December 2020

  • Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council

    Delegate Minutes 17-12-20

    1. Welcome & introductions to delegates & visitors Present: Sisters Taylor Unite, Welch & Millar UCU Univ, Simm PCS, Whyte & Dixon UNISON City, Marlyn UNITE Transport, Gayle UNITE WM6150, Weaver UNITE Ret; Brothers Kelleher, Marris, Oakley Unite WM6150, Rahimi Unite Community, Juss GMBx13, Simm PCS(Assoc), Deacon & Turner UNISON City, Vaughan UNISON Staffs, Stoll Dudley UNISON.  Apologies: Sis Ceresa UNISON City, Bro Smith RMT, Grant UCU

    2. Minutes of last Delegate Meeting (Nov) agreed no matters arising

    3. EC Report, correspondence of note:

    1. promotion of Ocalan public meeting – Facebook flagged it up as against their community standards on dangerous individuals and organisations and blocked it and barred NK from paid advertising. Sent to UNISON international officer, local TUCs; requested Midlands TUC circulation but no response.

    2. future speakers: AGM – Patrick Vernon confirmed. Suggestions to invite 2021 Ian Brookfield, Lee Barron, Ann Marie Kilcline, Ravi S, Roger McKenzie, Grenfell campaign, international speaker?, maybe from NZ via GM on Maori civil rights, Hope not Hate?

    3. Body worn video – BLM campaign. Simon Foster’s reply discussed; ECHR article 8 does not cover prevention of crime, video storage issues a misnomer since the issue is about storage and destruction of non-evidence within timescales NK/RM to reply. Need more SOG contacts from delegates – sent to contacts in UNISON, UNITE, PCS, GMB to pass on.

    4. research into Wolverhampton links to slave owners paid state compensation at abolition. GM produced a statement of aims, RM produced a budget of £1850 and sent a motion to his branch for funds, Unite WM6150 donated £500. NK sent a TUC Development grant request £300 (agreed by TUC). NK to send info and financial requests to branches.

    5. TUCJCC report, TUC General Council report to TUCJCC – circulated to delegates

    6. TUC rise of far-right report. Report talks up threat in UK, using evidence as last Brexit Party vote. Available from the secretary.

    7. 2021 branch affiliations have been sent out to branches by post and/or email; form added to website. 2021 affiliation forms received from: UNISON City, UNITE WM6150 – thanks. Officer nomination form sent out – nominations received from UNITE WM6150

    8. USDAW petition has over 100,000 signatures needed to trigger a parliamentary debate. Usdaw now seeks the support of MPs and the Government for legislation to protect retail staff.

    9. Still to send WM CND re-affiliation £15 inc. donation; NK £15.60 stamps

    1. Reports and discussion:

    • GMB – Bro Juss reported that GMB BAME group wants to take up our BWV/Stop & Search campaign themselves.

    • PCS – Sis Simm: DWP planning cuts to Universal Credit interview times

    • RMT – Oxley Sidings dispute, picket last week, limited to 6 – report from branch sec Bro Smith: Firstly we appreciate the offer of help from trades council, also need to be careful on numbers as picket line is in a residential area, and on each night Alstom Management have also been in attendance, to ensure staff are not intimidated and that picket line is operating legally.

      The reason for the industrial action was a pay freeze imposed on staff, initially staff accepted this but management were given their bonuses despite largely working from home. Also in sister companies throughout europe staff have been awarded pay rises despite being laid off over covid.

      Industrial action took place over two nights but was called off due to effectiveness, trains are subject to a 48hr rule, meaning they can go for 48hrs without inspection. It is thought that a 3 day strike may be more effective moving forward, but this is awaiting decision at the RMT national exec. We will keep the trades council updated.

    • UNISON Sandwell – dispute with Sandwell Leisure Trust over threatened changes to national terms and conditions, strike vote gained, but action postponed until 21 Jan in order to link action with GMB.

      UNISON B’ham Heartlands hospital porters – forced 8 day rotas threatened with some staff to incur heavy financial losses of over £400 a month, further strikes: 6am on 30 December to 6am on 1 January 2021 and 6am on 11 January to 6am on 13 January. Media coverage of pickets dressed in ballgowns mimicking ex-Lab Home Sec Jackie Smith, Chair of Trust & Strictly Come Dancing contestant.

      UNISON City of Wolverhampton – Bro Turner: Civic centre now a testing facility, lack of volunteers from overworked staff working from home. Extra day annual leave secured for 2021 but no pay rise. BAME members on all panels now, work that the branch pursued over the last two decades. Restructures and cuts of workers, who often risked their own lives on the frontline, feared to pay for Covid. Wolverhampton Council won an award for food distribution hub at Aldersley, staffed by UNISON members and officers. NK to write to branch.

      UNISON General Secretary election result 11 Jan 2021.

    • UNITE – thanks from delegates to WM6150 donation of £1500; representing a £500 donation to the slavery-links campaign and purchased a laptop for President which she was able to chair the meeting with tonight. NK to write to branch.

      UNITE Bulmers 200 members threatened with fire and rehire on worse terms and conditions by owners Heineken

    • Secretary’s report, TUCJCC report circulated; Bro Kelleher Midlands TUC EC – exploited Leicester garment workers campaign, a bid of £65k from Congress House rejected as they don’t want organisers employed; £30k offered,match funding from unions being sought.

    5. any other business -none

    at 8pm – public meeting: Matt Nathan, Director of the Freedom for Ӧcalan campaign.

    • Yesterday Mandela, Today Ocalanabducted en route to asylum offered by Mandela, and imprisoned since 1999 by Turkey for “treason and separatism”, using a unique judicial process. Abdullah Ӧcalan is leader of the Kurdish liberation movement and the campaign is in solidarity with both his and the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom from over a century of brutal repression and genocide, since they were left stateless after redrawing of colonial borders post WW1 and now separated over Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

      Largest group of Kurds is in East Turkey, about 20% of the Turkish population; they follow the philosophy of Ocalan as are Kurds in Syria, with female autonomy and more women in leadership than the UK & US combined, after 100s years of oppression in the region.

      In recent years, Turkey has invaded Syria to attack Kurds and assisted ISIS in their attacks on the Kurds who defeated ISIS.

      Previously Turkey has bombed, gassed and massacred Kurdish villages. Turkey now imprisons elected Kurdish politicians, journalists, kills trade union leaders, commits war crimes by bombing civilian water supplies and denies culture language, even Kurdish names.

      3,000 Kurdish hunger-strikers around Europe resulted in legal visits after 700 lawyer requests were denied; held as single prisoner on island prison for most of term, now commuted to life, from death. Turkey is trying to isolate his ideas and his call for peace. Turkish Embassy blocked the Freedom for Ocalan campaign through pressure on Facebook.

      Unanimous support for the campaign at 2019 TUC Congress.

      Jan 2020 – The Court of Cassation of Belgium ratified the lower court’s judgement and ruled that Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK is not a terrorist organization. PKK calling for peace not war.

      Around 2,000 Kurds in Wolverhampton, though mostly Iraqi origin and not linked to Turkish Kurds.

      Iran persecutes Kurds with impunity, preferring killing over imprisoning.

      The Kurds have more friends than just the mountains, they have international solidarity from the trade union movement.

    • Agreed affiliation to the campaign plus £50 donation and circulate info to branches; links from campaign to be added to our website

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply