WOLVERHAMPTON, BILSTON + DISTRICT TRADES UNION COUNCIL
MINUTES of Delegate MEETING 15th December 2011
1 Welcome & Introductions
Present: Sis: Elson & son (PCS) Taylor (CYWU/Unite) Lele (Iranian sister)
Bros: Purchase & Marris (Unite 5/836), Rahimi (UNITE 0758), Kelleher, Turner, Deacon, Everall, (Unison General), J.Grant (UCU), Sohan (Iranian brother)
Apologies: Sis: Sebastian, Petford (Unite) Kelsey CWU) Halfpenny(NUT), Ceresa, Brearley (Unison) Bro: S.Grant (NUT), Thomas (Community), Halestrap(UCU), Cole(NUT) Childs(CWU), Fraser(Unison General), Juss (GMB), Johnston (TUC)
2 Minutes of last meeting agreed, no matters arising
3 Executive Committee Report – no decisions could be taken as inquorate
a) 2012 Affiliations from Community 17000, NUT, UNITE 5/998, CWU(W.Mids)
b) Responses from McFadden & Reynolds MPs re our request for support for strike – reply to EReynolds
c) Cuba solidarity £40 re-affiliation request agreed
d) Hazards 2012 sponsorship appeal £25 agreed
e) TUC – how to organise a demo was received a couple of days before event! Had done all it suggested. – CIRCULATE TO BRANCH SECRETARIES
f) new model rules for Trades Union Councils
g) reply from Cashman MEP re Mode 4
h) spent: £225 on 12,000 flyers (in 2 orders, could have saved money if had been ordered at same time – UNISON paid part), £150 Dhol players, £4,200 on four half page Ex&Star adverts in lead up to Nov30 plus full page Chronicle advert. £1150 donated so far
a) Thanks letters re organising of demo & stewards – NK
b) Any response to Invoice to Workers Beer Company re low allocation of workers to trade union councils; also invoices for Glastonbury (£214.50) and Leeds (£999.37)? half is sent each year to Morning Star. – JG
c) Approach UCU College re screening of Sylvia Pankhurst film. – NK, Bro.Dwight
a) Letter to Ex&Star re pensions – published 29-11-11
b) News release re Nov 30th
c) TUC Development Grant application £300 for pensions rally/demo
d) 2012 WB&DTUC affiliation forms sent to affiliated unions plus to additional unions UCATT, GMB, UNISON Health & 8 small regional branches, UNITE Banks, TSSA, FDA. Musicians’ union, Need contact for NAPO
e) TUC – trades union councils audit
f) Abortion Rights re-affiliation £40
g) Civic room bookings 2012 confirmed
h) Anti-EDL pamphlets
4 NOVEMBER 30th Pensions strike Wolverhampton
2,000 people, the biggest rally and demonstration in Wolverhampton in living memory.
A testament to the work of the unions involved in the trades union council. This trades union council has shown once again that the power of a collective is greater than it’s constituent parts. Turnout was over three times our predicted size based on our June 30th strike and rally. Nine speakers delivered sharp addresses to the crowd which almost completely surrounded them.
Public work pre-Nov30 – Leafleting of public took place before in Bilston High St, Wednesfield High St, and twice at railway & bus stations. 10,000 rally leaflets distributed, plus several thousand TUC and other union leaflets.
Two UNISON branches put on a Banner Theatre production and stall was run there.
Over 500 strike placards were put up by about 16 stewards on Nov 29th at all schools and council workplaces around Wolverhampton & Bilston.
Express & Star adverts agreed to be placed on behalf of the unions; four half page ads in each day before and up to Nov 30th, plus full page Chronicle ad. Adverts spelt out link between private and public sector pensions and the need for decent pensions for all.
Cost of adverts proved expensive though price was negotiated down from over £7k to £4k – the unprecedented turnout does not show this was necessarily a mistake. Smaller adverts booked further in advance may work in future.
£4,200 spent; donations received from: NUT, UCU (College), UCU(University), UNISON(University) and UNISON (General) who have underwritten the cost
with PCS(West Mercia), UCATT & WB&DTUC pending.
Still seeking funds from branches to cover costs.
We were contacted by the police and council officials to enter into negotiations.
The Army marched on the same day in Wolverhampton and so our initial plans were rejected and the rally point and march route were not what we had wanted. The Army’s march got no TV coverage and no media mention until the following day, as we eclipsed it. The civic piazza where we have smaller events before is out of bounds as we were told any more than 300 people there risks collapse into the car park below. It worked well in the end. We will need to inform the police of future events it seems from TUC guidance received just before the demo.
Risk assessments and route planning was a useful exercise to undertake. Council waste lots of time sending people who say nothing to the Safety Advisory Group meetings we had to attend.
Stewards’ briefings proved essential due to size of rally.
Thanks to PCS who provided all stewards.
It made big difference having stewards who knew each other and worked well together.
Press releases worked getting radio interviews on Radio Wolf News all day on 30th including a follow-up interview, Beacon Radio and Radio WM who broadcast live from the picket lines in Wolverhampton. Central TV showed a little of the demo too. A local UNISON steward was also featured in the Daily Mirror and one of our PCS delegates made C4.
Letters to Express & Star and other press. Some letters were sent and published but it is unclear whether this was co-ordinated by branches. Maybe letter writing sessions at the end of meetings might provide better results than mere general requests to members.
Portable PA system which we borrowed proved barely adequate due to unpredicted size of rally. I’ve spoken to our May day DJs who have outdoor equipment used at Carnivals which could be used if we hire a small generator in future.
400 somosas were provided at the rally by UNISON which went in a matter of minutes which shows the size of the crowd, given most never even saw one!
Our website got a huge increase in traffic in the run up to Nov 30th. The Pensions Justice page was viewed 1800 times. We also advertised free on TUC Pension Justice website, Midlands TUC blog, UNISON General site, Skiddle and Best of Wolverhampton sites. See videos of rally on www.wolvestuc.org.uk unless you work for council as they blocked access!
Facebook event was set up 50 responded as attending about 150 failed to respond, maybe not regular users of Facebook? Lots of discussion afterwards though and sharing of photos and the videos on our site were from supporters we’d not come across, one of whom made contact via Facebook.
Emails were sent out to 140 people on our lists.
Unaffiliated branches – very good contact was made with UCATT, who are expected to affiliate. Info was sent to GMB, UNITE, NAPO, NAHT, UNISON Health and several regional UNISON branches covering the area – their members participated but no response came back from those branches. All branches have been contacted re affiliation to us.
Midlands TUC assigned organisers in each area to co-ordinate activity on November 30th. Our Trades Union Council had already held meetings with local union secretaries and made all arrangements. 2 of the 6 listed organisers were our delegates whom we worked with throughout. 3 others never responded to any contact including GMB and UNITE. We kept the TUC’s designated lead informed of our activities. They provided the Pensions Justice banner used at the front of the demo.
• £300 agreed to be donated to UNISON towards adverts
• Request Risk Assessment for Piazza outside Civic
• Letter of thanks to PCS & Thompsons
• Complain to regional TUC re lack of support from two of five of regional leads for Wolverhampton for Nov 30th.
Union FTOs who were paid that day have been asked to donate a day’s pay to union funds.
Bro. Turner: Key to success was that all unions sat down together and agreed plan and worked together – all public sector unions should continue joint industrial action.
Bro. Purchase said people all stood up in Beaties café to watch the march which was the best he could remember; elsewhere shoppers had also applauded. Millions have no pension at all, need to campaign for private sector. We need next dates for industrial action.
5 Delegates Workplace Reports
PCS held walkouts last week over sickness monitoring as part of industrial action campaign.
CYWU – Youth service – cabinet report on youth service in February.
UNISON expects threats to remaining older people’s homes and possible attacks on national terms and conditions.
WMCATUC – MT now Chair, D Jewell is Secretary. Our Chainmakers motion deadlines for action were amended and delayed due to delay in process to be put to Regional TUC
6 Speaker Rob Johnston (TUC) unable to attend due to illness will book for future
7 Secretary’s Report
Bookings for 1st May to be followed up. Meeting to be arranged in new year
NK & MT had attended Trades Union Councils’ Peoples Charter conference in Derby 10th Dec. Not very inspired. We should use the Peoples Charter as a basis for The Alternative in our future leaflets.
8 Palestine Solidarity
Fund raising activity – 10th December.
Lobby of parliament 23rd November, W’ton MPs were lobbied.
5 Jan meeting at Great Western. National AGM 21 Jan – report to follow.
28 Jan 10.30-12.30 Morrisons leafleting. Have had hassle from police last time
9 AOB Bro.Rahimi provided seasonal refreshments as thanks to delegates for their support.