Report by : Yvonne Rose – GMB Representative.
Congress this year was held in the Bournemouth International Centre. It was a delight to be a visitor this year and it was also my first experience. I would like to thank our Branch Secretary, Sonya Davis for giving me the opportunity to attend and also to our driver, Charlaine Nkum another Representative to getting us there and back safely. It was nice to spend some time together as Reps and get to know each other a bit better.
Charmaine Hyman was our appointed Delegate this year and delievered three wonderful speeches in support of her motions that she had brought forward. Well done to Charmaine!
This opportunity was real eye opener for me. It was an honour for me to see Jeremy Corben in real life. How often does that happen? Jeremy delievered a speech which spoke about the challenges today, that young people face in getting onto the property ladder. The over priced rents and continuing price rises in purchasing homes. Like many families, my Son aged 26 is still living at home because he cannot afford to rent or buy a property. Jeremy advised that the Labour Party were pledging to build more affordable social housing to end this.
Jeremy spoke about the stigma associated with Mental Health and that this was also a priority issue to deal with, on the Labour Party’s Agenda. I recognise that depression and stress at work are factors of mental illness and more should be done to eradicate the stigma and reduce the stress in the work place.
Jeremy advised about Britain’s position in the EU and that we should stay. Unfortunately that has not been in the case. He went onto talk about the work industry and the many benefits that working in the wider disporo had brought to Britain. He said that this was something that should have been extended as far as the USA who are currently discussing a minimum wage of $15 per hour.
There were various speakers who took to the stage at Congress. What alarmed me the most was the speeches on Blacklisted construction workers and their fight for justice. They had spent years being unable to get any work due to them standing up for their rights. I met with some of these victims and their stories were moving. Some had to give up their homes and were living in extreme poverty for years. However after 20 years of fighting this injustice and working with GMB, financial compensation and recognition was delievered. This could however never compensate for the lives lost.
So to anyone who asks themselves, is GMB the right Trade Union for me? YES it is… we fight for our members and take on the burden with you. I am a Workplace Organiser and proud to be associated with the Wandsworth Team. We continue to grow and work together for our members and the Union as a whole.