Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/546/6352

From The Socialist newspaper, 2 September 2008

Trades Union Congress: Building a real leadership against the bosses

Unison Local Government strike 16-17 July in London, photo Paul Mattsson

Unison Local Government strike 16-17 July in London, photo Paul Mattsson

This year's Trades Union Congress promises to be more interesting than in previous years. The main resolutions reflect issues such as the battle in the public sector over the government's pay restraint policies and job losses, which are worsening as the economy slows under the impact of the global credit crisis.

Bill Mullins

The increasing authoritarianism of the government and its attacks on civil liberties will be an important debate.

Important issues facing women workers everywhere will also be discussed, including the 'right to choose', as abortion rights for women come under renewed attack.

On the issue of the anti-union laws, Unite points out that it is getting more difficult to defend members in struggle against the bosses.

Its resolution points out that increasingly: "workers whose terms and conditions and job security are undermined following takeover by private equity firms are offered no protection under existing TUPE provisions".

Workers' rights

PCS is calling for public-sector trade union unity, photo Paul Mattsson

PCS is calling for public-sector trade union unity, photo Paul Mattsson

The bakers' union BFAWU, in the same section of the agenda, gives an example of diminishing workers' rights. 600 workers in Lyndale foods in Lancashire in June this year found themselves marched off the premises by security guards "without a minute's warning" when the company went into insolvency but "restarted trading with the same directors" on the same day "passing redundancies and pension losses onto the taxpayer".

Unite and the RMT both refer in their resolutions to recent judgments of the European Court of Justice which "are a fundamental attack on collective bargaining and the right to strike". The RMT refers to them as "the most serious attacks on trade unions since Taff Vale".

What they are talking about here are the decisions by the court to back the right of employers to pay lower wages to "posted workers". These are workers who are sent to work temporarily in another EU state.

The employers are increasingly using these methods to drive down wages across the EU but now the courts are backing them, by saying it is illegal for trade unions to take industrial action against this.

The RMT says that these "unelected judges are using the 'free movement' provisions (of the EU) and have disembowelled the concept of a Social Europe and undermined the ability of unions to protect workers".

It calls on the TUC to organise a day of action, demonstration and lobby of parliament on the issue and a European-wide day of action.

In the same section the CWU has put down an amendment calling for the dropping of the requirement under the union recognition laws which calls for "a minimum level of participation in a bargaining unit". This is in reference to the employers increasingly using this to prevent union recognition.

The POA, reflecting the way it has been disgracefully treated by the Labour government, which has once again outlawed prison officers' right to strike, calls on the TUC "to organise a series of one-day general strikes" to force the government to "remove the anti-union legislation from statute".

In the economic section, Unite points out the impact of rising prices in energy and their effect on living standards.

It calls for a windfall tax on the energy companies and increased regulation of financial institutions.

The RMT, in an amendment to this, calls for public ownership of "utilities and services, including water, gas, electricity, coal, oil and the transport sector and a massive extension of council housing".

It remains to be seen what will happen in the compositing process but this promises to be a very interesting debate.

The pro-capitalist wing of the unions will no doubt seek to take out all of the RMT measures. But the left side of the debate puts back on the trade union movement agenda at least the beginnings of the case for the socialist transformation of society.

The call for a new workers' party, and the central role the unions should be playing in that, if the above sort of programme has any chance of being implemented, will hopefully be heard from the rostrum during this debate.

One debate that promises to raise the temperature will be on the issue of public-sector pay.

Unison's resolution calls for the TUC to coordinate the public-sector unions on pay and supports those unions taking action.

The PCS takes this further when it calls on the TUC to "coordinate industrial action amongst those unions in dispute over pay".

This has been the position of the PCS for some time. In effect the PCS is saying, with a note of exasperation, to all the other public-sector union leaders - get your act together and let's have unity in action.

Trades councils

The RMT has a resolution calling for the TUC to give trades councils more rights, including the right for the annual trades council conference to send one resolution to the British TUC conference, as the Scottish and Wales TUC do at the moment.

The TUC conference will be an important event, enabling an alternative voice to be heard. A voice that calls for real leadership against the bosses in defence of workers' rights and living standards, instead of the bland voice of the right wing that is desperate both to not embarrass the Labour government and to continue its cosy relationship with the boss class.

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


In The Socialist 2 September 2008:

'Them and us' economy hits the rocks

Inequality - the world's deadliest disease!


Socialist Party editorial

Russia / Georgia war exposes limits of West


Socialist Party workplace news

Trades Union Congress: Building a real leadership against the bosses

John Mc Donnell MP protests at Unison witch-hunt

London buses: Strikers pack picket lines

Fight threat to Ford Transit plant jobs

Coastguards strike over bank holiday in pay protest


Socialist Party feature

Building a new workers' party: trade unionist initiative needed

Building industrial militancy


International socialist news and analysis

Poland: Biggest workers' demo since the 1990s


Socialist Party campaigns

Terry Fields memorial meeting

Arrested for selling The Socialist

Opposing the far right

Winners and losers at the Beijing Olympics

Water quality threat to health

Adding colour to The Socialist


Socialist Students

School and college students fighting back!


Socialist Party review

Inside Egypt: the land of the Pharaohs on the brink of a revolution


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS: Save our casualty unit!

NHS 'surplus' = cuts in care

Swollen profits, suffering patients


 

Home   |   The Socialist 2 September 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

TUC:

triangleCWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangleLondon: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

triangleTUC congress 2017: time for action on pay

triangleTUC supports Birmingham bin workers

Unions:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Black workers and the British trade unions

triangleGig economy exploiter Uber loses London licence

triangleFrench Labour reform protests

RMT:

triangleRMT strikes against removal of train guards spreads

triangleNSSN lobby of the TUC 2017: rank-and-file solidarity to smash the pay cap

triangleTories weak: time for the TUC to act

Pay:

triangleJustice for Tube cleaners demo

triangleThem & Us

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

12/10/17

Cleaners

Justice for Tube cleaners demo

11/10/17

Salford

Salford Unison condemns pay cuts

11/10/17

Royal Mail

CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

11/10/17

Carlisle

Carlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP

11/10/17

Green

Don't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish

11/10/17

Fire

No more fire deaths - ensure safety now!

11/10/17

Cardiff

Cardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg

11/10/17

John McDonnell

Manchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation

11/10/17

Orgreave

Join the Orgreave Halloween rally

11/10/17

Union

Workplace news in brief

11/10/17

Democratic rights

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

6/10/17

Northern Ireland

Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

5/10/17

Runcorn

Too much to cross the Mersey

4/10/17

Royal Mail

Set for national strike action

4/10/17

London

Supporting the general strike in Catalonia

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle16 Oct Teesside Socialist Party: After the party conferences

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

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