Chelmsford and District TUC held ten General Meetings and eleven Executive Committee Meetings in 2013. Branches on our list of affiliations now number 31 though a number seem to have omitted to make a payment for 2013, a situation which we cannot allow to continue. It is pleasing that the range of industries we cover has also continued to be wider than in recent times. Average attendance has remained about 10 with one meeting dropping to 6 but another with as many as 13. All branches and delegates are sent minutes of our meetings, normally now by email where possible and, where e-mail addresses have been provided, copies of the Executive Committee minutes. Regular e-mails are sent to branches and delegates to keep them informed of events and activities. Our website is also used to promote our work.
We had two guest speakers this year - Alison Davies who addressed the Council on the work of the Essex Savers Credit Union, of which she is Chief Executive, and Andy Payne of the then embryonic Essex Healthwatch - he described how it was envisaged it would function when it took on legal status in April. Following the December meeting ten people sat down to a dinner in The Orange Tree.
2013 General Meetings took place in a number of venues including the Bird in Hand and the Orange Tree, the Age Concern Centre and the Unite office, Springfield Road. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking our Unite colleagues for their assistance and are glad that we can return there for most of 2014.
A report of every General Meeting has been published in the Community News section of the Essex Chronicle and on our website where our Annual Report can also be read. During the year we have continued to update and develop our website. This work has been done by Malcolm Wallace who may have given up the Secretary’s post but is still working hard for the Council and other causes
Delegates adopted the 2013 Trades Union Councils’ Programme of Work and have worked hard to fulfil its objectives. We have also discussed the 2014 programme and we intend to comply with this too, as best we can.
We submitted two motions to the County Association as potential items for the Trades Councils Annual Conference. One, suggested by TSSA Anglia No 1 branch, was on Blacklisting and was merged with a similar one from Harlow. It went to the conference where it was composited further and passed. The other motion was from the Musicians Union on charitable status for public schools but it was not selected for conference. Chris Habib once again represented us at the conference.
We have continued to send letters and emails to organisations and individuals on issues of concern. For instance, following a suggestion from Coventry Trades Council, we submitted a freedom of information request to Chelmsford City Council about their use of employees on zero hours contracts. We would have done the same for Essex CC but they had already published the data. We wrote Simon Burns MP about the lobbying and Gagging Bill. Unsurprisingly his reply was in line with official government policy even though he was by then not a minister.
Delegates have represented the Council or attended a number of conferences and events including the Essex Healthwatch public meetings, the Fairtrade Group, The SERTUC Trades Councils conference, the Essex Book Festival ’State of the nation’ event, and the Morning Star AGM. We are represented at the Essex County Association of Trades Councils by the Secretary, Treasurer, and Press Officer. The Chairman of the County Association is Andrew Coburn.
SOLIDARITY AND TRADE UNION ACTION
The Council is pleased to record the continued excellent role played by Unite branch delegate, Steve Kelly, in the national campaign against blacklisting. Steve reported on the Campaign throughout the year culminating in the acceptance at official levels that there is something to investigate and continued court actions. The Council agreed a donation of £10 to the hardship fund for George Tapp, the blacklisted worker who was run over on a picket in Manchester. We affiliated to the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign following a report by Marion Wilson (NUT) on Ricky Tomlinson’s speech at her union’s national conference.
Trades Council delegates supported industrial action through the year by FBU, teachers’ unions (NASUWT and NUT) and NAPO.
On several occasion Council delegates supported leafleting campaigns at Chelmsford station by Action For Rail against fare rises and in favour of renationalisation. We also lent support to UNITE members at Britvic when the closure of the Chelmsford factory was announced.
The Trades Council had several delegates and friends at the national People’s Assembly in June and helped host the Essex follow up meeting in September. Unfortunately there has been very little progress since then. However, we were also able to help fill, and underwrite the costs of, a coach arranged by Harlow TUC to the lobby of the Tory party conference in Manchester in October.
Chelmsford Against the Cuts continued its activity during the year with the help of the Trades Council. The Group concentrated on the Anti-Bedroom tax campaign. They held a public event in the city centre in the spring, a number of leafleting sessions both in the city centre and on the Melbourne estate/ shopping parade, and a public meeting. We were also involved in anti-EDL leafletting when they attempted to make an appearance at short notice.
PUBLIC ACTIVITIES In October we had a very successful performance of ‘In a Right state’ by Banner Theatre Company. This was just as entertaining as their performance a couple of years ago and was well attended on the night as well as being supported by trade union branches (including NASUWT, TSSA, UNISON, and others (including the Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society and the Co-Operative party. It was also financially successful in part thanks to a grant from the TUC development fund.
We marked Workers’ Memorial Day with a health & safety exhibition in the public square of Chelmsford library and a memorial event and wreath-laying ceremony in Central Park.
On 8 March we held an exhibition to mark International Women’s Day. Two further exhibitions were held in October against racism, and promoting health and safety.
On May Day we held a public meeting at the Baptist Church with guest speakers Richard Exell (TUC Senior policy officer), and Carmen Barrada of the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign. It was an excellent evening and we thank our colleagues at Thompsons Solicitors for sponsoring our public meetings and providing Fairtrade refreshments.
OBITUARY We were saddened at the end of the year to hear of the death of Dave Hedgecock. Dave was a bus worker and TGWU steward who became secretary of the Trades Council from 1973-77. After he stepped down he became a well-known figure in Chelmsford, collecting for charity, and he also attended most May rallies held by the Trades Council.
Thanks Finally we would like to take this opportunity to thank UNISON Regional office and the Essex County branch for printing our minutes, leaflets against the cuts, and our anti-racist material.
ORGANISATIONS TO WHICH THE COUNCIL IS AFFILIATED National Pensioners’ Convention, Anglia Region NPC, Chelmsford Fairtrade Town Campaign, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Cuba Solidarity Campaign, Essex County Association of Trades Councils, Labour Research Department, Hazards, Trades Union Congress, Unite Against Fascism, Searchlight, Justice for Colombia, Charter for Women, Campaign for Trade Union Freedom, Keep our NHS public, Shrewsbury 24 Campaign
CHELMSFORD TUC ASSETS • People’s Press Printing Society (Morning Star) shares £55 • Wortley Hall Certificate No. 7903 Four £5 shares. • Fairtraders Co-operative: Three shares valued at £60. • Banners: Painted cloth banner. Two pop up velcro units. 1 pop up Chelmsford TUC unit. 1 plastic Say No To Racism. 1 Chelmsford TUC plastic strip. 1 Workers’ Memorial Day plastic strip. 1 Chelmsford TUC Advice and Information banner. • Workers’ Memorial Day Badges. Proud 2B in a Union badges • History of Chelmsford TUC two volumes. • Highlight vests for stewards 18. The Essex Records Office holds our minutes, annual reports, local campaign material, Communist Party minutes, leaflets etc.
CHELMSFORD TUC 2013 AFFILIATIONS (* no payment recorded for 2013)
• ASLEF Bishops Stortford. *
• CWU Essex Amalgamated.
• EQUITY Essex General. *
• FBU Chelmsford.
• GMB London Stores General. GMB London Central General.
• Musicians’ Union East & South East England.
• National Association of Probation Officers (Essex). *
• NASUWT Essex Federation.
• NUT Mid Essex.
• PCS DWP Essex. PCS R+C Anglia. PCS DVLA Southern.*
• RMT Colchester & District.
• TSSA Anglia 1. TSSA Anglia No. 2. TSSA Network Rail East Anglia. TSSA Underground Infrastructure.
• UCATT Maldon.
• UNISON Anglia Ruskin University. UNISON Chelmsford Borough. UNISON Essex County. UNISON Mid Essex Hospitals. UNISON Brentwood Borough Council.
• UNITE Chelmsford Central 1856. UNITE London Construction LE/0555. UNITE TGWU LE/1/1400.2. UNITE TGWU LE/1/699. UNITE 0444.2. UNITE TGWU First Bus 1/237. UNITE London United Craft LE/3321M. UNITE TGWU LE/1/1365. UNITE TGWU ACTS Staffs Branch 1/372.
DELEGATES AVERAGE RECORD OF ATTENDANCE 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 10 8 10 9 10 9 10 8 9 9 9