East Sussex Area Branch – Minutes of AGM held at 12.30pm 3 March 2016 at
East Sussex County Council Chambers, County Hall, Lewes, East Sussex
|1|| Welcomes / apologies – Branch Chair and SecretaryAmanda Parks, Branch Chairperson welcomed all present to the meeting. Amanda introduced herself, Roger New, Branch Financial Advisor, Lynda Walker, Branch Secretary, Maggi Ferncombe, UNISON South East Regional Secretary, and Sarah McGreal, UNISON South East Regional Organiser.
Apologies had been received from Sasha Sumner, Eddie Collict, Tony Watson, Jan Cocks, Chrissie Osborne, Liam O’Reilly, Craig Deeley, and Peter Loye
Amanda Parks noted the meeting was inquorate.
|2||Minutes of last AGM held 5 March 2015The minutes were noted, but would be formally ratified by the next meeting of the Branch Committee.|
|4||List of Officers for ratification and any update on vacanciesThe list of officers was noted, but would be formally ratified by the next meeting of the Branch Committee.*|
|5||Branch Treasurer’s Report, including receiving audited accountsA finance report with accounts was tabled. In the absence of Craig Deeley (Branch Treasurer), Roger New, Branch Financial Advisor, presented the report. It was noted that although expenditure made by the branch would need to be tightly managed during the forthcoming year, there was a more positive outlook.
Lynda Walker thanked the Branch Committee for being prudent.
Roger New raised the issue of members having to ‘opt in’ as being a potential challenge in the year ahead, and recommended keeping the branch reserves at a high level pending the decision made by UNISON nationally as to the way forward with addressing this.
Roy Noble from the floor noted from the accounts there were no payments made from the Hardship Fund. Lynda Walker replied that the branch had approved many requests for help from branch members including a number needing support with school uniform.
|6||Talk by Maggi Ferncombe – South East Regional Secretary on Strategy for the South East RegionAmanda Parks introduced Maggi Ferncombe.
Maggi started by saying she had taken up her new post shortly after the 2015 General Election. Everyone was affected by the privatisations of services introduced by the Tories.
The Trade Union Bill was her worst nightmare.
Attacks by the previous Coalition Government on the Welfare State had been relentless.
The Public Sector was paying the price of the bankers’ mistakes, but it had been portrayed in the Media as being the fault of the previous Labour Government. Things would only get worse.
Councils are now unable to provide statutory services which is tantamount to an attack on the Working Class.
If the Trade Union Bill is passed it will be harder to join a Trade Union. UNISON is leading the fight against the withdrawal of the DOCAS payment method, clause 4 of the bill. 80% of UNISON’s membership pay by DOCAS. If the bill is carried UNISON would have 18 months only to convert 60,000 members to paying by Direct Debit. One quarter of the membership could be lost, which would be devastating for UNISON’s income.
There would also be changes to the ballot thresholds.
Maggi said however she hopes for the best while preparing for the worst.
Building the union is important, and employers know that having union reps saves them money.
There should be more support for stewards, including smarter communication.
The Community and Voluntary sector membership is increasing, but they are on their own and the union must organise for them.
UNISON must ask all members to get involved. A ‘Proud to be in UNISON’ campaign is being launched soon.
UNISON will survive the Tory Government.
Amanda Parks thanked Maggi for her talk.
|7||To receive officers’ reports for 2015/ 16Officers’ reports were noted.
Lynda Walker added that she will be launching a campaign against the East Sussex County Council’s budget meeting decisions.
Following a question from the floor on the forthcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Community, Amanda Parks confirmed UNISON will be consulting members. Sarah McGreal added there is a UNISON guide for members on all the issues.
|8||Results of Branch Secretary BallotAmanda Parks announced that Peter Loye received 44% of the vote, and Lynda Walker received 56% of the vote, so Lynda Walker was elected as Branch Secretary for the year.|
|9||Any Other Business – notified to the Branch Chairperson prior to the meetingNone.
Amanda Parks thanked all for attending.
Jed Murray from the floor invited everyone to applaud Lynda Walker for winning the election for Branch Secretary.
* Committee Positions Ratified on 18/03/16
|Equalities Co-ordinator 1||Jed Murray|
|Equalities Co-ordinator 2||Lynda Walker|
|Health & Safety Officer Job Share 1||Craig Deeley|
|Health & Safety Officer Job Share 2||Lynda Walker|
|Retired Members Secretary||Eddie Collict|
|Deputy Retired Members Secretary||Ann Newton-Marcial|
|Labour Link Officer||Christine Parsons|
|Schools Convenor||Colin Blackman|
|International Officer||Andrea Arnold|
|Young Members Officer||Vacancy|
|Adult Social Care Convenor||Jed Murray|
|Central Departments Convenor||Amanda Parks|
|Children’s Services Convenor||Jed Murray|
|Further Education Convenor||Paul Medhurst|
|LMG Rep (Convenor)||Vacancy|
|Auditor 1||Jan Cocks|
|Auditor 2||Mike Midghall|
Over the next few months there will be an increased focus on the EU referendum on 23 June 2016. UNISON wants to ensure that members’ voices are heard in this important debate.
We are therefore consulting with our branch members by emailing a questionnaire.
If you do not received the questionnaire, please email the branch office (firstname.lastname@example.org) stating your email address. Please note we do need to receive responses by 4 April 2016 at 12pm.
UNISON has produced an Information for Members pack which is available here Information for Members