June 2020

Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council Delegate Meeting MINUTES Thursday 18th June 2020

venue: Zoom virtual meeting

  1. Welcome & introductions

    Present Sis. Taylor UNITE CYW (Chair), Whyte UNISON City, Millar UCU, Simm PCS DWP; Bro Oakley, Kelleher, Marris UNITE WM6150, Rahimi UNITE Community, Simm PCS Assoc, Grant UCU, Juss GMB

    apologies Sis Ceresa & Dixon UNISON City, Bro Pugh, Deacon UNISON City

  2. Commemoration of bro Des Halestrap Rob & Nick attended along with family as part of dozen allowed.

  3. Minutes of last Delegate Meeting (May) correction – GMB report Thompsons workers 10-20% pay cuts not due to furlough; no matters arising.

  4. EC Report 10th June (full attendance of EC online) – correspondence of note:

  1. follow up on last month’s meeting minutes;

    1. written to council offering return of Wodenstock grant; (UNITE WM6150 has agreed we keep their donation for use next year)

    2. Bro Kelleher apologised for not sending agreed schools letter; 5-point plan was too vague and only NEU listed them on its site. Moment has passed and government backtracked after parents rebelled. Sis Simm agreed to write to Cnllr Brookfield.

    3. re- affiliations sent PSC £25, Campaign for TU Freedom £35

    4. possible future speakers Grace Millar Social Media & the Law;

    5. David Star, the “Bernie Sanders of wrestling” who has been persecuted trying to organise the professional wrestling industry through Equity it is believed via Bro & Sis Simm. Wrestling still going on in the US unprotected.

    6. Freedom for Abdulah Ocelan, Kurdish leader jailed in Turkey, supported by most trade unions.

    7. Bilston steel works closure campaign and aftermath – W’ton Uni Phd students(Paul Barnsley & Greig Campbell), via Grace Millar

    8. Black Lives Matter – discussion at delegate meeting planned. Event last Sunday in West Park, 1000 there; attended by Bro Marris & Sis Millar, was dominated by religious speeches. Wolverhampton and Black Country profited from producing goods for use in slave trade. Deaths in police custody in UK and disproportionate number of black people in prisons has little publicity. Delegate meeting via Zoom – agreed to refund Sis Simm for use of Zoom Pro.

  2. Chainmakers’ virtual festival Sat 4 July 11am need to register see our website

  3. West Midlands TUC JCC rep nomination for brother Kelleher appears to have been accepted and unopposed (TUCJCC minutes), though no official communication so far .

  4. TUC Pensioners’ Network over 75s TV licence campaign (BBC delayed until 1st Aug) see letter on our website


  5. Matchgirls Strike 1888, request to add Wolves TUC on call to save grave and to write to cemetery -Sis Taylor written; reply received but without answering any points made, will forward to campaign.

    Further correspondence

  6. Brazil’s Coronavirus Catastrophe – How Bolsonaro Created a Public Health Disaster. Wednesday June 24, 7pm. Register for VSC Zoom here

  7. Usdaw online survey conducted last week found:

    92% opposed large shops opening for more than 6 hours on a Sunday.

    66% feel they are pressured to work on Sundays.

    51% want fewer hours on Sunday with only 3% wanting more.

  8. Emma Reynolds returns to lobbying, for TheCityUK; Reynolds said the role offers a new challenge “at a crucial time for the financial and related professional services industry.”

  9. Reply to request to make public what procedures are in place to ensure the WM Local Government Pension fund is not complicit in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and international law. – from Cnllr Milkinder Jaspal (Chair of Pensions Committee )“we cannot nor will put the members pension at risk. I hope that gives you the confidence but if not it is up to individual members if they wish to transfer their pension to another provider. Obviously I will be sorry to see you go.” Sis Simm as Vice-Chair of Pensions Committee raised issue of no investment where property is on occupied land. PSC has published links of WMLGPS investments in linked companies. Bro Marris raised that companies with questionable ethical links are not a good investment.

  1. Reports and discussion:

delegate reports:

  1. GMB – Bro Juss – Black workers met to discuss high levels of Covid infections and deaths in BAME community.

  2. UCU – Sis Millar – university sector preparing for September. Wolverhampton Uni has much lower debt than some and has a lower overseas intake. Some prestigious universities are expecting to fill empty places by attracting students away from others. Increased unemployment could raise student intake and currently application numbers seems good.

  3. UNISON – Sis Whyte -Black workers group to meet 25 June to discuss high levels of Covid /BLM

  4. UNITE – Bro Oakley -WM6150 held Zoom branch meeting but much lower than usual attendance of physical meetings.

    6. at 8pm Black Lives Matter campaign video https://youtu.be/YJ8094TOqQk & discussion

The Black Lives Matter campaign started 6 years ago as a hashtag set up by women in America in in response to vigilante and police attacks on black people. It is a movement of individuals without leaders. #BLM is about empowering people and seeking equality in all spheres. The response to the video of George Floyd’s death has brought BLM to international prominence.

In America main demands are around de- funding police where police violence is disproportionately aimed at black people .

in UK, BLM needs a program of demands locally and nationally.

  • Wolverhampton TUC discussion of possible campaign directed at police and crime commissioner and candidates – police officers should have working body cams and that they be kept switched on and not just at the officers discretion. Currently in West Midlands all police have access to body cams, but this is not the same as them using the cams.

  • increase voter registration to stop Tory changes

  • changes to education curriculum

Marcus Rashford showed that free school meals could be extended this cost just £110 million.

Institutional racism in Britain in many organisations including the NHS, when there is evidence that the BAME front line workers have been disproportionately affected recovered by Covid-19.

Wolverhampton council where they are systemic discrimination in the grievance and disciplinary policies against black workers.

More key workers are BAME so have less time to homeschool their children.

3 years after Grenfell Tower there is still no accountability.

All anti-discriminatory legislation excluding disability has been introduced by labour government.

1 in 5 Labour MPs are BAME which is higher than national average. Tories only have 6% and in England only.

Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis where he was to support trade union sanitation workers. he was killed in fear of uniting trade unions and black equality this threatened the establishment.

Campaigns for over 40 years have existed to remove slavery linked statues in britain. now in a few months many have been taken down forcibly or voluntarily. Others are in discussion as to whether locations demonstrating civic pride are appropriate.

7. any other business – none

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