Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council Minutes 16 October 2014
24 Present: Sis. Taylor (CYW-UNITE), Halfpenny (NUT),Battell (NASUWT), Jones (speaker), Lowe (UNITE), Ashcroft(UCU), Arnold plus 3 other sisters
Bros. Deacon & Kelleher (UNISON Gen), Marris, Baynham & Purchase(UNITE), Bueno & Maybury (UNISON), Cole (NUT), Childs & MacMillian (CWU), Lord, Bueno del Carpio (speaker) & 2 other brothers
Apologies: Bros. Juss (GMB), S Grant (NUT), Thomas (Community)
Delegates were welcomed and introductions made, with interpreter. The chair reminded that there would be 2 guest speakers so contributions needed to be concise.
Minutes of last delegate meeting (September) agreed,
Matters Arising 4. Women Chainmakers Festival – Friends of Women Chainmakers another meeting planned for 2nd December? Information to be put on website.
Executive Committee Report and Correspondence of note:
a) 4. No response from strictly Black Country
b) 7. Over £2,500 from festivals and donation to Morning Star still owing.There was a glowing mention in the paper for our donations.
b) 13. MP McFadden did not support recognition of Palestine although MP Reynolds voted for. Letter to be sent to McFadden asking him to explain his actions. PSC reported that at a recent parliamentary lobby it was very hard to gain Mc Fadden’s interest.
c) 2. Re-affiliation agreed £30 to TU Friends of Searchlight
c) 3. Affiliation agreed £60 to Colombia but to include letter to state that the affiliation fee seems very high compared to similar organisations.
c) 4. Postcards for Old Tree Nursery Campaign in mailing and circulated at the meeting.
c) 6. October 18th coach cancelled due to lack of response. So all on UNISON coach leaving at 7.00am.
c) 7. An Evening with Michael Mansfield QC , Arena Theatre, Friday 14th November 7.30pm £5
c) 8. “United we Stand” play about injustice to Shrewsbury 24 building workers in 1973, Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury – October 30, 31, November 1 – 7.30pm, October 31 – 2pm.
c) 9. Film “Still the Enemy Within”, Lighthouse, Wolverhampton, 3 November – 7.45pm
c) 10. TUC report about defending the Independent Living fund which faces cuts.
c) 11. 22 November, TUC Women’s committee, White Ribbon Day, Wolves re Notts, details from Sis Crawley UNITE unclear what volunteers might be asked to do.
a) Ernesto Bueno Del Carpio – deaf advisor at Citizens Advice Bureau, Wolverhampton Cuts have been made to benefit advisors and debt specialists. The cuts for deaf people are completely different as the deaf advisor can talk to them directly. Ernesto cannot make telephone calls but has an interpreter with him. Letters need to be translated into British Sign Language. Assistance for clients filling in forms. Ernesto works independently with supervisor support. A hearing person can read English, take phone calls in the way deaf cannot. A large number of deaf people are unable to read and write. When the support is gone where will it come from in future? Three years ago there were 22 recommendations from the council but nothing happened due to lack of funding. The funding has now been cut to one day a week. British Sign Language has to be undertaken face to face so it is expensive for access to work , legal responsibilities under equalities to access council services. bro Purchase suggested service will not be lost as he is on CAB board. Petition has been set up which Trades Council can support . Put link on website. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/petition-to-save-wolverhampton-deaf-services?
Bro Del Carpio and the Interpreter were presented with a ‘History of Wolverhampton and Bilston District TUC 1865-1990’.
b) October 13th and 14th national pay strikes -13th Health workers striking but no report received from them. Bro Marris suggested it was poorly supported. There is little affiliation from health workers unions and PCS to trades council. Any information will be put on website. 14th suspended as improved pay offer.
c) Britain Needs a Pay Rise –Demonstrations 18th October, London – coach now 7am from Faukland Street.
d) Other delegate workplace reports – NASUWT- Changes to Teachers Pay and Conditions hence dispute regarding deregulation. recruitment and retention of staff difficulties leading to “poaching” eg math dept. Discussion about “free” schools followed Child Protection a worry in these schools. It is believed that the Labour Group needs a strategy for education in Wolverhampton. It was agreed that education should be a discussion at a future meeting.
Speaker – Carolyn Jones, Director of the Institute of Employment Rights (IER)
THE TRANSATLANTIC TRADE and INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP (TTIP) – a proposed trade deal between the European Union and the United States
The IER is a network of academics, educationalists and trade unionists with an alternative agenda. Sis Jones explained the significance of TTIP to us.
A free trade agreement between US and Europe =60% of global gross domestic product. Talks on TTIP in 2013 and due to be completed in 2015. Negotiations are in secret between the EU and US government and meet every 2months. There is a 30 year ban on the documents being available(official secrets!) not even MPs or MEPs can gain access. Proponents believe TTIP will bring winners -create growth, employment, prosperity – €120 billion. There is already free trade agreements in place. Could be less than 1million jobs between the US and EU.
Three main pillars of TTIP -deregulation, privatisation, and shift of power to large corporations. There are very few tariffs between the US and EU currently but TTIP will bring about removal of regulatory barriers so there will be less difference between Europe and the United States e.g. environment, food safety values, health and safety, financial etc. In Europe products cannot be produced without risk considered but in the United States the approach is reversed. The EU banned genetically modified produce but in the US 70%of food is genetically modified. Europe banned beef with bovine growth hormones but it is permitted in the United States.
The private sector will be expanded into new markets. 70% new contracts with the NHS are private. There will be further lucrative contracts in Health and Education through the area of public procurement.
War on Want Director said that TTIP will be the biggest transfer of power from government to national corporations. Investor State Dispute Settlement will be the way cases are taken between the US and Europe. A secret court in private, World bank, Washington, bypasses our system of justice. Corporations can sue governments for reduction of profits. the government plays down these concerns. American companies have sued nations 127 times in the last 15 years.
Workers rights are impacted but the government says not the case. Nearly half the American States do not use Right to Work law which secures the right of employees to decide for themselves whether or not to join or financially support a union. There is no agreement with employers. The International Labour Organization – the US signed 2 conventions.
Opposition to TTIP is growing but time is not on our side. Another similar agreement was made with Canada in September known as CETA, which is the blueprint for TTIP. this is still to be agreed by European Council and Parliament. it is possible to lobby MEPs to stop CETA going through.
What can we do? TUC motion at congress opposes TTIP and CETA. Possible campaigning through European Citizens Initiative, 38 degrees, War On Want, George Monbiot of the Guardian, Join the NOTTIP mailing group – trades council to affiliate.
Sis Jones was thanked for her detailed explanation of TTIP and presented with a ‘History of Wolverhampton and Bilston District TUC 1865-1990’.
There was time to return to the remainder of the agenda.
e) Secretary’s Report – Most already covered. Lobby of full council outside Council Chamber Level 4 Civic Centre from 5 to 5.30 pm Wednesday November 5th led by UNISON.
f) Black Country People’s Assembly – Meeting at the Lichgates Monday 20th October 7.30.
g)Wolverhampton Palestinian Solidarity Campaign – Saturday 1st November leafleting outside Sainsburys. Continuing to pursue council’s position on Veolia, NHS Trust also has a big contract. Contact concerning this with Trust Board, Jeremy Vanes Chair. Socialist Health Alliance?
Any Other Business Send congratulations to Evo Morales on re-election, agreed