Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council Minutes 20th February 2014
1) Present: Sis. Taylor (CYW-UNITE), Halfpenny (NUT), Kelsey (CWU), Watson, Dixon(UNISON Gen), Malarova (Roma) and three other sisters from Wolverhampton Roma. Bros. Deacon, Kelleher (UNISON Gen), Marris, Rahimi, Purchase(UNITE), Juss (GMB) Childs, MacMillan (CWU), Balaz (Roma uk)
Apologies: Sis. Battell (NASUWT) Baugh (UNISON), Bros. S Grant, Cole (NUT) J. Grant (UCU), Turner, Everall (UNISON). Delegates were welcomed and introductions made.
Minutes of last delegate meeting were agreed at AGM. AGM minutes enclosed for information only
1.lobby/protests against Wolverhampton cuts called by UNISON: Tuesday 4th March 5.30pm; Wednesday 5th March 5.45pm and Wednesday 19th March 5.45pm all at Civic Centre , Wolverhampton.
2. Jeanette Scroop former NUT activist and Partner of Dick Scroop former Trades Council activist died this month as did Gurmael Singh of the Indian workers Association.
3. Midlands TUC Development grant and reserved fund 18th October 2014 TUC demonstration in London Britain Needs a Pay Rise. Agreed to book coach and seek grant from fund.
6.Resignation Sis Battell as publicity officer.
7. Agreed to renew affiliation to West Midlands CND £7 requested but £10 agreed.
10. Agreed to renew public liability insurance £184.
11.Protest at Tory Party conference in Birmingham. Help to organise demonstration on first day of conference Sunday 28th September. Planning meeting Thursday February 27th at 7pm Unite Office, Broad Street.
12. Peoples Assembly national Recall conference – London Saturday 15th March. Up to 10 delegates can be sent agreed Bro Kelleher and Sis Taylor. Local meeting Monday 31st March Lych Gates Tavern 7.30pm Wolverhampton town centre.
13. Information about a Paul Robeson performer was circulated to consider for a future talk or performance.
16. ATOS Healthcare protest was successful. There were about 24 people present. Ex & Star coverage and quote from secretary.
19. Twelve branch affiliations received for 2014 still awaiting about 14 more.
20. Shrewsbury 24 Campaign Possible performance of new play by Townsend productions ‘United We Stand’ To be explored with UCATT
a)Sis Taylor is our delegate to Trades Union Councils conference in Cardiff 14th & 15th June
b) No nominations for West Midlands TUCJCC rep or TUC Equality conference observers. None filled and will not be on next agenda
a) UNISON– re threat to council jobs – A report was sent to the meeting by Bro Turner. 2,000 council job losses ⅓ workforce. Cuts to terms and conditions. 35 hour week but not time scale. Council will be devastated. Likely that adults and children’s services will be privatised. Council says it will not have enough budget to cover statutory services. Government is not funding in full. Youth services is partially statutory but not ring fenced. Wolverhampton to cut more than 70% to youth service. All youth workers sacked and 8 project workers to be appointed. Charity to provide services from one central location. How can a Labour council implement these Tory policies?? There was no prior discussion with trade unions. Measures to move away from national collective bargaining. Meeting Monday with UNISON and the chief executive. No voluntary redundancies? 2,000 compulsory. Proposal for freezing annual increments could have equal pay implications. Once services are gone they will never be replaced. How can the voluntary sector pick up the shortfall
b) NUT– National Strike Action by Teachers in England and Wales – 26 March 2014 This is in pursuit of the disputes that Michael Gove has caused with the profession around pay, pensions and conditions. In the run up to the strike the NUT will engage in all talks and encourage our members to leaflet parents and engage with politicians. “The responsibility for this situation lies fairly and squarely at the door of this intransigent Education Secretary. His policies are losing the coalition parties votes. It is time he changed his attitude and listened to the genuine concerns of teachers.” There is likely to be a rally in Birmingham.
c) Fire Brigade Union report on industrial action campaign- No delegate present to report
d) UCU/ UNISON strike action in University and Higher Education – There is a planned Anti-Casualisation Day of Action Wednesday 6th March. No delegate present to report.
e) Other delegates’ workplace reports – CWU following privatisation currently have a good agreement with the employers
f) Black Country People’s Assembly launch report – There was a grant from the Midlands TUC for Wolverhampton and Bilston, Dudley and Sandwell Trades Councils to launch. It was a successful event held at the Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton on Saturday 25th January 2014. There were about 100 people present with Stephen Morrison-Burke, Birmingham Poet Laureate and Tim Martin as entertainment. There were workshops :- Break the Bedroom Tax, Collective Gardening, Countering the far right, Defending NHS, Fighting local services cuts and No Cuts to Public Transport. About 20 people took part in sessions. There were 80 new sign ups with 50 from Wolverhampton. It was agreed to thank Bro Kelleher for all his hard work co-ordinating and catering this event.
g) Secretary’s Report -The focus of this report was the dates of future events (see web site) The following dates were highlighted – Wednesday 26th February Walsall Against Cuts meeting 6.30pm Royal Hotel WS1 2EL, Tuesday 4th March Dudley at 7pm Fords Dagenham speaker Lamp Tavern, High Street, DY1 1QT
h) Midlands TUC Pensioners’ Network – AGM Friday 21st March, Derby. Agreed to nominate Bro Deacon as chair, Sis Washbourne as chair and Sis Whitehouse as executive member of this group. There is an issue concerning the winter fuel payment for pensioners which has not changed from £200 since it was introduced in 1997. there is a campaign to increase the amount in the light of increased fuel prices over this time. Letters to M.Ps over this matter were distributed and completed ready for posting.
i) Palestine Solidarity Campaign– A report was circulated. There is leafleting Saturday 1st March at Sainsbury’s St George’s from 10 am to 1pm. The 2014 PSC sponsored walk will be held in July in the stunning scenery of South Snowdonia organised by Sue Shreeve, formerly of Wolverhampton. Bro Deacon will be seeking sponsors. Bro Marris drew delegates attention to a Case in Covent Garden which had been overturned meaning it was now not illegal to sell West Bank products which have been made in illegal Israeli Settlements.
5) Speakers – Marcela Malarova and a delegation from the Wolverhampton Roma Community are seeking help in establishing a community group. this session took the form of a dialogue following an introduction from the group. There are about 100 Roma families from Czech and Slovak backgrounds in Wolverhampton.
They aim to open a centre in Wolverhampton for, advice, interpretation, children after school and holiday club. Suggestions included linking with a group who currently meet in Lea Road URC on Fridays; Citizens Advice Bureau; Zip Theatre; Bro Rahimi’ s own experience and help from St Patrick’s RC Church in Stafford Road; Hope Family Project already operating in Heath Town.
Another Roma Speaker from Birmingham Bro Balaz talked about the general picture and steps that were needed:
(i) Importance of English language – adults cannot speak English.
(ii)Getting a room in a church or community centre
(iii)Ways of getting help, fund raising and donations
(iiii)Human rights and support of Amnesty. In the Czech and Slovak Republics Roma children automatically receive ‘special education’ at special schools and are not allowed to be part of mainstream education.
The group were wished good luck with their project and the delegation presented with copies of History of Wolverhampton, Bilston and District Trades Union Council 1865- 1990
Any Other Business – healthcare data info to be put on website NK