PETERBOROUGH TRADES UNION COUNCIL
Secretary’s Report for 2015 – 2016
Trade Union Affiliations
Unite – 3 branches: LE/7340, RMo16, Diligenta
CWU – 1 branch: Eastern NO.5
PCS – 4 branches: DWP, HMRC, UKPO, Natural England
Unison – 3 branches: City Branch, Environment Agency, UNISON Health
TSSA – 2 branches
Officers / Exec
President / Chair – Ron Graves
Vice President / Chair – Andy Beeby
Secretary – Hazel Perry
Vice Secretary – Neil Gow
Treasurer – Patrick Brooks
Campaigns Officer – Peter Heinrich
Press and Communications Officer – Tim Cox
Environment Officer – Nigel Cornwell
Young Members Officer – Callum Hurley
Training Officer – Hazel Perry
Fundraising Committee – Hazel Perry, Marianne Walker, Eleanor Carey
Auditors – Marianne Walker, Mary Cooke
Peterborough Peace Group – attended by John Green
PREC – attended by Andy Beeby and Tim Cox
ETUN – attended by Colin Gale / Sam Sharpe
CCATC – attended by Patrick Brooks
PTUC worked with Hope not Hate on a registration drive in time for the General Election. This included a street stall, registration days at Peterborough’s Central Library and targeting areas of the city with the worst voting register with a door knocking campaign.
PTUC also led a Peterborough People’s Assembly against Austerity march from the Fairground Car Park to Cathedral Square in Peterborough and participated in the rally at the Guild Hall. PTUC President and Secretary both spoke at the rally in Cathedral Square.
This month, delegates attended a Fast Food Rights – £10 minimum wage demo outside the McDonalds branch in Cathedral Square, Peterborough. This was organised as part of a day of protest throughout the UK.
During this month, PTUC delegate Phil Howes sadly passed away. Delegates attended the funeral and paid tribute at the May meeting.
PTUC delegates attended a hastily organised demo against the newly elected Tory Government’s continued austerity drive, with other campaign groups active in the city. PTUC agreed to give support to a group of local activists who have occupied a building in Peterborough to highlight the plight of homeless people in Peterborough, since the homeless shelter run by The Streets had been closed down due to Council funding cuts.
PTUC Assistant Secretary attended the national Trades Councils Conference in Crewe.
We were pleased to welcome PCS General Secretary, Mark Serwotka, to the city this month. He came to speak to PCS members at City College Peterborough in late June and PTUC delegates were invited to attend. PCS rep Candy Udwin, recently sacked from the National Gallery for involvement with anti-privatisation campaign, was going to be speaking at the PTUC full delegates meeting on the same day but was unable to attend. She sent a video presentation instead that was warmly received by delegates.
At the PTUC Fundraising pub quiz, at the Palmerstone Arms on Oundle Road next day, as well as raising money for the Trades Council, a collection was made for Candy Udwin and the National Gallery PCS Strike fund. A total of approximately £100 was raised the majority of that as a result of the collection.
Delegates then attended the National People’s Assembly demo in London which started at the Bank of England and finished at Parliament Square, where speakers included Len McKlusky (UNITE), Charlotte Church, Russell Brand and Mark Serwotka (PCS). Delegates travelled by train and took the banner.
In July, Delegates arranged and attended an Emergency Anti-Austerity Budget Day static demo in Cathedral Square.
In the same month, 7 delegates attended the Durham Miners Gala, taking the banner. For several people it was their first attendance and it took five hours to march through the city to the meeting place whereupon Trade Unionists were met with speeches from people such as Owen Jones, Jeremy Corbyn and Len McCluskey.
The Fundraising Committees ‘Money Making Squares’ initiative was started this month, designed to add a few more pounds to PTUC funds each month.
Delegates also set up Socialist Reading Group and Film Club “Radical Reads and Radical Reels.” The first book allocated was, George Orwell’s 1984.
PTUC Secretary spoke at the founding of Peterborough’s branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Medical Aid for Palestine requested help to organise a fun day on Rock Park, New England Recreation Ground, Peterborough and was invited to attend the full delegates meeting in the month. The event raised about £7,000 in total.
PTUC delegates supported Action for Rail handing out leaflets at Peterborough railway station against rail fare rises, which are due to come in January 2016, and for re-nationalisation of the industry.
PTUC delegates attended the Sylvia Pankhurst Memorial Lecture at Wortley Hall near Sheffield.
Several PTUC delegates attended the Burston Strike School Rally. There were a large number of people attending this year as Jeremy Corbyn was due to speak. His speech went down very well among the crowd.
PTUC’s Annual Tom Browning Meeting took place on Saturday September 12 at Westgate Church Hall, 11am – 3pm. Speaker John McInally, PCS Vice-President spoke on the Trade Union Bill. This was followed by a discussion on the Labour Party Leader Election which was announced as being won by Jeremy Corbyn that morning. At this event the Fundraising Committee made £38 towards the PTUC campaign fund. Julie Weekes from TUC Training in Huntingdon came to speak at the delegate meeting. She spoke about the 50% funding cuts to TUC training, which comes from part of the recently cut adult skills budget, affecting the Further Education sector. Some delegates started the TUC Diploma in Employment Law Course.
During this month, the last PTUC meeting at the PCS Eastern office took place. PCS were moving from Crescent House and into the UNITE office on Church Walk. However, PCS had to take up residence at Stuart House, unable to move to the UNITE building on until renovations have been completed, to allow wheel chair access to the top floors. PTUC delegates were sad to be leaving Crescent House as PCS have always made the group feel very welcome and have always done their utmost to accommodate our needs.
This month started off with delegates tending a PTUC stall at the Peterborough Black History month where contacts were made and the friend’s mailing list added to considerably.
Next day, delegates headed for Manchester on the UNITE bus from Cambridge for the No to Austerity, Yes to Workers Rights demo. This was cleverly laid out by the TUC. Instead of marching from A to B for a rally, there were large digital screens and stages put up along the route so everybody had the opportunity to hear the speeches as they walked along.
At the end of the month there was a SERTUC Trades Council Conference in London which four delegates attended. Subjects up for discussion included the Tory Anti-Trade Union Bill which dominated most of the meeting. The Bill is a large bit of legislation which is designed to prevent Trade Unionists from campaigning, particularly in the public sector about austerity cuts. New legislation involved strike ballot thresholds, picket line legislation, the end of check-off, social media rules and a whole host of other draconian regulations not introduced since the 1970s. The PTUC Secretary, was already corresponding with her MP, Tory Stewart Jackson, about the issue and had recently had a letter on the matter published in the local Peterborough Telegraph newspaper.
Back at the conference, Matt Wrack from the FBU spoke first; there was the Labour MP for Edmonton, Trades Council delegates spoke of their experiences in organising their TC’s and campaigning within local Government Branches. Their was a TUC media rep and the SERTUC Young Members also spoke. Afterwards there was a discussion around May Day 2016 and the need to organise around this special day for the TU movement. Discussions in PTUC afterwards decided on a TU march through Peterborough ending at the Green Backyard where hopefully there will be a May Day festival happening in 2016.
November 2, several PTUC delegates went to London to attend the Trade Union Bill rally and lobby of Parliament arranged by the TUC. There were many speakers including Frances O’Grady, Shami Chakrabarti from Liberty and comedian Andy Parsons. After the rally in Westminster Central Hall tea and cake were served and then people continued to go to lobby their MPs. On November 4, when the third reading of the bill was happening in Parliament, there was a PTUC street stall in Cathedral Square over lunchtime and early evening to get people at lunch and leaving work. Many people were supportive and signed a petition to their MP to ask them to vote against the Bill, and the UNITE office were very helpful in assisting with provision of literature. The results were then sent to MPs by Social Media. The Bill was passed however and now had to go through the Lords.
The PTUC Secretary went took part in local arts organisation METAL’S Future Networks meeting where people have three minuets to present an idea that they need help with. The Secretary asked for help to design the International Working Women’s Day artwork for the PTUC festival organised for March 2016 at Peterborough Town Hall, which the fundraising committee had been organising. Two poets from the local arts scene have already agreed to some spoken work on the day.
Regarding the arts, PTUC delegates were approached by local poets to help with publicity and door keeping for the ‘Rebel Poet’ Atilla the Stockbroker’s performance at the Brewery Tap at the end of the month. It was a great evening with Atilla being a big supporter of the Trade Unions and name-checking PTUC during his performance.
The PTUC Secretary also attended the SERTUC Women’s Rights Committee Training Seminar at Ron Todd House in London at the end of the month.
PTUC also took on a volunteer this month to help track down more TU branches in the area for affiliations and made links with the Slovak and Latvian communities in the city.
PTUC also welcomed two new delegates from the Diligentia Unite Branch.
The Exec Committee meeting was cancelled for December and the usual delegate meeting was bought forward to take its place.
Details of the 2016 AGM were released and plans for Heart Unions week put into place.
Delegates took part in a small ‘Don’t Attack Syria’ anti-war march in Peterborough.
Other than that, it was a quiet month while people wound down for the holidays.
The New Year started with the sad news that PTUC delegate Colin Gale had passed away after suffering from chest pain (see tribute attached). Delegates attended the funeral at Peterborough Crematorium later in the month and paid tribute at the January meeting.
PTUC’s admin volunteer officially started. The Volunteer has been tasked with making a list of all the Trade Union branches in the Peterborough area, and contacting them to encourage them to affiliate.
Support was given to the Junior Doctors’ Strike picket line at Peterborough City Hospital.
There was a PTUC stall at the launch of Momentum North West Cambs at the Fleet in Peterborough, where John McDonnell (Shadow Chancellor) was a speaker and PTUC. The PTUC President opened the proceedings.
PTUC delegates attended a social event, dining with UNITE members at the Lebanese Emperor on Lincoln Road, in Peterborough.
PTUC had a programme of events #HeartUnions during the week of 8 – 14 February. This started on the Tuesday 9 where a public meeting was held with a speaker from the BMA / Junior Doctors, Emily Mayo. There was also a showing of Frances O’Grady’s Big Lunchtime Meeting via YouTube followed by a discussion led by PTUC’s Campaigns Officer about the Trade Union Bill. On Wednesday 10 February,
PTUC delegates took the banner and joined the Junior Doctors picket line outside Peterborough City Hospital again.
On the Sunday (14 Feb) PTUC delegates spent a couple of hours with a street stall outside Peterborough Town Hall.
Thank you to all delegates and friends who have supported events, joined in campaigns and who have worked hard behind the scenes to make PTUC a successful campaigning group in the City this year.
This report can be obtained electronically from firstname.lastname@example.org