Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council
Thursday 19th May 2022
- Welcome & introductions to delegates & visitors. Present: Graham Childs CWU; Warinder Juss GMBx13; Clare Simm PCS; Penny Welch UCU Wolverhampton University; Ade Turner & Bob Deacon UNISON City of Wolverhampton; Michael Vaughan UNISON Staffs; Dick Scroop UNISON; Marie Taylor UNITE LE/372; Di Weaver UNITE WM/5203; Ali Rahimi UNITE Community; Nick Kelleher, John Oakley UNITE WM/6150; Sarah Swan, Simon Cardy, Barbara McGarrity, Brian Copeland, Kathy Haynor, Nick Weaver, Tony Barnsley, Barry Gardiner MP apologies Steve Smith RMT, Paulette Whyte, Sharon Dixon, Bob Simm & Jayne Weaver UNISON City of Wolverhampton, John Grant UCU College, Carol Hyatt UNITE Community; Rob Marris UNITE WM/6150
- Minutes of last Delegate Meeting (April) Carol Hyatt was present & Matters Arising: stall booked at Chainmakers festival 2 July, volunteers needed to staff it.
- EC Report, urgent correspondence:
- affiliation 2022 received from UNITE Community and fee from GMBX13. Still to re-affiliated for 2022: PCS W’ton have agreed affiliation at last meeting, UCU University have been emailed again
- Coach to Palestine demo(14-5-22) – Agreed donation of £100 towards coach if requested
- national trades union council conference nr Leicester 11/12 June – NK not be attending as TUCJCC rep due to lack of any Covid safety precautions (just hand sanitiser) Only 12 motions; only 44 delegates registered. Clare Simm PCS, elected at AGM, declined to go in order to save costs for WB&DTUC
- June 18thCost of living crisis – Pre-events Coventry NEU 21 May, Stoke 7 June. local coaches https://www.tuc.org.uk/travel-coach Could hold our own event July/Sept, EC to decide on a venue? DW attending Orgreave rally same day, car seat vacancies. Council tax payers on direct debit have received £150 rebate but rest have not including those on meters – CS to take up with council.
- Midlands trades councils conference Sat 25 June Marie Taylor & Di Weaver elected as our delegates.
- Decision around gender identification of delegates – EC agreed for the minutes, use full names and branches and in discussion continue with terms Brother and Sister.
- possible Blue Plaque for George Africanus – -extensive correspondence circulated to EC. We were consulted on wording for plaque which The Wolverhampton Society shelved 7 years ago and has been taken up by Cnllr Claire Darke. Decided not appropriate for WB&DTUC name to be linked to someone listed as “entrepreneur”. Finance request was noted.
- Searchlight anti-fascist magazine affiliation @ £30 and £150 Orgreave Truth & Justice campaign to be sent still
- UNISON Wolverhampton caseworker job – details circulated deadline 1 June
- 4. Reports and discussion:
- UNITE HGV bin drivers’ strike, Coventry ongoing £50 donation agreed
- RMT Wolverhampton Cleaners’ Strike – fifth two day strike had been held 14/15 May
- UCU – interim Vice Chancellor announced a deficit and the closure of over 130 mainly School of Performing Arts courses. Offer of help sent to UCU – send offer to Unison University too. Several Wolverhampton Councillors got their degrees at Wolverhampton University
- UNISON – Wolverhampton office at Civic outside car park now open. Reluctance from some members to end home working. Due to meet new councillors to see what their future plans are. UNISON Staffs surveying employers to ask what they are doing to help their workers breach the inflation hike.
- LP – TULiason Officer report circulated to delegates. Parliamentary selections still to be held; Warinder Juss to stand for Wton SW candidate.
- Secretary report circulated; Nick Kelleher reported Midlands TUC EC – some Midlands unions have started to lose members due to cost of living crisis.. TUC announced 19 October lobby of MPs – delegates considered this a poor response.
- TUC Pensioners Network, Bob Deacon – in the UK retired women effectively go for four and a half months each year without getting a pension, making today ‘gender pensions gap day’ – the day women pensioners start getting paid.
Bus Campaign – Councillors Clare Simm & Carol Hyatt are now the new leads for Transport on the council.
- Wolverhampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign – 25 went on coach to national demo from Wolverhampton. Sun 17 July is the annual garden party
- at 8pm open meeting with: Tony Barnsley branch Sec Sandwell UNISON – how we beat Fire & Rehire. Victory after 20 month dispute. Six one-day strikes, 7 days leafleting wards of lead councillors. Two demos rallies and lobbies. Leisure centres had been shut during lockdown so striking was delayed. Council had offered to subsidise Sandwell Leisure Trust at start to settle dispute but were refused by the Trust. Sandwell Council has now ended SLT’s contract and brought the leisure centres back in house with the workers back on national terms and conditions. Membership increased from 47 to 101 of the total workforce of 280, which is also covered by GMB and UNITE. Barry Gardiner MP – campaigning against Fire and Re-hire UK law allows for dismissal not only on capability grounds but also for “some other substantial reason”; which is the excuse used for Fire and Rehire on worse terms and conditions. Courts are not challenging the reasoning. Big disputes at Clarke’s and British Gas. Tories opposed publicly rogue employers yet talked Barry Gardiner’s Bill in Parliament which would have outlawed such bad practice. Some rehire on such unacceptable new conditions that people leave, without any redundancy payments. Increasing in-work benefits, using taxation revenue to bolster shareholder dividends. Some Labour local authorities have good employment charters to outlaw fire and rehire in their procurement e.g. Andy Burnham’s in Manchester. We could write to Wolverhampton council with a proposal, after further research.