November 2022

Delegate Minutes Thursday 17th November 2022, Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council

  1. Welcome & introductions to delegates, visitors. Present(delegates listed in bold): Warinder Juss GMBx13; Tim Martin Musicians’ Union; Clare Simm PCS, Penny Welch, Aiden Byrne, Catherine Lamond UCU Wolverhampton University, John Grant UCU College, Paulette Whyte UNISON City of Wolverhampton; Michael Vaughan UNISON Staffs; Marie Taylor UNITE LE/372; Di Weaver UNITE WM/5203; Zahid Ali & Ali Rahimi UNITE Community; Nick Kelleher, John Oakley UNITE WM/6150; Dane Cross Unite WM/7132; Russell Lowe, Mohinder Singh
    apologies: Steve Smith RMT, Bob Deacon, Sharon Dixon UNISON City of Wolverhampton, Rob Marris UNITE WM/6150
  2. Minutes of last Delegate Meeting (October) agreed; Matters arising Walsall Housing strike suspended due to new offer. 90 people attended funeral of Paul Agg Walsall TUC secretary.
  3. EC Report and correspondence of note:
    a) 2023 EC nomination forms and registration forms have been sent to branches
    b) Links to Enslavement – still need to decide how to deal with issues around Black Country flag and next steps.
    c) Our website has been taken off line this afternoon think because domain name is registered under our old pobox still – I am unable to logon to the Domain Name site. I have spoken to web hosts who confirmed problem. Leftspace will look into it tomorrow morning. [domain name registered to our old POBox address – sorted out and back online next day]
    d) zoom account opened cost £100.72; donation for Assange coach paid to Birmingham TUC £50; Jolt – direct debit to be set up to cover hosting and backup of our website – expected cost £5.94/month from Jan23
    e) Kier Hardie greeting cards available at £1-50ea– Cosmo Rowe, Keir Hardie and Mary & Alan Garner, article by Nick Matthews on our website
  4. Reports, strike updates and discussion:
    ASLEF – striking at Wolverhampton station 26 November
    CWU – striking 24,25,30 and 1st December with more dates in December to be announced
    GMB – seeking national recognition and equal pay claim at Amazon, planning a strike at Coventry, which would be their first strike in Britain. Workers’ Support Group set up in Coventry.
    MU – noted that new national rates for anyone booking MU musicians for events
    PCS – strike ballot achieved over 50%; pay freezes, pension cuts and poor job security, strikes dates to be decided if talks don’t progress. Closing Chapel Court and Wulfrun job centres but Molineux House not big enough to accommodate them
    RMT – train managers striking 20 November; cleaners’ dispute is ongoing
    UCU – striking 24,25,30 November from 7am-2pm. University threatening 1/260th not 1/365th pay deductions, and threats about rescheduling strike work. Local NUS not helping. 3% pay offer yet 12% inflation. We assisting organise a rally on 24th outside university 1-30pm with speakers from other disputes.
    UNISON – NHS pay strike ballot closes 25 November; phone banks being used in Staffordshire successfully to get out vote. Local government pay award accepted and being paid from November to April. UNISON delegates Paulette Whyte and Chris Cooper both received awards for union work recently; congratulations expressed to both.
    UNITE – tram workers settled after 18 days of the planned 53, with reported result of up to 20% for some workers; Dane Cross reported from National Express (Buses) branch where they had won reduced hours for same pay reducing from 38 hours to 36.25 and then to 35.25hrs/wk with increased meal breaks.
    LP – Wolverhampton South West Parliamentary candidate selection postponed due to lack of women candidates. Cnllr Clare Simm has sent motion in support of UCU at university to council.
    Midlands TUC, TUCJCC and Secretary report – written and verbal reports from Nick Kelleher
    Wolverhampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign – leafleting Qu Sq Sat 26 Nov 11am-1pm outside Barclays bank
  5. any other business none
  6. speakers at 8pm:
    Ali Rahimi – further update on Iran over 300 killed in this recent public uprising plus 50 teenagers and children; over 15,000 students, trade unionists and protesters have been imprisoned too. Videos were shown of police attacking protesters and shops. Widespread strikes; consumer boycotts of firms linked to regime eg ice cream production. Internet been closed since September with only sporadic messages getting out through temporary by-passes of government blocks. Visa canclled by Qatar of many activists and jounalists due to travel to world cup; players threatened by regime. 750 soldiers under court martial for refusing to attack Iranian Kurds.
  7. Discussion re Indian student beaten by employer (Conform UK, Collier Rd Wolverhampton WV1 2RD) and video of it put on social media by employer– meeting held outside factory of several hundred, campaign taken over by Sikh leaders and Birmingham IWA, and some from Walsall TUC and Birmingham TUC. Wolverhampton TUC were not invited. Non-payment of wages, assaults, modern slavery issues; police involved but maybe not taken action. All social media in Punjabi. Various companies known as Conform. This company seems only a month old,, based at JAB Property at same address NK produced research he did via Companies House; seems real company maybe Graystone – send this and other info to Council leader for information. Copy info to council leader. Who has issued the student visas? Who has the company laid industrial concrete floors for, and are they complicit in modern day slavery?