Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council
Delegate meeting Minutes 19 May 2016
1. Welcome and Introductions to delegates and visitors plus apologies: Present – Sis Taylor(UNITE-CYW), Halfpenny (NUT), Welch(UCU) Bros Kelleher, Deacon, Pugh (UNISON Gen), Bueno (Sandwell UNISON) Childs(CWU), Marris (UNITE), Brackenridge (Labour Group, FBU),G.Taylor, C.Taylor & Matthews (speakers)
Apologies Bro Juss (GMB) J Grant (UCU). All were welcomed and introduced.
2. Minutes of Meeting: 21st April 2016 agreed.
Matters Arising: 3a) Wolverhampton Worker 1913-1915 newspaper still to be purchased for £150, 3c) Wolverhampton Credit Union still to be contacted re Why we won’t be wearing Wolves strip next season. 4e) Ian Brookfield new chair of West Midlands pensions is prepared to talk to group regarding unethical investments. Bro Deacon to meet.
3. Executive Committee Report and Correspondence of note:
No executive meeting.
1) UNITE-CYW, UNISON Acute and New Cross hospital have reaffiliated.
3) Cuba solidarity raffle tickets circulated and purchased..
5) People’s Post Campaign – Birmingham Saturday June 4th 17:00 to 19:00 Open air rally to put on Trades Council Website, part of national CWU campaign contact NK if interested.
7) Wolverhampton May Day accounts not all monies raised yet, contact NUT for funds. It was agreed Trades Council make a donation to the account.
a] Delegates’ workplace reports– PCS Copies of petition re closure of HMRC office closure circulated. Details of event in Wolverhampton to follow.
UCU On strike in pursuit of pay claim 1% offered- Chancellors getting huge pay rises. 2 days together striking Wednesday 08.00 to 10.30 picket in Wulfruna Street main entrance, hope to take Trades Council banner.
UNISON ‘Restructures’ continue-1,000 redundancies between June 2016 and June 2017. Centralisation and investment of Pension Funds seems dubious no TU representation. Look at Parliamentary Petitions website re pension petition. NK to put link on website https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/125475 Where does pension fund money go? Bro Kelleher made redundant as part of local government cuts. Discussion regarding redundancies followed and how councils can have efficiencies without redundancies. Is process being followed the best? In event of combined authority Sandwell could be a good example. Wolverhampton council should look at officials and management which seem top heavy Some services shed and will have problems funding statutory services soon. Need to fight and oppose national government stand up together with council. There is a lack of fight back from Wolverhampton.
b] Midlands Trade Union Councils conference report None presented as one delegate injured foot and could not go and other delegate did not attend either. Therefore our motion concerning housing did not go forward but may now go to Midlands Trades Council Executive. Kill the Housing Bill.
c] Secretary’s report- Workers’ Memorial Day there was an excellent attendance of more than 60 and free mugs were available for those whom attended. The May Day event was also very well supported with around 300 and 200 meals served. The event was voluntarily filmed for Wolverhampton digital archive. Protect our Steel Industry union and Labour Party campaigning in Wednesfield High Street.Unusually good press from the Express and Star. Plenty of signatures gained and thanks to Trades Council and Bro Brackenridge. Saturday 2nd July Chainmakers’ Festival, Cradley Heath High Street, 11am. Volunteers needed to staff stall.
d] Wolverhampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign – Tuesday 7th June 19.30 to 21.00 Protest in Palestine Speaker – Marwan Darweish at University of Wolverhampton, Wulfruna Street, room MC001. This is a breakthrough with the University. Successful film meeting 6th May lots of interest perhaps due to discussion regarding Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
5. Nick Matthews & Carl Taylor, speakers on How we lost the Co-op Bank and the possibility of regaining it – Bro Matthews is the chair of Cooperatives West Midland, the representative body of cooperative enterprises in the West Midlands. Some of the points he made in his talk are as follows:- Co-op and trades unions relationship has always been fraught so what can we do today? The current state of the Co-op bank. The Rochdale Pioneers who started the first Co-op were from a non-conformist democratic religious background. Trade Unions and the Co-op fell out at the turn of the 1900’s. There is a need currently to develop hybrid co-op Unions for precariats such as the self-employed, musicians union, credit unions, zero hours contracts etc.
The collapse of the Co-op bank £7billion debt caused by acquisitions and mergers such as the Britannia Building Society. There are now more Co-ops than ever in Britain. The co-op movement fitted, ironically, very well into the concept of the ‘Big Society’ in 2012. There was a new Co-op act in 2014 and it is the first time that Co-ops have been a legal entity. Retail Co-ops are doing well as are Credit Unions. There is a very small percentage of Co-ops in Britain compared with other countries and Britain could be considered the most capitalist country in the world. There is growth in niche areas and the sector is doing well from a low base. 2012 UN year of the Co-op. With the bank the solution was to change the governance of the group without knowing or understanding the problem. The chief executive felt the bank group was too small. The blame was laid on the democratic elected members and directors. Directors are now appointed by the main group on the board. It is too much of a bank and not enough of a Co-op. Taken on the banking culture which cannot be done much about. The bank in poor shape writing off assets. One way is just to forget it!! The bank could be returned to some sort of asset for the Co-op group. https://saveourbank.coop/savethecoopbank is trying to use ‘crowd power’ to keep the bank ethical, and may work some way to regaining it. Bro Matthews had a lot to tell us and for us to debate, perhaps could be invited to a future meeting to discuss the Cooperative movement. He was presented with a WB&DTUC 150 years anniversary badge.
6. any other business– none due to lack of time