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  • Regional Committee Delegate Report, 22 January 2014

     

    TUC Midlands Awards

     

    Agreed that East Midlands Region would develop own awards programme following Midlands TUC debacle where GMB officers walked away with most of the awards. Regional Secretary has made Unite's position clearly known to Midlands TUC – that the awards should be about promoting the activity and acheivements of lay member representatives.

     

    Unite East Midlands Industrial Conference

     

    To replace the Health and Safety Conference whilst retaining a H&S element, but following feedback from reps will also include the Unite Awards for East Midlands.  To be held at the Roundhouse (Derby) towards end of October 2014.

     

    Subscriptions

     

    Debate around a rate for lower paid workers. Steve Hibbert (EC member), supported differing rates for lower and higher paid members but EC did not support. Reps from Local Authorities, Sainsburys and Housing Associations gave a broad range of examples of low paid workers and why Unite had to consider people who work part time hours and zero hour contracts all for low pay often below Living Wage levels.

     

    Branch (geographical) AGMs

     

    14000 letters sent out but very poor attendance/response rate and having to be rerun.

     

    East Midlands Banners

     

    Done and will be brought to subsequent members.

     

    Regional Health & Safety Committee

     

    Following feedback from the last Regional H&S Conference, RC propose that a RH&SC be formed comprising delegates from Area Activists to plan and lead on H&S related activity for the Region. Agreed.

     

    EC Report

     

    Policy Conference Motions deadline put back to 28 February 2014.

     

    Union staff now on one pension scheme, saving around £500k per year.

     

    EC voted to maintain union vote within the Labour Party.

     

    Talks with PCS (informal) ongoing, on basis of a transfer of undertakings and not a merger.

     

     

    Policy Conference Delegates

     

    General RC delegates – 3 elected with one stand-by. 

    2 LGBT & 2 Disabled delegates also elected.

     

    Presentation: Justice for Columbia

     

    Presented by Mariella … RC re-affiliated and agreed a donation of £2000 plus to support a fringe meeting at Policy conference.

     

    Motion to Policy Conference 2014

     

    Motion on Hate Crime: Not Just One Target, agreed by RC. This important motion deals with crimes motivated by hatred based on a particular protected characteristic (as per Equality Act 2010) or multiple characteristics.  Currently, a claim can only be made with regards to one characteristic yet often there are instances of crimes where more than one characteristic is targeted, ie the sadistic murder of Steven Simpson who was gay and had learning disabilities.

     

    Another motion on Conference Admin required further consideration following some pertinent comments and will have to go through a workplace branch to get to conference.

     

  • Youth Workers, Community and Not For Profit Industrial Sector Conference, Brighton, 14 November 2013.

    Report from Collette, National Equalities Officer

     

    Youth Workers service is at the sharp end of attacks on the public sector, both in terms of real threats to disestablish the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) that determines terms and conditions, and also attacks in the form of cuts to the service itself.

     

    Unite and its members need to fight back to protect Youth Workers who provide such an essential service for the Young People in our communities.

     

    James, Research Officer

     

    Provided a presentation on the composition of the different organisations in the YWCNFP sector, plus Trade Bodies (ie. National Housing Federation) and challenges to the sector.

     

    Bryn (Rep in RSPCA)

     

    New CEO in 2010 wanted to derecognise Unite as the first step to reducing staffing, terms and conditions, pay etc at the RSPCA.

     

    He used the Unite recruitment strategy to organise the workforce and he found it most effective to take the union message into peoples workplaces, especially to the younger employees.

     

    Des (Edinburgh Voluntary Sector Branch)

     

    An industrial sector branch uses organising and negotiating to achieve successes and carry campaigns.

     

    Suzanne (Branch Secretary, Unite Workers)

     

    Stressed the importance of embedding the Union within the workforce using the organising model.  Building from the member level up.

     

    Chris (South West RISC, Play Worker and NISC delegate)

     

    National Industrial Sector Committee doesn’t want to just debate the options, but rather wants workplace branches and reps to act and achieve.

     

    NISC wants to develop organising strategies that are sector specific to go forward.

     

    Chris organised the conference into small groups who identified possible strategies, some very sub sector specific.  Workshops reported back after lunch.

     

    Motions At Conference.

     

    All motions were accepted by the delegates, including the Emergency motion with regards to attacks on Local Authority Youth Services.

     

    The motion on Housing for the East Midlands was accepted and engendered useful debate.  The main points that came up were the commercialisation of the Housing Association Sector and also the need for Local Authorities and Housing Associations to develop new housing that is environmentally responsible and sustainable ways with features that benefit tenants.

     

    Hilary Benn MP

     

    Hilary Benn addressed the conference in the afternoon.

     

    Cameron uses the term ‘Trade Unionist’ as a term of abuse whilst 6.5 million people are members of trade unions.

     

    Cutting of Local Authority funding is falling heaviest on the most deprived communities in the country (circa 30-40%) whilst Cameron’s own Local Authority has received a small increase in funding.

     

    Labour will redistribute available funding more equally.

     

    The Bedroom Tax is immoral.  David Cameron gave the rich a 10% tax cut and yet imposed this tax on the poorest in society.

     

    A tax on the poorest and at current transfer rates it will take 10 years to reallocate everyone into appropriately sized housing.

     

    The Bedroom Tax undermines family life.

     

    Labour will scrap the Bedroom Tax.

     

    The Living Wage is becoming a feature of Labour led Local Authorities, either implementing it now or giving clear commitments to working towards it.

     

    Labour will address the Energy Crisis by freezing prices for almost two years whilst the sector is restructured splitting supply from retail so companies cannot dominate the market.

     

    Labour will review legislation around Zero Hours Contracts to remove abuses.

     

    Devolution throughout the UK has redistributed power to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland but England remains very centralised.  England needs to be devolved and monies released from Central Government.

     

    Older persons are having to source care and health services from multiple different agencies.  Labour will integrate Health and Social Care into one service so older people will only need to approach one agency.

     

    Young people – 16 and 17 year olds – to get the vote under a Labour Government.

  • East Midlands Regional Committee Meeting (30 October 2013, Pride Park)

    Regional Committee Training

     

    Two day event combining Regional Committee meeting plus a day of training to be held 22-23 January 2014 at the Derbyshire Hotel. Delegates were asked to select subject areas from a list.

     

    Health and Safety Conference (28 October 2013, Roundhouse, Derby)

     

    240 delegates attended the successful conference with Mental Health identified as a major issue for both members and lay representatives.

     

    Regional Secretary Report

     

    The 100% Campaign needs to be led by delegates on the Regional Committee. To date, the RS has received no response to the email sent to delegates regarding workplace maps.

     

    Branch Reorganisation Report and Northampton Motion

     

    Northampton Branch submitted a motion that would have halted the reorganisation process by recommencing a fresh round of consultations and negotiations.  Motion was opposed and the Reorganisation Committee report was endorsed by the Regional Committee.

     

    The lay member led Reorganisation Committee Report endorsed the closing of existing general branches and creation of workplace branches (first instance), sectoral branches (comprising members at workplaces of less than 50 belonging to a common industry) and finally geographical branches of working or full subscription paying members who do not fit in the previous two categories.  For example in Nottinghamshire, there will be three geographical branches.

     

    The principle regarding the funding of new branches from the dissolved is that funding will always follow the member – it does not belong to the branch.

     

    From early November 2013, letters to be sent to approximately 19,000 members informing them that they have been allocated to a new branch, invited to an inaugural meeting to the new branch with the purpose of electing new branch officials.

     

    Executive Committee Report

     

    Transport Salaried Staff Association is no longer going to join Unite, however both unions expressed needs to work closely together.

     

    Talks with PCS are at an exploratory stage.

     

    The EC will be holding a special meeting in March 2014 with regards to funding the Labour Party, in the light of events in Falkirk.

     

    EC elections are to take place in 2014 and will include proportionality in some regions (North West and London & Eastern definitely). A point raised but not discussed that there is a 25% minimum requirement for female candidates plus Women reserved seats – should the latter be dropped?  Also a proportionality requirement for BAEM by Rule, but Disability, Young Members and LGBT have not been addressed.

     

    Also noted that members in arrears can only have their voting rights withdrawn if the Union has written to them informing them of the situation, following a case with the Certification Officer.

     

    Delegates to the CSEU are still fending off some Union interests who want their share of the £21 million.  Steve reported that he and other delegates see this as members money that was raised for the purpose of a campaign for a statutory 35 hour week.

     

    Regional Coordinating Officers Report

     

    There are some 100% Campaigns that have stalled and need reinvigorating.

     

    There are still organising opportunities within some large organisations with recognition agreements and with their subcontractors.

     

    Other items

     

    RC agreed to donate £500 to Hazards 2014 conference and to fund two RC delegates.

     

    RC also agreed to donate £250 to Hope Not Hate, £50 to Trade Unions for Disability Action (TUDA) and £75 to Union Solidarity International.

     

    Arriva has donated a bus to Unite, which will require refitting.  Launch to take place circa March 2014 and branches can make donations towards refurbishments (see Regional Secretary).

     

    In response to the Senior Organising Officers poor comment regarding lack of support from the Committee at a vehicle show in Newark, this EM delegate for Youth Workers Community and Not for Profit workers and Chair of the Regional LGBT reminded the RC that they asked for volunteers and had support from two additional reps from E-on.  Also noted that the Unite Organising Officers had not supported any of the three Prides (Nottingham, Leicester, Lincoln) and expressed disappointment that they had missed an opportunity to organise at such large and high profile events.

     

  • Unite Activists at East Midlands Prides

    Unite had a presence this year at Nottingham, Leicester and Lincoln Prides.

    This year we focused on two main approaches for visitors to the stall:

    • providing information about trade unions and lgbt rights (including internationally using the ILGA maps);
    • surveying visitors for their views on known issues and also asking if they had any issues they wanted to bring to Unite's attention.

    From the completed surveys received, 27 people said they wanted to join Unite and get involved with LGBT activities.

    Following the Prides, a Regional Strategy for LGBT Committee has been drafted, pending agreement from Regional Committee that will inform how we approach Prides in the future.

  • Unite in Dignity & Diversity

    In the final term of the last Labour Government, a long striven for piece of legislation was brought into being and took effect, namely the Equality Act 2010.

    Equality legislation started coming into being in a modern sense in the 1970’s with the Equal Pay Act 1970, followed by the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and Race Relations Act 1976.

    The Disabled community had to wait 20-25 years for the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 but the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual communities had to wait almost 30 years for a mention in the Human Rights Act 1998 and over 30 years for some protection in employment via the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.

    Members of the Trans community had to wait until 2004 for the Gender Recognition Act of the same year, but with the cruel barb of having to dissolve pre-existing marriages as a condition of being able to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate.

    Goods and Services protections for the LGB and T communities came later in 2006, but it was not until 2010 that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans communities achieved significant parity with other equalities communities.

    It should be noted that provisions under sexual orientation are inclusive of heterosexuals and rightly so!

    In order for the Equality Act 2010 to come into effect and for new protections against discrimination, harassment and other detriments to take effect, some historic pieces of early legislation were repealed in full (Equal Pay, Race Relations, Sex Discrimination, Disability Discrimination) and others only in part.

    This short history demonstrates how society has generated a hierarchy of equality in the United Kingdom. Such a hierarchy, in law, is mostly swept away and members of equality communities affected WILL still organise and campaign for FULL parity and liberty.

    A Culture of Equality Hierarchies

    This still persists in society and culture as a whole. From simple examples of how companies will not associate their products with the LGBT community and/or promote them in a hetero normative manner to the exclusion of other sexualities and gender identities, right through to representative organisations that choose to present the case of only one or two groups over the others.

    The latter happened at the Unite Policy Conference 2012 with a motion that was labelled ‘Diversity in the Union’ and yet only discussed and promoted the interests of one group in relation to action that should have included all groups identified as having certain characteristics requiring protections in Part 2, Chapter 1, sections 4-12 of the Equality Act 2010.

    Section 57 of the Act relates to Trade Unions and requires them not to discriminate, harass or victimise members by varying their terms or conditions, withholding services or treating them detrimentally in any way. A union also has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for members.

    Section 57 does not give leave for a Union to show any preference; Section 57 must be applied to ALL members, protecting their diverse characteristics.

    What does this mean for Unite the Union?

    Generally, Unite must actively recognise the existence of its member’s characteristics and ensure it provides appropriate services with consistent parity across the membership.

    Unite can do this by some of the following:

    •Ensure its Equality and Diversity policies reflect the best legislation and practices available or better;
    •Actively monitor the diversity of it’s membership, maintaining an up to date and accurate secure database containing this information;
    •Actively monitor the diversity of it’s employees, maintaining an up to date and accurate secure database containing this information;
    •Ensure employee and membership diversity reflect national diversity and if not, identify why not to see if there are barriers to access employment and services;
    •Where there are barriers to employment in the Union, develop strategies to remove such obstacles and engage with people from under represented communities to address the imbalance;
    •Equality monitor provision of key services to members;
    •Actively and meaningfully engage in dialogue with members of the different equalities communities and maintain and monitor their inclusion within the structures of the Union;
    •Further develop and roll out inclusive equality training for all functions of the Union to ensure that understanding of Equality and Diversity is mainstreamed, including correct terminology usage;
    •Champion equalities communities and support them at local, regional and national events by having a tangible and substantive Union presence;
    •Equality Impact Assess union functions and services to ensure as far as reasonably practicable that parity is achieved, with processes in place to learn from experience;
    •Equality and Sector Impact Assess policy and rule going to conference to ensure no contradiction with law or detrimental impacts upon members with protected characteristics or other group or industrial sector;
    •Encourage lay member committees to Equality and Sector Impact Assess any motions to Policy or Rule Conferences on a voluntary basis and provide them with the means to do so.

    In summary, the Equality Act 2010 is a comprehensive piece of legislation that upholds the rights of all citizens within the countries that it covers. It does not promote one group over another and neither should our Union.

    We stand together, we move forward together and we are liberated together.

    Left Out 01

    Adam Umney
    Workplace Representative and LGBT Activist, Unite the Union
    Nottingham, July 2012

  • TUC LGBT Conference 2013

    27 June 2013

    Delegates Report

    Opening: Francis O'Grady, General Secretary of the TUC
    Francis gave a rousing speech outlining achievements of the community over the years and recent success in US of overthrowing the Defence of Marriage Act. Also outlined the challenges internationally of our sisters and brothers facing persecution and execution for being LGBT. Addressed current challenges in the UK, especially hostility faced by trans community (Lucy Meadows), attacks on LGBT and other communities with erosion of the Equality Act 2010 and cuts in the name of austerity.

    Inspired union members to continue fighting for democracy and progression of rights.

    Maria Exall, Chair TUC LGBT

    Spoke rousingly, elaborating on the effects of cuts instigated by the government and proposed campaigning on the basis of linking economic arguments correlated with the negative effects of the austerity agenda.

    Mentioned the opponents we face in society from the right wing and certain faith groups that seek to stop progression of our rights and remove gains.

    Covered the marriage debate and the irrationalities espoused by opponents. The real fear is that more civil rights for LGBT means more freedom for everyone.

    Speakers

    CM, Unite, supported USDAW motion on Mental Health and spoke of her own case with great clarity and composure, addressing the need for support services for LGBT experiencing domestic abuse and mental health challenges.

    Angela Eagle MP

    Exploded the myth of Tories like Boris Johnson who claim to be LGBT friendly yet very late to the process and disingenuous as he was not there when the going was tough.

    How committed are they to Equal Rights? More Tories voted against Equal Marriage than supported it. Cut the Commission for Human Rights by 30%. Simon Hughes and Shirley Williams voted against Equal Marriage.

    Question to AE from Unite (Adam Umney): Campaigning for living wage at work and in Union … will Labour not only seek to pay Living Wage for public sector workers but also require employers to pay Living Wage where services are contracted out to private and not for profit sectors?

    Answer: Labour Party seeking to pay Living Wage in local authority areas at this time that it controls and encourage/welcome private sector employers who do the same. Would like to see this taken further of course. Also covered issue of companies who site on land and not release for development in order to increase its value. Advised that union members go on the Labour Party website Your Britain and make views known and propose solutions. Angela said that Unite had an important part to play in policy debate happening now.

    I spoke with Angela after the first part of the conference with reference to the Labour Party needing to develop good housing policy that addresses the needs of communities and not following the Tory agenda. Angela responded that the next Labour government will have to start from the position that the outgoing government leaves them in. I tried to make the point that it more about how the sector is managed/regulated rather than about finance and provided Angela with an example of what the Tories now define as Affordable rents…

    A social landlord has a new development and is charging an ‘affordable rent’. To do this, the landlord approaches a private property consultant (RCIS certified) to provide them with the going market rental rate. The landlord will pay the consultant a fee for this figure, which is valid for 3 years and every year in that period the landlord may increase the rent by an inflationary figure. After 3 years, the landlord pays the consultant for another rent and the process starts again. This is called Rent Rebasing.

    The Tories are calling Affordable Rents a fair rent system, which is perversion of actual Fair Rents as legislated by the Callaghan government in 1977. Rents are registered by the Rent Service (a public service) every 2 years and the landlord cannot charge more than that registered rent. Though the 1977 Fair Rents are based on market rents, they reduce them by a certain factor where the properties are social housing.

    My point to Angela was that instead of the landlord paying £120+VAT for a rental figure per property to a private sector property company, why not have a smaller fee but to a public service and a truly affordable rent for the social housing sector? I further made the point that controlling rent was a much better way to control the benefit budgets than creating shortfalls in payments that put claimants in hardship ie. the Bedroom Tax.

    I was advised to address policy proposals through Unite and meet with Jack Dromey MP who is working on Housing Policy (in addition to Your Britain).

    Unite Motion

    The Unite motion addressed the issue of homelessness and how young LGBT are extraordinarily over represented in that social group and disadvantaged further through lack of appropriate support services.

    Called on the TUC and affiliate unions to lobby government and Labour party to address this situation.

    Motion moved by Adam Umney, who also highlighted how young people in general were a particularly over exploited and disadvantaged group in society.
    Lesley Mercer, President of TUC, CSP.

    Making the point that economics should be about improving peoples lives and that there is an alternative to austerity and pointed to the end of the Second World War when Britain created the NHS and invested heavily in the country to bring it out of social and financial crisis.

    Plenary: EU and LGBT (notes)

    “The Seville Manifesto”, XI ETUC Congress 2007 – the first commitment of the ETUC and member organisations to the LGBT communities:

    • awareness raising activities
    • action on prejudices
    • exchange of experiences and best practices

    www.etuc.org

    www.cgt.fr

    www.pfc.org.uk

    Dr Stephen Whittle (Press for Change)

    300 enquiries from trans people per year of which 200 are about problems at work. PFC endeavour to provide legal support though funds are limited, which is especially important in the light of slashes to legal aid.

    Louise Ashworth, ILGA & UNISON NLGBT

    Why is Unite not affiliated to ILGA Europe?

    Anthony Smith, Age UK

    Life changes that are experienced by people are often more intensely experienced by LGBT elders.
    More often single, without immediate family, children and not out.

    LGBT elders want dignity and respect in their lives as service users.

    Service providers often claim they have no LGBT service users – closet.

    Highland and Islands Rainbow Group – Elder LGBT in Scotland.

    Need both separate and integrated services.

    Elder LGBT need to come out to ensure dignity.

    Being elder LGBT is not about problems – it should be something that is celebrated.

  • Keep Nottingham Working!

    At the branch meeting last night (22 May 2012), it was advised that Nottingham City Council operates an Employers Hub where employers advertise job vacancies.

    This includes Technical posts and apprenticeships for the Nottingham Tram.

    The site also provides guidance and assistance for those seeking employement.

    The address is here:

  • Branch Triennial General Meeting, 22 May 2012

    Unite the Union has agreed new rules, one of which is that representatives of members should be elected every 3 years and requiring these elections to take place prior to the end of June 2012.

    Therefore, the Nottingham Branch of Unite is holding it's TGM and elections on Tuesday 22 May 2012 at 7.30pm at the Whitemoor Pub on Nuthall Road, Nottingham.

    Any members wishing to attend should present their credentials to avoid being turned away.

  • May Day 2012

    The march/parade started off from Forest Recreation ground and comprised mostly of handfuls of people from each union and community groups. Unite was absent from the march. Ian and Adam carried the KONP banner and had a Unite flag.

    Photo’s: http://frontline-photography-60.posterous.com/

    The route went from the Forest and down Mansfield Road, through to the Market and on towards Congregational Hall on Wheeler Gate.

    Speeches were given and when Alan Meale was introduced, the Anarchists marched down and stood in front holding placards aloft and shouting to prevent him speaking: “Scab” and “War Monger” were their two terms of endearment.

    After about 10 long minutes, other people were given the floor and the Anarchists stood peacefully in the wings.

    I listened to a few speeches before leaving.

    Generally well organised, but for the censorship imposed by the Anarchists.

  • May Day 2012 - Nottingham City

    A reminder that May Day is on Saturday the 5th of May 2012 and the march starts from the Forest Recreation Ground off Gregory Boulevard from 10am.

    You can get more info on the event and speakers at the Nottinghamshire Trades Council Website: Notts TUC

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