Saturday, 2 January 2010

January Trades Council Meeting

We hope you all had a merry Christmas and we wish you all a happy new year on our 120th anniversary!

And straight to business!

The January meeting of Trades Council (technically an EC meeting, but open to all TU members) will be at 8pm on Wednesday 6 January (2010), at The Stag, Upper Bedford Street, Kemp Town, Brighton. It will be a very important planning meeting, with 3 major items on the agenda: Proposed demonstration against job losses; RMT report on campaign against job cuts; 2010 Trades Council AGM and further items no doubt.

1. Proposed demo against job cuts. Hope you saw the article in the Argus - if not, try: The proposal for a march - in the first quarter of the new year - originally came from a mass meeting/rally at Sussex University. I hope you'll agree that this is something the TC should take up. The Argus says that "thousands of workers could march in the city": for once, let's hope they're correct in their prediction! BUT it will only happen if TU branches mobilise their members, and that'll start by making sure that as many branches as possible are represented at this meeting. Almost certainly your Branch won't have a meeting between now and the 6th January, but please contact your branch secretary NOW and arrange for the march to be discussed at the next branch meeting or branch committe.

2. RMT campaigns. I've attached a letter from Greg Hewitt from the RMT, which is self-explanatory. (I've made a minor change, where I think Gregg mis-typed the salary of Network Rail board members - if I've got it wrong that's my fault, not Greg's.)

My Name is Greg Hewitt from the RMT trade union. I am writing to you to request that you allow a speaker from my union at your next Trades Council meeting. As you may be aware Network Rail have announced 1,500 redundancies on top of which they intend to attack my members terms and conditions of employment. They wish to extend the boundaries of maintenance and inspect track assets less frequently. My members are struggling now to maintain a safe railway and are under increasing pressure to perform greater productivity. Last year we did this and took a 30% cut in funding. Now a further 21% is proposed. That's a 51% budget cut over two years. Meanwhile Ian Coucher, Chairman of Network Rail, continues to draw his £830,000 salary and bonus that takes him up to £1,24 million a year. The board continue to draw their salaries of £350,000[? BN] plus bonuses and only last night they met in the luxury of a 5 star Langham hotel at £400 a night. We are demanding that not one job should be lost until the Chairman and board hand back their bonuses. We are opposed to any job losses, be they voluntary or compulsory. My union is mounting a public campaign to make them aware of the inherent dangers to safety if the job cuts go ahead. As part of that campaign I am requesting we address the trade council. Thank you. Yours fraternally, Greg Hewitt. We have no right to believe that freedom can be won without struggle

3. Trades Council AGM. This should take place on the third Wednesday in February. We need to sort out a venue, who's doing reports, and EC members need to decide who will be awarded the Miners' Lamp for the year.

Hope to see you all there.