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Wolverhampton & Bilston TUC 2020 Plan & 2019 Report of Work

What we did in 2019 & our 2020 Plan

Jan 2019 - we showed The Plan film, which our trades council helped to fund, of Lucas Aerospace shop stewards' innovative designs for future non-military production. Feb - Tinplate workers plaque. Graham Dodd branch secretary of Wolverhampton Craft branch of Community union, the successor branch of the Tinplate workers, Council Leader Roger Lawrence, Labour councillors, all the Wolverhampton MPs and delegates from Wolverhampton, Bilston and District TUC took part in a rededication ceremony to unveil the plaque in its new prominent position in the ground floor Canteen of the Civic Centre.

speaker from Police Spies Out of Lives campaign MP's offices, eighteen Family Justice campaigns have all been spied on. We bought around 30 second-hand copies of Undercover- true story of Britain's secret police, and gave them out to delegates and visitors. Public enquiry expected until 2024, 12 civil cases by women ongoing, only one with legal aid. Motion arising was passed at Midlands TUC and the Midlands Trades Council conference. New website launched www.spycops.co.uk

#heartunions weekend - even more successful involving 15 different delegates and supporters in Wednesfield & Bilston, along with music from Tim Martin. Unite, Unison, CWU, PCS, MU, GMB, FBU, UCU and Students union. Over 300 people engaged with and given trade union recruitment info, details of our TUC and a Valentines flower, see www.wolvestuc.org.uk for pics

Sat 8th Feb 2020 11am-1pm Wednesfield market Sun 9th Feb 2020 11am-1pm Bilston market & Fri 14th Feb Wolverhampton. Our very popular activity, giving out flowers while having union conversations. Plan to make videos of public comments and feelings about unions.

March – Wolverhampton and Walsall PCS workers took 2day strike action over Universal Credit.

Lee Barron, Secretary, Midlands TUC presented TUC Silver Badges for trades union council long service to our President Marie Taylor and VicePresident Rob Marris. Engraved tankards were also given to both.

April - Dr Francisco Dominguez, National Secretary for Venezuela Solidarity Campaign gave a report of the gains of the Bolivarian revolution and current US backed attempts to overthrow the elected socialist government. Britain has seized £1billion of Venezuelan gold reserves. Voted to affiliate to VSC.

Unite Demo in Swindon for Honda workers, attended by WB&D delegates, there are now plans to close costing 3500 jobs in a town smaller than Wolverhampton.

Workers' Memorial Day seventy people attended, speakers from UNISON on Mental Health, UNITE and GMB on dangerous substances. Remember the Dead, Fight for the Living.

2020 Wolverhampton Workers' Memorial Day: 12.30pm Tuesday 28th April @ Cenotaph, St Peter's Sq. Wolverhampton WV1 1TS

1st May Wolverhampton May Day Committee’s festival was the 25th event;  good mixture of trades unionists and local people from Whitmore Reans, a very successful night.

We had over a dozen union and local campaign stalls, free mehndi and bouncy castle, face-painting and we served over 250 free meals. Main acts were Attila the Stockbroker & Reckless bboy crew. Lynne Moran, the local Labour Party councillor who addressed the crowd, increased her percentage of the vote the following day at election. We had a number of new signups and understand that the union stalls present recruited several new members. UNITE, UNISON, PCS & UCU members helped hand-deliver leaflets to 5,000 local homes. 2,000 more flyers went out in the labour movement. It was also included on or websites and social media which had a Facebook reach of 4,700. If your branch would like a free stall next year you would be very welcome.

next event:

7pm Friday 1st May 2020 @Pegasus, Whitmore Reans WV6 0QQ www.1stmaywolverhampton.org.uk

May – Labour retained all but one seat retained in local elections, with Bushbury North lost by just 8 votes. Ian Brookfield elected as new Council Leader. WB&DTUC activists Sis Simm and Coogan both won their seats. The council now has 50 Labour and 10 Tory.

PCS members in the Universal Credit Service Centres in Wolverhampton and Walsall again took two day strike action in their campaign for more staff and improved working conditions.

June - Sis Dixon UNISON City delegate, was awarded Chief Constable’s Good Citizens Award for saving the life of a stranger who fell in the canal.

Victory for UNISON's 280 home care workers who had been in dispute with Birmingham City Council , taking strike actoion over 17 months. They will keep their original jobs!

Sandwell College sacked UCU branch secretary Dave Muritu for gross misconduct after he wrote on a poster promoting the controversial Prevent programme. UCU believed such a heavyhanded and disproportionate response from the college to be down to trade union activities. Muritu accepted a financial settlement after a failed vote for strike action at the college and now works as a TU Regional Officer.

July - We sent a team of four to Topluddle festival to work on the bar for the Workers’ Beer Company again this year to raise £700 funds for our campaigning.

Fundraising @ music festivals Wolverhampton TUC has sent local volunteer teams to work on the bars at music festivals since 1999, raising £39,000; our main source of campaigning income. Half this money we use for adverts and donations to the Morning Star. What is expected of you?

bar serving pints, usually 6 hours

humour

safety What you get?

toilets; tips are shared communally we are recruiting for places working with us at 2020 festivals. Deadline: 18th March 2020 - all details on www.wolvestuc.org.uk

Midlands TUC Women Chainmakers’ festival - a dozen of our delegates were at the the biggest annual celebration of women's history in Britain, celebrating 800 women chainmakers led by trade unionist Mary Macarthur, founder of the National Federation of Women Workers, to win a minimum wage in 1910, following a ten week strike. WB&DTUC again ran a stall, selling badges, books and strawberries and cream; we took part in the march and distributed Wodenstock flyers.

Women Chainmakers' festival 2020 on SATURDAY 4th July 11am-5pm, stalls, music & entertainment, re-enactments and union banner, procession along Cradley High Street see www.wolvestuc.org.uk volunteers needed to help staff our stall

Wodenstock - Wednesfield TU music event. Estimated 700 attended over the afternoon. From feedback we received, Wodenstock was very successful. There was a good and diverse range of local people attending and performing. Local sponsoring unions provided all the volunteers who organised the event and 16 stewards on the day. The Gudwara gave out somosas and tea; Wednesfield Community Centre sold refreshments; Wednesfield Historic society, St Johns Ambulance and six local charity/voluntary groups had stalls to fund-raise for themselves. FBU, PCS, UNISON, UNITE, GMB, Wolver

hampton TUC also had stalls. The Fire Brigade brought a fire appliance and showed children around it. There was a varied range of music to suit all tastes, a mix of folk, blues, reggae, ska, punk, pop and indie. Supported by local councillors; local businesses took part - doughnut van and bouncy castles which also subsidised the event. Market traders gave out flyers. Free Circus skills was very popular with both kids and adults all afternoon and from social media seemed a big attraction for many with young kids. We crowd funded this new event though most money came from unions and the council. Local homes were leafleted, an after-party held in a local pub and a lot of social media coverage.

Wodenstock 2020? tbc Sunday July 17th

Oct - HS2 union busting - UNITE speaker explained HS2 has dismally failed to uphold its 2015 framework agreement with the trade unions and has given Costain and Skanska free reign to undertake union busting activities. Framework Agreements are normal in big constructions and all contractors must abide. Campaign is not against HS2 but the contractors who have ongoing Blacklisting cases against them. Excessive executive pay yet some workers are having to pay umbrella companies to cash their pay cheques. TU site access being denied. Demo held in Birmingham in October, more to follow.

Nov - Shrewsbury pickets researcher, Eileen Turnbill came. Established in 2006, evidence expected under 30 year rule has been hidden by Tory and Labour governments. Over 300 building workers were dying on site in 1972 when the only national strike of UCATT, T&G and FTAT took place. 6 Sept '72 seven sites picketed in north Wales, 200 pickets accompanied by 80 police; police praised pickets' behaviour. Ended 16 Sept '72 agreement on pay but not on H&S or the 'lump'. Feb '73 The Shrewsbury 24 arrested, with allegations from the McAlpine site visited; six imprisoned. After 46 years, the first victories: Nov 2018 refusal for permission for Judicial Review overruled. April 2019 the CCRC conceded the case at Judicial Review and so the case will now go to Court of Appeal. Funds are still be needed and we have continued to support the campaign.

TUC Trade Union Studies 2020 - sign up now...for January, April and September at Shrewsbury & Stoke (and Wolverhampton if sufficient numbers) see www.wolvestuc.org.uk Union Reps Stage 1 ten weeks 9am – 4pm on Mondays Health & Safety Stage 1 ten weeks 9am – 4pm on Tuesdays

Dec - General Election 2019 discussion Wolverhampton TUC

Tory “Get Brexit Done” slogan was key to result, even Tories post-election were claiming that – LP had no clear or valid position. Brexit main issue, Corbyn took blame; no obvious new leader - they will need to withstand media onslaught. Many members, MPs and trade unions opposed Brexit and had little respect for referendum. LP front bench support for Remain gave mixed message to Brexit respect position Tories held onto votes, LP lost to LD, Brexit and SNP who had clearer Brexit positions More use is to develop a post-Brexit plan. Corbyn effect? - five years of relentless smears and attacks by press, Labour MPs spread by social media, general anti-Semitic smear with little discussion of any examples or evidence in media. One of our delegates has received anti-Semitic remarks locally. Corbyn came across well – much criticism was shallow and unsubstantiated. Support for LP in South East & London and among those aged under 45. Johnson – a UK clone of Trump. Tom Watson, Deputy leader representing the broad-church, resigned called for Tory vote and got it. Attacks on LP by Ian Austin and others unprecedented – turned off electorate – low turnout in many labour areas. Poor quality councillors resulted in low turnouts. LP MP defectors all lost seats. MPs in Wolverhampton & elsewhere still being parachuted in over local candidates. No Momentum link to local trade unions One third of voters voted for Labour's radical shift to socialism. 2017 - similar manifesto, same leaders; but respecting Brexit vote. Total Labour vote relatively high still at 10.3m; 12.9m in 2017, 9.3m 2015, 8.6m 2010, 9.5m 2005, 10.7m 2001, 13.5m 1997 Inequality of income reduced while inequality of wealth increased and unemployment reduced, mortgages cheap: austerity not affected all working class; average wage £22k in WMidlands yet more food banks and homelessness under Tories,. A delegate of ours who works in northern ex-mining communities said they had seemed to have no hope for future. 9 years of austerity knocked the stuffing out of people – the demand for respect for referendum result was put in advance of social and economic needs. Wolverhampton SE 53% turnout - almost lowest in country; 68% had voted Leave. 1,200 Labour majority, anti-Corbyn pro-Remain MP who lost 27% of votes from 2017 when Labour won by 8,500 Wolverhampton NE 55% turnout where 68% had voted Leave. 4,100 Tory majority over anti-Corbyn pro-Remain MP with little campaigning by Tory. 29% loss of votes from 2017 Labour when won by 4,600. Emma Reynolds was not liked locally, many LP worked elsewhere. Wolverhampton SW 68% turnout (slightly above national average) where 54% had voted Leave. 1,700 Tory majority over MP linked campaign to Corbyn, but who had caused bad relations locally upon arrival. Tory was bankrupt company director 13% loss of votes from 2017 when Labour won by 2,200.