February 2024 minutes

Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council

Minutes of Delegate Meeting Thursday 15th February 2024

  1. Present (delegates in bold): Metka Patocnick, Penny Welch UCU University; Michael Vaughan UNISON Staffordshire; Ali Rahimi Unite Community; Nick Kelleher,John Oakley, John Clark, Thomas Mahon, Michelle Gayle UNITE WM/6150; Marie Taylor UNITE LE/372 Apologies: Graham Childs, Kieran Bott, Paulette Whyte, Tim Martin, Si Goode, Warinder Juss, Rob Marris
  2. Minutes of last Delegate Meeting (December) agreed; Matters Arising – George Hickman’s operation seems successful
  3. EC Report and correspondence of note:
  • 2024 ADDITIONAL affiliations received from Staffordshire UNISON and UNITE LE372. Requests sent by post this month to other branches. MV to follow up UNISON branches.
  • Annual report 2023/4 has been delivered/sent out to unions, LP/Councillors, about 100 left of the 400 printed at cost of £190.51
  • annual Public Liability Insurance purchased @£100-80 from 9 February
  1. Treasurer’s annual report -not ready to be circulated for next meeting
  2. ASLEF strike update: by Si Goode, ASLEF Drivers Company Council Secretary Avanti West Coast:

*Minimum Service Levels – LNER were the first company to indicate they would be introducing minimum service levels during the last round of industrial action and ASLEF immediately informed

them we would be calling an additional 5 days of strike action in response. They immediately backed down from their stance which was a small victory. Avanti West Coast had indicated they wanted to consult on minimum service levels during the last round of action but failed to do so we believe because of the ASLEF response to LNER.

*Strike Days – ASLEF has announced strikes and an overtime ban at two train companies – LNER and Northern – for their persistent failure to comply with existing agreements. Members at LNER will take strike action on Friday 1st March for a failure by the company to adhere to the machinery of negotiation (‘regarding London North Eastern Railway’s abrogation of the diagramming and rostering agreements, and continued failure to adhere to the agreed bargaining machinery’). Members at Northern will also take strike action on Friday 1st March for a failure by the company to adhere to existing agreements and members will take action short of a strike (a ban on non-contractual overtime) on LNER and Northern from Thursday 29th February to Saturday 2nd March.

At this moment no further action has been called for any of the TOCs involved in the current dispute.

*Rest day working (overtime) agreement & pay – AWC wrote to us on the 12th January wishing to reinstate the rest day working agreement that was there until the 25th November 2023. When they wrote to us then we informed them then they would have to substantially improve on the existing remuneration package available and subsequently no agreement was reached. In the letter dated they outlined their need for an agreement but there was no improvement on the previous remuneration package. Needless to say we rejected their proposal. There have been no further talks either nationally or company by company for those TOCs in dispute.

*New trains & productivity proposal – We are inching towards an agreement which will see the introduction of the new Class 800 Hitachi fleet for frontline services and the training of members to drive the new fleet. To no ones surprise the training and introduction is way behind schedule because of their bit piece approach and their insistence of so called ‘industry experts’ despite our warnings. Despite indicating they wished to discuss ‘productivity benefits’ with us no meetings have been called.

*ASLEF weekend school – guest speakers included Di Weaver – Wolverhampton & Bilston Trades Council who spoke on the role of the Trades Councils

  1. delegate reports:

GMB – Amazon strikes at Coventry 3 days this week

PCS – new General Secretary to speak at Mary McArthur lection 22 March sandwell – must register – see our website

UCU – General Secretary election underway

UNISON – has a £16m overspend nationally, much money is held individually by branches. Strikes announced 23 and 29 February at Mitie Dudley Group 78% turnout of 300 members with 96% for strike. £1700 lump sum paid to NHS workers and other Mitie outsourced cleaners as part of national pay deal has not been paid in Dudley. Letter of solidarity to be sent

UNITE members at Mitie Dudley Group dispute on going.

  1. Secretary report – circulated
  2. TUCnational Protect the right to strike demo in Cheltenham. Organisation of our coach worked well with Walsall TUC and Sandwell UNISON and liaison with Midlands TUC. No duplication of coaches in W.Mids except in Birmingham.18 seats on our coach were spare, publicity by some unions was not very good, raised this with Midlands TUC who as a result did just a second FB post. In W.Mids, coach organisation was largely undertaken by TUCs rather than by union FTOs. Pat McFadden replied well to letter in opposition to Min Service Levels. We received a TUC Development Grant plus £200 from City of Wolverhampton UNISON. Promised £150 UNISON Sandwell. £16 net sales of tickets. Coach £645, Facebook adverts £12.
  3. Heart Unions 2024: Sat 10 February Wolverhampton market; Sun 11 February Bilston market –many asked to join up and over 500 people spoken to about trade union membership, very successful; merchandise from Midlands TUC and national TUC all used up. Volunteers from UNITE, UNISON, GMB and ASLEF; thanks to Tom Mahon who was a natural recruiter. Repeat stall later in year if more merchandise available.
  4. TUCJCC report circulated – model rules sent to trades co for discussion
  5. Workers’ Memorial Day 28 April 2024 (Sunday) – theme for day agreed “A New Deal for Safe Work”? asking speakers to talk about aspects of LP New Deal 4 working people – Warinder Juss, Sureena Brackenridge and BCUIM confirmed. Pat McFadden and UNITE’s Annmarie Kilcline invited but no response received. Reply received from Council and Mayor re WMDay Plaque, meeting to be set up.
  6. May Day – Roger McKenzie agreed to speak. Election on 2nd May – invite local councillors
  7. TransAtlantic Enslavement Links research update – report circulated by Rob Marris. Penny Welch gave verbal report on progress. Branches urged to donate for next stage of research.
  8. Wolverhampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign – protest at Pat McFadden event planned – details to be sent out.
  9. Workshop discussion led by Michael Vaughan UNISON on how different unions organise, looking at
  • mobilising membership and dealing with apathy
  • communication within your union
  • workers attitude to industrial action and decision making in disputes
  • own union democracy and bureaucracy
  1. any other business – question of illegal deduction of earnings discussed – 3 months less 1 day to lodge tribunal claim.