February 2022

Delegate Minutes of Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council

Thursday 17th February 2022

  1. Welcome & introductions to delegates & visitors. Present: Sisters Whyte UNISON City, Welch UCU, Taylor UNITE, D.Weaver UNITE WM/5203, Hyatt UNITE Community Brothers Martin MU, Juss GMBx13, Childs CWU, Grant UCU, Deacon, Turner & B.Simm UNISON City of Wolverhampton, Vaughan UNISON Staffs, Kelleher, Oakley & Marris UNITE WM/6150, Rahimi Unite, Lowe, Ali UNITE Community, Jones UNITE WM/7116 Coventry Apologies Sis J.Weaver UNISON City of Wolverhampton, McGarrity UNITE Community, C.Simm PCS
  2. Minutes of last Delegate Meeting (December) agreed, no matters arising.
  3. EC Report, correspondence of note:
  • affiliations – 2022 branch forms and fees received this month from ASLEF, RMT, UNISON Sandwell, UNITE LE/372. Delegates urged to chase up other branches.
  • Heart Unions week 14-20 Feb – NK placed Facebook join a union adverts (cost £48 +VAT) 24 days of ads, targetted at working age Wolverhampton people, currently at 9,400 with 108 clicking to join, 60% of which are women
  • John Dunn of Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign will speak at our April meeting
  • PA system QTX Mixcab-15 purchased new, but at a reduced price £205 for PA, stand and waterproof cover
  • all re-affiliations and delegate nominations agreed at AGM have been sent – only Disability TUC observer still to be clarified.
  • Sat 19 March UN anti-racism day demo in London, possibly coach from Wolverhampton.
  • Sat 19 March Britain needs a pay rise! TUC demo at Tory Spring conference in Blackpool seafront https://actionnetwork.org/events/britain-needs-a-pay-rise
  • International Brigade Memorial Trust Saturday 5 March. ‘Betraying Democracy in Spain?’ and will have leading historians of 20th century Spain. Tickets and information https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ibmt-online-conversation-2022-betraying-democracy-in-spain-tickets-265874617137

4. Reports and discussion, delegate reports:

  • GMB – Bro Juss announced his employer Thompsons solicitors & had taken USDAW case of 42 Tesco workers to High Court with Fire & Rehire case and won due to implied term in contract. Outrageous that Post Office prosecuted 700 sub-postmasters due to their Horizon software failure., yet knew of failings. Now proved wrong.
  • MU – Bro Martin appearing with Clarion singers at Yes! Yes! UCS! Townsend Theatre play about Upper Clyde Shipbuilders – details circulated in secretary report – 8pm Tuesday 15 March £7–£8 Newhampton Arts 01902 572090. Birmingham busking ban, MU petition so far over 2,000 https://musiciansunion.org.uk/news/sign-the-petition-to-stop-the-busking-ban-in-birmingham consultation ends 22 Feb
  • UCU – Sis Welch reported 80 branches involved in pension strikes this week, 14-18 Feb; 20 more branches to join further action on pay and precarious employment, 21-2 Feb and 28 Feb-2 March. Many young workers. Birmingham and Keele are nearest strikes, NK and PW to send message of support.
  • UNISON Sandwell request for rally support outside Sandwell Council House on Thursday 24 February at 12:45pm in Oldbury, B69 3DE – emailed to delegates and trades union councils
  • UNISON – Bro Turner reported insufficient turnout for action in recent pay strike ballot. City of Wolverhampton branch office to re-open fully exactly 2 years after first Covid lockdown at end of March. Broad range of workers’ views from wishing to remain fully home working to full return to work. Reported that management had tried to use Team meetings recorded for minute taking only in a disciplinary. Legal advice of GDPR breach and precedent of UNISON agreement of CCTV in ambulances may be useful. UNISON Women’s conference poor attendance.
  • Staffordshire UNISON – Bro Vaughan reported that council has dropped Capita after 9 years of contract running council services on £20million contract as it was a failure.
  • UNITE B&Q Wincanton won a 10.75% pay rise after being offered 4% before strike that began in December.
  • UNITE Community will be leafleting in Wolverhampton Sat 26 Feb for NHS SOS
  • LP – report from Sis Weaver was circulated. Correction made that Merry Hill has LP candidate for council election. LP nationally has removed some of CLPs’ ability to select own candidates. Community and GMB are on LP union committee but not UNISON or UNITE
  • Wolverhampton links to slavery research – report has now been compiled by our researcher Angelina Osbourne into local slavery links; circulated to interview panel members and EC for initial comments – need a separate meeting; responses from Bro Kelleher, Juss & Marris Sis Welch
  • Secretary report – Bro Kelleher circulated;
  • Wolverhampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign – Bro Deacon 12 Feb Puma boycott action worked well with lot of young people engaged, city still very quiet due to pandemic.
  1. any other business: Jim Edwards Wolverhampton RMT member since 1947 has died. Founder of ASLEF/RMT retired members branch, Chair Wolverhampton Tenants Federation. Held TUC Gold badge since 1995.

6. at 8pm speaker: Haydn Jones UNITE Convenor for HGV drivers at Coventry council spoke. 73 HGV drivers from street sweeping, highways, household and commercial waste, have been on strike since the start of the year after pay talks with the employer stalled and a 98.5% vote for strike action was taken. see https://www.unitetheunion.org/campaigns/back-coventry-s-bin-workers/

They are paid between £11/hr and £14.40/hr and are seeking a regrade due to inadequate job description and that the market rate is double their pay – seeking new job evaluation. Talks are restarting on 4th March, but morale is high and the strike, already of six weeks, continues.

The Labour council is spending £millions, bringing drivers to cover the strikers work and at significantly higher rates. Sir Keir Starmer has made unhelpful comments and council giving misinformation about wages. There will be a march and rally on Tuesday 22nd February from the picket line to Coventry Council House with Barry Gardiner MP speaking.

+++ Please donate to the strike fund +++ Coventry council’s HGV workers are out on strike. Please send solidarity and donate to the strike fund in order to help the strikers not be starved back to work. Unite WM/7116 Coventry Local Government Branch Account number: 2030 2665 Sort code: 608 301