We had a vibrant and successful All Members Meeting last Saturday. 25 members attended the event at Methodist Central Hall to find out more about GMTU, our strategy, vote on proposals and listen to members' accounts of challenging their landlords - and winning!
We kicked off the meeting with lunch, provided by Spiral Garden Cafe, and chat - with members telling each other about where they live, why they joined the Union, how they would like to be involved and ideas for where the Union should focus in the coming months and years.
Next on the agenda was staff member Ben, presenting a roundup of recent and ongoing disputes and campaigns from the Member Solidarity Team. An update on the Seven Sisters campaign was followed by a video from Muel, reporting from a recent successful eviction resistance.
Other members spoke about their successes since joining GMTU including challenging illegal fees, disrepair, antisocial behaviour and unfair rent increases. This section was rounded off with a quick run-through of the Collective Disputes Model - our framework for tackling tenant disputes.
After a short break, staff member Isaac and Alex (committee rep for affiliate organisation Manchester Fans Supporting Foodbanks) presented a discussion on GMTU strategy. They presented all the work currently taking place, and attendees workshopped ideas, identifying opportunities and challenges ahead.
Isaac rounded off the discussion by encouraging members to “Take on the challenge of leadership,” and put themselves forward for roles in their local branch and the committee. His enthusiasm must have done the trick, because a number of members volunteered to take on roles during the meeting!
We now have six new additions to the committee - Comms officers Joe, Hydeia, Tofunmi and Mariel and Member Solidarity officers Muel and Jay.
Three proposals were put forward to be voted on at the meeting and passed unanimously. The first was a Recruitment Campaign Proposal, committing the Union to 150 new members by June 2023, another 150 by June 2024 and 200 by June 2025. In addition, a ring fenced fund from subscriptions that can be accessed by branches and the committee for campaigns and activities, and a recruitment committee to oversee the recruitment campaign.
The second proposal was brought by Jay Mitra for the formation of a Student Society which will operate like a branch of GMTU, addressing the particular needs of student members.
The third proposal brought by Rich Goulding was to work in conjunction with the all-Ireland tenant union CATU to develop landlord research training and skills share workshop with CATU members. This will further facilitate members to conduct investigation into landlords, housing associations and letting agents and use their findings in campaigns and member defence.
After the meeting, we received this message from Vince Martin, GM Unite Community Branch Secretary and Tenants Union Stockport Branch member:
“I don't know that I have ever been in a Labour or Trade Union meeting more effective than the GMTU all member one today. Well organised, informative, inspirational and pragmatic! So glad I went.”
Vince has offered to liaise with contacts in the local trades union branches and Stockport TUC to spread the word and ask for support from these organisations for the union.
The results of the workshop session, along with another workshop at our committee meeting on Tuesday will be used by staff to produce a report, and plan upcoming work.
We are looking forward to a productive and very positive future at GMTU!