150 Unison members attended Hackney Unison’s AGM at The Round Chapel on Wednesday 24th Feb 2016
We kicked off with 3 speakers, David Davies of NUT/ Hackney Teachers Association asking for support in their campaign against budget cuts for Hackney schools of c 7.5% and a further Tory proposal to shift funds from urban to rural areas would see a disastrous 23% cut in funding for Hackney schools.
Next up was George Fuller from the successful Anti-Blacklisting Campaign, who told the AGM how Blacklisting has been exposed at a recent Employment Tribunal and then in Parliament, that a successful claim was made at the High Court in Feb 2016 and the case going to Royal Courts in May 2016. Blacklisting is where people, usually union activists, can’t get jobs as employers put their name on a secret ‘blacklist’. Google ‘Blacklisting’ for more details
Finally Nicholas Walker, a Junior Doctor from Homerton Hospital spoke about their ongoing dispute re working weekends. He stated that Junior Doctors want a fair contract for doctors and a safe service for patients and as the Govt is not listening to doctors they have had to take their first industrial action for 40 years in Feb 2016
Hackney parks steward Andy Clifford then gave a rousing speech calling for people to support and be active in the union saying – “tell your colleagues. Do they want to be doing the work of two people in years to come?” and “do we allow management to erode our conditions? We can sit and hide or we can fight back”
Hackney Unison Branch Officers were then ratified – see article below
Lee Ray, our Joint Branch Secretary, then gave the Secretaries Report, stating it has been hard work in the last 6 months taking over from Matthew Waterfall, who sends greetings! Lee stated there are serious issues ahead inc. £20 million cuts decided at the Hackney Council Budget Meeting Wednesday March 2nd. Lee stated we need to fight this government and need a branch strategy to fight these cuts. He continued that there are lots of Restructures going on which we have to be involved with and due to this and VR we are losing lots of great reps and we need more people to become reps.
Karen Lynn, Joint Branch Sec and Lead Education Convenor, then spoke saying she is acting in a supportive role to Lee due to the work she already has in Education. She stated she worked on re-establishing ‘self-organised’ groups this year. LGBTIQ, Black Members are both operating and sent full quota of people to conference this year and the Women’s and Young Peoples and Disabled are not operating and any interest please contact Karen.
Abe Gibson, Estate Cleaner, spoke from the floor and said he would ‘Like to thank secretaries for their work .. union and workers must stick together’ and that we ‘want to offer support to Junior Doctors … how can we support’
Simon Palastanga Outgoing Treasurer presented the Treasurers Report, which was circulated in the AGM Packs.
Mick Gosling the Auditor, presented the Auditors report stating the accounts were in order. Ross Hatfield, Housing Benefits steward was then nominated and elected unanimously.
Regional Officer Dick Traynor then gave his report thanking the ‘… Branch Secretaries and reps for their hard work and dedication and thank members in these difficult times’. Dick spoke about the national Pay Offer. Unison has asked for £1 an hour. The employers have offered a 1% pay rise. There has been indicative ballot nationally which showed a majority against the Pay Offer and there may be strike action this year. Dick then spoke about the Trade Union Bill, a major issue which will see scrapping of the check off system, threshold of strikes to increase significantly, and campaigning work re e.g. cuts made illegal. He stated that Unison have put a lot of pressure on an currently in House of Lords and that LBH have passed a motion opposing the TU Bill. Dick finished by saying that for London Mayor, Unison are supporting Sadiq Khan, a Unison member who wants to work with trade unions and will freeze bus fairs and fight cuts in council spending.
The meeting then debated 3 motions [ see details in the AGM pack. Copies in the Unison office] Motion 1 was called ‘No Cuts in Local Government’ and proposed by Marvin Hay, calling for the council to not make cuts by implementing a “no cuts budget”. Ross Hatfield spoke against saying he thought this strategy was unsustainable and could lead to bankruptcy and central govt takeover. Brian Debus also spoke in favour saying it is not a long term strategy but needed to help create a campaign that can force the govt to backtrack.
The motion passed 40-10-c100 abstentions
Motion 2 was for a ‘Oppose Council Cuts Lobby’ – proposed by Brain Debus. Brian stated it is time to stop cuts and for an alternative. Lee Ray seconded, stating Hackney Unison has not had a demo for 3 years. There were no speakers against and the motion was carried overwhelmingly.
Motion 3 was titled ‘No to Terrorism and War in Syria’ proposed by Brian Debus. One speaker against, Chris Thomson proposed an exemption for military action for ‘Safe Havens’ etc. The AGM agreed to defer to branch committee and to await amendment.
Brian Debus closed the meeting thanking members for attending, reminded members that the new directors are all receiving pay rises of £10 to £20k, and urged us to stand united together, to fight together and get rid of this rotten Tory Govt.