Branch Secretary :

Highly successful branch AGM

Marked increase in number of reps


Our highly successful AGM on Tuesday heard from our officer Adam Lambert that we have experienced a marked increase in the number of reps elected across the branch and positive reports of many aspects of our work.


Sharon Graham, Unites Executive Officer for organising and leverage outlined the unions ‘work, voice, pay’ initiative and the new online tool which can automatically generate pay claims for Unite reps. 


Share of the cake


Sharon pointed out that while we should keep using the RPI measure of inflation rather than the employers preferred CPI because it more accurately reflects members living costs such as housing costs we should also look at employers ability to pay; when profits go up more than pay our share of the cake is declining.  This struck home for branch members as we know that housing associations have consistently booked surplus increases year after year; the overall surplus in the sector is up 15.6% bringing it to £5.6 billion on 2016/17. Reps can see the tool here


22% pay increase


Over the last year Unite has achieved a number of pay victories in the sector ranging from a 22% increase at Mears in Manchester following sustained strike action to a negotiated 4.5% at Peter Bedford in our branch.  Armed with the new tool and better organisation there was a confidence that we can turn the tide on pay and conditions.


We also heard an inspiring report from Keishia Taylor, a UCU member involved in their ongoing strike action on pensions and giving a real flavour of their fight.  On the day of the meeting the employers had made a new offer, showing that the strike action is having an effect.  Initially the union leadership had accepted but pressure from members through the day had led to rejection of the offer showing how a group of workers with little previous experience of industrial action had taken control of their own dispute. 


More people drawn in to active involvement


Keishia described how there had initially been trepidation about the prospect of strike action but, in fact, more and more people had been drawn in to active involvement on pickets and membership had grown.  As a young member she herself had become active in the course of the strike.


Keishia Taylor UCU


The strike showed that those who argued that those who argued that the Tory anti union legislation would make national strike action impossible were wrong.  People had been enthused by the chance to take a stand against neoliberalism and marketisiation and did not accept that attacks on pensions were inevitable.


Pension attacks in our branch


In our branch we also see employers attacking our pensions with no financial justification such as at Peabody and Unite is involved in a number of battles to defend pensions. An example this week is the strike by one thousand workers at Unite Utilities for ‘21st century pensions’.


Our branch secretary and Unite Executive Council members Suzanne Muna surveyed the work of the branch and moved our annual report.


We discussed our campaigns on housing including our submission to the Labour Party on social housing policy and our work following the fire at Grenfell Tower.  We also noted the unnaceptable slurs on Jennie Formby a Unite officer who is a candidate for the Labour Party executive and we agreed to write to our CLP delegates reminding them of our policies and of our confidence in Jennie.


Theatre trip


In 'any other business' we agreed to organise branch trips to a play on the well known Grunwick strike in the 1970s, 'We Are The Lions, Mr. Manager'.


There are performances in North West London College on April 19th and Greenwich on April 13th - let us know if you are interested:


Paul Kershaw Thursday 15th March 2018


Officers elected at AGM Tuesday 13 March 2018


Secretary                            Suzanne Muna

Chair                                   Paul Kershaw

Vice Chair                          David Oladele

Treasurer                            Kerry Brier

Equalities                            Shaaban Juma

Auditors                              Matt Freeman & Roderick Cobley

Membership                        Matt Freeman

Political                               Matt Freeman


Other BC members:

Aftaar Malik, Maureen Arthur, Adeline Aina, Lynn Hemming.




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