Minutes of 152nd Annual General Meeting WB&DTUC Thursday 21st January 2016
1. Present: Sis Taylor(UNITE-CYW), Battell (NASUWT), Halfpenny, Bolton (NUT), Welch (UCU), Cox (CND Speaker)
Bro.S.Grant (NUT), Kelleher, Pugh, Turner, Cardy & Everall (UNISON Gen), Purchase, Bolton (UNITE), J Grant (UCU), Childs (CWU), G Brackenridge (FBU + Labour Group WCC), Traxson
Apologies Bro Macmillan (CWU), Rahimi (UNITE)
2. Minutes of 2015 Annual General Meeting: agreed. Matters Arising:
(2)Still no progression on an update of the book ‘A History of Wolverhampton, Bilston and District Trades Union Council 1865 – 1990’. A volunteer is needed to undertake this task. (4)Tasmania Tinplate workers research has reached a dead end and the names of the workers transported are not known. Half a dozen 150 anniversary badges sent to Tasmania. (7) The speaker at the last AGM Bro O Jones (UNITE) The dispute was settled at MoD Donnington, a month or so later
3. Presidential Address: Sis Taylor’s full report is printed in the WB&DTUC Annual Report. We now have Bro G Brackenridge as our link to the Labour group on the council. 2 Comrades lost since last year’s AGM – Bro A Millington a former president of the Trades Council and Bro N Brackenridge who sadly died the day after a Trades Council Meeting. So it was a great shock to delegates. It was agreed at the executive that 2 plaques of Bro N Brackenridge exemplifying his ideals and using a photograph would be presented to his son and Bro Goalby ( FBU) who spoke at the funeral. Bro J Grant organised this. Bro G Brackenridge spoke about his father Bro N Brackenridge was emailing David Cameron regarding the Trade Union Bill and Ian Duncan Smith regarding family tax credits when he passed away. The money raised for ‘All Hands Disaster Relief’ following the funeral now totals £15,000 and many thanks are given for this. A tribute was given to Bro Kelleher for all his hard work done on behalf of the Trades Council throughout the year. All members showed their appreciation of his commitment through ‘Hear, Hear’ and a well deserved round of applause.
a] Secretary – discussion of the Annual Report and Plan for 2016: Bro Kelleher’s full report is printed in the WB&DTUC Annual Report. An increased number of branches affiliated but there are 2,000 less members. Branches are decreasing and a smaller number of delegates. our plan of work follows the TUC priorities and this becomes our plan of action. Activities arise for work generated by TUC nationally and local unions. Website now accessible on mobiles and tablets as well as personal computers. Information on the minimum wage very popular. Wolverhampton has the highest infant mortality rate in the UK and a speaker will be invited on this topic later in the year. This situation reflects how Wolverhampton fares in the economic statistics. The first Midlands TUC Women in Work Week was held in 2015 to be repeated in 2016 with events on the run up to International Women’s Day on 8th March. 8 – 14 February Love Unions week during which we will be taking part in activities locally in Bilston and Wednesfield, postcards and leaflets ordered. The John Harris Miners’ Strike exhibition work is still in progress. Thanks to Bro Kelleher for an excellent report.
b] Treasurer: £7294.45 funds held in bank. Money to be used for active campaigning. Bro J Grant congratulated on a very clear statement of accounts and thanked for his hard work as Treasurer and to Bro. Turner the Auditor.
5. Elections: officer nominations received from UNISON General and the following were agreed en bloc:
a)President (Chairperson) Marie Taylor CYW-Unite
b)Secretary Nick Kelleher UNISON General
c)Treasurer John Grant UCU
d )Vice-President Rob Marris UNITE WM/6150
e) Minutes Secretary Marion Halfpenny NUT
g) Auditor Adrian Turner UNISON General
f) other members of the Executive Committee including Green Officer and Publicity Officer positions vacant.
h) observer for each conference
LGBT TUC Thurs 23 & Fri 24 June [deadline 4-3-16]
Black Workers’ TUC Fri 15 – Sun 17 April [deadline 10-4-16], Sis Dixon UNISON has expressed interest and this was agreed providing she gives a report.
Disability TUC Thursday 19 – Friday 20 May [deadline 29-4-16]
Women’s TUC no documents received.
i) Trades Union Councils Annual Conference delegate at Sheffield Saturday 4June to Sunday 5 June, keep on future agenda. Bro Keheller nominated if he accepts TUCJCC nomination. Report February meeting following discussion with other Trades Councils. NK
6. urgent delegate reports:
NUT – Bro S Grant described the situation for Simon O’Hara, an experienced teacher and the NUT Representative at Small Heath School, Birmingham who was suspended from school on 7 January. As NUT School Rep, Simon has been active and effective in representing the views of NUT members at the school in opposing the school becoming an academy and to unreasonable management initiatives. It is believed that, but for his trade union activities, Simon would not have been suspended from school and indeed would be unlikely to be facing disciplinary action at all. Members at the School both NUT and NASUWT will be taking action against the change of status from 19-21 January. Unions are encouraged to send messages of support to David Room at firstname.lastname@example.org. A petition to defend Simon and to say ‘no to academisation’ of Small Heath School has attracted over 2000 signatures – at change.org. Bro S Grant will keep Trades Council up to date. JG
UNISON – The council is due to set budget 3 March. Feedback next meeting from GB. 52% of annual grant has been cut since 2010. There has been a lack of opposition from Labour councils to these savage cuts. Services are being decimated. UNISON has lost about 1,000 members to date. In April last year Local Government Pension Funds were set up with a new body- Pension Boards. There are 5 to 6 members’ seats. UNISON has 2 seats and Bro Turner is now on regional and national seat. 2 Things are happening – 1)The chancellor Osborne says pension funds are going to have to merge so they are at the level of £35 billion. The Midlands will be forced to form a pool with other pension funds.2) Support British Foreign Policy with Investments. The definded contribution Scheme and defined benefit scheme are changing and there is uncertainty as to the end outcome. A discussion followed amongst delegates regarding pensions and work. The latest pay offer is 1% including April 2015 to April 2016. National insurance will increase by 1.4%.
7. speaker: Gill Cox West Midlands Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Why Jeremy Corbyn is right about Trident – http://www.cnduk.org/campaigns/no-to-trident This website reinforces a lot of the arguments Sis Cox made in her speech. We should not review Trident. There are 4 submarines with 8 missiles each having 5 warheads. One submarine is active. Missiles and warheads are being upgraded and replaced. These are made in the USA. Vanguard Submarines date fro1992. They will cost £100 billion to renew – £25 billion to build, £60 billion in running costs and £15 in decommissioning. The amount of money is immoral. The ‘deterrent’ is militarily useless as it could not be used defensively without catastrophic results. There is a more likely possibility of cyber or terrorist attack. It creates an unsafe world. As signatories to the Non- Proliferation Treaty trident should not be renewed in good faith. Threatening to use nuclear weapons is illegal. Trident should not be used to bolster power. It is a waste of money. Some jobs will be lost if Trident is not renewed but the money saved could be used to fund alternative jobs. If Britain has nuclear weapons it encourages other countries to become nuclear powers. If Britain renounced the weapons it might encourage others. A discussion followed. regarding jobs at Barrow shipyard, Belief of the population that the bigger the nuclear weapons the safer they are. War ‘is a legitimate way of making money from weapons and the reconstruction that follows’ -so called ‘Disaster Capitalism’. Naomi Klein’s book ‘ The Shock Doctrine, (The Rise of Disaster Capitalism)’ is worth reading about this matter. If chemical weapons can be banned then why not nuclear? Results of opinion polls about Trident are dependent on the question asked. There is a Stop Trident Demonstration 27 February in London. Stop the War coach from Falkland Street at 7.45am (phone 07952 647479and West Midlands CND coach from Birmingham (booking http://www.wmcnd.org.uk )The speaker was thanked for her clear explanation and received a copy of ‘A History of Wolverhampton and Bilston District Trades Union Council 1865 to 1990’ and a WB&DTUC 150th anniversary badge.
8. AOB : There was mention of the Council’s equality report. There are 24,500 with disabilities in Wolverhampton and the council employs 79. Apart from in schools ,less than 100 under 25s are employed by the council. Black workers are twice as likely to be disciplined as White workers. UNISON is in discussion regarding this report. Consider a discussion at a future meeting.
There is likely to be no free parking for delegates attending Trades Council meetings from 1-2-16.