October 2020

Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council Delegate Meeting MINUTES Thursday 15th October 2020 Zoom virtual meeting

  1. Welcome & introductions to delegates & visitors. Present: Sisters Taylor Unite, Welch & Millar UCU Univ, Simm PCS, Whyte & Dixon UNISON City, Marlyn UNITE Transport, Halfpenny NEU. Brothers Grant UCU, Kelleher, Marris, Oakley Unite WM6150, Rahimi Unite Community, Simm PCS(Assoc), Vaughan UNISON Staffs. Apologies Bro. Deacon, Pugh UNISON City, Juss GMBx13.

  2. Minutes of last Delegate Meeting (Sept) agreed; no matters arising.

  3. EC Report – matters of note:

future speakers: November – Bilston steel works closure campaign and aftermath via GM; December – Freedom for Abdulah Ocelan campaign, Kurdish leader jailed in Turkey –NK to arrange

Body worn video – BLM campaign. Police body cams used in 66% of stop and searches(when mandatory) in 2020; 98% stop and search reports are signed off as adequate despite a third not having mandatory body cam footage. Discussion of our position on BWV – delegates agreed that BWV should record all interactions with the public and other agencies that deal with the police. Clips from meeting added to our website. Write to Simon Foster and union self organised groups.

WMCATUC response from Coventry TUC – NK to write to Midlands TUC seeking closure of WMCATUC and giving all TUCs same access to Midlands TUC.

TUC Development Grant £300 could be sought for BLM research into Wolverhampton slave-links. RM to check with Patrick Vernon if done already. – NK to check with TUC HQ if possible. GM could seek researchers from university.

sent: Health Campaigns Together £25 donation; spent by NK; laser toner £22.99; stamps £7.80; sold WBDTUC 150th anniversary Badge £5

Institute of Employment Rights re-affiliation £50 agreed

Report from Midlands TUC EC & Regional council (Frances O’Grady spoke):

  • Leicester garment workers – Covid outbreaks have exposed garment industry – TUC met with clothing companies to seek pre-membership agreement to get access to workers on site to recruit and organise around pay and H&S. Boohoo and others have previously told MPs that they were working within ethical guidelines. Recent TV reports highlighted possible money laundering and VAT fraud also occurring.

  • Bullivant strikers resolve dispute by securing changes at work – the NUJ chapel was formed earlier this year and includes every member of the editorial team. Four days of strike action were held during lockdown. The dispute resolved deductions from wages at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and detrimental working practices which has seen non-editorial staff taking on editorial work. Plans for five compulsory redundancies were reduced to three, including two voluntary redundancies; the former father of chapel was made compulsory redundant after appeal.

TUC research – Wolverhampton’s social care spending has been cut by £18.9million a 22% cut in spend per capita since 2010; Walsall had a 25% per capita cut whilst Shropshire had a 17% increase. Check source with Midlands TUC then write to Cnllr Linda Leech Chair of Adults

Delegate and branch participation – EC to make contact with delegates missing from zoom meetings. No plans for public activity due to local lockdown. Send out a paper mailing which was discontinued during lockdown.

WM People Not Profit – backed by some Labour MPs and a handful of trade union branches and some smaller union leaders. NK joined a meeting locally dominated by SWP and transferring supporters from “West Midlands Covid Support Group”. Another left group with general aims.

  1. Reports and discussion:

  • delegate reports:

  • PCS – Sis Simm – meeting why BLM is a trade union issue; Sis Simm will raise BWV issue.

  • UCU – Sis Millar – teaching online – Covid outbreaks as union had predicted at universities and their advice ignored. Covid test station opened at Faulkland St nearby. Blended mix of education is taking lecturers more time to prepare. Online education could result in redundancies in long term?

  • UNISON – Bro Vaughan lots of H&S casework especially in schools where anxiety is high. Four candidates in general secretary election.

  • UNITE -Bro Oakley poor online attendances of branch meetings.

  • LP – Sis Simm gave report

  • Secretary report -put online,

  • TUCJCC – Bro Kelleher took part in first meeting. Report copies sent to all Midlands (West) TUCs most not replied to any emails so sent out postal copies. Put on opur website.

5. any other business – Marston’s Brewery 2,150 furloughed workers to be made redundant. The Unite Banks’s branch is not affiliated.

6. Social Media and the Law: public meeting 8-15pm: (previously postponed)  by Dr Grace Millar UCU, presentation of the Institute of Employment Rights’ new publicationfrom the checklist:

  1. Has the material been removed? If not, it is usually best to remove it.

  2. Gather evidence if possible as to the extent to which information was promulgated – if it is a YouTube video, how many ‘views’ did the video have etc?

  3. Ensure that accurate copies are obtained and retained

  4. Apologise and express contrition and promise to do better in the future.

  5. Get hold of the social media policy, any relevant equality or bullying or similar policies and consider all of the same.

  6. Have said policies been made widely available?

  7. Can you distinguish between posts that might bring serious reputational harm to a company and posts that represent employees merely ‘letting off steam’?

  8. Don’t forget that the ordinary mitigation principles in any set of disciplinary circumstances still apply

  9. If reputational damage is alleged, can the employer prove it – was there really any damage?

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