Strong CWU sisters take our fighting spirit to the TUC



“With our own members balloting for action and other unions already striking, it’s great to be here with our trade union sisters right across our great movement,” said CWU head of equality, education & development Kate Hudson outside Congress House in central London this morning.

TUC Women’s Conference 2020 opened today and, as always, our CWU women are there in strength, adding our union’s loud and proud voice to this great annual event.

“We’ve already been speaking with our comrades from the UCU, who are on strike in many of our universities, and there’s talk of a collective visit to their nearest picket line tomorrow,” reported Kate.

In terms of the conference business, there are two – and potentially three – CWU motions on the agenda pad.

“We’re moving a proposal on the New Deal for Women Workers, as well as another one calling for workplace audits of companies’ MEM (menopause, endometriosis and menstruation) policies,” our equality, education & development officer said.

The MEM motion calls for improvements to MEM rights where needed and a demand for fair procedures to be introduced where they don’t yet exist, she explained.

“And our New Deal proposition is of course inspired by our union’s longstanding campaign – but this motion has a distinctly female perspective and we’re hoping for the whole movement will get behind it.”

Our NEC women’s representative Jean Sharrocks is moving the New Deal for Women Workers motion, and she also explained the details of our potential third CWU-sponsored motion, an emergency motion relating to the shocking treatment of a young English rape complainant in Cyprus.

The 19-year-old Derbyshire woman was given a suspended sentence in January by a Cypriot court, after being outrageously accused of ‘mischief-making‘ with her rape allegation, but her legal team are appealing the conviction.

In a case which has provoked fury both here and in Cyprus, local campaigners joined her family, friends and British supporters in protests outside the hearing.

“This was an absolutely disgraceful action by the police and prosecutors over there and we need to keep up the pressure for this appalling judgement to be overturned,” said Jean, adding that the CWU delegation “sincerely hopes” that our emergency motion on the issue is given conference time.

“It’s great to be here, meeting with, discussing and organising with our trade union sisters and comrades,” our NEC women’s representative continued.

“With our UCU and RMT colleagues in dispute, our own Royal Mail members balloting for action, and the bad situation for our members in BT Enterprise, now more than ever we need the maximum unity of all workers.”

  • TUC Women’s Conference 2020 opened today and concludes on Friday afternoon

Here you will find all things Equality.

CWU Equality Page

CWU Disability Page

CWU Womens Page



Statutory redundancy

UK workers are caught up in the turmoil of the free market and global competitiveness. Employers, particularly in the telecom industry, are cutting staffing levels to the bone and redundancies are being announced on a daily basis.

In recognised companies, the union is always there in the workplace. It is much harder for union members in non-recognised companies. In order to assist members we have bookmarked redundancy information from the TUC to provide helpful and up-to-date advice on statutory redundancy procedures, now available at workSMART/redundancy

The maximum week’s pay for the purposes of calculating statutory redundancy payments is £479 for redundancies and the maximum payment under the statutory scheme is currently £14,370. For a handy redundancy payment calculator click… ready reckoner

Working life and family-friendly policies

In order to assist members we have bookmarked this section from the TUC’s workSMART website to provide helpful and up-to-date advice.

New Equility Structure

5.3 CWU Equality Conferences
• The existing CWU Equality Conferences will be
replaced with a new structure that needs to be viewed
in conjunction with the plan to introduce Biennial
Conferences. (See Redesign Conferences’ paper).

• In conjunction with the proposed move to Biennial
Conferences, we propose to add a full day on equality
to our General Conference. This day would focus
solely on the CWU equality agenda with time allocated
to each strand alongside general equality matters.
The day would be divided into motions, NEC reports
that can be amended and plenary sessions with the
opportunity for high profile speakers when relevant.

• In the year between Biennial Conferences we will
introduce a new National two-day equality event.
On the first day representatives from the separate
equality strands will meet in a similar way to the
existing Equality Conferences. On the second day all
the equality stands will come together.

The two-day National event will be carefully planned
to support the development of our equality strategy
and at the same time will be used to place CWU at
the cutting edge of wider trade union and Labour
movement debates.

The two-day event will also be specifically designed
to support the continuation of networking and the
safe environments that are fundamental to the
development of equality work.

Please follow this link ReDesign for more information




End domestic violence – The Day She Closed The Door


“Watch the video, listen to the song, share with family and friends and get the important message out there,” urges CWU Bootle Branch secretary Gerry Culligan, whose band The Bamboo Fringe has just released a powerful song highlighting the terrible trauma of domestic abuse.

The Day She Closed The Door tells the story of a woman, who suffers both emotionally and physically at the hands of her bullying partner, explains singer-songwriter Gerry, who has been involved in the Liverpool music scene for several decades.

“The topic for the song just came about when I came up with the line: ‘Violence and fear were never a part of the deal’,” he explains.

In the video, Merseyside actor Donna Leslie Price plays the abused woman, while the bully is portrayed by Warren Donnelly (who viewers may recognise as Shameless’s Stan Waterman).

“Warren is a friend of mine and we were having a beer and when I mentioned the song, he offered to take part in the video – and both he and Donna perform strongly I feel,” says Gerry.

“I think the message is that, sometimes walking away from abuse can be the only option – but it’s often not an easy step to take, especially for women.

“I hope CWU members will watch it and listen to the words of the song and then share with friends and family. It’s important to get this message out there.”

  • As well as Gerry, fellow Bamboo Fringe member and guitarist Andy Griffin is also a Bootle CWU member, while drummer Howard Minns is a former member of the union and the bass player is Allan Crookes.
  • The Bamboo Fringe have released four albums so far, The Life And Times Of The Bamboo Fringe, Who Wants The World?, The 7 Stages Of Man and Guardian Angel
  • Watch and listen to The Day She Closed The Door here:

Period Poverty

The CWU is campaigning to make period products free and universally accessible.

Period poverty is on the rise in the UK with charities reporting individuals using newspaper or socks to deal with a period, because they can’t afford to pay for period products, and an estimated 137,000 young women and girls missing school every year because they do not have the products they need.

In the fifth richest country in the world this is completely unacceptable – but this issue is not simply about poverty, we need a human rights approach to periods.  On average a woman, or person who menstruates, will spend nearly £5,000 over the course of their lifetime on period products. We see no reason they should be forced to bear this cost to deal with what is a natural biological process.

The CWU is therefore calling for:

  • Free universal access to period products
  • VAT to be abolished on period products for those who chose to buy sanitary wear

The campaign so far

A motion calling for the union to campaign on period poverty, put forward from CWU Women’s Conference, was unanimously agreed by CWU General Conference in 2018. Following on from this the union took the campaign to Labour Women’s Conference where our motion was again unanimously agreed.

We are now working with Labour in Westminster to explore opportunities to move this forward in the UK Parliament. The CWU is also supporting Monica Lennon, Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), in her work to introduce universal free access to period products in Scotland.

At the same time, plans are being made for a meeting of our industrial groups so that examples of best practice in the workplace can be shared and a strategy agreed to encourage employers to do the right thing. For our part, we have made period products freely available at CWU HQ and Alvescot.

What you can do

As plans progress we will offer carefully timed campaign actions for you to take and help build support for new legislation. For now, there are a few simple actions that will help us make a start.

  1. Write to your MP and/or MSP (in Scotland) or Assembly Member (in Wales) on the issue or lobby them on social media tagging in @CWUnews and the hashtag #makeperiodproductsfree. Template letters and tweets are available from the equality department
  2. Ask your local council to provide free period products in public buildings as councils around the UK are starting to do. A template letter is available from the equality department
  3. Ask your Constituency Labour Party to pass a motion supporting free universal access to period products. A template motion is available from the equality department.