Apologies for not being able to attend AGM. I have recently been elected Branch Chair of my USDAW branch and I am currently on a Branch Officers Training Course in Warrington.
2016 has been an unfortunate year with the EU referendum’s outcome to leave Europe, which sparked Labour MP’s revolt in trying to oust out Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, and for the world, the Presidential election in the USA. This means the trade unions will have more of a fight on our hands than before, especially as the Tories will be looking to make their own rules and legislation that could contradict the European rules.
It has still been difficult in getting in touch with the trade unions who are affiliated to Labour as they do not respond to my emails. Some do but then it stalls. Not sure whether our constituency is classed as a target seat.
In the mean time I have been attending the Ipswich Trades Council, as an observer for the CLP, but now my union’s branch of USDAW has affiliated to it and I am a delegate to the Council.
The Tories have been attacking the unions and have amended the Trade Union Bill. What they are trying to do is make it harder for members to strike such as giving them 14 days notice for industrial action. This can give employers more time to arrange an alternative way to keep the workplace open which could deem industrial action pointless.
The Junior Doctors have been out on industrial action at Heath Road Hospital. This is their fight against the Government’s efforts to impose new terms & conditions. And talking about Heath Road Hospital, the NHS does not seem to be getting any better with the way the Government is handling it.
The FBU have been campaigning against Suffolk County Council’s plans to reduce Fire engines and service provisions. This could be crucial as lives would be put at risk because of the Tory run Suffolk County Councils cuts to the service
May Day Festival brought in over 6,000 people. On the Roger MacKay stage were groups like Laurel Avenue & Hot Tramp. YT & INNERHEART closed the Festival. Speakers were MP for Norwich South, Clive Lewis & Phyllis Opoku who is Gymah Head of Campaigns for PCS & Lead organiser for Black Pride.
The Burston Strike Rally saw our very own leader attending it as it was in the middle of a leadership contest with Owen Smith at the time. Other speakers were Mick Whelan, General Secretary of Aslef, Richard Allday of Unite & Jo Rust from the Kings Lynn Trades Council. There was also music from Red Flag & NASUWT Brass Band.
Looking ahead seems to be mainly about Brexit and triggering Article 50. What Labour needs to do is fight the Tories proposals on any changes that the government may put in place, and one proposal is that our working rights stays the same, if not improve on what the Working Directive as implemented by the EU. I believe we have a long hard fight on our hands.
Trade Union Liaison Officer