Autumn General Meeting – report

On Tuesday 2nd October, PCS Bootle Taxes Branch held our Autumn General Meeting at Bootle Cricket Club. It was attended by around 400 members from the Triad and Litherland House.

The Autumn meeting serves as an interval between Annual General Meetings, with a less packed agenda allowing for more discussion as well as a report back from Conference by the Branch Delegates. Opening the meeting, Branch Chair Frank Doran welcomed attendees – including the new members we had gained when Liverpool Contact Centre moved to Bootle.

The formal agenda items passed very quickly, with the meeting agreeing the minutes from February and accepting the reports put forward by the Branch’s elected officers.

Phil Dickens gave a report back from the PCS Annual Delegate Conference in May. As his written report explained the fate of the various motions submitted by the branch, he talked about the key debates of Group and National Conference – the Tax Justice For All campaign and the pensions dispute respectively and where they had gone since conference.

Contact Centre Office Chair Adam Lloyd then gave a somewhat more irreverent report back as a Liverpool Revenue Branch Delegate – since the two branches hadn’t merged by the time of Conference.

Next, Debbie Rimmer moved a motion calling on the branch to tackle recruitment and promotion practices that discriminate against part-time and term-time workers, most of whom are women. It was passed overwhelmingly.

The Guest Speaker was Vicki Searle, an Assistant Group Secretary as well as a new member of the branch with the Contact Centre move. She spoke about the direction of the Tax Justice For All campaign, including the enabling agreement signed with HMRC and what the union still had to fight for.

Following this, there was an open discussion during which members raised a broad variety of issues from the pensions dispute and additional flexible working in contact centres to the role of attendance champions and the Labour Party’s support for the pay cap. On this latter point, it was reiterated that PCS would fight for their members no matter which government was attacking them.

John Byrne noted a number of instances where members felt pressured to return to work before they were healthy. This as a result of harassment by managers in some instances and managers being pressured by the wellbeing team in others. He urged members – including managers – who face this issue to get in touch with a rep straight away.

The branch would like to thank everyone for their attendance and participation. This was undoubtedly one of the best attended and most interactive branch meetings and there will be a lot to take from it.

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