Community Activists Network
Equality North West Meeting 29th February 2012 Friends Meeting House
Philip Duval, Joe Taylor, Jeremy Mills, Jo Cocker, Mike Cribb, David Seddon, John Clegg, Adam Colvin, Ben Egan, Maurice Barnes, Sophie King, Graham Whitham, Anne Eadley
Minutes last meeting 2/2/2012: True and accurate – Mike/David passed
Matter Arising: None
Jeremy reported that some confusion had occurred by there being two account regarding venue – North West Equality and Equality North West. All that had been clarified and the position as of now is that in total we are £2.76 in debit to Quakers Trading if we include the cost of tonight’s meeting, we still owe Mary, the former secretary, £12 for printing and we have £200 to deposit in the new bank account once it’s been opened. The meeting agreed to pay the £18 for the account North
West Equality, which will then be closed. We need to ensure that we are now known as Equality North West. All other names are no longer used. A requirement for opening a new bank account is a copy of the constitution.
Mike and Jo circulated copies of a draft constitution for discussion and approval. After some discussion it was decided that the financial year should run from January 1st to 31st December. Three people Jo Cocker, John Clegg and Graham, said they were willing to stand for election as Member Representatives at the next meeting of the group, which was to be called by the Chair as a Special meeting for voting purposes.
Philip reported that he’d called in on the 38 Degrees meeting being held close by and that he and a number of others were going back there after this meeting.
There was a general discussion about future direction.
Sophie suggested that we should convene a ‘strategy’ meeting for the membership; one where some time could be spent deciding where we are now and where we are going.
Ben asked if we want to be a think tank or a campaigning group.
Mike noted that we have evolved from chaos and need to narrow and define our efforts to specifics.
Jo pointed out that the constitution defines our aims as directed against income inequality.
The topic of ‘Fairness Commissions’ was debated.
Mike pointed out that the Islington FC had come about principally due to the unrelenting commitment of one specific councillor and that other external factors concerning Islington were probably not extensively replicated.
It was agreed that attempting to campaign for Fairness Commissions across the entire North West was beyond our group’s means as the majority of core members come from the Greater Manchester municipal area.
John expressed the opinion that it is unlikely that Manchester Council are unlikely to establish a Fairness Commission as they are bound by decisions made at a higher level in any case, constituting just one component of Greater Manchester.
It was agreed that members are encouraged to approach their individual Local Authorities regarding a Fairness Commission and that the group will support those who do so in whatever way possible.
It was agreed that the ‘living wage’, ‘equality in general’ and related issues are somewhat beyond the remit of our group – our aim is promote the ideas expressed in ‘The Spirit Level’ and specifically income inequality.
Mike expressed the opinion that ‘wage ratios’ is an issue that we can probably campaign for with a reasonably expectancy of some success.
Jo suggested that members might pursue Freedom of Information requests concerning the top and bottom wage of their own Local Authority.
Maurice agreed that we need to look at the top level of income and it’s relationship to the bottom level of income in the same organisations, such as is occurring in South Wales, rather than concentrate on the bottom level of income in society at large. Other organisations are doing that. We could consider giving a North West Equality seal of approval to companies that partake.
Graham proposed that we should focus on five areas: encourage and support our own members to plan ahead; engage in research and data collection to support our arguments; engage in specific exercises to sensitise the issues raised in ‘The Spirit Level’, engage in activates that produce a specific outcome, such as ‘wage ratios’; support other organisations that promote similar and related issues.