UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Monday, 12 September 2011

"TUC get off your knees, declare a general strike.."

Thus delegates were greeted #TUC11 as they arrived for the first morning of Congress, by the massed ranks (all seven of them) of the hecklers who felt the the TUC was not taking a militant enough stance.

The first morning of the TUC started with a keynote speech from the TUC general secretary Brendon Barber setting the tone of the debates for the rest of the morning mainly on the dire state that this Coalition Government has created and the attacks on workers’ rights and Trade Unions.

Brendon rightly said that this right wing coalition were pursuing policies that “made things worse not better“ and creating a generation of young people “growing up with hopelessness” he also went on to condemn the EDL (English Defence League) and whilst condemning the rioters who brought fear to the streets of our communities pointed that it cannot be right that a young man that steals a bottle of water gets imprisoned whilst Cameron gives his own ex head of communications a second chance for far worse misdeeds.

He declared that our NHS is not for sale “not now, not tomorrow, not ever” He vowed to fight tooth and nail to stop the scrapping of the 50p tax rate and ended with a call to the Government to "restore investment in the economy, rebuild the public realm and to rebuild a world that this generation can be proud of."

Several Unions spoke on this debate including our own UNISON delegate Ian Fleming who pointed out the effects of Govt cuts on the private and voluntary sector where employees have been facing pay cuts of anything up to 28%.

There was a call for an independent commission on the banking industry followed by a composite condemning the attacks on trade union rights

Next came a composite moved by USDAW attacking the Governments review of Employment legislation which the Coalition called the “red tape challenge” but was described by the UCATT delegate as a “sackers charter”.

We then debated a motion on protecting the employment rights of “vulnerable and atypical workers” such as migrants. Given the press reports today of police rescuing workers forced into virtual slavery was timely.

We then debated an issue of companies forcing workers to have their salary paid by private payroll companies. This then allows the employers to define the workers as self-employed and not entitled to the employment rights and benefits of directly employed staff.

Finally we had a debate calling on the Govt to bring in legislation to stop employers sacking workers who have been suspected of criminal behaviour but not charged by the police.