MINUTES Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council Delegate Meeting
Thursday 19th December 2019
Welcome & introductions to delegates & visitors present + apologies
Present: Sis. Taylor UNITE-CYW, Millar & Welch UCU University, Simm PCS Bro. Kelleher & Marris UNITE WM6150, Deacon & Pugh UNISON City, Foxall & Williams UNITE W’ton Homes, Simm PCS, Baker UNITE, Rahimi UNITE Community, Childs CWU
Apologies: Sis. Ceresa & WeaverUNISON City, Ahmed UNITEWM6150 Bro Oakley UNITE WM6150, Grant UCU, Cole NEU, Vaughan Staffs UNISON, Taylor UNITE WM6150, Juss GMB
Minutes of November delegate meeting & matters arising
Minutes agreed, matters arising: (Marris) 4a, Ian Brookfield will not be able to attend as speaker. (Deacon) 4c, Women’s bus pass information has been put on the website. (Marris) 4l, have not heard from Warinder Juss yet. 4N, Greg Brackenridge is happy to be involved again. He expects to be able to secure funding as long as community fund is renewed. The fountains issue should be getting sorted. (Nick) £300 added from TUC Development Fund. Dates discussed, possibly 19th July, check for clashes with Tolpuddle, Durham etc.
EC report and Correspondence
No EC Meeting held as close to election. Bro Kelleher
2020 Affiliations: number of delegates is still too low when compared to attendance. Forms are being hand out to take to branch meetings.
Heart Unions Week: Will be doing events on 8 – 9 Feb. Theme this year is around interviewing public, vox pops.
Www.SpyCops.co.uk: New Website. Easy to access public campaign.
Season’s Greetings: Former delegate and Shrewsbury 24 member Marion Halfpenny has sent greetings and card.
USDAW: contacted about campaign to take long break over Christmas, petition circulated.
Workers Beer Company: confirmed for the wages from Tolpuddle. Will receive in new year. Bro Marris raised a vote of thanks for the work to be recognised. Meeting carried.
PCS: Sis Simm, Mark Serwotka re-elected as Gen Sec. Vote was closer than expected.
RMT: Bro Kelleher, still no contact from officers, Bro Marris added that strikes were called off in part.
UCU: Sis Millar, the ballot for strike action was done branch by branch and Wolverhampton didn’t reach the 50% turnout needed. A sign of wider issues.
UNISON: Waste negotiations ongoing. Branch office has been moved.
UNITE: Bro Foxhall, Negotiations at Wolverhampton Homes are ongoing and morale is low.
Secretary’s Report Bro Kelleher, we need to get more people involved and try to bring new people to meetings. Delegates get voting rights so it helps be more democratic.
Wolverhampton Palestine Solidarity: Bro Deacon, HSBC protests on November 9th were rained off. Further work was held off due to general election. There will be protest at HSBC in Bridgnorth on 11th Jan. There has been slow but growing opposition from Christian groups to the protests so anyone who can join and build numbers is welcome. Appalled by the BDS ban for local authorities.
Midlands TUC Pensioners Network: Bro Deacon, pretty poor year as issues have been ignored due to politics, election, Brexit, etc. Bus tour is in March April, last year was run alongside Unite. Was a financial success but was poorly advertised and had no activism from Unite members. Midlands TUC are contacting Unite to try and fix issues.
5. General Election 2019 discussion
Wolverhampton SE 53% turnout – almost lowest in country. 1,200 Labour majority, anti-Corbyn pro-Remain MP 67% Leave vote; 27% loss of votes 2017 Labour won by 8,500
Wolverhampton NE 55% turnout. 4,100 Tory majority over anti-Corbyn pro-Remain MP with little campaigning by Tory67% Leave vote 29% loss of votes 2017 Labour won by 4,600 Emma Reynolds was not liked locally, many LP worked elsewhere.
Wolverhampton SW 68% turnout (slightly above national average). 1,700 Tory majority over MP linked campaign to Corbyn. Tory was bankrupt company director 13% loss of votes 2017 Labour won by 2,200
One third of voters voted for Labour’s radical shift to socialism.
2017 – similar manifesto, same leaders; but respecting Brexit vote. Total Labour vote relatively high still at 10.3m; 12.9m in 2017, 9.3m 2015, 8.6m 2010, 9.5m 2005, 10.7m 2001, 13.5m1997
Tory “Get Brexit Done” slogan was key to result, even Tories post-election were claiming that – LP had no clear or valid position. Johnson – a UK clone of Trump
Brexit main issue, Corbyn took blame, new leader will need to withstand media onslaught.
Corbyn effect? – five years of relentless smearing and attacking by press, Labour MPs , spread by social media, general anti-semitic smear with little discussion of any examples or evidence in media. One of our delegates has received anti-semitic remarks locally
MPs in Wolverhampton & elsewhere still being parachuted in
Corbyn came across well – but public’s criticism was shallow and unsubstantiated.
Many members, MPs and trade unions opposed Brexit and had little respect for referendum.
LP front bench support for Remain gave mixed message to Brexit respect position
Tories held onto votes, LP lost to LD, Brexit and SNP who had clearer Brexit positions
More use is to develop a post-Brexit plan
Tom Watson, Deputy leader representing the broad-church, resigned called for Tory vote and got it. Attacks on LP by Ian Austin and others unprecedented – turned off electorate – low turnout in many labour areas
Poor quality councillors resulted in low turnouts
LP MP defectors all lost seats
no obvious LP leader all will be criticised eg Milliband/bacon sandwich
6million trade unionists 1/2million Labour party members, still biggest in western europe
link between LP and trade unions diminished. no Momentum link to local trade unions
last May – Labour retained all but one seat retained in local elections, with Bushbury North lost by just 8 votes. Ian Brookfield elected as new Council Leader The council now has 50 Labour and 10 Tory.
support for LP in South East & London and among those aged <45
LP cant take BME vote for granted
In 18 months of being a councillor, one delegate had seen a move rightwards in W’ton NE, LP being blamed for everything while instigating Tory govt cuts
inequality of income reduced while inequality of wealth increased and unemployment reduced, mortgages cheap: austerity not affected all working class> average wage £22k in WMidlands and more food banks and homelessness under Tories
A delegate works in northern ex-mining communities and they seem to have no hope for future world can be a better place – need to fight on – trades council work does this
9 years of austerity knocked the stuffing out of people – the demand for respect for referendum result was put in advance of social and economic needs
Meeting Close and delegates partook in the seasonal refreshments.