Feb 23 minutes

Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council Delegate Minutes

Thursday 16th February 2023

  1. Welcome & introductions to delegates & visitors Present (delegates listed in bold): Clare Simm PCS Warinder Juss GMBx13; Graham Childs CWU; , Penny Welch, Edda Nicolson UCU Wolverhampton University; John Grant UCU College; Bob Deacon UNISON City of Wolverhampton; Marie Taylor UNITE LE/372; Nick Kelleher, John Oakley, John Clarke, Michelle Gayle & Rob Marris UNITE WM/6150; Ali Rahimi UNITE Community; + apologies Dane Cross, Barbara McGarrity, Michael Vaughan, Di Weaver
  2. Minutes of last Delegate Meeting (December) agreed no matters arising.
  3. EC Report and urgent correspondence:

HeartUnions, WMDay, 1st May activity planned; strike rally for 16 Feb called off as CWU strike postponed.

Affiliations/renewals -International Brigades memorial Trust £30 emails are received; Cuba Solidarity (magazines are received) £40; Institute Employment Rights £70 gives online access, emails and booklets are received; Venezuela Solidarity £40 emails are received; national Palestine Solidarity £25 emails are received; delegates agreed

public meeting was organised by Birmingham IWA and held Pegasus with assaulted Indian student 70 attended, no outcome, except still being pursued with police. Several of our delegates attended in their personal capacities.

Report given on Sat Feb 4th – protest held in Cannock against refugees being housed in a hotel nearby, seemingly led by Patriotic Alternative a new fascist group recruiting former BNP and National Action supporters and try to recruit at similar events in towns around country. Counter protest traded insults while police protected them and locals looked on from sides. Give report to Midlands TUC sec.

request from BASWA (non-tuc social workers) via Midlands TUC to us, to talk for 15 minutes about regional poverty in the Black Country. – noted since not part of TUC while UNISON recruits social workers

Morning Star – we still have £302 advert credit (4x8cm advert is £40 at trades co disc rate)

future of zoom delegate meetings – agreed they have been more accessible for those with family commitments and attendances have been better and easy access to speakers online. Delegates have been meeting up during activities and at pickets but EC asked to look at social event for delegates.

4. Reports, strike updates and discussion:

  1. Right to Strike March 1 Feb report PCS, ASLEF, UCU, NEU strikes Wed 1st February 2023. Excellent turnout from strikers and supporters, impressive size march and rally of 400. The march proved easier to organise this time. Strikers pleased and extensive Ex&Star coverage, even if editor rewrote the article to downplay the impressive show of working class industrial muscle in Wolverhampton. 500,000 on strike nationally, with 84 Protect the Right to Strike rallies.
  2. GMB – first uk strike at Amazon in Coventry end of last month and again 28 Feb, 2 March and 13-17 March. 350 workers offered 50p on their £10-50 wages, want £15/hr. Send message of solidarity.
  3. UCU – picket planned next Tuesday with pancakes and a teach-in. New interim Vice Chancellor at University.
  4. Secretary report – Nick Kelleher. HeartUnions activity – stalls held last weekend Wednesfield (not busy) and Bilston (busy). Gave out the cards which we had produced; we have enough left for next year; went well; 11 volunteers took part, from ASLEF, CWU, GMB, UNISON, UNITE and LP. Our Join a Union advert is currently on Instagram and doing better than last year so far. May Day Committee donations to be sought to cover £2,000 estimated cost.
  5. Wolverhampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign – Bob Deacon excellent speaker at public meeting Sat 25th Barclays action in Queen Sq, Sat 13 May London demo 75th anniversary of Nakba, the mass displacement of the majority of Palestinian Arabs in 1948.

5. any other business – Audited accounts were presented by John Grant outgoing Treasurer of some 40 years. They were agreed and thanks expressed by all delegates for the outstanding service he has provided to the trades union council and are pleased that he will continue to take part in our meetings and activities. Michael Vaughan is our new treasurer.

6. speaker at 8pm: Nick Kelleher gave a report from a TUC meeting today on the TUC’s online tools:

TUC’s Solidarity Hub https://www.tuc.org.uk/solidarity-hub tools for unions in dispute offering direct advice on organising plus a tool for raising strike fund/hardship donations online.

Megaphone https://www.megaphone.org.uk/ – TUC’s online campaigning tool – you will need to set up an account https://www.megaphone.org.uk/users/sign_up To view any events posted near you and to add your events (bottom right corner of page) see https://www.megaphone.org.uk/events -use to advertise strike rallies, workers memorial day etc Their database of local supporters seems small but can only grow, and you can contact attendees; it has generated some new contacts in our area. The Start a Campaign section is an online petition generator.