Thursday, March 19, 2020

UNISON Housing Association AGM - Branch Chair report

 A real shame but understandable that we had to cancel our Branch AGM tonight at London City Hall. Many thanks to Deputy Mayor for Housing, Tom Copley, for offering to be our keynote speaker and to his staff for organising it (also to my local Assembly member Unmesh Desai).

I would also like to thank branch Executive members for all their hard work in organising the AGM.

Below is my report as Branch Chair which I would have presented tonight (and will still be sent out to our members in our annual report)

"Branch Chair report

While the dreadful general election result was the low point of my year as Chair of the branch, it has actually meant that our union is even more important to our members who have faced amongst the very worst cuts in jobs and attacks on their pay, pensions, terms and conditions. 

Care and support members are under threat as some unscrupulous employers deliberately underbid to win contracts then try and do everything they can to destroy pay protections. Many housing management organisations are making large surpluses yet refuse to give their staff decent pay rises.

Winning trade union recognition agreements and greater trade union membership density in our workplaces is absolutely key to saving jobs and improving pay. The more members we have in any employer, the better the deal we will always get for those members

To do this we must carry on with the reorganisation and modernisation of our branch to ensure that members and stewards get the very best support and assistance. This is a “bread and butter” issue and we must make sure that the branch, in partnership with the region, delivers for its members.

Due to other commitments I am standing down as Chair but I hope to still remain on the branch executive. 

My high points as Chair was watching and listening (and learning too) to our branch delegates and members speaking in many debates at our UNISON National Conference in June and our Community conference last month. In terms of ideas and vitality the branch is punching above the weight of its 3000 members in a 1.3 million union.

Finally, I would like to thank our directly employed branch workers and UNISON regional staff for their hard work in advising and representing members. But most importantly, I also want to thank our lay activists and shop stewards who are the unsung heroes of our movement and the first line of defence in so many workplaces.

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