Communication Workers Union conference opens in Bournemouth

The UK's largest trade union for the communications sector, Communication Workers Union (CWU), has arrived at the Bournemouth International Centre for its annual conference (26-30 April).

Bournemouth International Centre
Bournemouth International Centre

CWU represents the interests of almost 200,000 members from post, telecoms, mobile, and financial services companies including BT, Capita, EE, Telefonica O2, Parcelforce, the Post Office, Royal Mail, Santander and UK Mail. The union is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Around 2,000 delegates will debate and vote on a range of motions, including political party funding and trade union ballots. Changes to employment law, government cuts, housing problems and the rise in food banks will also be put under the spotlight.

The event has been held annually at the venue since 2009.

Tony Kearns, CWU senior deputy general secretary, said: "Bournemouth is a great destination for our delegates. The venue gives us the scope to address mainstream issues in conference, and run targeted, fringe meetings for delegates to debate more specific issues that matter to them, such as equality and health and safety.

"There’s also plenty for delegates to enjoy outside the venue and celebrate our 20th birthday," he added.

CWU President, Beryl Shepherd, opened the conference yesterday (26 April) and Labour MP Angela Eagle who served as shadow leader of the house during the last parliament gave a speech.

Today (27 April) has been designated Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Day with a number of initiatives being discussed in front of the CWU Race Advisory Committee. Guest speakers include Roger McKenzie, assistant secretary of Unison and Palestinian trade unionist, Yazeed Rimawi.

Tomorrow (28 April) the event splits into two streams – a postal conference and a telecoms and financial services conference. Several fringe meetings will also take place over the next five days.

BH Live director of venues, Pat Coyne, said: "CWU is a regular visitor to Bournemouth, we have a great relationship with the team and are pleased to be welcoming delegates back to Bournemouth International Centre.

"Organisers are taking full advantage of the flexibility of our venue, with conferences in two of our main event spaces and fringe meetings running alongside in breakout rooms. An exhibition supports the event programme and in the evenings, delegates will have the opportunity to explore the town’s vibrant social scene."

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