October 2010

MINUTES OF MEETING 21st October 2010

BROTHERS: Cole (NUT), S.Grant (NUT), Fraser, Kelleher, Deacon, Turner, Jones (UNISON Gen), Thomas (Community), Chadwick (UNISON CVS), Rahimi, Baynham (UNITE 0758), Marris (UNITE 5/836), J. Grant (UCU), Purchase, Councillor Lawrence.
SISTERS: Halfpenny (NUT), Ceresa, Sharkey & Brealey (UNISON), Sebastian (UNITE 0758), Taylor (CYWU/UNITE), Elson (PCS).
Apologies: Brothers – Childs (CWU), Juss (GMB), Bostock & Clarke (POA), Evans (UNITE).
Sisters – Burth (UNISON), Petford (UNITE 0758), Kelsey (CWU).

1. WELCOME and introductions.
2. MINUTES OF MEETING 16th September 2010 were agreed as correct. Matters Arising:
(3) Donation to Friends of Phoenix Park and Venezuela Solidarity outstanding.
(7) Chavez won the election. Proposed we write a letter of congratulations – agreed.
Proposed we write to President of Chile regarding Health and Safety laws and Chilean miners – agreed.

Lobby MPs on HSE in October. Briefing pack available. Bros. Cole and Kelleher and Sis. Halfpenny will lobby, more volunteers needed.
Lawful Industrial Action (minor errors) Bill – post cards distributed. Little response.
Agreed affiliation to Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Chainmakers victory 23/10/10 1pm Cradley Heath.
TUC not to use name and logo – prohibited.

4. SPEAKER – CLLR ROGER LAWRENCE Leader of Labour Group
Cuts 7.1% per year over 4 years for Local Government. A significant number of area based grants will also be cut and damaged. These likely to be lost. Redistribution of money to protect rural (Tory) shires at cost of (Labour) urban areas. Attack to reduce state to a residual. No intent to reinstate Public Services. These cuts are at a dangerous level and will threaten recovery which is already fragile. David Blanchflower says about the damage it will do.
High deficit this year, total deficit is 56% lower than some other countries like U.S etc. This is not a mess left by Labour Government.
Over dependant on bankers. Labour acted to protect people in Wolverhampton in setting budget. £4m cuts already identified. Need to find another £12 – £14m on a budget of £208.
In the negotiations the emphasis has moved away from Central Government into other areas e.g. Local Government, Higher Education etc. Some grants will be rolled up in other funding. Nearer £75m for Wolverhampton over 4 years.
Control of the Council? Labour will put forward an alternative budget which may be put through. Use reserves to make an invest to save capital. Assumptions about pay, energy prices etc. Need to challenge cuts and work with MPs, need to look at imaginative ways of delivering services.
Relationship between Local Authority and State. Big Society – our vision of our society sharing services, Councils working together. Asset rationalisation, getting rid of unnecessary buildings, regular meetings within house Trade Unions. Campaign for fairness and values. Single issue campaigns work well with specifics.
Priorities are young people, social housing, City centre. Absence of focus on equalities.
Need equalities commission. Investment in training should not be cut. Need quality to continue.
1000 less on payroll of Council since 2007. Labour need to work more closely with UNISON against cuts.
Roger answered questions.
Statutory Services will be given very high priority. Wolverhampton high area of unemployment. Private sector employment did not increase under Labour. Workforce needs to be skilled. Reinstatement of non-statutory members of Scrutiny Panels. Partnership with Trade Unionists, Private Sector and Voluntary Sector. Will be hard to work with health with no PCTs. Money for prevention work is insufficient. Mentally ill, drug, alcohol problems will not get priority.
Some short comings in HR practices. Importance of changing mind set about training. Control of Officers is difficult. Officers need to know what the Councils priorities are.
Good full and frank discussion followed. Message is that there is an alternative way.

a) Anti BNP campaign – Successful leafleting at Wolves v West Ham last Saturday. November 13th/14th is next Hope not Hate campaign. Bushbury North or Wednesfield North to be decided.
b) Wolverhampton Public Service Union Alliance – New leaflet to be produced. Letter to MPs available.
£50 donation agreed towards 13/11/10 Justice for Palestine workshop.
6. AOB None.

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