Women’s Conference Report 2017

COMMUNICATION WORKERS UNION

WOMENS CONFERENCE

21st NOVEMBER 2017 – CITY HALL, BRISTOL

 

Linda Roy, National Equality Officer opened the meeting and immediately began speaking on the alleged sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein in the film industry, she added that this type of aggravation has been hidden for many years by loyalty and fear of career destroying to name but a few. As we know it is not just in the film industry – it is an unjustified in the workplace throughout industry. Disturbingly, 1% report this to their union reps. Over the last few decades the CWU has assisted in the delivery of stronger attitudes of people on this subject. The hype in the media advertising the misdemeanours of people and pointing the blame at victims in one form or another is just another damming insult to the suffers. What was acceptable 20 or so years ago is not acceptable now. Sexual abuse, harassment and rape will never ever be acceptable again. We all need to challenge this issue in the workplace, social media is a way of promoting this problem, but it is not the only way. This needs to met head on and contested in the workplace. The support of victims is paramount. The latest LTB has a report from the TUC on sexual harassment etc and gives guidance on how to get the message out there.

Linda also reported on the gender pay gap. She said this gap is closing in some areas but has slowed down during 2017. She urged all branches to support the ‘close the pay gap’ campaign, along with the seeking of improvements in Maternity and Paternity pay along with child and care payments. Finally, she thanked the Women’s Advisory Committee and the regions Women’s Committee for all that hard work they have done over the year.

Kye Dudd, Bristol City Councillor gave a short speech on behalf of Kevin Beezer, the SW Regional Secretary, as he was unable to attend the conference. He said that 48.6% of labour councillors were women and 7 out of 12 are in the cabinet. He said that Bristol West’s last election moved from a 5,000 majority to a 37,000 majority. He emphasised that the Tory austerity cuts are effecting women the hardest.

Kelly Morgan (born 17 June 1980) is a British boxer. She won the WBC female silver middleweight belt in June 2016. Prior to taking up boxing, she represented the England development team in netball, and represented England and the United Kingdom in the javelin. Kelly said that she always wanted to be a world at something. Her fathered installed the ambition in her to achieve this. Her father was an army boxing coach and PT instructor. She met female instructors and through this she learned to throw the javelin. She joined the RAF as a PT instructor for 18 months, but then decided to move to the army. In 2002 she became the British record holder and a Bronze Commonwealth Medal holder in the javelin. It was around this time she realised that many obstacles are in the way to progressing ones’ career as a woman, even in sport. She now works for SkillForce UK. In 2015, SkillForce commissioned research by the internationally renowned Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham to assess the evidence for a national award programme to help young people, particularly primary school-age children, to explore their own values and guiding principles. The research concluded that a new national character award programme was timely. SkillForce has taken up this challenge with enthusiasm with the full support of the Royal Patron, Prince William, together with our principal corporate supporter, Standard Life, headteachers from England, Scotland and Wales and our academic partners.

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Standing Orders Accepted. There was no reference backs.

SECTION 1 – INDUSTRIAL ISSUES

COMPOSITE MOTION 1 – Mover Gloucester Amal, Seconded Cleveland Amal.

The issue was the lack of toilet facilities for women on delivery walks. The is more apparent in the summer when it is hot and the consumption of water based products rises resulting in the need to urinate more frequently. It has got a stage where women are fearsome of drinking water for obvious reasons. This however, could have a more serious effect, causing dehydration. The motion called upon the WAC to work with the PEC to run an awareness campaign within Royal Mail to highlight the Health & Safety issues around inadequate toilet facilities.

Your branch delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously.

MOTION 2 – Mover Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. Seconded Formerly

BT buildings and their toilet facilities. The mover stated that most BT building were built when the company predominately employed men. Now females have joined the workforce, it has become an issue, where a woman who wants to use a toilet have to enter a toilet marked either MEN or TOILET. On doing so they find either a cubical which sometimes is just an urinal or a toilet with a urinal in the same room unscreened. Either of these is unacceptable in the 21st century. The motion instructs the WAC to work with the related CWU Officers to ensure that BT and BTFS urgently address the issue of access.

Your branch delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously.

MOTION 3 – Mover Scottish Regional Women’s Committee, Seconded Formerly

This very short motion instructed the WAC to work with the PEC to ensure that any future recruitment initiatives include female workers. The mover said that out of 1924 drivers on 42 are women, in London NW 110 workers – zero women.

Your branch delegates voted for the motion

The motion was carried unanimously

 

 

MOTION 4 – Mover North West No.1 seconded Formerly.

Motion 4 dealt with the issue of mental health problems. It is a well-known fact the women live longer than men, around 5 to 10 years, which leads to a problem of women being left on their own. There are organisations that can help like Silverline and UK Age. These groups offer friendship and advice. The motion instructs the WAC in conjunction with the PEC to contact Royal Mail and request that the helpline numbers for Silverline and UK Age are advertised on all mail that comes through the system over 1 minimum 4 weeks period. This to be done before December 2018.

Your branch delegates voted for the motion

The motion was carried unanimously

 

MOTION 5 – Mover South East Regional Committee, Seconded Formerly

Motion called upon the WAC to negotiate with the industrial executives to lobby for paid release for Regional Women’s Committee Secretaries.

Your branch delegates voted for the motion

The motion was carried.

SECTION 2 National Issues

MOTION 6 – Composite Motion – Mover London Regional Women’s Committee, seconded NE Women’s Regional Committee.

Motion 6 deals with the subject of ‘Period Poverty’. It is becoming an increasing issue in schoolgirls / women on a low income. Hidden issues like this is disgraceful in 2017. Access to free sanitary products etc has been promised by Labour, which in Scotland has already been started the designing of a project. The consultation period of this starts on December 8th 2017. To this Conference agrees that we need to end period poverty and improve access to sanitary products across the country, and campaign for pilot schemes in other regions and to lobby ministers that will seek to give women in the UK the right to access these products for free regardless of income.

Your branch delegates voted for the motion

The motion was carried unanimously

MOTION 7 – Composite Motion – Mover NW Regional Equality Committee, seconded by NW Regional Women’s Committee.

This motion was liking to the previous motion, except it highlighted austerity as the main reason for poverty in women. Families struggle to feed their families, let alone the ‘luxuries’ of sanitary products. Toxic shock can often occur in some cases with schoolgirls missing lessons as a result. The instructions to the WAC was the same as the previous motion but to include the provision of free sanitary products in schools.

Your branch delegates voted for the motion

The motion was carried unanimously

 

MOTION 8 – Composite Motion – Mover Greater London Combined, seconded WAC

I was missing from the conference – a toilet break, so this is the motion in full:

Conference notes the increase in women joining the Labour Party and welcomes women becoming more politically active. Conference also notes existing CWU Women’s Conference policy that more women should be encouraged to become more politically involved. Conference believes that trade union women should have a democratic input into Labour Party Women’s Conference to ensure the Labour Party delivers on the key issues for working class women such as equal pay, carers rights, job opportunities, flexible working, and sexual harrassment. We note that the current WAC policy calls for separate nominations for the delegation to the women’s Labour Party conference in the same way as the women’s TUC and the women’s STUC conference. Therefore, we instruct the WAC to liase with the NEC to draw up a procedure for electing a CWU delegation for Labour Party Women’s Conference from Branch nominations along the same lines as other national Union delegations. With Union backed democratic changes to Labour Party Women’s Conference currently in the pipeline for 2018 this situation is now urgent.

 

Your branch delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried.

 

MOTION 9 – Mover Warrington Mail Centre

Female gambling is now becoming a real worry. This increasing problem causes suicide, bankruptcy, relationship breakdowns and is an extreme mental illness. Therefore, the WAC is called upon to alert our members to the dangers of gambling which hopefully will remove the disgrace of female problematic gambling so women can, importantly, access the help they need.

Your branch delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried.

 

 

 

MOTION 10 – Mover WAC, seconded Formerly.

This motion attempted to deal with the subject of acid attacks and the attempt of total eradication by the removal of the root causes. The lack of justice is typical of the governments way of handling the law and order issues in the UK today. The UK has one of the highest rates of recorded acid attacks in the world. The AATI (Acid Survivors Trust International) is a non-profit UK based charity whose sole purpose is to end acid based attacks at a global level. The WAC are instructed to campaign to help eradicate the horrendous crime and to assist the AATI in anyway it can.

Your branch delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously

 

MOTION 11

This motion simply dealt with the issue of Part-Time workers and the problem that surrounds the exploration of job-sharing. The WAC are instructed to send a report to branches in time to submit motions to Annual Conference 2018. The report to include:

A review of best practices re: Job Sharing in other unions/organisations.

Guidelines for reps on how job-sharing works in trade structures / committees

Information and an explanation of how job-sharing would work in more senior positions of the CWU

Your branch delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously.

 

MOTION 12 – Mover South East Wales Amal, seconded Formerly

This motion was basically an equal pay issue. The BBC, Sainsburys’ and ASDA have had equal pay claims lodged against them in the past. It is worth noting that the equal pay act cam into force 40 years ago. Since then the pay gap has been reducing, on average by 2.5pence per year! so the equal pay will be achieved by the year 3069!!!

The conference instructs the WAC to work in conjunction with the NEC to campaign and expose these injustices with likeminded groups such as the Fawcett Society.

Your branch delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously

 

MOTION 13 – Mover York and District Amal, seconded Formerly.

Misogyny is the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against girls and women. This can take many forms including social exclusion, sex discrimination, hostility etc. This motion seeks to get all police forces to accept the ruling of the Nottinghamshire and North Yorkshire police the Misogyny is a hate crime. The WAC are instructed accordingly and to be completed by December 2018.

Your branch delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously.

 

MOTION 14 – Mover Greater Mersey & SW Lancs Amal, seconded formerly.

Motion 14 concentrated on the plight of the UK’s domestic workers. Statistics show of Britain 138,000 domestic workers 61% are women, an by definition these workers have little or no legal protections at work on pay and working conditions. It is about time, and it is long overdue that the UK government sign up to the International Labour Organisation Domestic Workers Convention 189 and recommendation 201. The WAC in conjunction with the NEC are instructed accordingly.

Your branch delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously.

Mary Honeyball MEP

Poverty effects women disproportionality. With Brexit coming this will enhance the effect even more. Workers rights, she fears, that we have worked so hard to achieve over the years will be lost. The Tories are hellbent in getting rid of these laws, and are looking to consolidate a ‘Trumplike’ state in Britain. The Institute of Fiscal Studies have calculated that Brexit will cost Britain an extra 20 to 40 billion pounds n lost business. Public services will be deteriorating even more because women are the main users of public services…..? Poverty after Brexit will effect households of between £800 to £6,400 per year. Human trafficking, of which 96% are women is on an alarming increase and a shameful part of what goes on in towns and cities today – these women are groomed into prostitution and slave labour. Brexit will not improve this, in fact it will enhance it.

 

MOTION 15 – Mover West Yorkshire, seconded Formerly

Motion 15 sought to make the appropriate changes which are to be made to courses relevant to women. This will then hopefully allow continual and successful training for new and present women activists in the CWU. To achieve this it would be beneficial that when changes are made to women’s courses the details of which need to be discussed with the WAC and the Education department. To ensure this the WAC are instructed to work with the education department to discuss how they can be involved in any potential changes to course which are relevant to women.

Your branch delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried.

 

MOTION 16 WAS WITHDRAWN

MOTION 17 – Mover South West Regional Equality Committee, seconded Formerly.

The motion raised the continuing issue of women officers in relation to release, and engagement within their local CWU branch, and also the frustration of not being able to secure financial resources to visit workplaces, enabling campaigns or even visit female members across their branch area. The development of a yearly audit would clearly show the amount of equality activity being completed within a branch, and therefore indicate as to whether the Equality Department needs to either work with a branch found to be engaging in equality activity, and produce a plan to address ay issues or use the data from the audit to ensure that allocated funds are being distributed and spent across all Equality strands with the branch. The WAC was instructed accordingly.

Julia Upton from the WAC spoke and asked the branch to remit the motion. The branch was not prepared to remit. Julia added that branches have to provide the finances to Head Office, so a Equality Audit does not have to be done. She also said this approach is a cleft sword. Monitoring already takes place therefore it is not really essential.

The right of reply was wavered.

Your branch delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was cleared won, but the Chairperson called for a Card Vote. A odour of disapproval engulfed the room!

The Card Vote was miraculously cancelled and a hand held card vote was enabled:

For the motion 37

Against the motion 32

Abstained 12

The motion was eventually carried.

 

MOTION 18 – Mover Bristol & District Amal, seconded formerly

A quicker motion than the last one! The motion sought to gain a progress report from the NEC on proportionality no later than March 2018

Your branch delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously

Conference was informed than when voting for motion to Annual Conference that this motion should not be voted on a it puts a time restraint which is before Annual Conference 2018.

 

MOTION 19 – Mover West London Postal, seconded WAC

Proportionality and reserved seats are down from last year. 2016 there were 40,000 cwu members of which only 507 were women who hold a position of office. This motion allows for only a debate to be had as to how to increase and by what means the proportionality in the CWU.

Your branch delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously

 

MOTION 20 – Mover WAC, seconded Formerly

This motion was tabled to ensure that the Equality Conferences remain as separate conferences and not become a forum of discussion events. It was envisaged that some equality strands could lose their identities. The WAC were instructed accordingly.

Your branch delegates voted for the motion.

The motion was carried unanimously

 

Motions to Annual Conference

Branch Voted For: Telecom Motion 2, Postal Motion 1, General 6 and 17

Motions Agreed on: Telecom Motion 2, Postal Motion 1, General 17 and 19

 

CCTV Delegates

Heather Mason & Winsome Edwards

Observer & Author

Gordon Mason

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