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Trade Unions... the heart of the future

Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009



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Annual Report 2008-2009

Trade the heart of the future

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Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009

Gill Hale : Northern TUC A key factor in the challenge to the far right must be a comprehensive response to the current recession.

Annual Report 2008-2009


The north entered the downturn with the highest levels of unemployment and lowest employment rate – it was never going to be painless for workers in this

region. The government’s strong interventionist actions

are welcome and do mitigate against the worst effects and the TUC and trade unions have engaged effectively in influencing key decisions. We clearly need to continue

this focus moving forward as well as effectively seizing the opportunity that a recession does provide to

comprehensively review economic and social policy to secure a better deal for workers. It is to the credit of trade unions and the TUC as a whole that the growing support for the BNP has

The public sector has enjoyed consistent growth and

been matched by increased organisation against

investment, but has also faced some significant

them and other far right parties.

challenges. We witness a renewed and concerted

attempt to paint the public sector as ‘part of the problem’ Anti-racism work has been at the forefront of

when we know it is a fundamental part of the solution.

campaigning and organising activities in the past year

We understand the challenge that we face now and

and, working with key partners including prominent

that this will be exacerbated by an increase in public

MPs, Show Racism the Red Card, Banner Theatre and

spending in the environment of an ideological onslaught

TWAFA, it has been trade unions that have helped to

against public services and public spending.

ensure the BNP remain out of office in our region. Trade unions will, of course, need a strong collective Clearly there is immediate work to be done, but we

response to all of these challenges and more and we

can be confident that we continue to build trade union

are fortunate that the Northern TUC is perhaps best

capacity to face up to these challenges.

characterised by the enthusiasm and commitment of trade unions to do just that. Gill Hale : Chair, Northern TUC

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Annual Report 2008-2009

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Work Programme

Kevin Rowan : Northern TUC scale redundancy’, such as workers being made redundant in small numbers or temporary and agency workers. These workers have also been losing their jobs in massive numbers, but without the statutory notice to public agencies and, as a result, have not enjoyed the same level of support as other workers. There have been innovative and creative ways of trying to reach these workers, through their trade union and also, in the case of the Sedgefield Constituency, through ‘employability surgeries’ organised by the local MP, Phil Wilson, supported by Job Centre Plus and other key agencies. Phil has also sought to tackle the barriers to

It is impossible not to start this year’s Annual Report

this support unnecessarily erected by administrators

without reference to the current economic position

where companies go into liquidation, seeking to change

in the Northern Region. This is clearly a global

the insolvency laws to demand that administrators

phenomenon, all developed nations are feeling the

provide access to employability support services.

effects of the recession and turmoil in the financial systems that have underpinned the international

The TUC has established regular and important dialogue

economies, but the impact is also very local, felt by

with the Regional Development Agency and this is

each family that has lost an income or is affected

proving to be increasingly important at this time. Trade

by the uncertainty and anxiety that has been created.

unions are able to enjoy six-monthly meetings with the Agency’s Chief Executive and senior staff and

There will be as many views on what could have and

quarterly meetings with the Director of Business, where

should have been done to prevent the recession as

open and fairly candid discussions provide a very clear

there are perspectives on all economic theories, the

perspective from the workplace to the Development

priority for the TUC at the regional level, however, has

Agency. These meetings have also provided an

been to do two things; firstly, to ensure that there is

opportunity for the Agency to explain what interventions

maximum support for workers and businesses to survive

it is making to secure the maximum economic benefit

the downturn and secondly, to debate and promote an

to the region in the immediate, medium and long term.

economic strategy that will enable people to enjoy sustainable improvements and progression in their

It is the case that the Northern TUC relationship with

quality of life.

the RDA has developed positively since they were

Where there have been large scale redundancies, the

to enable the TUC to work with trade unions, in

public agencies in the region are all too familiar with

workplaces, to enable trade union reps to take the lead

the response required and are quick to act in providing

on key areas such as occupational health and

support in skills and employability services to workers,

wellbeing, equality and

ensuring they are as well enabled as practicable to get

diversity and tackling

back into work quickly. There are, however, large groups

economic exclusion,

of workers who do not fall into the category of ‘large

all key economic drivers

04 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


established, with the Agency funding additional work

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Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


and components of a High Performance Workplace. This area of work has been particularly successful, there is good evidence that this is beginning to inform regional public health strategy and does show enormous potential in enabling workers to enjoy better health at work, rather than enduring the workplace as a serious risk to their health. A key aspect of improving health and wellbeing must include more effectively tackling poverty. This year, led by the Regional Women’s Group, the TUC contribution to tackling poverty has stepped up significantly. One key aim has been to explain why this is a trade union workplace issue. It is a fact that over the course of the

Annual Report 2008-2009

Work Programme

last year children in poverty living in working households

for the Northern TUC. On World Day for Decent Work,

(i.e. households with at least one working adult) has

7th of October, the TUC and the Regional Refugee Forum

risen from a significant minority to a majority – the

were able to stand together to launch the ‘Let them

extent of in-work poverty in the UK is a scandal and it

Work’ campaign to demand the right to work for asylum

is worse here in this region than anywhere outside

seekers, destitute individuals prevented from working


and forced to live in absolute poverty, yet willing, able and enthusiastic to make a productive contribution if

Low pay, vulnerable work and inequality are key

only allowed to do so. The Regional Council were able

characteristics that perpetuate in-work poverty, ensuring

to hear first-hand experience from Sam Dore of the

that tackling poverty will remain a central trade union

Regional Refugee Forum.

organising and bargaining agenda for some time to come and we are pleased to have support from Sharon

The ongoing work to enable vulnerable workers to

Hodgson MP in tackling these issues in Parliament.

enjoy the benefits and protection of trade unions

continues too. While there may be many less migrant Challenging inequality and promoting and celebrating

workers coming into the region due to the relative

diversity is now an apparent and obvious high priority

collapse of sterling there are still significant numbers

Children in Poverty

Source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

1995/96 : 3m children in poverty 60% of children in poverty were in workless families


% 30

Working Couple

2006/07 : 2.9m children in poverty The majority of children in poverty now have working parents

2010/11 : 2.3m children in poverty The trend is likely to swing back and effect more non-working families






Non-working Couple



Working Lone Parent



% 21


Non-working Lone Parent

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Work Programme

Continued violence. Women’s Group chair, Clare Williams, was joined in excellent contribution by local MP, Roberta Blackman-Woods and by Solicitor General and longtime equalities campaigner Vera Baird, MP for Redcar. This year’s International Women’s Day enjoyed an impressive international contribution, including Maysa Badwan and Saeda Jamal from Palestine, who explained the dreadful conditions oppressing families under siege by Israeli forces and called upon trade unionists here to be their voice to the world.

of workers here who are facing exploitation and abuse by the worst employers. Through the union movement’s

It is once again the work of trade unions tackling racism

learning and skills activities and through direct organising

and confronting the BNP that demonstrates the fantastic

activities the cases of the worst abuse of employment

achievement of trade union reps in the Northern Region.

rights are being tackled, but we also know that laws

There have been some very close calls in local elections,

and regulations from the National Minimum Wage to

but the Northern Region continues to remain free of

basic health and safety standards are being ignored on

any elected BNP councillors and this is widely

a daily basis, proving that the only real guarantee of

acknowledged as being in large part down to the

fair treatment is union membership and union

contribution and work of trade unionists throughout the

organisation in the workplace.


Following on from International Women’s Day 2008 the

The fact that we have a continuing major challenge in

Northern Region became the first area outside London

this area was highlighted at the second successful Hope

to host a ‘Reclaim the Night’ event. On a bitterly cold

Not Hate conference in February. A large number of

November 22nd women and men marched and rallied

delegates focused on tackling the BNP in the north east

in Durham City to highlight and protest against domestic

and especially in Cumbria where there is a tough fight

Left to right: Kevin Rowan; Clive Robson, Deputy Leader of Durham City Council; Helen Goodman MP; Phil Wilson MP; Clare WIlliams and Phil Woolas, Minister for Borders and Immigration

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Annual Report 2008-2009

Work Programme to ensure the far right, fundamentally racist party does

the Newcastle LGBT network then introduced an

not win a seat in this year’s European Parliamentary

emotional and informative DVD highlighting the hate

elections for the North West Region.

crime and intolerance experienced by people because of their sexuality and Nicky Ramanandi gave a

This year more than ever anti-racism activity has gone

tremendously moving report on her visit to Auschwitz-

way beyond confronting and challenging the BNP at

Birkenau where young trade unionists saw first-hand

election time. County Durham anti-racism week enjoyed

the death camps used in murdering millions of Jewish

the participation of a growing number of workplaces


and trade unionists; there were ‘club nights’ engaging young workers and students in the campaign to take

Stephen Hughes MEP remains a key ally and friend for

on the far right and Show Racism the Red Card and

the trade union movement in the Northern TUC. As

Banner Theatre continue to work in the region’s

well as participating in the January Regional Council,

communities with strong support from trade unions.

the Hope Not Hate Conference in February and visiting

This year has also seen the close working with MPs

a wide range of trade union-led learning centres,

develop into a genuine partnership with Helen Goodman,

Stephen is a genuinely active trade unionist in the

MP for Bishop Auckland and Phil Wilson, MP for

European Parliament.


Stephen Hughes MEP visits staff and learners at Tristar Homes

Through regular meetings with the Northern TUC Policy Forum Stephen ensures that trade unionists in this Holocaust Memorial Day 2009 ensured a focus was

region are very aware of key issues in the European

placed on the similarities between the growth of fascism

political environment and this is very much appreciated

in 1930s Germany and in the attempted exploitation

by everyone involved. The importance of this kind of

of the economic crisis in the UK today. The Regional

relationship is demonstrated by the ceaseless

Council in January has to have been one of the most

campaigning for equal treatment rights for Agency

moving and memorable enjoyed in this region. Jamie

Workers and the long-overdue abolition of the UK

Arden from the Anne Frank Trust presented a preview

workers’ opt-out from the Working Time Regulations –

of a permanent exhibition to be used in County Durham,

an issue that only Stephen Hughes of the North East

supported by trade unions in the region, and outlined

region’s three MEPs supported.

to trade unions the very clear link between a bit of seemingly harmless teasing in the schoolyard to full

An issue which has also attracted key political support

blown discrimination and racism. Sian Broadhurst from

has been the challenge to ensure that the tremendous

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Work Programme

Continued to the larger public sector organisations that are increasingly critical in this region where 1 in 3 people hold public sector jobs. The changes introduced by the Government as a result of its Sub-National Review of Economic Development have created both challenges and opportunities. The first opportunity is the establishment of Regional Ministers and we are fortunate in the appointment of the Right Honourable Nick Brown MP as the Minister

sums of money pledged to upgrade the Tyne and Wear

for the North East. Nick is a trade unionist, a former

Metro are not used as a lever to transfer the most

GMB officer, and has a strong relationship with the TUC

successful light railway system in the UK from the public

where we have been able to raise issues directly with

to the private sector. The Tyne and Wear Metro is a

Nick as well as enjoying regular meetings with Nick

public sector success story and should remain so. ASLEF,

and representatives of the regional trade unions.

RMT, Unison and Unite are charged with the primary responsibility of focusing the industrial organisation in

Some of the challenges from the SNR will relate to

Nexus on persuading and influencing the procurement

how we, as a TUC, seek to influence the next iteration

process, in the right way, to ensure the Metro stays

of the Regional Economic Strategy. It is with some

public. There is strong support from MPs and Local

confidence that the TUC can support the current RES,

Authority Leaders across Tyne and Wear to make this the case too, although European Procurement rules have ensured that all politicians need to adopt a degree of caution in their public statements of support. There is little doubt that the public sector will continue to come under immense challenge. This year we have seen Local Authorities announcing large scale redundancies and fiscal pressure due to the Labour Government’s reaction to the recession, to spend on big public sector projects now and to nationalise major components in the finance sector, will mean that the squeeze on the public sector will continue to grow. The TUC’s involvement in the Regional Improvement Partnership has already had an impact and will continue to positively influence developments there, but we do know and understand that there is a need for a strong, collective trade union response to the attacks on the public sector now and in the future; from the justice sector, where unions are working together well in this region, to lobby and challenge immense cuts in spending,

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there is much included in it that has been campaigned for by trade unions. Moving forward, the next RES will be jointly developed and agreed by Local Authorities and the RDA. As such the TUC must ensure that the strong relationship we have developed with the Agency is matched by a strong relationship with individual Local Authorities across the region and with the Association of North East Councils; seeking to influence Local Strategic Partnerships will be an increasingly important goal. To do this effectively the TUC must be clear about its own economic and social ambitions. In this the region is a step ahead. In February the region hosted a hugely significant summit to discuss an alternative economic strategy, with keynote presentations from Dave Prentis, General Secretary of Unison, Billy Hayes, General Secretary of CWU, John Tomaney, Executive Director of the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies, and Clare Williams, Chair of the TUC Women’s Group and Race Advisory Group Chair. In an excellent debate an emerging theme became increasingly clear about the need to challenge the current economic orthodoxy; we need to take actions in support of the campaign to

Annual Report 2008-2009

Work Programme

End Child Poverty; to expose the myths that prop up

This must be the basis of our influence on the next

the ideology of privatisation; defend, preserve and

Regional Economic Strategy and Local Strategic Plans.

expand public services; increase and promote fairness

Critically, it is the need to engage workers in these

and equality across the board; to campaign for an

campaigns, workplace union representatives are crucial

economic and industrial strategy that focuses on jobs

to success, placing trade unions at the heart of the

and production that we need for the ‘good society’,


instead of a consumerist, unsustainable model of production.

Kevin Rowan : Regional Secretary, Northern TUC

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Barney McGill, unionlearn Union Learning Representatives are fundamental to the ongoing success of unionlearn and it was pleasing that Felicity Mendelson UNISON ULR at Newcastle City Council, who was on the first ULR course in the region in 1999, received national recognition and was awarded the MBE in the 2008 Queens Honours list.

National Developments Continued development over the first three years has seen the establishment of a unionlearn Quality Award, which is a benchmark award for union learning provision. The commitment given by unionlearn three years ago, to develop the Climbing Frame electronic tool for unions

Unionlearn, now in its third year, is thriving nationally

and Union Learning Reps to effectively engage with

and within the regions. In the Northern Region staff

learners has been met and continues to be developed.

continue to operate across the region from offices in Barrow, Darlington and Newcastle. The northern unionlearn regional team and the activity taking place in union-led work-based learning projects continue to be highly effective with thousands of learners engaged each year. Supported by the North East LSC the Learning for All Fund has been hailed as an exemplar model and unionlearn aim to have similar funds across the country. Our region assisted the North West to establish their fund and as a direct result a number of projects in Cumbria have been created

Middlesbrough Adult Ed receive their QA certificate

providing support to unions and their members. Our

The unionlearn national website has received wide

network of Union Learning Representatives (ULRs)

recognition for the information it provides and has had

continues to grow and develop providing support to

over one million hits since it was established.

learners. Unison ULR Felicity Mendelson receives her MBE from the Prince of Wales

10 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


The national target of 22,000 Union Learning Reps trained by 2010 was achieved this year and unionlearn are on target to engage 250,000 learners each year. The Union Learning Fund, now managed by unionlearn, continues to be hugely successful and a national and regional strategy has been adopted to provide high quality support to ULF projects across the country. Support to learners via unionlearn, the unions and ULRs is ongoing and there is a programme for ULRs to access

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Annual Report 2008-2009


a “Supporting Learners” course. The emphasis of

Unionlearn is also influential in regional development

unionlearn policy is the provision of high quality support

and strategic policy. Unionlearn management in the

to enable learners to reach their maximum potential.

region provides support to a number of steering groups such as Skills for Life, NHS and Regional Adult Careers and Information Board.

Unionlearn Northern Region

Considerable effort is made to contribute to ongoing

Unionlearn development across the Northern Region

developments in the region. For example unionlearn

continues at a substantial pace. A major development

will be fully represented when the National Apprentice

in the past two years has provided the opportunity to

Service comes into operation in April 2010. The Regional

support learners in a complete range of educational

Director of the Apprentice Service and the unionlearn

support – Skills for Life, Further Education and Higher

Regional Manager meet on a regular basis to discuss

Level Skills.

the Apprenticeship Programme. The government target

of 400,000 apprenticeships by 2012 is a challenge, but Unionlearn in the Northern Region has seen continued

the Northern TUC, unionlearn and unions have met the

growth and development in the past year and continues

Regional Development Agency on a regular basis to

to be a flagship for the TUC. A thriving ULR network

ensure that this region strives to improve the capacity

provides huge support to members across the North

for apprenticeships.

East and Cumbria and high quality projects are established and sustained.

MP and MEP visits to Constituency Projects As part of the unionlearn strategy to promote good

Regional Advisory Group

practice MPs were provided with information about

This group is now well established and has a remit to

projects in their constituency. A large number of the

monitor and advise unionlearn in the region on the

region’s MPs have visited projects across the whole of

requirements of unions. The group is continually updated

the region including Cumbria. Stephen Hughes, MEP

on national and regional developments. New initiatives,

has toured a number of projects across the North East

research studies and statutory changes are reported to

including Tristar Homes, Holme House Prison, Tetley GB

the group which will also feed back the region’s views

and Durham City.

when required. An example of this, during the past

Stephen Hughes MEP visits Tetley GB

year, was in relation to the government’s proposal regarding the “Right to request time off to train”. Support to learning is seen by many as a union benefit and it is a factor in membership development, so this is an issue which is explored at every Advisory Group.

Regional Partnerships A pleasing development over the past few years has been the recognition of the work and value of trade unions supporting the lifelong learning developments across the region. Unionlearn is a strategic partner working with a vast range of agencies and providers.

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Rt Hon Nick Brown MP Minister for the North East has

Management Information Systems (MIS) are in place

provided valuable support pressing the Secretary of

and also that project/learner evidence is retained for

State to support Higher Level Skills Development in the

inspection purposes for at least ten years.

region and also addressing events. Support from unions, ULRs, and project leaders has

Learning for All Fund

been substantial and much appreciated by the unionlearn

Since its launch in 2002, the LfAF has


allocated nearly ÂŁ5m to over 120 projects across the North East, leading

Discussions with the LSC on the new funding and

to more than 1,300 new ULRs trained,

contractual arrangements have been ongoing. Monitoring

over 80 workplace learning centres

takes place on a regular basis and an evaluation of the

established, 25,000 adults participating

fund and activity will take place in due course. Every

in learning 5,700 of whom were able

effort is made to ensure that our very successful regional

to achieve a skills for life qualification.

fund continues to develop and improve.

The Learning for All Fund has continued to develop

Thirty projects have been supported in the current year

since the initial pilot in 2002 and changes have taken

and a number of lead ULRs have been seconded to

place almost annually. During the past year, the fund

provide support to the projects. Often these secondments

has undergone a major change: funding has changed

have been for two or three days per week and the

from the Local Initiative Fund to the European Social

projects have been engaging substantial numbers of

Fund via the North East LSC. The requirements of ESF

work based learners.

funding rules are stringent and challenging and substantial changes have had to be made in respect to

A new bidding round took place in March 2009 with

the initial bidding process and the collation and retention

thirty five bids received. Demand continues to out-strip

of evidence. Changes have meant that new forms and

the funding capacity but every effort is made to provide

documents have had to be developed and Project Leads

fair distribution of support to union led initiatives.

have had to have additional training. Unionlearn Project Workers have provided support so that the new procedures could be implemented with as little disruption as possible. Previously, funding has been on an annual basis; however the new arrangements have meant that the successful bid was for funding (approximately ÂŁ1 million per year) provided until December 2010. There is a potential option to bid for further funding from 2010 to 2013. The changes that have been made have allowed for better planning and degrees of flexibility. ESF funding rules mean that fund payment is only made on actual outcomes and it is essential that good

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Learners participating in one of unionlearn’s regular event workshops

Annual Report 2008-2009


Over the past few years the LfAF has been used as a

A number of LAWD events took place across the region,

model for other regions and also the Scottish TUC.

funding to the approximate value of £500 - £700 being

This year the Irish Congress of Trade Unions are to take

distributed to each of the projects. Feedback was

over the management and development of the Irish

extremely encouraging because many of the learners

Union Learning Fund and have visited unionlearn in the

taking part in taster courses, (often for the first time),

Northern Region as they aim to model their revised

have since embarked on further learning.

fund along similar lines.

Projects took place across the whole of the region and

throughout most sectors. The projects were innovative,

Learning at Work Day

interesting and creative and LAWD should be embedded

Unionlearn in the region embarked on Learning at Work

in unionlearn development in the future. South Lakes

Day projects for the first time in 2008. This proved to

District Council achieved the regional LAWD Award for

be very successful, with over 3,700 learners engaged.


Funding to the value of £30,000 has been secured for

LAWD in May 2009 and during March, bids were called for and the LAWD process began.

Trade Union Education

Programme and courses: after significant increases to the number of representatives being trained in 2007,

the number of reps trained in 2008 in the region was

3,100. One of the main areas of growth was in the TU Education diploma programme which is now offered in all centres across the whole of the region. The whole of the TUC Education programme is now

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embedded in the Qualification Credit Framework (QCF).

in the areas of Equality, Pensions, ULR, Reps stage 1

This has been an ongoing trial and test period for the

and Employment Law Updates for the following affiliates:

past 2 years and has been a lead programme for most


FE colleges. All associated with TU Education have

TUC Education on-line programme has also grown during

worked tirelessly during this period to ensure that the

2008. There are currently 3 centres running the National

programme remained by and large unaltered whilst

on-line programme and further growth will occur during

the trial and test continued. Unionlearn extend thanks


to the coordinators and tutors in the region for their support during this time. As far as any national

Negotiations at a national level regarding Foundation

programme is concerned, it means that the future

Degrees, in partnership with the Open University, are

quality, accreditation and funding of the TUC

ongoing. It is expected that any development will be

representatives training programme is robust and

linked to progression routes from the current TU Ed


diploma programme. There will be continuing

The development of the TU education programme

and potentially significant developments in the ULR

continued apace in 2008. Bespoke courses were taught

programme, to hopefully incorporate further progression

MP for Durham, Roberta Blackman-Woods presents QA certificates to Sunderland and Northumberland TU Ed Centres

14 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


development of short courses relevant to reps’ needs

routes linked to CPD. More information on all of these developments will be available from the Regional Education Officer as they come on stream. New materials and courses recently launched include Coping with the Economic Downturn (an organising / negotiating and resource workbook). Two or three day courses are already being offered between April and July at TU Ed centres around the region. There is also a new Employment Law update course on changes to grievance and disciplinary procedures, commensurate with new laws and ACAS codes of practice that will come into force from early April 2009. The unionlearn Quality Award, which is a benchmark award for union learning provision nationally, goes from strength to strength. A total of 9 TU Education centres, Union Learning centres and providers have now achieved the QA in the Northern Region, with a further 4 centres currently undergoing assessment. After little more than a year, the award is now recognised as a benchmark achievement for any providers regarding union learning provision. Demand continues to grow with regard to applications for the assessment process.

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Unionlearn U-Net Support

Higher Level Skills Project

U-Net (formerly the Trade Union Hub) is the unionlearn

The North East Higher

department that provides support to the network of Ufi

Skills Network (NEHSN)

Learndirect union learning centres. Each region has a

and unionlearn Northern

unionlearn support officer and in the Northern Region

Region have established

there are trade union led work based learning centres

a hugely successful higher level skills project. This project

across the whole of the region and in most sectors. The

set out to promote higher level skills and to engage

on line provision allows learners to be supported in the

learners to achieve qualifications that could assist them

centres but also to work on courses from home and at

to reach their maximum potential.

times to suit their needs.

Over 100 employees have engaged in higher level skills The regional launch

such as Foundation Degrees, MAs, and Business Degrees.

of U-Net took place

The project has been operating since October 2007 and

at a joint Education

has received an extension to continue until September

Learning and Skills and Cumbria Forum held at the


Newton Rigg Penrith campus, University of Cumbria. Funding for this project has been provided via the Ofsted Inspection

North East Higher Skills Network (HEFCE funding) and

A recent Ofsted inspection of U-Net took place across

considerable effort is being exerted to ensure that future

the whole of the country and although a number of

funding can be obtained to continue this important area

our region’s centres were audited, two centres were

of work and fulfil the regional trade union member

fully inspected; British Nuclear Group in Sellafield,

demand for higher level skills opportunities that has

Cumbria and Fire Brigade Union in Morpeth,

been created.

Northumberland. In the words of unionlearn Director Liz Smith “both our centres passed with flying colours”

Reports on this project have been sent to MPs and the

and the overall inspection led to an Ofsted Grade 2,

Minister for the North East, Nick Brown, has raised this

which is excellent. Unionlearn with the Northern TUC

with the Secretary of State. A regional review is taking

thank and congratulate everyone involved in this

place on the future development of IAG higher level

stringent but welcome inspection, it is reassuring that

skills support and there is an indication that the

our aim to provide high quality support is being met

unionlearn and union role has been highly valuable

and is valued.

and should be maintained.

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Kate Silverton with all of the National Excellence Award winners form across the country

IAG Development.

successful “Buddies� pilot took place with Nextstep

As a result of the success of the 2007/08 IAG project

advisers and ULR IAG Specialists sharing best practice.

IAG is now embedded in the regional unionlearn work

In addition, the unionlearn Regional Manager sits on

plan. The initial project led to 97 ULRs becoming IAG

the Careers Information Advice Board, formerly the

Specialists and fifteen union led work based learning

regional IAG Board.

centres achieving the matrix standard. Since then five of the centres went on to achieve the matrix excellence award: Royal Mail Teesside CWU Identity Passport Agency Durham PCS HMRC Benton Newcastle PCS HMRC Peterlee PCS DWP Newcastle PCS

IAG also forms part of the new LfAF contract with 150 ULRs to be trained; 100 to Level 3 and 50 to Level 4,

and 10 centres to achieve the Matrix Standard. As our IAG capacity has grown so too have our links

Unionlearn in Cumbria

and working arrangements with partners and agencies.

For many years the union led lifelong learning strategy

Regular meetings take place with nextstep and a

in Cumbria has seen substantial and continuous

16 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


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improvement. An ever growing network of ULRs (over 600) and learning centres (16) provide major support to learners in the county. Cumbria is part of the Northern Region and the unionlearn operation is managed by the region. However, funding in the past few years has been via the North West LSC. This has led to a close working relationship between the regions. A major development by unionlearn North West, has been the creation of their Learning and Skills for All Fund, similar to our regional fund. Colleagues from Cumbria are benefiting from the fund with five projects currently funded and a second year bidding round took place during March 2009. The Northern and North West unionlearn team hosted a LASF awareness seminar in Kendal where plans for the ongoing development of the fund and projects were discussed. Twenty five ULRs have engaged in the IAG NVQ programme in Cumbria, achieving Level 3 and Level 4 NVQs. As a direct result of the unionlearn IAG support programme, IAG provision in Cumbria has been developed. Barney McGill with the BNG Sellafield Learning Centre Team

Annual Report 2008-2009


Cumbrian Project Worker Graeme Rushton with Viv Proctor and Karen Robinson of South Lakes District Council on their successful Learning at Work Day 2008

As reported earlier, British Nuclear Group’s Learning

Centre was part of a recent Ofsted inspection and was

a magnificent example of a first class union led learning centre. The centre manager and staff provide a range of support from Skills for Life, Further Education and

Higher Learning Skills and are a credit to the trade union movement. Comments from the learners greatly impressed the inspect

Union Learning Representatives at South Lakes District Council were presented with the unionlearn Northern

Region Learning at Work Day award by Barney McGill.

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Union Learning Representatives

Over 100 ULRs have attended Mental Health awareness

The recruitment of Union Learning Representatives

briefings and now a Mental Health First Aid course has

continues with courses being held at the Trade Union

been developed. Three members of the regional

Education Centres in Sunderland, Darlington, Carlisle,

unionlearn team engaged in the pilot course and this

Northumberland and Newcastle. Additional training for

is now available for ULRs. Also as employees return to

ULRs is continually being updated as the role becomes

work after long illness or unemployment they often

much broader, including specialist support for Skills for

need additional support so a “Meet and Greet “pilot

Life, IAG, Project Management and beyond.

scheme is being developed at organisations in the

18 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009



region. This pilot is in partnership with the North East Employers’ Coalition with a good example of this at Hartlepool Council, where ULRs - supported by management, have undertaken additional training to provide specialist support. Diverse events are held to provide additional support to the unions and their ULRs, the most recent held in March was to provide up to date information on Government support to learners such as Train to Gain and the support available via Business Link.

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The self organised ULR network continues to develop

ULRs representing this region joined with others for a

and reports from the group are received at every

national reception to celebrate achieving 22000 ULRs

Education Learning and Skills Forum. Feedback from

trained and accredited, and the valuable work that they

the ULRs is very helpful to regional and national

do. National discussions are underway to extend the

development and often issues raised are passed to the

DIUS core contract beyond 2010.

Senior Management team.

Marketing and Communications A constant issue with ULRs is that Statutory Rights are

Continued promotion of best practice and success is

often not adhered to by some employers and also that

vitally important in sustaining ongoing development

more paid time to learn should be available for

and indeed funding. Over the past few years the

employees. These types of issues are raised at contract

Northern Region have developed this area of work and

management meetings and reports to ministers.

it continues to add substantial value to the work of unionlearn in the region.

As a result of the recession many organisations are facing massive challenges and ULRs are supporting

Stringent guidelines are set nationally in relation to

union representatives to meet the challenge and provide

tendering and procurement processes and these have

advice and support to those who face job loss or other

been met in the region. ULRs and union led projects

hardships. Seminars have been held and a TUC Course

have a range of high quality marketing materials and

developed for “Coping with the Economic Down Turn�.

publications at their disposal assisting projects to promote internally and to practically meet contractual and evidentiary obligations where they exist. The highly successful IAG project gave rise to a

comprehensive case study booklet and corresponding IAG directory containing a register of IAG qualified

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ULRs - produced as an additional resource for those

Worker, Coordinator and for the past three years as

providing level 3 and 4 IAG.

Regional Manager. To have seen the growth and

Support was provided to the Learning at Work Day

development of ULRs and their projects is truly magnificent and a real privilege.

projects as well as generic projects and learning centres. This final report gives me the opportunity to thank

A constant flow of press releases and e-alerts have

everyone I have worked with for their tremendous

kept the country well aware of the lifelong learning

support and encouragement, Regional Secretary and

activity and success within the Northern Region.

the regional staff, Regional and Executive Councils, Trade

Information published on success has inspired others

Unions, their members and staff, our providers and

and encouraged organisations to seek to work with

partners - particularly the LSC and RDA, and many

unionlearn. The regional Unionsnorth magazine is

others too numerous to mention.

produced on a quarterly basis and sent to all reps in the region, as well as an e-version posted on both the

I commend the report and sincerely wish the Northern

unionlearn and TUC websites, distributed to the 14,500+

TUC and unions every success for the future.

e-alert subscribers and available to all website users.

Future Development This report gives a clear indication that the huge developments that have taken place over the past decade have continued over the last year. I retire from unionlearn at the end of August 2009 after 10 years - having served as Project Worker, Development

20 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


Barney McGill : Unionlearn Regional Manager

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Annual Report 2008-2009

Regional Policy Officer Report

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Regional Policy Officer Report

Carolyn Clayton

principles; namely that economic development, social justice and equality are the right foundations on which to build regional prosperity. In seeking to deliver this commitment the TUC recognise sound relationships forged with regional agencies are pivotal and will mutually assume greater importance as we pull together to get the region back on track. Achieving these aspirations requires us to develop strategies to engage with and influence partner organisations. Effective policy and research capacity is central to this dialogue to provide a platform for trade unions to articulate their own priorities. It is crucial we

As Harold Wilson once famously said “a week is a

work together where we share a common purpose to

long time in politics�. This wry observation will

maximise positive outcomes from public investment

strike a chord with many of you reading this year’s

for the region and its people.

annual report as we reflect on the events that have shaped the context for regional policy making in

To enable effective TUC

the last year.

intervention in regional

Profound changes in the economy and society have

trade union capacity to

skewed the course of regional development. This has

progress this agenda in the workplace, One NorthEast

catalysed a renewed public debate about the policies

has agreed to support a new three year project that

required to adequately meet the needs of working

builds on previously funded activity. The new project

people and their families in the workplace,

is designed to facilitate trade union involvement in

neighbourhood and community.

regional policy making by ensuring trade unions can

The public policy response to deep rooted challenges, coupled with the pressing task of tackling immediate problems caused by recession is bearing down on Government and placing significant resource pressures on regional public agencies. They themselves are in the grip of centrally driven reforms and major institutional reorganisation. In turn this is affecting governance arrangements in the region, the remit of regional organisations and how they go about delivering their responsibilities. Perhaps ironically the TUC, operating in a world that is in a permanent state of flux, has served to reinforce a long standing and steadfast commitment to three

22 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


policy making and release

influence key strategies and work directly with reps

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to play an enhanced role in their implementation. In the policy sphere the project enables the TUC to maintain its existing activities, provide an effective means of consultation and build key strategic relationships. Furthermore it has provided additional scope to make effective interventions in the workplace with the appointment of Tom Ross, who brings a wealth of organising experience to a new Project Worker role. Significant and substantial project activity has taken place in the past year to further trade unions’ principle goals. This demanded taking both a long and short term view; addressing enduring challenges facing the region

represented groups and eliminating inequality that

such as poor health, improving educational attainment,

continues to disadvantage women, black, disabled,

supporting the long term unemployed into decent work

young, migrant and other vulnerable workers in the

and promoting trade union involvement in workplace

labour market.

change, whilst being sufficiently agile to ensure today’s

Annual Report 2008-2009

Regional Policy Officer Report

recession does not impinge on efforts to provide a

Tackling the prevalence of low paid, low skilled work

better future for tomorrow’s workers.

that is contributing to a high incidence of poverty and deprivation in the region constitutes a top priority for

The TUC has initiated a regional focus on developing

the TUC. As a result of policy analysis and research, the

an anti-poverty strategy that advocates an increased

project is helping to raise partners’ awareness of these

supply of good quality employment, removing barriers

factors as underpinning many of the social and economic

to work and training, extending opportunity to under-

challenges to be addressed in the region. We continue to advocate the need to involve representative social partners like the TUC in designing solutions to these problems. A seminar was held bringing together a coalition of partners to explore improving a joined up response to the causes of work-related poverty that

impact on two major public policy issues in the North

East; child poverty and rising levels of unemployment. In this regard, the TUC welcomes the outcome of the Sub-National Review which will see RDAs and local

authorities working more closely together in future on a Single Strategy to govern the region’s economic, social and environmental wellbeing. This move by Government

represents a positive step to ensure efforts to promote

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Regional Policy Officer Report


input to a Regional Skills and Employment Response Group. Its remit is to prioritise interventions that will minimise the risk of unemployment and the loss of key skills required for the upturn. In the public sector, the TUC is working with the region’s local authorities to enhance trade union participation in improvement and efficiency driven transformation programmes. We are also promoting the use of public procurement as a tool to secure improved compliance with good practice on equality in the workplace, enhance training opportunities, support the region’s businesses and minimise environmental damage. This year saw the development of a Regional Public Health Strategy where, as a result of TUC intervention, policy makers recognised the need to ensure employers create working environments to nurture a healthy,

economic regeneration and social justice are harmonised

highly motivated and productive workforce. This also

and partners are enabled to work collaboratively in a

highlighted the importance of widening public access

like-minded fashion.

to NHS health improvement services. The TUC is represented on the Regional Health Forum. Acting in

A change in political leadership has signalled a desire

an advisory capacity to the Regional Director of Public

on the part of Government to cement its devolutionary

Health, the Forum seeks to promote a positive

agenda by engaging regions in regular dialogue.

relationship between health, well being and the

Members of the TUC Policy Forum have met with the

economy. Tom Ross is playing a leading role in

Regional Minister to discuss the Government’s Draft

encouraging employers to actively contribute towards

Legislative Programme and measures to mitigate the

improving the health of the working population by

impact of the economic downturn on workers and their

signing at least 21 organisations up to the North East

families. To complement this political discussion, the

Better Health at Work Award. With a view to improving

TUC has also facilitated regular opportunities for the

working conditions, Tom has helped to negotiate

Executive to meet senior civil servants in the region

agreements with employers to recognise trade union

regarding the current economic situation.

health advocates. He has been hailed by PCTs as

More recently, the onset of recession led to the

instrumental in considerably increasing the number of workplaces that have joined the regional award scheme.

establishment of a National Regional Economic Council to provide Government with intelligence on the state

Enhanced TUC capacity to provide support to affiliates

of the regional economy, and advise whether policy

in the workplace has also opened up new training and

measures to counteract its impact are having the right

development opportunities for reps. The project has

effect. The TUC is playing a leading role in co-ordinating

benefited from strengthened links with unionlearn

this effort and the project is supporting trade union

resulting in 10 people undertaking foundation degrees

24 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


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via the Higher Level Skills pilot. A further 80 are studying

opportunities to lobby key decision makers, will be a

for a level 2 Royal Institute of Public Health qualification

significant focus for the TUC in the forthcoming year.

and demand continues to grow in earnest.

Annual Report 2008-2009

Regional Policy Officer Report

Despite the media painting a bleak picture of working Other practical interventions delivering significant added

life for the foreseeable future, it is important that we

value include seminars to illustrate equality and diversity

do not lose sight of opportunities to enlist support for

issues that are relevant to the North East. In conjunction

an alternative vision. People generally have been quick

with TU Ed, reps are equipped with the skills to act on

to reach the conclusion that while recent policies have

this information in preparation for the introduction of

made some inroads to tackling poverty and inequality

a single Equalities Act.

they are not nearly radical enough. Policy makers have woken up to the need for an industrial strategy that

Although stemming the tide of rising unemployment

reasserts the importance of manufacturing and

inevitably commands instant attention, the region

progressive thinkers have championed the public sector

cannot afford to neglect the scores of workers made

as critical to economic recovery.

redundant in the last recession who are still struggling to regain entry into the labour market. For this reason

Equally Government is alert to calls for tighter regulation,

the TUC is working with the RDA, JobCentre Plus and

demands for a fairer tax system and public outcry

the LSC to encourage the recruitment of the long-term

against the concentration of wealth in the hands of a

unemployed and develop appropriate aftercare services

few. There has never been a better time for trade unions

to aid their retention within the labour market.

to defend people’s right to earn a good wage and enjoy

a decent standard of living. We look forward to delivering Ensuring trade unions have access to timely, good quality information and analysis about what is happening to workers in the real time economy, as well as

this commitment with you in the year ahead.

Carolyn Clayton : Northern TUC Regional Policy Officer

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Organisational Diagram

Lesbian, Gay, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Bisexual Network

Pensions Advisory Group

Cumbria Forum

Race Advisory Group

Young Members Network

Annual Regional Conference

Executive Committee

Women’s Group

Regional Council Heath & Safety Forum

Regional Policy Forum

International Forum

Education Unions Forum

Education Learning and Skills Forum

Public Services Group

Disability Forum

26 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


Northern TUC

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Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009

At the Northern TUC

Annual Report 2008-2009

Who's Who

Front Row : Ananthi Parkin; Barney McGill; Elizabeth Killoran; Linda Hughes. Row 2 : Ben Sellers; Julia Watson; Carolyn Clayton; Pat Winter; Anne Aitkenhead. Row 3 : Ian West; Alex Rodgers; Kevin Rowan; Beth Farhat; Susanne Nichol; Julie Robinson. Row 4 : Daniel Krzyszczak; Graeme Rushton; Joe McGuigan; Tom Ross; David Gibson; Melanie Lowden; David Nicholson; Dave Storrie. Back Row : Ken Gyles; Mike Tansey.

Kevin Rowan Regional Secretary

Linda Hughes Unionlearn Development Worker

David Gibson Unionlearn Project Worker

Ben Sellers Vulnerable Workers Project

Barney McGill Unionlearn Regional Manager

Beth Farhat Unionlearn Project Worker

David Nicholson Unionlearn Project Worker

Daniel Krzyszczak

Elizabeth Killoran Unionlearn Regional Development Co-ordinator

Graeme Rushton Unionlearn Project Worker, Cumbria

Ken Gyles Unionlearn Higher Skills Project Worker

Carolyn Clayton Policy Officer

Joe McGuigan Unionlearn Project Worker

Julie Robinson Unionlearn Higher Skills Project Worker

Tom Ross Policy Project Worker

Mike Tansey Unionlearn Project Worker

Ian West Regional Education Officer

Pat Winter Unionlearn Project Worker

Dave Storrie Unionlearn Development Worker

Natasha Norton Unionlearn Project Worker

Administrative Team

Julia Watson Regional Learning Centre Support Worker Susanne Nichol Marketing & Communications

Melanie Lowden Secretary Anne Aitkenhead Charlotte Farrar Ananthi Parkin Helen Logan

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Young Members Network


Fazia Hussain : Unite

address a school hall of a few hundred students on the importance of trade unionism. As part of the Speakers in Schools programme, young members deliver information and advice sessions to young people, about their rights at work, trade unions and issues such as globalisation and fair trade. This

The Northern TUC Young Members Network (YMN)

enables us to use the variety of teaching resources

is responsible for generating greater understanding

available, not only for ourselves, but for teachers to

amongst young people about the world of work,

download from the young people’s section on the TUC

as well as creating increased awareness about


employment rights and the effective role that trade unions play in workplaces and in local communities.

International Links

The YMN also joins together with a variety of organisations to campaign on issues that matter to young people, be it anti-racism, fair trade or human rights. One of the initiatives launched last year was the online interactive facebook group. This tool of social networking allows us to discuss issues and promote campaigns in an accessible way that young people are comfortable with, taking activism to another level. This group has been extremely successful in building communication between young members and it is something we hope

The YMN has, for many years, supported fair trade and

to build on in 2009.

what that means for the farmers and workers working in sometimes unbearable conditions. This has led to a

Speakers In Schools

number of links being made with international trade

The Young Members Network has continued to be active

unions and the not-for-profit co-operative Bananalink.

in encouraging more members to join the group and to take part in the Speakers in Schools programme. We

Fairtrade produce

are currently trying to arrange further training for young

enables farmers

people who are interested in speaking to young people

and workers to receive

about trade unions and their rights. This has allowed

a decent wage for

us to re-establish the networks we currently have with

a decent days work.

schools in the region. There is incredible potential for

Through visits and talks to the young members groups,

the programme to work in a variety of ways. Recently,

the campaign to promote independent trade unions

for example, a local school in Middlesbrough sought

and trade justice goes on. In particular, we are working

trade union help and advice in the promotion of World

with PCS union to ensure 2009 Fair trade Fortnight

Book Day, which will also give us an opportunity to

delivers the right message in schools and colleges.

28 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


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Annual Report 2008-2009

Young Members Network Northern TUC Working Student Campaign

asylum seekers is particularly important as we continue

We are continuing to campaign jointly with student

with anti-fascist work in the region. The region has

unions and the NUS and are in the process of organising

consistently had a strong anti-fascist response and over

a trade fair at Northumbria University. All unions will

the last year, our young members have organised music

have the opportunity, led by the TUC YMN, to have a

and cultural events which highlight our opposition to

stall and use interactive methods to spread the message

racial hatred and that celebrate our diverse cultures.

of trade unions and engage with students. Students

We know that with the European elections coming up,

who are members of unions will be working alongside

it’s vital that we continue to mobilise young union

us in this campaign. We are planning to spread this

members in our opposition to the far right.

initiative out throughout the year, with the help of

STAR (Student Action for Refugees)

Does work work for you? A young workers guide to their rights and trade union membership

Many young members in the region have supported

This year we have also updated our TUC young workers

‘Let Them Work’ campaign to restore the right to work

guide. As well as having the latest information on the

for asylum seekers. In this light, we are attempting to

minimum wage, rights at work, union learning and

forge links between union activists and student activists

apprenticeships, the guide now also incorporates sections

on this issue. Therefore we are linking up with STAR to

on agency work and campaigning specific to young

campaign on this issue and to bust myths about refugees

people. To obtain copies of this guide, please contact

and asylum seekers. This initiative will also enable us

Northern TUC on 0191 232 3175.

student activists and regional NUS officials.

to work alongside refugee services, support groups and community organisations to help and encourage young refugees to engage with the trade unions.

Hope Not Hate The myth busting on migrant workers, refugees and

Fazia Hussain : Unite/Chair, Young Members Network

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Race Advisory Group

Clare Williams : Unison

Support for Vulnerable Workers Work supporting and organising vulnerable and migrant workers continues to develop with a number of unions establishing Learning for All funded projects to support and organise these workers and the North East Learning and Skills Council are funding a project to make learning and skills development available. The vulnerable workers project has continued to collaborate with the North East Polish Community Organisation and Northern TUC sponsored the “Made in Poland Festival” and hosted a meeting to discuss problems faced by

The campaign against the far right remains a high

Polish agency workers in the region.

priority as support for the BNP continues to grow

Northern TUC jointly sponsored the Regional

in parts of the region and there is a major challenge

Refugee Forum held as part of Refugee Week

in the North West region, including Cumbria, in the

and organised an evening of international music.

European Parliamentary Elections. Under the umbrella of the Northern TUC, local broad based coalitions are supported throughout the region ensuring whenever the BNP stand in elections activists are out on the streets confronting and exposing the hate and division they promote. The Northern Region continues to have no BNP councillors but there is no time for complacency as BNP candidates gained significant votes in last May’s Council

The Northern TUC organised seminar to mark

elections – winning 40% of the vote in wards in County

“World Day for Decent Work” highlighted the

Durham, and in by elections in Shildon, County Durham

plight of vulnerable workers and the role of TUs

– failing to win the seat by 2 votes, Whitehaven where

and saw the launch of the ‘Let Them Work

they failed by 16 votes, and Fenham in Newcastle

Campaign’ to restore the right to work for asylum

where standing for the first time the BNP candidate


polled 27% of the vote.

A programme of activity incorporating Show

put up candidates the campaign has broadened with

Racism the Red Card; Banner Theatre Company

a growing emphasis on promoting community cohesion

and workplace activity is being rolled out across


the region with events in County Durham and

30 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


Workplace and Young People

As well as intervening in elections whenever the BNP

Newcastle to date. The focus of this activity is

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Annual Report 2008-2009

Race Advisory Group

undertook interactive workshops in schools and youth clubs using theatre and music to engage with young people in exposing racism and prejudice Clubs and music nights promoting anti-racism

have been organised in Durham University and Newcastle.

Young activists have produced publicity targeting young people and in particular seeking to encourage students to register to vote with a focus on the 2009 European Parliamentary Elections.

to promote workplace activity raising awareness

Holocaust Memorial Day and Anne Frank Exhibition

about racism; challenging myths about asylum

This year has seen Northern TUC

seekers and refugees and organising training

and affiliates support and organise activities in relation

for workplace reps. Show Racism the Red Card

to Holocaust Memorial Day and the January Regional

uses sport and the high profile of professional

Council meeting was a moving and memorable occasion

footballers to combat racism. Working in schools,

as a range of speakers talked about the holocaust, hate

local communities and with professional football

crime and the growth of the far right in Europe.

clubs they organise anti-racist workshops and community events throughout the region.

Northern TUC affiliates have provided financial

Banner Theatre performed their multi media

sponsorship for the Anne Frank Exhibition to be based

show based on the real life stories and

in the region for the next 3 years. The exhibition and

experiences of migrant workers in County Durham

related activities uses the story of a young Jewish girl

in October 08 and Newcastle in February 09 and

to expose and challenge racism.

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Race Advisory Group


Phil Woolas MP at the February Hope not Hate event

The exhibition was launched on Holocaust Memorial

Hope Not Hate Conference

Day in Spennymoor, County Durham with contributions

The second Hope not Hate Conference took place on

from trade unions, MPs and Sylvia Hurst - one of the

February 28th and the contribution to the debate and

last children to escape from Nazi Germany, and also a

discussion illustrated why the campaign in the Northern

presentation by young students about the life of Anne

Region has been successful in keeping Northern Councils


BNP free zones.

Sylvia Hurst gave her first hand account to those who attended Holocaust Memorial Day

32 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


More than 80 activists heard from Stephen Hughes MEP, Helen Goodman MP, Phil Wilson MP, Phil Woolas MP, Minister for Borders and Immigration, and Nick Lowles from Searchlight, and agreed a programme of activity for the next year. The Hope Not Hate Conference confirmed the direction of activity for the weeks and months ahead. There will be a clear focus on supporting and developing workplace reps to challenge racism and promote equality, through training in organising, tackling racism and in using new media technology as a campaign tool. Clare Williams : Unison/Chair, Race Advisory Group

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Davey Hall : Unite

employment law flaws exposed by these actions have

Annual Report 2008-2009

Regional Policy Forum

been registered with the UK government and the European Commission, time will tell whether there is any actual improvement in the way in which these processes are applied in the UK or wider Union.

The third area of policy forum activity has been an ongoing and increasing relationship with the Regional Development

Agency. Six-monthly meetings with the RDA Chief Executive and senior staff provide opportunities to enjoy direct exchange of information and intelligence which have

allowed unions to hear first-hand the key activities of the Agency and to present a unique trade union perspective There have been three main themes behind the

on how the Economic Strategy objectives are being played

activities of the Policy Forum.

out in workplaces.

Firstly, following the establishment of Regional Ministers

The economic downturn has meant that there has been

following the Review of Sub-National Economic Growth

a need for increased engagement with the Agency. In

and Regeneration the group have focused on connecting

addition to the regular meetings with the Chief Executive

with the Right Honourable Nick Brown MP, who fulfils

there is also a programme of regular meetings with the

this role for the North East. The Policy Forum has led two

Director of Business. These meetings have provided an

meetings with the Regional Minister, the second,

opportunity for trade unions to hear directly about the

understandably focusing on the recession, enabling trade

actions the Development Agency are taking to seek to

unions to express a range of concerns to Nick, outlining

maintain the region’s economic base and workforce, as

trade union experiences and anxieties from the front line

well as seeking continuously to secure new business into

and hearing in some detail the government’s current

the north east.

interventions to mitigate against the worst impacts of the economic downturn on the region.

Trade unions have very effectively taken these opportunities

to demonstrate very clearly the key issues and experiences The TUC, through the work of the Policy Forum, enjoy a

from the shop floor, including the particular impact the

regular interface with the region’s Labour MEP, Stephen

recession has had on Agency workers, the extreme

Hughes. These meetings have provided an extremely

vulnerability of many businesses and an impatience to

useful connection that has enabled trade unions to

see real employment opportunities coming through.

understand current issues emerging from the European Parliament and institutions.

The year ahead will be very busy indeed, the development of a new single Regional Strategy will be a major focus

Issues of social mobility and the posted workers directive

as will engaging with the Regional Select Committees

were brought to the fore in the Linskill dispute, which

and an ongoing demand to seek to understand and

was supported by workers in Teesside and in Cumbria.

influence Local Strategic Partnerships.

These issues had been the subject of discussions at the regional policy forum and while we can be confident the

Davey Hall : Unite/Chair, Regional Policy Forum

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Education Learning & Skills

Joyce McAndrew : UCU

the events and providing suitable accommodation, not to mention good food. The Forum continues to be vibrant and thriving with the turnout at the meetings consistently high. Prior to each Forum meeting there is a self organised Union Learning Reps meeting and issues are fed back into the whole forum giving the opportunity for ULR issues to be taken to a wider group. This year the self organised ULRs have reported a number of successes through union led projects and Learning At Work Day, highlighting the benefits for members and employers. But sadly the same difficulties of employers refusing time off for

The Education Learning and Skills forum meets

reps and time off for learning is still an issue. We

quarterly, bringing together a range of trade union

continue to celebrate our successes in union led learning

activists interested in Lifelong Learning.

projects and at the meetings this year we have had

Over the years we have seen a number of developments

speakers from the FBU Northumberland and Northgate and Prudhoe NHS Deal Project.

in learning and skills and time and time again we have seen how this region is at the forefront of these

At the Forum meetings we have a number of regular

developments spurred on by the commitment of Union

slots updating the Forum on national and regional

Learning Reps, the Unions and TUC/unionlearn staff.

developments in the learning and skills world. We are

This year we have seen the further development of

grateful to Barney McGill, Regional Manager of

IAG, the Higher Level Skills project, the Climbing Frame

Unionlearn, Ian West, Regional Education Officer and

and U-Net being established to give assistance to union

Carolyn Clayton TUC Policy Officer for their well informed

learning centres. At Forum meetings we have discussed

contributions to the meetings. Of particular note was

the rising numbers of union learning centres achieving

a report given by Carolyn on women’s access to and

matrix standard and the Unionlearn Quality Award. This

experience of learning and development in the

year it was very pleasing to learn that the Northern

workplace. At the Cumbria meeting Kevin Rowan,

TUC and unionlearn had achieved a 3 year funding

Regional Secretary of Northern TUC, provided an update

agreement for the Learning for All Fund which reflects

on the economic strategy for Cumbria and the importance

the confidence the LSC places on union learning and

of learning in that agenda. Also at this forum, Chris Carr,

provides more stability and flexibility for union led

Vice Chancellor of the University, and Helen Gudgeon,

projects over the term of the agreement.

Curriculum Manager of Cumbria Higher Learning gave

Forum meetings have been held at Morpeth County

presentations on developments in Higher Education in Cumbria.

Hall, Newcastle Britannia Airport Hotel and Middlesbrough College. Also this year we held one of

Following discussions at the regional advisory group

the forum meetings in conjunction with the TUC’s

for Unionlearn and the feedback received by the forum

Cumbria Forum at Newton Rigg site of the University

on the link between union learning and union organising

of Cumbria. We are grateful to the venues for hosting

the forum invited Liz Blackshaw, Director of the TUC

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Annual Report 2008-2009

Education Learning & Skills Organising Academy to give a presentation and run a

meeting we invited Ian Willans of the FSA to give a

workshop on Organising at the June meeting which

presentation on the FSA workplace programme, which

was very well received. During the year we have invited

provides workshops on finance management in the

other speakers on a wide range of subjects. Following

workplace which ULRs could book. The TUC’s response

a concern raised by ULRs about diminishing Adult

to the economic downturn and their swift action in

Education, Nigel Todd (WEA) gave a presentation on

providing training and information to union reps is very

the CALL campaign (Campaign Alliance for Lifelong

much welcomed. There is no doubt that the year ahead

Learning). A number of unionlearn Project Workers have

is going to be difficult as the economic climate starts

also given presentations including Dave Storrie on the

to affect training in the workplace and hopefully the

Climbing Frame, Ben Sellers on Accessing ESOL through

forum will be a place where these issues can be

Community Engagement, and Tom Ross on the Regional

discussed to help ULRs continue to push for learning

Economic Strategy and Public Health Strategy Project.

opportunities for members.

We have also hosted speakers from IIP North East, and Equality NE. We have continued to look further afield

The Forum meetings continue to be informative as well

at what is happening in Europe on the learning and

as providing an opportunity for local trade unionists to

skills agenda and Stephen Hughes MEP gave a European

question current national and regional developments

Parliament report at the April meeting.

in education, learning and skills.

We have also held workshops at the forum meetings

I would like to thank all those who have attended, been

on a number of topics including Organising, Project

willing to give presentations and lead workshops at the

Marketing, LfAF and Learning at Work Day funding,

Forum meetings and I would also like to thank the staff

Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace, Equality, and

at the TUC and unionlearn and those at the venues who

TU visits to the European Parliament.

have organised and supported the Forum meetings. In particular I am indebted to Anne Aitkenhead for her

Over the course of the last year it goes without saying

exceptional organising skills and for keeping me and

that the economic climate has changed dramatically.

Barney on track.

It was perhaps with accidental foresight that at our first meeting in June, Mike Hill of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau

Joyce McAndrew :

gave a presentation on Debt Awareness. In our January

UCU/Chair, Education Learning and Skills Forum

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Annual Report 2008-2009

Trade the heart of the future

Women’s Group

Clare Williams : Unison campaign is required. As such we were very pleased that the Executive agreed to support this work and a very successful launch seminar was held on 3 September 2008 with over 50 people in attendance. An action plan was produced from this meeting which is being taken forward and the campaign to hold the Government to its commitment to halve child poverty by 2010 is a key part of the work programme over the coming year.

Regional Equalities Seminar The group participated in this event to ensure the issues particularly affecting women in the workplace and wider community were shared, and helped to inform

The Women’s group agreed a plan of activity to

the TUC response to the Single Equalities Bill and

prioritise over the year, and here are some of the

implications, to its organising agenda and its work



Campaigning to eradicate child poverty

Reclaim the Night

The women’s group felt this should be a key campaigning

On a rather cold night in Durham on 22 November over

priority, as the level of poverty in the North East and

50 people, mainly women, gathered to take our message

its impact is something which is affecting many women

to the streets. We were joined by Roberta Blackman-

and children. Clearly though, the group recognised that

Woods, MP and Vera Baird, MP and were able to

poverty is an issue which is not gender specific, and

demonstrate the importance of raising the profile of

also to be able to eradicate poverty a united, inclusive

violence against women, and why unfortunately this

Reclaim the Night attendees show their solidarity for ending violence against Women

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Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


Left to right: Saeda Jamal, Maysa Badwan, Norma Stephenson, Clare Williams and Lisa Houston.

Annual Report 2008-2009

Women’s Group

is still an issue which we need to campaign on. It was

Quilce (via DVD) from Colombia; and Maysa Badwan

such a success we will be making this an annual event.

and Saeda Jamal from Palestine.

Alternative Economic Plan

All these women were able to share experiences of

As part of the discussions around an alternative trade

exploitation and discrimination, but also some of the

union strategy to respond to the economic crisis it was

inspiring work they are involved in to change the world.

good to be able to highlight the need for us as trade unions to challenge any attempt to use the crisis to

There was a clear commitment to build lasting

attack hard won equalities. We can already see that

international links and provide solidarity to all three

women potentially will be one of the hardest hit groups

countries from the Women’s group and we will be

and it is important that we resist any attempts to further

delivering on this throughout the coming year.

discriminate against women in the workplace. Clare Williams : Unison/Chair, Women’s Group

Women of the World Unite – International Women’s Day event 7 March 2009 For the second year running we organised an excellent event bringing together the experiences and challenges facing women across the world. We heard from Lisa Houston about the challenges in Burma; from Aida

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Annual Report 2008-2009

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International Forum

Kenny Bell : Unison federation (the FTUK) representing health, education and agricultural workers from Karen State in Eastern Burma. This twinning arrangement followed a Northern TUC-sponsored visit to the North East by the general secretaries of the FTUB and FTUK, and to date we have provided funding totalling over ÂŁ2,000 for capacity building projects (mainly training programmes for activists within Burma). The twinning arrangement has been established working closely with Burmalink UK, a North East based charity which supports medical and educational projects in the refugee camps for displaced Burmese people and in Eastern Burma itself.

The international work of the Northern TUC continues to reflect the 2007 commitment to develop long term sustainable relationships and projects and to


prioritise work in relation to Sierra Leone, Colombia,

Colombia continues to be a major focus for the

Cuba, Burma and Palestine.

international work programme and to be the most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist and human rights activist!


Over 45 trade unionists were assassinated

Following the uprising in September 2007, the Burmese

last year. Many others were assaulted, forced

military regime (SPDC) intensified its crackdown on

to flee their homes or jailed.

democracy activists. At the end of last year the junta

Since President Uribe came to power in 2002

began to sentence hundreds of these activists and

more than 1,250 indigenous civilians have

sentences of up to 65 years have been given to people

been killed.

who have committed no crime.

Colombia has more than 5 million displaced persons – second only to Palestine.

Trade unionists have been at the forefront of opposition

It receives more US military aid than any

to the regime and have borne the brunt of repression

other country except Israel.

by the SPDC: it is illegal to be a member of a trade union in Burma, with lengthy imprisonment, torture

Over the past year the number of members of congress

and often state-sanctioned assassination being the fate

jailed or under investigation for links with right wing

of anyone caught engaging in trade union activity or

paramilitary death squads has risen to 75.

campaigning for labour rights. Despite this, Burmese

Delegations between the Valle de Cauca region in South

trade unionists continue to risk their lives and play a

West Colombia and the Northern region have resulted

crucial role as agents for change and reconstruction

in a commitment to develop region to region links

and the bringing about of a just and equitable society.

between the Northern TUC and Valle de Cauca CUT (TUC

Northern TUC affiliates are twinning with the union

38 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009



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Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


Annual Report 2008-2009

International Forum As a result Northern TUC, affiliates and related bodies

“slave� working conditions and for the mobilisation of

have provided support for a wide range of organisations

Colombian indigenous communities against the violence

and projects including:

by state and paramilitary forces and failure of the

government to give back land to which they are legally Supporting Emsirva, the trade union

entitled. The corteros strike became a symbol of

representing street cleaners and refuse

resistance within Colombia, drew international support

collectors in its campaign against

and achieved improvements in pay and terms and

privatisation, and Sintraemcali in its


campaign against privatisation of water, electricity and telecommunications, both

The protests of the indigenous communities began in

in the city of Cali.

the Cauca region and culminated in a march to the

Securing support to help with

capital city, Bogota supported by over 30,000 indigenous,

accommodation costs for the trade union

Afro Colombian trade union and human rights activists.

representing dock workers in the city of Buenaventura. Supporting human rights activity by securing funding from Trusts for an NGO and financial


support by trade union lawyers to sponsor

Palestine has been at the forefront of the Northern TUC

activists to study law.

international work since the end of 2008 following the

Funding a cultural project to promote and

Israeli invasion of Gaza.

retain the culture of indigenous and Afro Colombian communities.

The war in Gaza which started immediately after

Christmas, lasted three weeks and left over 1300 dead The second half of 2008 witnessed an unprecedented

and many thousands of people injured as well as

level of social and industrial mobilisation and support

destroying homes, schools and hospitals and water,

was provided to the trade union representing 10,000

electricity, sewage and transport systems. Northern TUC

sugar cane cutters (corteros) in the Valle de Cauca

supported the national protest in January by providing

region who took strike action for over 10 weeks against

two coaches enabling union members, students and

Palestinian women speaking about their experiences at the International Women’s Day Conference

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Annual Report 2008-2009

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International Forum


community groups to attend. Northern TUC also played a lead role in relaunching Tyneside PSC and highlighted the need for branches to affiliate and individual members to join the national Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Sierra Leone

Working with Tyneside PSC the Northern TUC supported

The TUC supported DfID Civil Society funded project to

the organisation of a successful march and rally in

build and develop trade union capacity is now into its

Newcastle at the end of January.

second year and is providing an ongoing programme of training and education for trade unions and activists.

Palestine was high on the agenda for the Northern TUC International Women’s Day Conference with two

Affiliated unions once again provided support for the

Palestinian women speakers and it was agreed to build

Sierra Leone Women’s Congress annual conference.

strong twinning links with Qalqilya in the West Bank and support the Palestinian community in the town. The Women’s Conference, also agreed to support the production of an Israeli goods boycott pack to highlight


the way in which big business supports the Israeli

As Cuba celebrates 50 years of its socialist revolution

apartheid regime.

the Northern TUC supported the relaunch of a Northern

July 2008, was the 60th anniversary of the Nakba,

region branch of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign at a well attended meeting and social held in October 2008.

which was the expulsion of Palestinian people from their homes by the Israel army. Many of these people

For 35 years Cuba, a nation of 11 million people, has

remain in the refugee camps to this day, waiting for

been subjected to ongoing and sustained interference

the time when they can return to the homes for which

in its internal affairs and suffered military aggression

they still hold the keys.

and a trade blockade.

Projects supporting organisations in Palestinian refugee

Supporting the work of CSC the Northern TUC will

camps are being explored. A delegation of 3 women

publicise the situation in Cuba, defend the right of the

activists recently returned from a refugee camp in

Cuban people to self determination and support the

Damacusus, Syria, where they identified a number of

call for an end to the US trade blockade.

projects with a particular emphasis on working with young people. The Northern TUC is also supporting the proposal for a group of children from the Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon to visit the region and perform a play they produced working with a North East based playwright in schools and to work collaboratively with schools and youth theatre groups.

40 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


Kenny Bell : Unison/Chair, International Forum

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Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009

Norman Jemison : UCU

The Lobby of Parliament 2008. The plan was that in 2008 each retired member was to be accompanied to this event by a working trades union member. The majority of those who actually attended the lobby were retired. A list of questions on the following subjects were presented to their respective MPs by those lobbying: The global economic downturn has affected pension funds and their members extremely adversely. Most Final Salary pension schemes are now closed to all new members.

1. An increase in the SRP to the official poverty level of £151. 2. Improvements to the level of women’s State Retirement Pension.

Annual Report 2008-2009

Pensions Advisory Group

3. The percentage(s) to be deducted from the total A survey carried out by the Pension Protection Fund of

assets of a person or a couple going into Local

7,800 firms with defined benefit schemes linked to

Authority care should be fixed.

final salary, showed there was a total deficit of £91.6bn at August 2008.

4. Applying the combination of their respective tax codes to benefit couples. In the case of a couple where one of them has a very low

In September 2008 there was a deficit of £80bn in the

pension income, to increase tax codes each year

Pension Protection Fund. By October 2008 the deficit

is not beneficial to the couple.

had grown to £125bn. An increase in the levy to offset this deficit will not be welcomed by companies

The number of MPs who provided a response to these

experiencing cash flow problems.

questions was very low.

According to Aon, the credit crunch has erased £140bn

The Northern branch of the NPC wishes to thank the

from Defined Contributions schemes leaving assets of

TUC and affiliated unions for providing the resources to

only £410bn.

enable the lobby to take place.

In 2008 the Centenary Celebrations of the State

At a conference in June 2008, held under the auspices

Retirement Pension (SRP) took place. In 1908 the SRP

of the Northern TUC, an actuary stated that as a country,

was targeted at 25% of average earnings. If, in 2012

we are in danger of having neither a good state pension

the SRP is once again linked to average earnings, it will

nor good occupational pensions.

only be at the level of circa 15% of average earnings. Means are available to increase the SRP using some of

*We wish to thank Dennis Edgar for fulfilling the role

the assets in the National Insurance fund which members

of interim chairman of the PAG for part of 2008. Norman

believed was ring fenced for this purpose. We understand

Jemison is currently chair following procedure laid down

these funds are being used for alternative purposes but

at the 2007 Northern TUC Conference.

it has not yet been established what these alternative purposes are. Currently, the level of the UK’s SRP of £90.70 per week is the lowest in Europe.

Norman Jemison : UCU/Chair, Pensions Advisory Group

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Annual Report 2008-2009

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Health and Safety Report

Jim Marshall : GMB

Since the last Regional Conference the Health &

The 2009 Workers’ Memorial Day event (April 28th)

Safety sub-group has met regularly on the first,

was hosted by Hartlepool Trades Council and was also

then second Wednesday of each month.

run as a TUC training day.

The group has continued to liaise with the HSE’s Chris

All of the events were well attended. They included

Gillies, Principal Inspector continuing to provide the link.

workshops and the feedback from the delegates was

A second one day event was organised by the TUC and

very positive.

HSE at the Assembly Rooms in Newcastle where the HSE Regional programme was presented with their

Topics for forthcoming training days being planned

work plan for 2008/09. This successful event attracted

include Nanotechnology in June and another joint event

over 50 Safety Reps.

with the HSE in the autumn.

Three training days have again been organised, two in

The Asbestos Support Group continues to meet monthly

Newcastle and one in Kendal. These events addressed

with the AGM being held on Friday 8th May. We meet

issues such as ‘greening the workplace’, occupational

at 5.00pm at the Regional TUC Office in Newcastle.

cancers, workplace inspections and risk assessments. We had top quality speakers including a National Health and Safety Officer, trade union solicitors and senior HSE Regional Officers.

42 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


Jim Marshall : GMB/Chair, Health and Safety Forum

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Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009

Alan McGuckin : Unite

We have continued to make submissions to regional bodies on the specific situation of Cumbria with the

Annual Report 2008-2009

Cumbria Forum

unswerving help of the TUC regional office. It is imperative for Cumbria to be recognised as being a collection of manufacturing communities in a rural county and the

strategic place that the public sector plays in the life of the county and its people - with the need to support that.

At the time of writing the greatest test we face is in the upcoming County and Euro elections and the threat that

the county will be represented by Nick Griffin of the BNP.

In the last elections the BNP themselves stated that the The Cumbria Forum was set up to liaise between the

reason they were unsuccessful was the lack of support

Northern Region TUC and the North West TUC region.

in Cumbria and from that time they have poured resources

The need for the body being the decision of the

into the county. Although they have not been successful

Government to include Cumbria in the North West

in any electoral battle they have come perilously close

Region whilst in TUC constitutional terms we remain

and at the present time would be in a position to add

in the Northern Region.

their “contribution” to the Euro elections. Small local groups in Carlisle, Barrow, Whitehaven and Maryport

We aim to meet on a quarterly basis and invitees include

have been set up and have campaigned to unmask the

representatives of affiliates, Trades Union Councils, and

fascists but it is the trade union movement with members

unionlearn, together with an open invite to labour

in every town and village who must attempt to prevent

movement politicians.

the shame of the BNP representing the region.

In 2008 we have maintained and strengthened our involvement with the Cumbria Strategic Partnership the sub regional vehicle for economic and social development in the county by formally becoming a member and appointing a representative As one of the campaigners for the establishment of a University in the county it was with great satisfaction we saw the creation of the University of Cumbria and held one of our meetings on the Newton Rigg campus. The Vice–Chancellor outlined a shared vision of the

This is my last report as Chair of the Forum and I wish

University operating in working-class communities with

to express my thanks to all who have helped, and give

an emphasis of targeting our members and their families

the assurance that my successor will have my full support.

who have no history of higher education and the need to offer more part time and distance learning options.

Alan McGuckin : Unite/Chair, Cumbria Forum

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Annual Report 2008-2009

Trade the heart of the future

Affiliated Trade Unions

National TUC membership now stands at 67 unions, representing nearly 6.5 million working people. There are approximately 500,000 trade union members in the North East & Cumbria, and union density is 40% - some 10% above the national average.




Briarwood Townfoot Haltwhistle Northumberland, NE49 OET 01434 322874

The Abbey National Group Union 2nd Floor 16-17 High Street Tring Hertfordshire, HP23 5AH 01442 891122 Fax: 01442 891133

British Airline Pilots Association BALPA House 5 Heathrow Boulevard 278 Bath Road West Drayton UB7 0DQ 020 8476 4000 Fax: 020 8476 4077

Main trades & industries: staff employed in the Abbey National General Secretary: Linda Rolph

Main trades & industries: airline pilots and flight engineers (commercial) General Secretary: Jim McAuslan




Association for College Management The Point Market Harborough Leicester, LE16 7QU 01858 461110 Fax: 01858 461366

Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen 9 Arkwright Road London, NW3 6AB 020 7317 8600 Fax: 020 7794 6406

British Dietetic Association 5th Floor Charles House Birmingham, B3 3HT 0121 200 8010 Fax: 0121 200 8081

Main trades & industries: all staff within HBOS plc, including retail network, Intelligent Finance, HBOS Card Services, Halifax Direct, Halifax Estate Agents, HBOS Financial Services. Contact: John Dickinson

Main trades & industries: representing managers in the learning and skills sector Chief Executive and General Secretary: Peter Pendle

AEP Association of Educational Psychologists 4 The Riverside Centre Frankland Lane Durham, DH1 5TA 0191 384 9512 Fax: 0191 386 5287 General Secretary: Charles Ward Main trades & industries: educational psychologists in local educational authorities and other public and private organisations (England, Wales & Northern Ireland)

AFA Association of Flight Attendants AFA Council 07, United Airlines Cargo Centre, Shoreham Road East Heathrow Airport, Hounslow Middlesex, TW6 3UA 020 8276 6723 Fax: 020 8276 6706 Main trades & industries: airline cabin crew LEC President: Saad Bhatkar

44 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009


Main trades & industries: railways (drivers, operational supervisors and staff) General Secretary: Keith Norman

Main trades & industries: the science of dietetics in the private and public sector National officer employment relations: Debbie O’Rourke

ATL Association of Teachers and Lecturers 13 Ashton Rise Chester-le-Street Co Durham DH2 2JA 07766428035 Main trades & industries: teachers, lecturers and teaching support staff in nursery, primary, secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges Contact: Lawson Armstrong

BECTU Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union The Unison Building 3-5 St Johns Street Manchester M3 4DN 0161 832 7686 Main trades & industries: broadcasting, film, video, theatre, cinema and related sectors. Contact: Paul Atkinson (National Official)

BACM-TEAM British Association of Colliery Management – Technical, Energy and Administrative Management 6a South Parade Doncaster, DN1 2DY 01302 815551 Fax: 01302 815552 General Secretary: Patrick Carragher

186 Wingrove Road Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 9DB Contact: Mark Scrimshaw

BFAWU Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union 10 Greenside Pudsey West Yorkshire, LS28 8PU 01132 565925 Fax: 01132 360702 Main trades & industries: food Regional officer: Alan Milne

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Annual Report 2008-2009

Affiliated Trade Unions BSU



Britannia Staff Union Court Lodge Leonard Street, Leek Staffordshire ST13 5JP 01538 399627 Fax: 01538 371342

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy 14 Bedford Row London, WC1R 4ED 020 7306 6666 Fax: 020 7306 6611

Britain’s general union 1 Mosley Street Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1YE 0191 233 3930 Fax: 0191 233 3931

Main trades & industries: The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the professional, educational and trade union body for the country’s 40,000 chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and assistants. Physiotherapy is Britain’s fourth largest health profession and continues to grow. Director Employment Relations & Union Services: Lesley Mercer

Main trades & industries: the GMB is a general union with over 600,000 members working in all occupations in all industries across the UK in both public and private sectors. In order to combine strength with flexibility the GMB has eight sections for members working in particular industries or occupations. These are as follows: Commercial Services, Clothing & Textiles, Construction, Furniture, Timber & Allied, Energy & Utilities, Engineering Food & Leisure, Process, Public Services Regional Secretary: Tommy Brennan

Main trades & industries: finance sector union representing staff working in Britannia Building Society and its group of companies General Secretary: John Stoddard

CDNA Community and District Nursing Association Basement 367 Chiswick High Road London W4 4AG 020 8231 0180 Fax: 020 8231 0187 Main trades & industries: community and district nurses Chair: Rowena Smith

COMMUNITY The Union for Life Drinkwater House 210-212 Marton Road Middlesbrough Cleveland TS4 2ET 01642 246040 Fax: 01642 250207 Main trades & industries: Industries in and around steel and metal, knitwear, lace, textiles, hosiery, dyeing and finishing, footwear and leather, gloving, made-up leather goods Regional Director: Heather Meldrum

CONNECT The union for professionals in communications 30 St George’s Road Wimbledon London, SW19 4BD 020 8971 6000 Fax : 020 8971 6002 Main trades & industries: telecommunications, information technology and related industries General Secretary: Adrian Askew

CWU Communication Workers Union Rooms 5,6,7 63 Gillygate York YO31 7EA 01904 633198 Fax: 01904 675058 Main trades & industries: posts and telecommunications in Post Office, British Telecom, Cable & Wireless, Cable TV. National Girobank & related technologies & industries Contact: Paul Clays

EQUITY British Actors Equity North East The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row Sheffield, S1 2BX 0114 275 9746 Main trades & industries: performance workers in theatre, film, television, radio and variety Contact: Nigel Jones

FBU Fire Brigades Union 8 St. Stevens Close Mount Pleasant Houghton-le-Spring DH4 7SJ Main trades & industries: local authority fire brigades Contact: Pete Wilcox FBU No3 Region 1 Carlton Court 5th Avenue Team Valley Trading Estate Gateshead, NE11 OAZ 0191 487 4142 Fax: 0191 487 4161 Contact: Andy Noble

Other Offices: Carlisle – 2nd floor, Broadacre House, 16-20 Lowther Street, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA3 8DA. Tel: 01228 521 657 Fax: 01228 592 682 Durham - 26 Market Place, Durham City DH1 3JN. Tel: 0191 384 1370 Fax: 0191 384 9103 Middlesbrough – 202-206 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough TS1 3QW Tel: 01642 241751 Fax: 01642 253920 Sunderland – Lynas House, Frederick Street, Sunderland, SR1 1NA. Tel: 0191 514 2634 Fax: 0191 510 0167 Wallsend - 90 High Street West, Wallsend, Tyne & Wear NE28 8HY Tel: 0191 240 1116 Fax: 0191 240 1115

MU Musicians Union 40 Canal Street Manchester M1 3WD 0161 236 1764 Fax: 0161 236 0159

Main trades & industries: representing musicians, composers, song-writers, arrangers, copyists Regional Organiser: Morris Stemp

NAPO The Trade Union & Professional Association for Family Court & Probation Staff Dene House Durham Road Gateshead NE9 5AE Contact: Megan Elliott

Main trades & industries: probation officers, including hostel assistant wardens and community service sessional supervisors and family court staff 70-78 St James Boulevard Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4BN Contact: Mark Scott

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Affiliated Trade Unions




National Association of Schoolmasters, Union of Women Teachers North East Regional Centre Witney Way Boldon Colliery Tyne & Wear, NE35 9PE 0191 5195300 Fax: 0191 5195309

National Union of Teachers Auckland House High Chare, Chester le Street Co Durham DH3 3PX 0191 389 0999 Fax: 0191 389 2074 Regional Secretary: Elaine Kay

8 Leake Street London SE1 7NN 020 7902 6600 Fax: 020 7902 6667

Main trades & industries: education General Secretary: Ms Chris Keates Regional Organiser: Simon Kennedy

NGSU Nationwide Group Staff Union Middleton Farmhouse 37 Main Road, Middleton Cheney, Banbury Oxfordshire OX17 2QT 01295 710767 Fax: 01295 712580 Main trades & industries: all staff within the Nationwide Building Society Group, including Nationwide, Nationwide International Ltd, Nationwide Life Ltd, Nationwide Trade Ltd and UCB Home Loans General Secretary: Tim Poil

NUJ National Union of Journalists 5th Floor Arthur House Chorlton Street Manchester, M1 3FH 0161 237 5020 Fax: 0161 237 5266 Main trades & industries: journalists 17 Ongar Way Longbenton Newcastle upon Tyne, NE12 8ED Contact: George Macintyre

NUM National Union of Mineworkers PO Box 6 Red Hill Durham DH1 4BB 0191 384 3515 Fax: 0191 386 6824 Regional Officer: Dave Guy Main trades & industries: coal mining 56 William Street Blyth Northumberland NE24 2HR 01670 545454 Regional Officer: Ian Lavery

46 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009



PCS Public and Commercial Services Union Transport House John Dobson Street Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8TW 0191 222 0330 Fax: 0191 222 0079 Main trades & industries:government departments and agencies, public bodies, private sector information technology and other service companies Contact: Simon Elliott

Main trade & industries: Engineering, scientific, managerial & professional staff in agriculture, defence, electricity supply, energy, environment, health & safety, heritage, industry, law & order, shipbuilding, transport General Secretary: Paul Noon

RMT National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers 5 Mile End Road South Shields NE33 1TA 0191 456 1308 Main trade & industries: railways, shipping, underground and road transport Regional Officer: Stan Herschel

PFA Professional Footballers Association 20 Oxford Court Bishopsgate Manchester M2 3WQ 0161 236 0575 Fax: 0161 228 7229


Main trades & industries: professional football Chief Executive: Gordon Taylor

Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists 1 Fellmongers Path Towerbridge Road London, SE1 3LY 0845 450 3720 Fax: 0845 450 3721 Chief Executive: Joanna Brown



Prison Officers’ Association UK Cronin House 245 Church Street London, N9 9HQ 020 8803 0255 Fax: 020 8803 1761

Society of Radiographers PO Box 86 Barrow upon Humber, DN19 7ZR 01469 533 319 Fax: 0207 740 7233

Main trades & industries: persons employed in any penal or secure establishment or special hospital as a prison officer, a nursing grade, a non-industrial stores grade and NHS secure forensic staff General Secretary: Brian Caton National Chairman: Colin Moses

Main trade & industries: National Health Service Regional Officer: Helen Wickham

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TSSA Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association Walkden House 10 Melton Street London, NW1 2EJ 020 7387 2101 Fax: 020 7383 0656 Main trade & industries: administrative, clerical, supervisory, managerial, professional and technical employees of railways, London Underground, buses, road haulage, port authorities and waterways in Great Britain and Ireland. Also employees in the travel trade, hotel and catering industries. General Secretary: Gerry Doherty Julie Hilling Senior Regional Organiser, TSSA c/o TGWU Transport House, Merchants Quay Salford Quays, Salford M50 3SG Brian Brock Senior Regional Organiser, TSSA c/o TGWU Transport House 55 Call Lane Leeds, West Yorkshire LS1 7BW

UBAC Union for Bradford and Bingley Staff and Staff in Associated Companies PO Box 88 Croft Road Bingley West Yorkshire, BD16 2UA 01653 697634 Fax: 01653 695222 Main trade & industries: all staff within the Bradford & Bingley Group and associated companies. General Secretary: David Matthews

UCATT Union of Construction Allied Trades and Technicians Seymour House 10 Brenkley Way Blezzard Business Park Seaton Burn, NE13 6DT 0191 236 2636 Fax: 0191 236 2653 Main trade & industries: construction and building Regional Secretary: John Scott


UCU The University and College Union J31 The Avenues, Eleventh Avenue North Team Valley Trading Estate Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE11 ONJ 0191 487 7220 Fax: 0191 487 7255 Main trades & industries: post school education, for example from GCSE to post graduate studies, representing lecturers in prisons, adult education institutions, further education colleges, higher education colleges and universities Regional Officer: Iain Owens

UNISON 140-150 Pilgrim Street Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6TH 0845 355 0845 Main trade & industries: local government, health care, the water, gas and electricity industries, further and higher education, schools, transport, voluntary sector, housing associations, police support staff Regional Secretary: Gill Hale Regional Officers: Linda Hoffman (head of internal services) Liz Twist (head of health/service group) Lynne Robson (head of local government) Charlie Syme (head of recruitment and organisation) Dorothy Tokat (head of energy service group) Middlesbrough Office: 5th Floor 2 Queens Square Middlesbrough TS2 1AA 01642 211 324 Carlisle Office: 6 Spencer Street, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA1 1BG. 01228 815 670 Fax: 01228 815 686.

UNITE Transport House 55 Call Lane Leeds, LS1 7BW 0113 236 4830 Fax: 0113 236 4831

Annual Report 2008-2009

Affiliated Trade Unions

Main trade and industries: administrative, clerical, technical and supervisory; agriculture, building, construction and civil engineering, chemical, oil and rubber manufacture; civil air transport; docks and waterways; food, drink and tobacco; general workers’ passenger services; power and engineering; public services; road transport commercial; textiles; vehicle building and automotive Regional Secretary: Davey Hall Unite Regional Offices: Carlisle – 38 Cecil Street, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA1 1NT. 01228 522878 Fax: 01228 511546. Middlesbrough – Transport House, Fry Street, Middlesbrough, TS1 1HA. 01642 242314 Fax: 01642 254145. Newcastle – Transport House, John Dobson Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8TW. 0191 232 8951 Fax: 0191 261 8825

URTU United Road Transport Union Almond House Stanley Green Business Park Cheadle Hulme SK8 6QL 0800 52 66 39 Fax: 0161 861 0976

Main trade & industries:: drivers, warehousing, ancillary workers in the logistics and food sectors General Secretary: Robert Monks

USDAW Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers 6 Acorn Business Park Killingbeck Drive Leeds, LS14 6UF 0113 202 6000

Main trade & industries: retail, distributive, food processing and manufacturing, laundries, catering, chemical processing, pharmaceutical, home shopping, warehouses, insurance agents, clerical, milkround and dairy process, call centres Divisional Officer: Mike Brewer 2 Hedley Court Orion Business Park North Shields NE29 7ST 0191 296 5333

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Trade the heart of the future

Other Contacts

Trade Union Councils

Spennymoor/Newton Aycliffe Trades Council

Allerdale Trades Council

51 Watson Road Newton Aycliffe, Co Durham DL5 5JX Secretary: Dave Hardacre

c/o Trades Hall, 39 Brow Top Workington Cumbria CA14 2DP 01900 61874 Secretary: Amanda Potts

Barrow Trades Council 6 Deal Avenue, Walney Island Barrow in Furness Cumbria LA14 3BH 01229 470616 Secretary: Robert Pointer

Berwick Trades Council 10 The Glebe Gavinton, Duns Berwick TD11 3QU Secretary: Phil Thompson

Carlisle Trades Council 27 East Norfolk Street Carlisle, Cumbria CA2 5JL Secretary: David Niven

Darlington Trades Council 14 Tyne Crescent Darlington, Co Durham DL1 5AS Secretary: Pat Buttle

Gateshead/Blaydon/Dunston Trades Council

Sunderland Trades Council 8 Norley Avenue Sunderland SR5 1JY Secretary: Anthony Carty

Ulverston Trades Council 44 Rowan Avenue Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 9HZ 01229 582394 Secretary: George Appleton

Wansbeck Trades Council 1 Howburn Crescent Pegswood Northumberland NE61 6RX 01670 504 858 Secretary: Steve Brown

Whitehaven Trades Council

Hartlepool Trades Council

Trade Union Council County Associations

146 Davenport Road Yarm TS15 9TW Secretary: Bob Stephenson

Tyne & Wear County Association 4 The Cloth Market Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1EE 0191 232 4606 Fax: 221 0259 Coordinator: Kevin Flynn

Cumbria County Association

4 The Cloth Market Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 1EE Secretary: James Simpkin

North Tyneside Trades Council

Durham County Association

Howdon Community Centre 43 Totnes Drive, Parkside Grange Cramlington NE1 9PZ 07968 341758 Secretary: Ian Ayres

14 Tyne Crescent Darlington Co Durham DL1 5AS Secretary: Pat Buttle

South Tyneside Trades Council

146 Davenport Road Layfield Farm Yarm Cleveland TS15 9TW 01642 786 418 Secretary: Bob Stephenson

11 Watson Avenue South Shields, Tyne & Wear NE34 7QX 0191 455 7467 Secretary: Doreen Purvis

48 Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009

TUC Unemployed Workers Centres Centre Against Unemployment 4 The Cloth Market Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1EE 0191 232 4606 Fax: 221 0259 Coordinator: Kevin Flynn

Trades Hall 39 Brow Top, Workington, Cumbria, CA14 5DP 01900 61874 Coordinator: Mary Bainbridge

Blyth Resource & Initiative Centre Eric Tolhurst Centre, 3-13 Quay Rd, Blyth Northumberland, NE24 2AS 01670 353 817 Coordinator: Janice Irving

Cleveland TU&UWRC/Learn Direct Centre 119 Marton Road, Cleveland TS1 2DU 01642 244200 Fax: 01642 804050 Coordinator: Bob Stephenson

North Shields Town Training Centre

44 Rowan Avenue Ulverston Cumbria LA12 9HZ 01229 582394 Secretary: George Appleton

Newcastle Trades Council


12 Runcorn Avenue Roseworth Stockton on Tees, Cleveland TS19 9BH 01642 894426 Secretary: Neville Anderson

65 Greenbank Avenue Greenbank, Cumbria CA28 9QT Secretary: Peter Tyson

Middlesbrough Trades Council

57 Broomlee Ashington Northumberland NE63 9NZ Secretary: John McCormack

Stockton on Tees Trades Council

21 Claremont South Avenue Gateshead, Tyne & Wear NE8 1RJ 0191 232 4606 Secretary: Dave Morton

152 Sheriff Street Hartlepool, Cleveland TS26 8EG 01429 236620 Secretary: Alan Walker

Northumberland County Association

Cleveland County Association

51 Bedford Street, North Shields Tyne and Wear, NE29 OAT 0191 200 1254 Coordinator: Mary Glindon

Wallsend Peoples Centre 10 Frank Street, Tyne and Wear, NE29 OAT 0191 263 5029 Coordinators: Maureen Maddon, Mick Riley

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Annual Report 2008-2009


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Northern TUC Annual Report 2008-2009

Northern TUC I Commercial Union House I 5th Floor I 39 Pilgrim Street I Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6QE Telephone : 0191 232 3175 I Fax : 0191 232 3190 I Email : I Copyright in this publication is held by the TUC unless otherwise stated. For further copies of this item contact Northern TUC on 0191 232 3175 or This text may also be made available, on request, in accessible formats such as braille, audio tape and large print, at no extra cost



Trade the heart of the future - TUC Northern Annual report  

It is impossible not to start this year’s Annual Report without reference to the current economic position in the Northern Region. This is c...

Trade the heart of the future - TUC Northern Annual report  

It is impossible not to start this year’s Annual Report without reference to the current economic position in the Northern Region. This is c...