Sunday, 19 January 2014

Lewisham Trades Union Council Annual Report 2013

 Lewisham Trades Union Council is the local voice of the Trades Union Congress, the union ‘umbrella’ organisation. We have small resources, made up of affiliation fees and delegates from local union branches. Currently these are branches of CWU (3 branches), GMB, NUJ, NUT, PCS, RMT (2 branches), TSSA, UCATT, UCU, UNITE (5 branches), UNISON.   Support from the SE Region TUC tops this up, for which we are grateful.  We welcome any new affiliations which can be on the basis of union members working in, living in, or meeting in the Borough of Lewisham.

  • January 2013 began with the continuing campaign in defence of Lewisham Hospital. A massive demonstration on 26th Jan showed the strong support for the NHS against government attacks, which led to more success in the courts later in the year. Trade Unions were fully involved and the Lewisham TUC donated £400 to the costs.
  • The announcement of the possible closure of two fire stations in Lewisham by the London Mayor triggered a campaign of support for the Fire Brigades Union and our local fire stations. We were able to organise a public meeting in defence of New Cross fire station along with local people and the turnout was well beyond our expectations on the cold evening of March 14th. Costs were £800. 

  • We went on to mobilise for Boris Johnson’s public consultation, and the Lewisham meeting on 22nd May was one of the best attended. It was by now clear that the only issue was finance, and a tiny extra Council tax payment could stop all the cuts. The end result was that the London Mayor imposed the closure of Downham, but New Cross escaped closure, at least for now

  •  On June 8th we supported a joint event with other Trade Union Councils in South East London covering Greenwich, Bexley and Bromley. This was a great help in reinforcing links between us (and an enjoyable evening)
  • In September the Lewisham Hospital campaign organised a coach from Lewisham to the NHS demonstration at the Conservative Party conference. We donated £450 to make sure everyone who wanted to go could get there.
  •  We try to spread the word locally about disputes where union members need wider support. This year there has been strike action in Housing Associations, in schools, in Colleges, in the civil service, in Post Offices and in the Fire Service.
  •  We oppose the anti union attitude taken by some companies who serve Lewisham, such as Virgin Media who withdrew recognition of CWU earlier in 2013.
  • On Oct 15th we met with Sir Steve Bullock, Lewisham Mayor, and agreed issues we could work together especially around welfare cuts. Lewisham pays the London Living Wage and we want the Borough Council to set good standards in employment, and persuade other organisations to do the same. This includes making sure unions can have access to workers to recruit and do our job of ‘policing’ workplace rights.

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