Chelmsford and District TUC held ten General Meetings and eleven Executive Committee Meetings in 2016. Branches on our list of affiliations now number 24. A number of branches did not make a payment for 2016. We had a new affiliation from the UNISON Police branch.
Average attendance dropped slightly to an average of about 9 with a couple of meetings of 5 but another with 12. 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 four guest speakers this year - Lindsay Neal from Thompsons (Solicitors) at the AGM in February to give us an update on the new Trade Union Act, John Pickard (our Chair) on the Government’s proposals in Education, and Jean-Michel Knutsen and Jack Swan on the CitizensUK style of organising and intentions to start working Chelmsford Our normal seasonal meal after the December meeting was postponed to January as the room was unavailable.
2016 General Meetings mainly took place at the Unite office on Springfield Road but we also used the UNISON Regional Office on three occasions. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking our Unite and UNISON colleagues for their assistance. 2017 meetings will be in the same two venues.
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.
Programme of Work. Delegates discussed and adopted the 2016 Trades Union Councils’ Programme of Work. We resolved to set ourselves three specific areas of work as our own ‘mini-programme’ in 2017. These are • campaigning on the NHS, • work on fair pay and the related issues such as zero hours contracts, and • to relaunch our anti-racist statement, first published in 2007.
We submitted two motions to the County Association as potential items for the Trades Councils Annual Conference. One was on Meals on Wheels and the other on saving the Post Office. Both were passed at the Conference, one with a supportive amendment.
We have continued to raise issues of concern with both local and national politicians and also in the press.
At the end of 2015 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. The campaign finished with a march to the City Council meeting and a few weeks later the proposal was withdrawn.
At the end of the year CitizensUK approached us to start a campaign to get the City council to accredit as (a) Living Wage employer. We attended their organising meetings along with others including UNISON and a number of faith groups. The intention is to approach the Council in the first part of 2017 and we have agreed to support them as part of our programme of work (above.)
Delegates represented the Council or attended a number of conferences and events including Chelmsford City Fairtrade Campaign, the SERTUC Trades Councils conference and, as an observer, at the TUC Women’s and Disabled Workers’ conferences. The Secretary attended the Annual Conference of Trades Councils on behalf of the County Association and moved the motions we had submitted.
We were represented at the Essex County Association of Trades Councils by the secretary, the chair and the press officer. The chair of the County Association is Andrew Coburn.
We were again invited to attend the school careers convention at Brentwood School This was regarded as successful and we will be attending again in 2017.
SOLIDARITY AND TRADE UNION ACTION
The Council supported various actions by affiliated unions during the year including the Junior Doctors’ strike.
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. Mark Barter (a local UNITE official) and a representative of Thompsons’s Solicitors spoke at the wreath laying ceremony.
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 Ananna Rahman for the BMA on the Junior Doctors’ dispute, and Mehmet Aksoy for the Kurdish Solidarity Campaign. It was an excellent evening and we thank our colleagues at Thompsons Solicitors for sponsoring our public meetings and providing Fairtrade refreshments.
We had hoped to organise a debate on the European referendum with two trade union speakers but had to cancel this as no ’Remain’ speaker was available.
In November we hosted the Banner Theatre production of ‘Chicago: the great teachers’ strike’. Although the attendance was poor the show was very good and was enjoyed by all who attended. We are grateful to the NUT, TSSA Anglia South and Thompson’s Solicitors for donations which, together with a TUC Development Grant, helped defray the financial loss incurred.
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 • 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 £30 • Justice for Colombia £60 • Campaign for Press & Broadcasting Freedom £25
Organisations to which we have affiliated in past years but from whom no request to reaffiliate was received in 2016 • Campaign for Trade Union Freedom, • Charter for Women, • Chelmsford Fairtrade Town Campaign, • Keep our NHS public, • Hazards • 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 2016 • ASLEF Bishops Stortford • CWU Amal • Musicians’ Union • NAPO • NASUWT Essex Federation • Mid Essex NUT • RMT Colchester • GMB Thompsons • TSSA South Anglia General (encompassing Anglia nos 1 & 2 branches) • TSSA London Underground Ops Managers • UCU Anglia Ruskin University • UNISON Chelmsford City • UNISON Essex County • UNISON Essex Police • UNISON Mid Essex Hospitals • UNISON Anglia Ruskin University • UNITE LE372 ACTS UNISON Staff branch • UNITE LERM006 • UNITE LE0555 • UNITE LE1365 Stansted Airport • UNITE LE1115M London Construction • UNITE LE3321M • UNITE LE7383E E2V
Branches on correspondence list for which no payment was recorded for 2016
• EQUITY Essex General.
• FBU Chelmsford.
• GMB London Stores General. GMB London Central General.
• PCS DWP Essex.
• TSSA Network Rail East Anglia, Underground Infrastructure..
• UCATT Maldon
DELEGATES AVERAGE RECORD OF ATTENDANCE 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 (9) (9) (11) (10) (8) (10) (9) (10) (9) (10) (8)