Minutes January 2011

Liverpool Trades Union Council Meeting

Thursday 20 January 2011

Friends House, School Lane

Attendance:

Mark Hoskisson (Unite Merseyside Community Branch)

Dave Walsh (Unite 6/585))

Paul Astbury (Unite 6/585)

Daren Ireland (RMT Liverpool No.5)

Billy Kimm (RMT Liverpool 5)

Martin Ralph (UCU Liverpool University)

Jayne Pinder (PCS Liverpool Revenue)

Paul Smith (PCS Liverpool Revenue)

Billy Wilson (National Pensioners Convention)

Mike Nealis (NML PCS)

Steve Mulholland (NML PCS)

Kev Purdy (Liverpool Unison)

Matt Shiel (Home Office PCS)

John Farmer (PCS DWP Liverpool)

John Flanagan (UCATT – observer)

Ritchie Hunter (Unite)

Apologies:

Phil Wiseman, Ronnie Proffitt, Sue Bennett, John Wiseman, Ann Gorton, Babs Hennessey, Alan Saunders

  1. President’s welcome:

Daren Ireland opened the meeting and welcomed the delegates. He pointed to ongoing struggles against cuts in jobs and services as evidence of the need for Liverpool TUC to keep up its already strong campaign against the government.

  1. Minutes and matter arising

a)    Minutes from December agreed as correct. Apologies for delays in production and non-appearance of November’s meeting due to problems arising from family illnesses that had prevented the attendance of the Secretary.

b)    MATUC had accepted the motions forwarded from the last LTUC meeting regarding cuts and police attacks on students and they had now beenj forwarded to national TUC to call for an inquiry into police violence against students on 9 December.

c)    Carious replies to LTUC letter to councillor have been received and will be circulated.

d)    Merseyside Public Sector Alliance demo on 5 February. LTUC delegates to MATUC had raised concerns with venue of rally after demo (Anglican cathedral) because of apparent restrictions on freedom of expression by speakers proposed by cathedral authorities. In the light of this LTUC agreed the following points:

  • We support the demo but register our opposition to any restrictions on freedom of expression on the day
  • We agree that any future decisions on venues that may cause similar problems are taken in consultation with the relevant local TUC/union bodies and officers
  • We request of the MPSA that the Hope campaign is given a speaker at the rally (Martin Ralph to follow this up with MPSA)

e)    Robert Noonan – circular with details of event on 3 February sent to all delegates. All welcome to attend the event on 3 February (see circular for full itinerary). Can anyone attending who is willing to steward the event please contact John Flanagan and let him know.

  1. Anti-Cuts Campaign

a)    Hope University:

Caroline Bennett from Hope UCU addressed the meeting. She explained that the Univerity Authorities had begun a 90 day consultation over 110 redundancies and that this came without any prior warning or negotiation. The union responded by holding its largest ever branch meeting which voted overwhelmingly for a ballot on industrial action.

A campaign against the cuts has now been launched. Management have responded with an unprecedented number of disciplinaries and work reviews. The cuts have been announced at the same time as a £250k spending programme on pianos and a £250k donation to an Academy were also announced!

There was no consultation with the union when the governors approved the job cuts which will have a major impact on staff and students.

LTUC agreed:

  • To give the Hope UCU campaign full support
  • To ask MPSA to have a UCU Hope speaker at its rally on 5 March
  • To give UCU Hope a speaker at our public meeting on 10 February (details attached)
  • To issue a press release and write to local MPs in support of Hope UCU (attached)
  • To circulate information and updates to delegates about the campaign
  • To facilitate liaison between staff and students (Mark Hoskisson to liaise with Ritchie Hunter over student drama project against cuts, Martin Ralph to liaise with University students)
  • To support any actions called by Hope UCU
  • To invite Hope UCU to affiliate tpo the Trades Council
  • To appoint martin Ralph as the LTUC liaison point with Hope UCU

b)    Public meeting:

This is now confirmed at the Green Room, Duke Street, Central Liverpool, 7.00pm, 10 February. Speakers: Ricky Tomlinson, Ken Loach, Tony Mulhearn, Lizzie O’Rourke (student), Emily Kelly (PCS), Hope UCU, Mark Hoskisson (LTUC). Daren will update and circulate leaflet. Can all affiliates start building this meeting as widely as possible.

c)    Other events:

  • Wigan 22 January – March
  • Manchester 22 January – Conference (Martin Ralph to go as LTUC delegate)
  • London 22 January – NSSN conference London, Dave Walsh and Daren Ireland to go as delegates (LTUC discussed recent events in the NSSN including dispoutes within its leadership. Different views were expressed but it was agreed that Dave Walsh and Daren would represent a balanced delegation)
  • Liverpool 29 January – JTUC March Liverpool St George’s Plateau, 11.00am
  • Manchester 29 January – TUC Youth Rally
  • Liverpool 31 January – NWTUC briefing to Trades Council, 5.30pm Cotton Exchange, martin Ralph, Daren Ireland, John Farmer to go as delegates
  • Liverpool 5 February – MPSA demonstration, 11.00am assemble behind Liverpool Town Hall
  • London 26 March – TUC demo against the cuts
  1. Secretary’s Report

Please note items from the report sent out in advance or dealt with in December and that do not require further action or on which no decision was taken at the meeting have not been reproduced here. You can still see those items in the Secretary’s report circulated to all affiliates.

a)   Request to affiliate to Nicaraguan Solidarity Campaign Action group – Noted

b)   Notification X4 of TUC Women’s conference, Black Workers conference, Disability conference and LGBT conference. Jayne Pinder from PCS to attend women’s conference

c)   Notification of Trades Councils 2011 conference plus newsletters, programme of work and delegates info – discuss at next meeting

d)   Request to be put on an LTUC events e list from Tom Walker – no one knows who he is so Mark Hoskisson is making further enquiries.

e) Fire Safety appeal from News from Nowhere – Agreed to donate £50

f) Request for help from two students regarding a drama project against the cuts – Mark Hoskisson to pass details on to Ritchie Hunter

  1. Treasurer’s report:

£3189.49 in ordinary account as of 31/12/2010

£7303.72 in Life and Welfare account.

  1. Industrial:

Daren reported on two day strike on 28 December and on ongoing dispute regarding the use of cheap labour to undermine Union on isle of man Steam Packet route.

  1. Anti-fascism

Daren Ireland reported on split in Liverpool BNP. Now need to keep our eyes open for British Freedom Party.

Resolution on anti fascism from Unite Voluntary sector received. It is reprinted here but because of lack of time it was referred to the next meeting.

“Anti-Fascism

Union notes

  1. That organisations like the EDL are being more confident in their protests and actions.
  2. That Tory/Liberal cuts in jobs, benefits and services will worsen social conditions and provide the environment in which far right organisations grow.
  3. That in Bradford local anti –fascist activists organised successfully against the EDL – refusing to be herded into the police kettle and making it difficult for the EDL to march. They successfully called on local Asians to ignore their mosque leaders call to stay away and organised black and white unity against the EDL.

Union believes

  1. If the EDL and fascist organisations march in Liverpool we need a united labour movement response.
  2. Merseyside TUC should organise a counter demonstration and aim to stop the far right from marching. We should refuse to accept kettling by the police. We should link up with trade union, labour movement and community anti- fascist groups.
  3. Our demands should be – stop the cuts – for jobs and homes not racism – providing answers to those who may be supportive of the simplistic answers the far right offer to economic problems.
  1. Motions:

Motion One:

“Liverpool TUC agrees to support the Right to Resist, by which we mean:

• For the right to organise and protest

• Defend those arrested in the recent student protests

• Stop police brutality and intimidation

• Ban kettling

• Stop the cuts

The vicious police response to the recent student protests is wholly unacceptable and totally uncalled for. The baton charges and use of ‘kettling’ only serve to fuel anger and frustration and in part, at least, are deliberately designed to provoke strong reactions from demonstrators.

Police brutality and intimidation on demonstrations, protests and picket lines are nothing new. As the class struggle grows in the wake of the Tory/Lib-Dem government’s ideology-driven attack on public services and jobs, the role of the police in ‘managing’ protests will continue to grow and harden.

We demand that all the charges are dropped against all students and their supporters arrested in the recent wave of student activity.

We call for a ban on ‘kettling’ as a means of control and intimidation of peaceful protesters. ‘Kettling’ has been added to the armoury of police warfare, alongside baton and horse-mounted police cavalry charges, to intimidate protesters and dissenters.

We believe that the Tory/Lib-Dem government has no majority electoral mandate for the cuts it is pushing through. People voted for the Tory-stooge Lib-Dems on a promise that they would oppose the cuts which they are now helping the Tories railroad through.

We believe ‘kettling’ is arbitrary imprisonment and is a direct attack on our basic human right to protest, contravening Articles 10 and 11 of the Human Rights Act. We call on student and labour movement organisations to actively oppose ‘kettling’.”

Agreed Unanimously

Motion Two

Motion: Women Against the Cuts

Notes

1. Over recent months the Government has announced £18bn of cuts to social

security and welfare. The changes are clearly going to hit women hard –

particularly pregnant women and single mothers.

2. An analysis of the June budget by the House of Commons Library has already told

us that that women will pay for roughly 72 per cent of the net cost of the changes

in taxes, benefits and tax credits set out in the budget.

3. Specific cuts that will affect families with children include:

• the abolition of the Health in Pregnancy Grant

• a three-year freeze in the value of Child Benefit, in addition to the withdrawal of

Child Benefit from women living in a household where one adult is a higher rate

taxpayer

• the abolition of the Baby Element of Tax Credits (worth a maximum of £545 to

eligible families) and a reversal of previous Government’s commitment to

introduce a Toddler Tax Credit (worth a maximum of £208 for eligible families)

• a cut in the proportion of childcare costs that are covered for families eligible for

Working Tax Credit, from 80 per cent of costs to 70 per cent of costs

• a three-year freeze in the value of Working Tax Credit

4. With 500,000 public sector jobs to be axed as a result of the government’s

spending review, it is likely that at least 325,000 of those losing their jobs will be

women. In local authorities, which will take the biggest cut, women make up 68

per cent of the workforce.

5. In the context of 27 per cent cuts to local government funding by 2014–15, a wide

range of services that benefit women and families will inevitably be cut or scaled

back. Women are more likely than men to use many services including social care,

libraries, education (further education and higher education), early years care

services, sexual/reproductive health services, and healthcare services in general.

Resolves.

1. To support and encourage the establishment of bodies like Merseyside Women Against the Cuts and London Women Against the cuts which are highlighting the effect the cuts will have on Women and encouraging more women to get involved in anti-cuts campaigns.

2. To circulate information from these campaigns throughout our union and those affiliated to the TUC.

3. To make a donation of £50 to Merseyside Women Against the cuts.

Agreed unanimously

  1. AOB:

a)    Keep our NHS Public event to discuss PFI at Royal and smear campaign against Sam Semov. February 3, 7.00pm, Kensington Fields Community centre

b)    Martin reported presence of Brazilian trade unionists from Conlutas in coming months. Will look at diary in the light of Joe Anderson being at next meeting.

  1. Next Meeting

 

17 February 2011, 7.30pm, Friends House, School Lane. Joe Anderson, the Labour leader of the Council has been invited to attend this meeting to discuss the cuts. Joe has agreed to attend so we would urge all delegates to make extra effort to attend this important meeting.

 

Having said this the Secretary, Mark Hoskisson, has to give advance notice that because of a prior work engagement he has to give his apologies for this meeting!


For information:

Letter to MPs re Hope incorporating Press Statement

23 January 2011, To: All Liverpool MPs

Dear Member of Parliament                                    ,

Please find below the text of a press statement issued by Liverpool Trades Union Council today. The statement concerns the proposed cuts at the city’s Hope University, an institution I am sure you are familiar with. We would be very grateful if you could use your positions as MPs to raise this matter in the House with the Secretary of State, table opposition to these cuts as an Early Day Motion and write to the University to express your concern at this development and call on the authorities’ to withdraw their proposals.

Liverpool TUC pledges full support to Hope University workers’ campaign against cuts and redundancies

On Thursday 20 January 2011, delegates to Liverpool Trades Union Council’s meeting heard a representative of the University and College Union (UCU) speak on plans by Hope University to axe over 100 jobs at the institution, at least 60 of which will be academic posts.

The UCU speaker confirmed predictions made by Liverpool TUC that the ConDem government’s savage cuts will hit every public service, cost thousands upon thousands of jobs and threaten the entire education, health and welfare system in this country.

But the UCU representative also confirmed why the Liverpool Trades Union Council has been building a strong campaign of action to fight these cuts. At an emergency union meeting last week UCU members at Liverpool Hope University launched a campaign to save jobs and called for a ballot for industrial action. That is the kind of determination needed to stop the cuts.

The union says the university cannot axe jobs when it does not yet know what its teaching grant will be, what its quota of training places from the Training and Development Agency (TDA) will be, what the outcome of the government’s proposals on the future of teaching training will be, or what level of tuition fee it will charge from 2012. Despite this the University authorities are racing to make pre-emptive cuts putting jobs and courses at risk.

Liverpool Trades Union Council welcomed the response of the UCU members and pledged its full support to their campaign. We will do everything we can to publicise the union’s campaign, raise the need for solidarity with it from other unions and local Labour MPs and help UCU link up with local students already fighting the cuts in the city.

Liverpool Trades Union Council President Daren Ireland said, “This is shows the need for a union-wide campaign against the cuts and our trades council is busy building such a campaign. We will be inviting a Hope University UCU member to address our meeting against the cuts on 10 February 20121 at 7.00pm, at the Green Room on Duke Street, Liverpool City Centre. We are certain that the other speakers, Ricky Tomlinson and film director Ken Loach amongst others, will show their support for the Hope campaign.”

We would be pleased to hear your response to the above. Thank you in advance.

Liverpool Trades Union Council Meeting

Thursday 17 February 2011 at 7.30pm

Friends House, School Lane, Liverpool

To:          Branch secretaries and Delegates.

Agenda to include:

President’s welcome and opening remarks.

Apologies.

Minutes of previous meeting.

Matters arising

Labour Council Leader, Joe Anderson to address the meeting on the question of the cuts

Anti-Cuts Report

Secretary’s report (including correspondence).

Treasurer’s report

Industrial Reports

MATUC

Motions

Health and Safety Report

Anti-Fascism

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