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This month’s Norwich Labour Party All Members Meeting was held last Friday 9 November, at Wensum Junior School. About 70 members attended.

The discussion topic was The Future of Work and Trade Unionism.


The meeting started with a tribute to Patricia Hollis, Lady Hollis of Heigham, who died last month. Alan Waters spoke about her life in politics and her immense contribution to Norwich, as a city and county councillor, while Alan Howarth spoke about how central and important the Labour Party was to her life. We will all miss her wisdom and commitment.


Gary Parkins (RMT) thanked members for their support in the RMT strike action to keep guards on our trains. He spoke about the way in which jobs are being lost to automation, eg self-service checkouts at supermarkets and petrol stations, the loss of bank branches on our high streets, and many more.

Claire Lees (Unite) referred to research that forecasts that around 35-42% of jobs could go by 2035. In theory this could lead to more days in everyone’s weekend or fewer hours in the working day but this assumes that the benefits of automation are fairly shared. Women will be the most affected by automation. There will still be cleaners and call centre workers because people are cheaper than the robots.

Chris Herries (Vice Chair, The Cooperative Party) talked about the role of cooperatives as a business model, where there is democratic member control and member economic participation. Currently less than 2% of UK business activity involves cooperatives, but there is strong support for this business model from Labour, with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell looking for cooperatives to play a much greater role. To achieve this, we need a new legal framework, access to finance and access to development advice, to put cooperatives on an equal footing with conventional businesses.

Clive Lewis MP looked at two aspects of the question.

Firstly – What will Labour do? Repeal anti-union legislation; set up a ministry of labour with a focus on working people; proper established living wage; sovereign wealth fund for employees of companies with 250+ employees;, plus a place on the board. “Pre-distribution” as well as re-distribution. Give people a stake in the ability to produce things.

Secondly – The way we worked in the past won’t be the same for future generations. A growing number are part of the “Precariat”. Tory ideologues want to do away with protective legislation.
The next manifesto will have a trial for a universal basic income, also a commission looking into the 4 day week.

Thirdly – How do you have an economy that lives within planetary boundaries? Looking at ecological degradation, also climate change. 60% of all species on the planet have been lost in Clive’s lifetime. There is not enough planet for everyone to have the lifestyles that we currently have. We need to make tough decisions if we are to have a future. Issue of inequality and socialism – we need to share the pie more fairly.


  • Motion from Town Close BLP – Community Infrastructure Levy – proposed by Stephen Musk, seconded by Helen Jackson. The motion was carried.
  • Motion from Nelson BLP – Jewish Voice for Labour this was amended prior to the meeting; proposed by Ruth Pearson, seconded by Abby Hoffmann. The amended motion was carried unanimously.


Results for the November draw:

  • First prize – Alun Housago – £192.50
  • Second prize – Frances Solder – £82.50


The meeting expressed our support for the Glasgow Women’s Strike, with a photo taken of members with the Norwich Women’s banner.


£31.23 was collected for NUAC funds – many thanks to all members who contributed.


Next All Members Meeting will be on Friday 14 December – this will be our Christmas Party, and will be held at St Thomas’ Church Hall, Earlham Road, starting at 7.30pm. Join us for an evening of festive food, drink and friends, with music by DJ Dave Rowntree.

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