CHELMSFORD & DISTRICT TRADES UNION COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2015
Chelmsford and District TUC held ten General Meetings and eleven Executive Committee Meetings in 2015.
Branches on our list of affiliations now number 22. A number of branches did not make a payment for 2015. We were approached by UNITE and UCU branches about new affiliations.
Average attendance dropped slightly to an average of about 9 with a couple of meetings of 7 but another with 14.
All branches and delegates are sent minutes of our meetings, 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 three guest speakers this year - Lindsay Ruigrok from Thompsons at the AGM in February to give us a legal update on changes to Employment Tribunal law, Lynn Boothman one of the ultimately successful PCS National Gallery strikers in July, and in October Peter Challis, UNISON’s national officer responsible for Housing, who spoke on that and on the tax credit proposals later withdrawn by the Government after a nationwide campaign. Following the December meeting delegates and guests sat down to a dinner in The Orange Tree.
2015 General Meetings mainly took place at the Unite office on Springfield Road but we also used the Friends Meeting House, the Kathy Mapes Centre and the Orange Tree. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking our Unite colleagues for their assistance and are pleased to be able to return there for most meetings in 2016.
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.
Delegates adopted the 2015 Trades Union Councils’ Programme of Work and have worked hard to fulfil its objectives. We have also discussed the 2016 programme and we intend to comply with this too, as best we can.
We submitted a motion to the County Association as a potential item for the Trades Councils Annual Conference. It was written by the Secretary on ‘The Digital Divide and was submitted to the Conference as one of Essex’s two motions. It was passed with a supportive amendment.
We have continued to raise issues of concern with both local and national politicians and also in the press.
During the year we had reason to believe that the EDL might try and make their presence felt in Chelmsford again. We therefore agreed to revive United Chelmsford - the loose non-party/ multi faith organisation we set up when they originally tried. So far there has been no need to organise on that issue but late in the year Hope Not Hate approached us and other progressive activists in the City to try to help put pressure on the City Council to take some Syrian refugees in line with Government offers of funding. We helped organise a planning meeting, then activities including speakers at the City Council meeting and meetings both with both the Council and the Bishop of Chelmsford’s representative. This activity will continue into 2016.
Around the same time the City Council published a proposal to use new legislation to fine homeless people who are regarded as causing a public nuisance and have turned down offers of accommodation. A campaign was established to oppose this under the name Homelessness Is Not A Crime (HINAC) and trade council activists joined in the campaign.
Delegates were also active (though not as an official trades Council activity) in organising a lobby in support of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign to become leader of the Labour Party.
Delegates have represented the Council or attended a number of conferences and events including the Fairtrade Group, The SERTUC Trades Councils conference and, as an observer, at the TUC Women’s conference. The Secretary attended the Annual Conference of Trades Councils in behalf of the County Association and moved the motion we had submitted.
We are represented at the Essex County Association of Trades Councils by the secretary and the press officer. The chair of the County Association is Andrew Coburn.
We were invited to attend school careers conventions. One, as in 2014 was at Brentwood School but also, as a result of a letter by the chair to state secondary schools in mid-Essex, at Boswells and Brentwood County High. These were all regarded as very successful and we hope to repeat them in 2016.
SOLIDARITY AND TRADE UNION ACTION
The Council supported various actions by affiliated unions during the year including the PCS National Gallery strike as well as the FBU’s control room dispute
Once again Council delegates supported leafleting campaigns at Chelmsford station by Action For Rail against fare rises and in favour of renationalisation.
As is now traditional we marked Workers’ Memorial Day with a health & safety exhibition in the Remembrance Square (in front of Chelmsford library) and a memorial event and wreath-laying ceremony in Central Park. Ron McKay, Regional Secretary of UCATT spoke at the wreath laying ceremony and we were also joined by representatives for UNISON’s Regional Council meeting which was taking place in Chelmsford on the day.
On 8 March we held an exhibition to mark International Women’s Day and in October we had another health and safety display for European Health & Safety Week
On May Day we held a public meeting at the Friends Meeting House with Arsalan Ghani for the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign and Riccardo la Torre on the FBU Control Room dispute It was an excellent evening and we thank our colleagues at Thompsons Solicitors for sponsoring our public meetings and providing Fairtrade refreshments.
Thanks are due to Malcolm Wallace who has continued to operate as a very active press and publicity officer as well as managing the website, and to the other officers and delegates who have participated in meetings and who work on behalf of the local trade union movement.
ORGANISATIONS TO WHICH THE COUNCIL IS AFFILIATED • Unite Against Fascism £50 • Anglia Region Pensioners’ Association £15 • National Pensioners Convention £15 • Essex County Association of Trades Councils £50 • Labour Research Dept £88.25 • CND £25 • Cuba Solidarity Campaign £40 • Labour Euro Safeguards Campaign £5 • Searchlight (cheque issued 2014) • Justice for Colombia (cheque issued 2014) • Hazards (cheque issued 2014) • Campaign for Press & Broadcasting Freedom £25 (cheque issued 2016)
Organisations to which we have affiliated in past years but from whom no request to reaffiliate was received in 2015 • Campaign for Trade Union Freedom, • Charter for Women, • Chelmsford Fairtrade Town Campaign, • Keep our NHS public, • Shrewsbury 24 Campaign, • Unite Against Fascism
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. • Hi-visibility vests for stewards 18. The Essex Records Office holds our minutes, annual reports, local campaign material, Communist Party minutes, leaflets etc.
Affiliations were received from the following branches for 2015 • ASLEF BST • CWU Amal • Musicians’ Union • NAPO • NASUWT Essex Federation • Mid Essex NUT • RMT Colchester • GMB Thompsons • TSSA Anglia No 1 • TSSA Anglia No 2 • TSSA London Underground Ops Managers • UCU Anglia Ruskin University • UNISON Brentwood Borough • UNISON Essex County • UNISON Mid Essex Hospitals • Unite branches LE/372/ LE/RM006/ LE/0007/ LE/0555/ LE1365/ LE1115M/ LE3321
Branches on correspondence list for which no payment was recorded for 2015
• EQUITY Essex General.
• FBU Chelmsford.
• GMB London Stores General. GMB London Central General.
• PCS DWP Essex. PCS R+C Anglia. PCS DVLA Southern.
• TSSA Network Rail East Anglia.
• UCATT Maldon
• UNISON Anglia Ruskin University.