Southend Trades Union Council

Southend Trades Union Council
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Monday, 4 January 2016

Secretary’s Report for year ended 31st December 2015

We convened 11 general meetings of the Southend TUC with an average attendance of 8 delegates. It pleasing to note that we had better attendance figures than in 2014
In 2015, we received affiliation fees from 10 branches of the following Unions:
We have maintained our affiliations to the Essex Association of Trades Councils (CATC) and the National Pensioners Convention (NPC). We also affiliated, for the first time, to the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom.
I would express my thanks to the Ambleside Social Club for the use of their meeting room throughout the year.

Work of the Year
Protecting workers’ rights to organise together
At our February meeting, Dave Smith from the Blacklist Support Group spoke on the injustice towards workers perpetrated by the big construction industry companies.
Also in February, we supported the Voice & Vision folk music event at the Squeeze Café in Leigh on Sea organised by Squeezebox Folk and the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU). One of our major events was to be involved in the running of the Voice & Vision Concert, part of the Leigh Folk Festival and held at St Clements Church, at which the singer Dick Gaughan was the headlining act.
With the support of a TUC development grant, we were able to organise a celebration of May Day (International Workers Day) on Saturday 2nd May. In the morning, we held a street stall in Southend town centre to publicise the history and significance of May Day to working people. We also gave support to the campaign by Southend UNISON against cuts in mental health services within the Borough. Whilst in the afternoon, we held a musical event in the O’Neills public house, which also included poetry, interactive art and children’s entertainment. Overall our events were well received and successful. It is our intention to organise similar May Day events in 2016.
As part of our ongoing commitment to trade union involvement in the Leigh Folk Festival, we ran a financial appeal to our affiliated branches. The organisers gave us a prominent position for our gazebo on both the Saturday and Sunday. Through the sponsorship of unions, both nationally and regionally, we have become an integral part of the Festival and we gain an important level of recognition from our involvement.
Some of our members supported and attended the Lobby of Parliament on 2nd November as part of the campaign to oppose the Conservative Government’s Trade Union Bill. Unfortunately, we were unable to run an effective campaign event locally.
As in previous years, we ran a minibus to the Burston Rally and carried our banner on the traditional march around the village.

An end to austerity economics
Southend TUC supported, and a number of our members participated in, the People’s Assembly national March Against Austerity in London on 20th June.

Fighting racism
In light of the refugee crisis, we made a donation to the humanitarian needs of the refugees in Calais.

2015 has seen some successful campaigning by the Southend TUC. We have increased our profile through the cultural and campaigning events that we have been involved in. We stand ready to face the challenges and threats to the trade union movement in 2016.

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