Minutes: Steering group meeting 26.11.13

Present: Matthew R, Shirley F, Paul P, Stuart R, Sam B (Chair), Jane L, Dan M, Apryl W, Jack S, Jack H

Apologies: Carrie H, Gareth L, Laura J

Italics = agreed actions.

  • Concurrent SCALP and TUC meetings taking place so numbers low. Jack H to seek information from those present at other meetings and feedback.
  • Data from online meetings poll currently too limited to be conclusive. Poll to remain open for 1 week further and further promoted in order to get more feedback.
  • Matthew R to chase Linda Duckenfield regarding her offer last week of attempting to securing more accessible venue to use on weekend sessions.
  • Bank account now up and running. Funds previously being held by SACA now transferred to account.
  • Concerns raised that last week’s meeting agenda not a sustainable approach for long term. Concerns raised about how we use steering meetings. Work needs to take place to allow SYPA to become the organisation it needs to be. Also some confusion remained over what was actually being called for at last week’s meeting.
  • Our core values pointed out. Jack H suggests our remit is to build confidence among the left, seek to engage more in the left and enhance the skills of those already engaged. Action is the way to do this, but SYPA currently not big enough to organise impressive action. Problem needs solving.
  • Stuart R suggests SYPA attempting to build and promote database linking creative volunteers with organisations needing creative work as a potentially workable example of SYPA meeting its ‘umbrella’ remit by providing services for other organisations, to bridge gap between where left currently is and where it needs to be. Idea is to identify and fill the gaps where the left currently struggles. General support from committee that Stuart R should move forward with this plan and investigate viability. Although some offence also caused by this proposal; current activists unhappy at suggestion that left has been lacking communication skills.
  • Agreed that action builds support and gets people involved, but present steering committee too limited in time and resources to be able to plan everything alone. Suggestion that any actions proposed become responsibility of set working groups who report back to steering committee. Formation of action-specific working groups will be promoted by SYPA with aim of attracting organisers.
  • Point raised that SYPA needs more input from existing organisations to avoid risk of activism becoming abstract concept. More context and feedback from front line needed. More concrete proposals for action required as we move forward. Insistence that SYPA remains an outward looking organisation as it finds its place within sector. All agreed more leadership, more structure required before further action can reach potential.
  • Jack H presents No Zero Hours campaign. Proposes/asks that SYPA will provide all support available to it to build the action proposed for the 9th December, including promotion, leafleting, canvassing etc. All present agree to support as asked. SYPA already has delegates at concurrent TUC meeting to call for broad trade union support for No Zero Hours campaign. Feedback from that to be heard next week.
  • Some discussion over definition of our attitude to zero hours contracts. Jack S defends use of Zero Hour Contracts within council, suggesting they are appropriate in certain cases. Dan M suggests ‘minimum hours not zero hours’ is the standpoint in response to consensus that nobody can build a life around lacking job security offered by zero hour contracts. Jack S claims issue not with contracts themselves, but with substandard employers. As an example, 2000 people employed on such contracts at Meadowhall alone, so focus should instead be on unionising those workers rather than attacking organisations such as the council and the NHS for using them where appropriate.
  • Vote on standpoint, all committee in favour of zero tolerance approach to zero hour contracts.
  • Jack H to write blog on zero hours contract campaign, for SYPA website, to underline and share the reasons for standpoint.
  • Requested that agendas for future meetings be made available before actual meeting, so people can arrive prepared. All agreed this necessary, will make happen before next week.
  • Sam B taken on role of promoting and commissioning guest blogs for SYPA website.
  • All agreed social media presence needs more work. Nobody currently forthcoming to make this happen.
  • Affiliate organisation Unite the Resistance have meeting planned soon, SYPA agrees to do what it can to help promote.
  • Apryl W asks for promotional help with ‘Feed Sheffield’ initiative, SYPA agrees to do what it can to help promote.
  • Next week agenda must cover two key issues; next People’s Assembly national day of action and voting of SYPA delegate to be present at national PA steering meeting.
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