Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council
Delegate meeting minutes 18 February 2016
1. Present – Sis Taylor(UNITE-CYW), Halfpenny (NUT), Dixon, Whyte, Brealey (UNISON)
Bros Kelleher, Deacon, Pugh, Cooper, Parke, Morris (UNISON Gen), J Grant, Edwards (UCU) Purchase, Rahimi, Marris (UNITE), Childs (CWU), Martin (MU) , Goalby (FBU)
Apologies – Bro Macmillan (CWU) , Juss (GMB) , S Grant (NUT)
All were welcomed and introduced.
2. Minutes of Meeting: 17th December 2015 agreed with the correction that Bro G Brackenridge was present.
Matters Arising: 3m) Meeting to be organised soon with Paul Quigley re: exhibition.
3. Executive Committee Report and Correspondence:
No meeting due to apologies.
1) Additional affiliation from UNISON Black Country Health
3) Donation agreed of £50 to Walsall Stop the War Campaign cost of Trident demonstration coach to London c/o Walsall TUC Trident Leaflets available.
4) Request from Wolverhampton Federation of Tenants Associations for minibus to demonstration against the Housing and Planning bill on March 13. A discussion followed and Bro Deacon clarified whom the group was. More links with them would be good perhaps through UCATT and UNISON to send affiliates. It was agreed following the discussion to donate £50.
6) Affiliation requests were agreed to – Venezuela Solidarity £40; Peoples’ Assembly £20; Abortion Rights £40; Labour Research £47.50
8) West Midlands County Association of Trades Unions March 19 Conference on the new West Midlands Combined Authority at TUC, 24 Livery Street, Birmingham – Sis Taylor and Bro Childs to go.
9) Discussion of venue for next meeting as Civic Centre not available.
11) Midlands TUC AGM 27 Feb– Bro Kelleher to attend as our delegate
public liability insurance renewal agreed
A play regarding women in the miners’ strike ‘Tea and Tenacity’ wanting crowd funding for the drama group in order to put the production on, noted
a] UNISON– This week issued with notice of another 1,000 redundancies over next 12 months. Local Authority organisation in constant state of flux and restructure. in middle of consultation on pay. Wolverhampton Homes position relating to council may change becoming a company?
b] NUT– Simon O’Hara, an experienced teacher and the NUT Representative at Small Heath School, Birmingham was suspended from school on 7 January. he was the active NUT representative campaigning against academisation and management issues. The school will not become an academy now but Bro O’Hara has still not been reinstated. There is a petition which is on the WB&DTUC Facebook page. https://www.change.org/p/the-ieb-at-small-heath-school-and-birmingham-city-council-reinstate-simon-o-hara-no-academy-at-small-heath-school
c] Other delegates’ workplace reports -none
d] Secretary’s report- The Trades Council benefits from funds raised by volunteer trade unionists working on bars at Latitude and Glastonbury festivals. Need to apply to work by 21st March.
Dudley TUC open meeting 1 March, Lamp Tavern, Dudley 7pm. Dave Smith- Blacklisting Support Group Secretary, activist and co-author of ‘Blacklisted’ Then music by Tim Martin
Love Unions campaign (literature never arrived) excellent event in Bilston and Wednesfield with photos of supporters and flowers given out – very effective. Photos on Wolverhampton TUC Facebook page.
e] Wolverhampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign – West Midlands Pension Fund seems to now be out of hands of Local Authority regarding any ethical discussions.
Liaison with Labour group on council to have a meeting with Jasbir Jaspal chair of the Pensions Committee to find out what is being done. Pension Funds are not Public Funds but are deferred benefits. The new rules undermine local democracy.
Mike Edwards, speaker on the future of TUC Education – Bro Edwards runs trade union studies courses through Shrewsbury college. These are presently funded by the state in the furtherance of good industrial relations. Trade Union Studies teaches the rules of engagement and Health and Safety at Work. It is very successful at Shrewsbury College.
Union representatives need to be trained. There were 6 colleges offering Trade Union Studies in the Midlands Derby, Stoke and Solihull have closed, leaving only 3 departments. Trade Union Studies are being attacked by the government and Bro Edwards appeals to the Trade Councils for help. Quoting from ‘A History of Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council 1865-1990’. It is clear that WB&DTUC supported the Workers’ Education Association in 1924 and the more militant Labour colleges.
It has been known that cuts were coming. Courses are fully funded this academic year. 2016-2017 50% cut in funding, transition year from state to self-funding. 2017-2018 no funding at all. this is likely to lead to all Trades Union Studies Units closing in the country.
The TUC is giving a one off £1.4million payment to top up the short fall in 2016 – 2017 from the Eleanor Roosevelt fund.
Shop Stewards are continuing to enrol. Union Representatives Levels 1 and 2, Health and Safety Levels 1 and 2 secure at present. Level 3 diploma courses, employment law, occupational health and safety will go this year. as will university access courses. If people enrol on a diploma course by 31st July it will pull down funding from this academic year. Blended learning partly on line may be a way forward.
The Skills Funding Agency which funds Further Education will go in 18 months time. Further Education will be devolved to the regions.
In the Midlands there might be some political influence through labour councils. Trade union Education as we know it will disappear.
There is confusion between Union Learn and Trade Union Education. Some unions such as UNITE and UNISON already offer their own courses. Do not know effect of combined authorities, UNITE Education Centre In Birmingham could also drain resources from Further Education Colleges.
Bro Edwards was thanked for his explanation of the situation and answered questions. He was presented with a WB&DTUC 150 years anniversary badge.
6. any other business Bro Kelleher nominated for election to Trades Union Council Joint Consultative Committee.