Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/315/11624

From The Socialist newspaper, 20 September 2003

TUC Congress 2003

THIS YEAR'S TUC was reported by the press as much more to the left than ever before. The tabloids in particular were frothing at the mouth about the unions going back to the "bad old days of the 1970s".

Bill Mullins, Socialist Party Industrial Organiser

Tony Blair, in the speech he never gave to the TUC dinner, said that the unions were living in cloud-cuckoo land to think there would ever be left Labour governments again. (Many will ask when there ever was a genuine left Labour government anyway.)

TGWU general secretary Tony Woodley called at a fringe meeting for Blair to resign as Prime Minister over his role in the war on Iraq.

Gordon Brown, who is supposed to be the acceptable face of New Labour, was met with hostility from the conference and mostly indifference to what he had to say.

The TUC spin doctors did their best to give the impression to the press that he was welcomed enthusiastically but this did not wash with anybody that was there.

But this hostility and the fringe meeting fury was rarely reflected in the conference debates.

In the long traditions of the TUC, resolutions which proposed action or were seen as contentious were composited out of existence (i.e. merged with other resolutions.)

PCS

The one exception was the amendment on pensions from the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS).

In the days leading up to conference the TUC leaders had attempted to persuade the PCS to drop their calls for a national demonstration on pensions to be followed by a national day of action, including industrial action.

In the end the PCS stood firm and the amendment, slightly altered, was included in the composite that was overwhelmingly carried.

The importance of this cannot be overstated. The public service unions in particular are committed now to a demonstration and probably a day of action.

Pensions are the deferred wages of working people. The great pensions robbery by the private sector bosses is well-documented.

Now the government are also making noises about reducing the pensions deficit by making public sector workers work longer before they can retire.

It was this issue that has led to the big demonstrations and strikes in Europe recently.

PCS president and Scottish CWI member, Janice Godrich, spoke on privatisation and the threat by the government to end national pay bargaining in the public sector.

She said that the new national public sector forum and the bosses in general must be told by the unions that public services should be run in the public interest and not the narrow self-interest of the profiteers.

She went on to describe the damage that had been wreaked on the civil service by privatisation already. She pointed out that the government plans the mass privatisation of support work in the Ministry of Defence, and the privatisation of the records kept by the Department of Work and Pensions.

The PCS demanded, in an amendment, for a conference of union executives to plan a real campaign against privatisation, but this was dropped in favour of the composite.

But it was the debate on the occupation of Iraq and the crisis in the Middle East which for a brief moment opened up the hidden differences in the TUC.

Rogers Lyons, joint general secretary of Amicus, moved support for the general council position and statement that called for UN troops to be sent to Iraq.

But as Bob Crow reminded the delegates it was Roger Lyons who last year accused those like Bob, who opposed the war preparations, as speaking for the "Baghdad TUC".

Crow riposted that the right-wing's position last year was more like the view of the 'Washington and Camp David trades council'.

The teachers union NASUWT moved a composite welcoming the recent agreement on "modernisation of the teacher workforce". No opposition was heard to this on the conference floor even though the NUT, the biggest teachers union, opposed the agreement.

The left in the NUT correctly describes the deal as "getting teachers on the cheap" whereby some of the teachers' workloads will be handed to classroom support staff (if it hasn't already) and the government has taken advantage of it by changing the law to allow unqualified staff to take classes.

Astoundingly the NUT delegation voted by 14 to 12 not to speak in the debate (the right being in the majority) and only gave out their leaflet against the motion after the debate was over and the vote had been taken.

Socialist party members on the PCS delegation asked the NUT to make a formal approach to them so they could reconvene and change their position and vote against the motion. ( The PCS NEC had agreed to support the motion the week before "on the nod" because they had heard no arguments against it).

Over 30 attended the Socialist Party fringe meeting and 650 was collected for the Fighting fund.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 20 September 2003:

Iraq: How Many More Lies?

Defend Anti-War Protesters

NHS -Yet more lies

Action Against Killing for Profit

Postal Workers' Ballot Narrowly Lost

Interview with CWU leader Dave Ward: Challenging Royal Mail's Accounts

Press Release: Joe Higgins TD (MP) and Councillor Clare Daly Jailed

WTO Wounded But Capitalist Exploitation Still Rules

What's the socialist alternative for education?

Liverpool: The City That Fought Back

Sweden: Historic Vote Routs The Political Establishment

Israeli/Palestinian conflict

TUC Congress 2003


 

Home   |   The Socialist 20 September 2003   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

TUC:

triangleCoordinated action needed to break pay restraint

triangleStriking back against poverty pay

triangleGovernment's tribunal fees defeat

triangleBrighton: NSSN rally at the TUC Congress

triangleConference opens debate on Labour and pledges to fight anti-union laws

PCS:

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleCourt victory for PCS and all trade unions

triangleDWP announces office closures and job losses

triangleThe left unions and the Labour Party affiliation debate

Pensions:

trianglePensions strikes continue at BMW

triangleWorkers fight back against race to the bottom!

trianglePensions strike at Rolls Royce

Privatisation:

triangleGlobal finance: Are those storm clouds ahead?

triangleRMT condemns Welsh government rail privatisation

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

21/8/17

Labour

The role of the RMT in changing Labour

21/8/17

Doncaster

Bin workers say: Sack Suez, stop rubbish cuts!

17/8/17

Birmingham

Bin workers - fighting back wins!

17/8/17

Derby

Vital women's services under threat

15/8/17

Glasgow

Glasgow janitors win famous victory

15/8/17

Summer camp

Summer Camp

11/8/17

Nurses

The stress and hardship faced by nurses

11/8/17

Kazakhstan

Protests against state repression in Russia and Kazakhstan

9/8/17

Coventry

Coventry: march following racist police killing

9/8/17

Hull

Young, angry and fighting back

9/8/17

TUSC

How much reserves have councils got?

9/8/17

Barts

Barts strike: Keep up the pressure on Serco and the trust!

9/8/17

The Socialist

Postie paper sale

9/8/17

Leeds

Support for Socialist Party campaigns at biggest ever Leeds Pride

9/8/17

Mansfield

Campaign fights closure of Chatsworth rehab ward

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Barts strikers, 15.7.17 demo, photo Paul Mattsson

triangle22 Aug Coordinate the strikes to defeat the Tories

triangle21 Aug The role of the RMT in changing Labour

triangle21 Aug Bin workers say: Sack Suez, stop rubbish cuts!

triangle17 Aug Bin workers - fighting back wins!

triangle17 Aug Vital women's services under threat

triangle15 Aug US: neo-Nazi violence reawakens resistance

triangle9 Aug Marx's Capital at 150: an unequalled analysis and critique of...

More ...

triangle22 Aug Manchester Socialist Party: What is anarchism?

triangle22 Aug Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Why do we need international socialism?

triangle22 Aug Derby Socialist Party: Israel/Palestine - one state or two?

triangle23 Aug Salford Socialist Party: Why Marxism opposes terrorism

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2