Youth Conference ManchesterJan 2016 – Matt Bellamy
Youth Officer Report
You may or may not be aware that the CWU hold a dedicated conference each year specifically for the Youth members under 30. This year was my first conference as Branch ‘Youth Officer’. It was held at the ‘Mechanics Institute’ in Manchester (formally the Trade Union Congress HQ). Below is a full report from the day.
Dave Ward (General Secretary)
Dave Ward gave an uplifting speech about the future of the CWU and has reiterated his commitment to the Youth section of the CWU. He spoke in great detail that, in order for the CWU to be as strong in the future then young activists/reps need the adequate training and experience in order to take over from more senior reps when they leave, he has pushed for a shadowing scheme to be rolled out nationally that should help address this potential issue.
Dave also spoke in detail about the so called Trade Union Bill currently progressing through parliament and how that this Bill will have a detrimental effect on your workers rights when it comes to negotiations or industrial action.
He also spoke about the ‘Housing Crisis’ that is effecting the country and the need for actual ‘affordable homes’ and social housing with rents that people can afford. The removal and restrictions of housing benefit for the under 25’s also makes it difficult for young people to leave home and with zero-hour contracts and minimum wage being mainly the only employment for the under 25’s, getting on the housing ladder is near on impossible!
National Living Wage
The government very soon are setting a national ‘living wage’ which over the next 5 years (2020) this will rise to £9.00 per hour but, this is for the over 25’s only! This in my opinion discriminates those who are just starting off in work. If you look at it this way, if you are 24 with 6 years experience at a trade you know then you will only earn around the £7.50 an hour mark, if your 25 with no experience you will earn around £9.00 an hour. I am sure you can see the problem.
Whilst I fully support a living wage, I believe that everyone should be treated fairly, discriminating the under 25’s is not acceptable especially when this age group have to cope with ridiculous car insurance prices, high interest rates and little to no help with housing. A motion was carried from this conference to challenge this.
Guest Speaker – CWU Humanitarian Aid – Carl Webb
As you may be aware the CWU have a charity called ‘CWU Humanitarian Aid’ (CWUHA) they work with other charities and independently helping poorer countries like Moldova and Tanzania. This has been the case since 1995.
Carl spoke about how Royal Mail and BT also support this charity and donate lorries, vans, fuel, insurance etc.. for the Aid runs they do to these countries. Carl also expressed the needs for volunteers, for more information visit http://www.cwuha.org/
The smaller conferences such as this are very different to the CWU’s Annual Conference. Out of the nine motions admitted to the Agenda, only two can progress to Annual Conference, this does not mean those that are carried forward don’t go anywhere, they lye in the hands of the ‘National Youth Committee’ who will follow the request of the motion.
The two motions that were selected to feature on the Agenda at Annual Conference were…
2 – Conference recognises the need for succession planning within the union’s branch structures. Therefore conference instructs the National Youth Committee to work with the NEC to come up with a shadowing scheme allowing younger reps the chance to learn from more senior reps and avoiding the holes being left when senior reps leave. Submitted by the National Youth Committee
4 – Conference notes with alarm the increasing levels of workplace stress affecting young CWU members. Increasing drive to meet customer demands is leading to an ever increasing work load for our members, and there is no evidence of the pressure decreasing. Conference instructs the national youth committee to lobby the NEC to investigate the main issues of workplace stress and report back any findings. Submitted by South Wales
All in all, this was a very good conference with plenty of debate heard as well as from new speakers who had not spoken at a conference before. The future of the ‘Youth’ of the CWU looks bright although there may be some challenges along the way.
Any questions regarding this report or more more information, please contact me with the details below.
Eastern No5 Branch
PO BOX 438
Peterborough Mail Centre