CHELMSFORD & DISTRICT TRADES UNION COUNCIL
ANNUAL REPORT 2006
Chelmsford and District TUC held ten General Meetings in 2006 and the Executive Committee met on ten occasions. During the year the following addressed the Council: Frank Ward (Unison) “Developments within the Ambulance Service”, Neil Spurgeon (CWU) “Royal Mail”, Geoff Reason (Unison) “NHS Logistics and Privatisation”.
All affiliated branches and delegates are sent minutes of our meetings by mail and if addresses have been provided, Executive Committee minutes by e-mail. A report of every General Meeting has been published in the Essex Chronicle (Community News) and placed on our website. Our Annual Reports can also be read through the website.
During the year we made donations to the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign and Braintree Defend Council Housing, and we sponsored the campaign for a Trade Union Freedom Bill.
Unfortunately, circumstances prevented us from attending the 2006 Annual Conference of Trades Councils. The Council was, however, represented at a PCS Regional Meeting on Campaigning. We felt that this was an excellent event and one of our affiliates (TSSA) replicated it in Chelmsford. We attended the RMT Conference on “Working Class Representation” and the Burston School Strike Rally which, as usual, was a great event. We were also represented at SERTUC meetings and the two excellent Black History Month lectures at Congress House. We attended the AGM of the Mid Essex Hospitals Trust and raised a number of questions at the meeting. The public services unions had our backing for their pensions’ dispute and our banner was displayed on the picket line on 28 March. The Secretary attended the Alternative Oyster Festival which is organised and funded by the trade unions in Colchester.
Following a request from the University of the West of England, we provided a lengthy paper on our activities.
A valued part of our meetings are the reports made by delegates on their branch and workplace activity. Amongst the many topics raised during the year were violence against staff, domestic violence and its impact on workplace, PFI issues, development of Broomfield Hospital, public transport, Chelmsford bus station, pensions, job losses and issues arising from Essex County Council and Chelmsford Borough Council. Following these reports and other matters discussed, we have corresponded with a wide range of organisations and individuals to promote the aims and objectives of our movement. Letters have also been sent to the local press and our MP.
The Trades Council is represented on the Standing Committee of the Chelmsford Fairtrade Town Campaign and plays a full part in its activities. The Trades Council, along with Oxfam and the Borough Council, were the three signatories that applied for the Town’s Fairtrade Certificate to be renewed. We are pleased to record that our colleagues at Thompsons Solicitors offered free legal advice on one of the days during Fairtrade Fortnight.
Our campaign to initiate a debate on Trade Union Governance is bearing fruit and following an Interim Report to the TSSA’s 2006 TSSA Annual Conference, proposals will be presented to the next conference.
It is disappointing to record that Amicus 0998 has been closed and that following the retirement of Tony Lee, the Essex Unifi Amicus Branch has been closed. Amicus Chelmsford No. 1 is to be closed early in 2007.
We would like to place on record our thanks to both David Cooper and Mike Adams for the contribution they have made towards trade unionism within their own union and to the work of the Trades Council.
Although we accept that closures can occur as a result of union amalgamation, far too many have been as a result of inactivity by members. It seems to us that increasing membership and participation must be at the heart of trade union activity, and we have to take measures to ensure that we train members to take on responsibility.
Following the December meeting thirteen delegates and guests sat down for a meal at the Red Lion, New London Road. The Red Lion is a Fairtrade supporter.
OUR PUBLIC FACE & ACTIVITIES Our key public event of the year was the May Rally. The speakers were: Abdullah Muhsin (Iraqi Fedration of Trade Unions), Harriet Yeo (Labour Party NEC & TSSA), and Jackie Simpkins (Trade Union Officer, War on Want). We hope it is a tribute to our work within the community that our rally continues to attract a wide range of community and political organisations.
We have held exhibitions in the public area of Chelmsford Library to mark International Women’s Day, Workers’ Memorial Day, Black History Month and European Safety and Health Month.
As part of our promotional work we purchased (thanks to a TUC Development Grant) a Trades Council display stand. We continued to promote the Trades Council by distributing our “Proud 2B in a Union” badges at demonstrations in London, Burston and a various conferences that our delegates attended.
Early in the year we redesigned our website and introduced four new pages “Art for the Socialist”, “The People’s Information Centre”, “Radical Publishers” and a promotional page for trade union and co-operative conference centres / hotels that are trade union organised. The address for the website was changed to: www.chelmsford-tuc.org.uk/ The site now has 126 pages and we have continued to receive requests for information on trade unions and many other issues through the website. The website is promoted in the Saturday edition of the Morning Star.
We publicise all our events through the Essex Chronicle’s Community News, the Essex Weekly News, Yellow Advertiser, The Enquirer, the Borough Council’s website (which is also published in “Life”), our own website and the East Anglia Social Forum website.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our affiliates and delegates for their support and friendship during the year.
Chair: Andrew Coburn, Secretary: M. Wallace, Treasurer: G. Grant.
ORGANISATIONS TO WHICH THE COUNCIL IS AFFILIATED
Essex Pensioners’ Action Association,
Chelmsford Fairtrade Town Campaign,
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,
Cuba Solidarity Campaign,
Essex County Association of Trades Councils,
Labour Research Department,
Trades Union Congress,
Unite Against Fascism,
Essex Racial Equality Council,
Iraq Union Solidarity,
Trade Union Review.
BRANCH AFFILIATIONS AND DELEGATES 2006
Amicus (Chelmsford) 5B 1856.
Amicus No. 1 (0012).
Amicus Unifi (Essex) (Closed during 2006).
Communication Workers’ Union (Essex Amalgamated).
Community & Youth Workers’ Union (Essex).
Fire Brigades Union (Chelmsford).
GMB (London Stores General).
National Association of Schoolmasters Union and Women Teachers (Essex Federation).
National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (Colchester and District).
National Union of Teachers (Mid-Essex).
Public and Commercial Services Union (DWP Essex).
Transport & General Workers’ Union Acts Staffs Branch (1/372).
Transport & General Workers’ Union (1/699).
Transport & General Workers’ Union (1/1400.2).
Transport & General Workers’ Union (1/237).
Transport and General Workers’ Union (1/701).
Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (Anglia No.1).
Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (Anglia No. 2).
Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (Underground Infrastructure).
UNISON (Chelmsford Borough Council).
UNISON (Essex Ambulance).
UNISON (Essex County).
UNISON (Mid-Essex Hospitals).
USDAW (Chelmsford & Colchester Retail CO 37).