in several ways, more so than any other profession. Mass demoralisation; and many leaving. Further privatisation will make the education system unworkable. Finland has the best education system; children start at 6 or 7 years old and work four 45minute sessions per day. As Britain drops down the table; more hours in class is put forward as the government’s solution. Crucial for next Labour government to reverse these policies though it was they who introduced Academies. Today’s executive of the NUT committed the union to further strike action.