Blog 38: UNISON is there to support our members

Hi Dudes

Blog 38 is here and you find us dancing in this joyous rain and splashing our way to our Annual General Meeting (AGM)

TUESDAY 3rd March 2020

AGM 1 : LGI – 07:15am –    Food Court, Clarendon Wing

AGM 2 : SJUH – 16:00pm  – UNISON offices, Beckett Wing

Please all c’mon down and join the democratic process of YOUR Branch. Meet the officers, hold us to account, find out what’s being going on this year etc. Most importantly c’mon down and eat our free breakfast butties, at the LGI and the posh nibbles at Jimmys. Theres a raffle too – everyone loves a raffle (and we are open to fixing it for a fee). We also have Tony Wright from the National National Executive Council present to give us all a pep talk. Forget Leeds United promotion push – This AGM is the talk of the town (ish).

AGM REPORT 2019/20

As always I would like to start by thanking Branch Secretary Denise Carr, all my fellow officers, and representatives within Branch for your support, wisdom, and fresh drive in the last year. You are all volunteers and the time you give up to support your colleagues on the shopfloor is unbelievable. Together we have supported hundreds of UNISON members with workplace issues, and promoted the socialist jewel which is our NHS. A massive thank you To Pat, our office manager who has kept our chins up in stressful times, managed to organise us when we are passing ships, and has generally wiped our chaotic behinds. We would be stuck without you Comrade Kershaw – Thankyou.

I would also like to thank all the members I have met in the last year. It is always interesting to meet up and get to know our many varied members from all walks of life. The common thread from you all is your collected commitment to this hospital and our NHS. In good times and bad we have spoken with one voice.

To the members of staff in theatres who I work with day to day I also want to express my gratitude. Your support means I can confidently challenge management decisions knowing I’ve got committed Trade Unionists behind me. Thank you for covering for me when an urgent matter arises.

CLIMATE CHANGE –  This has been a Branch priority in 2019/20. We have worked with the Trust and tried to educate ourselves and our members around this subject. We had a motion passed on this subject at the Leeds Trades Council. More needs to be done.  We must remember the mantra THERE ARE NO JOBS ON A DYING PLANET- The highlight of the year for me was to see the turnout for the General Strike for climate on the 20th September. Leeds was packed that day and I even spoke at the rally (badly). We need the momentum to continue, and we need to change this capitalist system which exploits both our people and our planet. This was amongst the many subjects discussed at the Leeds Environmental day hosted by the Leeds Trades Council which myself and Comrade Hewitt attended.

BANNERS HELD HIGH –  I attended this with my family and Comrade Carr in May. It was a great turnout of local Trade Unionists from Wakefield and surrounding areas. As a community and as a movement we do so much, and I was very proud to feel part of the momentum for collectivism and against the selfish attitudes of the Torys.

GENERAL ELECTION – What a hammer blow. Myself and Comrade Casey pounded the streets of Morley in an attempt to win that seat for Labour. To lose locally and nationally was disastrous for the NHS. To say it wasn’t would be a lie. How some NHS workers voted for privatisation of their workplace and against a 5% pay rise will haunt me forever. However we will not give up , and the socialist fire still burns.

WHITE RIBBON – We have continued in our commitment to support White Ribbon UK. Lots of you have now taken the pledge;-

Never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women

This campaign was launched at 2018’s AGM. The Branch is an affiliate of the White ribbon campaign.

On a Branch level we have been busy throughout 2019/20 on individual cases: – Attendance Management, Conduct, Organisational Change, policy work, Flexible working, etc. At times it feels never ending, but I am very proud of how our reps have managed to cover cases and provide expert support and a listening ear in times of need. The Branch’s professional relationship with managers and HR also continues to grow. The ability to have informal conversations to prevent more formal action on both sides of the table is necessary, and only possible with good relations and hard earned mutual trust.

I have also attended Leeds Trade Council meetings as often as I could – again continuing the links forged during the wholly owned Company campaign in 2018. Myself and Comrade Casey now sit on the Executive Committee.

International Officer

I again led the Branch in the Amnesty International Autumn letter writing campaign. We managed to produce forty actions from branch as well as spreading international awareness on and around the subject of international injustice and solidarity actions. We have supported financially and materially the building and running of a Gambian hospital which is a fantastic Yorkshire and Humber regional project.

We are affiliated to Cuba Solidarity, and Amnesty International. I have written a motion for the AGM to affiliate to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Jewish Voices for Labour

Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future – Martin Luther King Jr

In Solidarity always….. and speak soon