Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 September 2006

TUC conference:

Public sector workers' anger gets a hearing

OUTSIDE THE TUC conference, a head of steam is building up amongst public-sector workers for action against this government. In a small way this found its way into the conference.

Ken Smith

However, whilst conference applauded those preparing to take action - such as the NHS Logistics workers and PCS members - the resolutions sought to build broad alliances which avoid any specific commitment to effective action.

On the NHS, Dave Prentis, general secretary of UNISON, made a fiery speech condemning the government. However, nowhere did he say that the anger that is escalating daily would be pulled together immediately in the form of a national demonstration or action. Instead the TUC and UNISON are going to call a national demonstration in February, too late for many workers facing NHS cuts and closures now.

Mark Serwotka of civil service union PCS, announced that his union is prepared to call national action in the new year if the government does not conduct satisfactory negotiations on pay, job cuts and privatisation.

Speaking in the debate on public services, Mark pointed out the scandal of private consultants being paid 2.2 billion - consultants getting an average of 750 a day sitting opposite civil servants getting 120 a day for the same job.

Mark also catalogued how in the Department for Work and Pensions, 40,000 jobs had been lost and charities are being lined up to deliver employment programmes in a throw-back to the 1930s. On top of that, 150 employers a year are not being inspected for infringements of the national minimum wage because of job cuts.

National demo

Pressure was being put on the PCS by the TUC to drop the call for a national demonstration and day of action. The composite resolution calls for the unions to explore the possibility of a national demonstration and action. However Mark made it clear that the PCS was calling for a national demonstration and day of action and would be working towards it.

He said: "I believe a national demonstration and day of action would be fantastically popular and necessary if we mean what we say when we oppose privatisation."

He also said that if and when Tony Blair's farewell tour takes place, there should be demonstrators outside hospitals, schools, job centres, courts, ambulance stations - all saying 'no to privatisation' and 'yes to public services'.

He concluded: "Let's mobilise our members together across all sectors, in a united display of opposition to the theft of public services."

Speaking in the debate on pensions, Janice Godrich, PCS president, warned that the unions should not be scared into responses on the Turner Report that they might later regret. She said that the unions' response needed to raise aspirations, not lower them.

In the debate on organisation, Chris Baugh, assistant general secretary of PCS, talked about the need to build a new layer of activists from the ground up and to build a healthy new shop stewards' movement, particularly drawing on young workers involved in democratic youth structures in their union.

Outside the conference on the fringe, the debates were dominated by the Labour leadership crisis. Many union delegates felt that neither Blair nor Brown nor many of the other candidates would do anything to resolve the problems facing working people.

The union leaders called for a change in policy direction but after this TUC many workers will be saying that the TUC and the unions need a change of direction if they're going to be effective in making any government ministers sit up, regardless of who is prime minister.

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

In The Socialist 14 September 2006:

Socialist Party NHS campaign

United action can win!

NHS Logistics workers vote to strike against privatisation

Our prescription - a socialist NHS!

Opposition forces Trusts to retreat

The Socialist Party says:

Socialist Party campaigns

No to war

When Bonio met Tonio

Ruth Kelly fails to answer

Time for a new workers' party

Globalisation - what it is and how to fight it!

Campaigning against the far-right BNP

Don't sign 'good behaviour' contracts

Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

Blair's last TUC conference - good riddance!

Public sector workers' anger gets a hearing

Build the campaign to save Burberry

Organising migrant workers

Agency workers vote 100% for union recognition

International socialist news and analysis

Calderon confirmed as president but opposition protests continue

Brutal attack by company thugs on CWI members in Almata


Home   |   The Socialist 14 September 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Public sector:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleTories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

triangleBalloting members on the pay cap

triangleThe Tories must be driven out


triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleCWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangleLondon: TUC lobby & rally; and London march


triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleWho's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights

triangleSocialist Party PCS bulletin: Scrap the pay cap


triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleNasty party out the Tories


triangleUprising to save the NHS!

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

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



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice