Minutes - 10th February 2014

Hands off our Unions event

  • We haven't been able to book the Civic Hall for the 24th February so it was agreed that we should postpone the event
  • Brian will book whatever date he can
  • Jane Aitchison has expressed an interest in speaking
  • The NUT are striking on the 26th of March so it might be worth asking someone from the NUT to speak
  • The national office also wanted to send someone from the committee. The group discussed this and were concerned about costs if we have to pay train fares. Andy S will enquire

People's Assembly Recall Conference - 15th March - Delegates

  • Andy S has been sending out invites to other groups (Leeds TUC, Bradford TUC, Huddersfield TUC) - please let him know if there are any other groups we should invite
  • Unite Community have delegates going
  • Rhi, Andy H and Helen are in London that weekend and would like to attend as would Andy S, Kevin (as an observer) and Brian (tentative)
  • Andy S will send round an email and compile a list of people interested

People's Assembly Recall Conference - 15th March - Motions - Idea 1

  • Submission of motions: a discussion was had about membership fees / subs.
  • Brian proposed a 75%/25% local/national split and said it was important for local groups to have financial autonomy
  • Local groups need funds for local campaigns
  • Concern was expressed that paid membership will exclude people. It is important that we're open with no barriers. 'Members' vs 'non-members' wouldn't be good'. People need to be able to drift in and out
  • Can we get sponsorship from trade unions?
  • It would be better to leave it up to individuals to set up voluntary standing orders
  • We see ourselves more as a network than an organisation
  • We haven't had a case made about how much the national committee need and what they need it for. Andy S said that at the meeting he attended, the booking of conference venues, upkeep of the website and wages were raised.
  • If money is to go to the national committee, they have to be accountable
  • There is concern that the People's Assembly is becoming a bureaucratic structure
  • It is important to keep relationships with the national body but the emphasis should be on local activity and we should have a say on the direction the national group is going in
  • Voluntary standing orders could be paid into our bank account
  • Our local group will look to donating to the national group as it develops and we see what they are offering
  • Nicola will draft and circulate a motion that expresses the above

People's Assembly Recall Conference - 15th March - Motions - Idea 2

  • Brian suggested a motion that the People's Assembly urges the TUC to take action. Combating loan sharks, setting up credit unions etc. Modelled on Unite Community. To encourage a collective movement and open the union community out to non traditional members and offer professional services
  • Unions will decrease their affiliation with Labour and still have political funds to spend. Also, there are non-affiliated unions.
  • They should take a progressive, enabling role and establish a closer working relationship with the People's Assembly
  • Brian will draft and circulate a motion that expresses the above
  • A similar suggestion motion has come from Unite Community - we should cross-reference

People's Assembly Recall Conference - 15th March - Motions - Idea 3

  • The group felt we need to keep focussed on the anti-austerity message: sanctions, ATOS, bedroom tax
  • We need to do more and focus on specific actions
  • Also important to counter the 'benefit scroungers' message
  • End the 'unions are for workers' message - we need them to join with us on the anti-scrounger message
  • We shouldn't get too bogged down with organisational issues and should focus on austerity issues
  • A motion could express concern we're talking about a lot of structural stuff and not about the impact of austerity
  • Nicola will draft and circulate a motion that expresses the above

Demo at the Lib Dem spring conference in York 8th March

  • The TUC are having leaflets printed and will distribute to us
  • Unite community are organising coaches - everyone is welcome

Other business

  • Setting up of the bank account is still in progress
  • On Thursday the Leeds Poverty Truth Challenge was launched. Nicola is one of the 'Business and Civic Members'. It would be good to track this initiative from the People's Assembly. Details are here: www.leedspovertytruth.org.uk and here: facebook.com/PovertyTruth

Upcoming events

  • Fast Food demo - 15th Feb - McDonalds, St. John's Centre, Leeds, 1pm
  • ATOS demos - 19th Feb - Bradford and Leeds assessment centres from 8am - Unite and PCS are supporting
  • 3 Cosas talk - 21 Feb - The Rose Bowl, Leeds Met, 12:30pm
  • Leeds City Council budget protest - 26 Feb - Civic Hall, 1pm
  • York demo - 8th March
  • For a full list of all events, see wnypeoplesassembly.org.uk

Next meeting

  • Monday 17th February, 6:30pm - Gaelic Room, O'Neills, 26 Great George Street, Leeds, LS1 3DL