Minutes of the May CPA meeting

There follow the minutes of our May meeting. Our next monthly meeting will be held on Wednesday 6 June at 7.30 p.m., at the wheelchair-accessible River Lane Centre, River Lane, Cambridge CB5 8HP.


Cambridge People's Assembly, Wednesday 2 May 2018

  1. Agreement of the agenda
  2. Apologies for absence
  3. Approval of the minutes and matters arising
  4. Secretary's report
  5. Treasurer's report
  6. McDonald's strike, 1 May
  7. National People's Assembly conference, 2 June
  8. Strawberry Fair, 2 June
  9. National demo for the NHS, 30 June
  10. Radio project
  11. Other business and announcements
  12. Next meeting

The venue was the River Lane Centre at 7.30 p.m. Present were Dan, Faraz, Hilary, Jamie, Jane, Martin B. (meeting chair), Neil (secretary), and Richard M. (campaign chair). Names may have been changed.

1. Agreement of the agenda

The meeting accepted the draft agenda.

2. Apologies for absence

Nicki (treasurer) had sent her apologies.

3. Approval of the minutes and matters arising

Neil apologized for the late availability of the minutes. The meeting approved them and there were no matters arising.

4. Secretary's report

Neil reported 250 subscribers to the mailing list (no change from last month), 982 Twitter followers (984), and 636 Facebook likes (639).

5. Treasurer's report

On behalf of Nicki, Neil reported overall funds of £343.96. Income last month was a collection of £17.82; expenditure was £590 on coach hire, and £15 on a donation to the national People's Assembly.

6. McDonald's strike, 1 May

Hilary reported an excellent turnout for the workers' picket line at the Newmarket Road McDonald's restaurant: certainly as good as for their last strike in September 2017 and maybe better, with students and more organizations represented, including the university staff union Cambridge UCU. She passed around a clipping from the Cambridge News, with a photo in which the Cambridge People's Assembly (CPA) banner was clearly visible alongside others.

Jane remembered that the picket line visitors had been able to stop cars driving into the site; Jamie believed the restaurant was almost empty by 8.30 a.m., half an hour after the picket began. Jane noted that the Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner had discussed the strike in parliament the same afternoon.

Jamie asked whether there were any dangers for workers arising from the fact that the organizing Baking, Food, and Allied Workers' Union was not recognized by McDonald's. Richard said that workers could not legally be fired or victimized for striking, whether their union was recognized or not, but that this by no means always discouraged harassment. One reason the big picket line and the wide publicity in the press and parliament were important was to protect the strikers.

Neil remarked that a lot could be done without union recognition: Cambridge UCU was not recognized by the University of Cambridge, but had recently held a solid and effective fifteen-day strike.

7. National People's Assembly conference, 2 June

The meeting regretted that still no one was available to attend this conference.

8. Strawberry Fair, 2 June

Martin had booked a stall in the Love Music Hate Racism area. The organizer had sent a risk assessment form, which Neil would complete. Faraz, Hilary, Jamie, and Jane would be able to staff the stall, and would collect the group's folding table from Neil.

The stall should carry the CPA's leaflet on the county cuts, an adaptation of the national leaflet for the 30 June demo with local details, any other materials the national office was able to provide, and a one or two-page brief for those working on the stall. Jamie would contact the national office and produce the adapted demo leaflet and the brief.

Richard suggesting having the county cuts leaflet printed commercially in many copies. Jane would organize this.

9. National demo for the NHS, 30 June

Dan had made an Eventbrite page to manage booking, and would make a Facebook page to raise interest; Neil would post a notice on the CPA blog. Dan, Martin, and Richard might be able to act as stewards. Richard would prepare a notice for the Cambridge and District Trades Council to circulate, and would ask for donations; he would also write a short motion and put it to his union branch.

10. Radio project

The group was still finding it hard to secure a radio speaker, and Jamie wondered if it had missed the boat: perhaps it should aim to respond on radio to the next year's county council budget. Jane said she would be willing to speak on a pre-recorded programme.

The CPA had previously been interviewed on the Rebel Arts Radio programme on Cambridge 105, and Neil suggested that this would be a good place to publicize its coach to the 30 June demo. Jamie and Jane would be prepared to be interviewed. Neil would contact the programme makers.

Faraz still had an acquaintance in mind as a speaker, whom he would ask.

11. Other business and announcements

The meeting noted that teachers might be striking soon, and that the CPA should give its full support.

Richard announced that a Say No to Privatization meeting would be held at Mayfield Primary School on 22 May, where academization had been proposed. He also announced a benefit gig, Skanking for Refugees, to be held by Love Music Hate Racism at the Portland Arms on 19 May.

Martin announced that Stand Up to Racism would hold a national demonstration in London on Saturday 5 May against the Conservative government's attempted deportation of Caribbean immigrants from the Windrush generation. He also reminded the meeting about the Trades Union Council's march, A New Deal for Working People, on 12 May, starting at 11 a.m. from the Victoria Embankment.

12. Next meeting

The next meeting would be held at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday 6 June, at the same venue of the River Lane Centre.

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