At the March meeting of Chelmsford TUC the Chairman, John Pickard, welcomed three new delegates. Arrangements for future activities were discussed including an event for Workers’ Memorial Day on April 29, a rally in the evening with international speakers, a health and safety exhibition and, to coincide with the EU referendum, a public meeting to debate the different positions.
Delegates were pleased to hear of the large number of events being held in Chelmsford to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight. It was pointed out to the new delegates that it was Chelmsford TUC that had initiated the local campaign and continued to be a supporter of its work. Trade union branches are encouraged to affiliate to Chelmsford City Fairtrade Campaign.
Among the many items raised at our meetings are branch reports when delegates have the opportunity to bring matters of interest or concern to the attention of others. One of these was the growing campaign to launch a new railway line from Stansted Airport to London in order to reduce travelling time and to make Stansted more competitive. Delegates agreed that this should be promoted within their own unions as a means of improving the service and also of stimulating the economy.
Not for the first time delegates expressed their concern at the shortage of teachers but members of the NASUWT and the NUT pointed out that teachers were not just leaving because of bad working conditions and stress but also that many schools within Essex are not helping the situation by making staff redundant to save money. This provoked a wide-ranging discussion on the way the education system has developed over the past years and the growing reliance on teachers from other countries being employed to educate our children.