CWU Black Workers’ Conference and CWU Black History Month Event

BWCLast weekend – 11th and 12th of October – saw the CWU Black Workers Conference come to the historic building – the Mechanics Centre – the birth place of the TUC. There was a good turn-out with 119 delegates. The disappointing thing about it was some branches pledged money to the event but didn’t send anyone to represent their branch. The mindset of our union needs changing; I was pleased that the Youth Committee sent two members as observers, but I heard of people who couldn’t get to attend through their branch, even though there was space for them – now this is wrong and this is where the problems are!! Something needs to be done.

Prof Gus JohnOn the Friday it was the joint CWU Youth & CWU Equality event celebrating Black History Month and it was a chance to do question time style with 3 panellists – Professor Gus John, Zita Holbourne & Gloria Mills CBE. It was very interesting to hear about their respective experiences and to see what youth movements they are working with.

BWCConference started on Saturday morning and there was some good debate. It was good to see youth delegates there and most getting up and speaking for the first time. This shows that the section and national youth education event is working and is giving youth delegates the confidence to get up and speak and even understand the flow of conference! It was good to see some old faces as well as new. Hayden Newsam (South Midlands Postal branch) was up speaking on motions and so was Daniel Lewis (Bootle Financial Services branch) – both had some very good input and real life experiences of racism. There is obviously a problem with history, as I leaned more that weekend regarding black history than I have in 28 years of my life – that’s quite sad and the education of young people in schools is quite ignorant and robbing us of history that is important to us.

I was asked to move a Motion on behalf of my branch – it was seeking a report from the NEC on the BME community in our union – this caused good debate and was carried. It was then also selected to go to CWU General Conference.

I had been a really good weekend and I look forward to meeting up with the delegates in the future. It’s quite obvious there’s a problem regarding BME and black history and it’s something we as a union need to change – there is movement happening, but not enough. It’s time we sat around a table and looked at ways of changing mindsets and the way we work.

Chris Hand
Chair of the National Youth Committee
Chair of the CWU North West Youth