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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 May 2017

Shortened GMB conference to hear pro-Corbyn and anti-austerity motions

GMB flags at the TUC demo in Manchester: 50,000 march against Tories demanding action on NHS, photo Claire Job

GMB flags at the TUC demo in Manchester: 50,000 march against Tories demanding action on NHS, photo Claire Job   (Click to enlarge)

Kim Hendry, GMB union PCS branch, GMB conference delegate (personal capacity)

GMB annual congress starts on 4 June, in Plymouth.

Thanks to Theresa May, it will be a rushed affair, finishing two days early to allow delegates from the Labour-affiliated union to return home to get the vote out for Corbyn.

Lay delegates will now hear a huge range of motions, with very limited debate - speakers will only be allowed where there is opposition - on GMB organisation, UK employment and economic policy, Labour Party, racism and fascism, the EU and Brexit, the NHS, housing and other social policy issues, and international issues.

There are a number of fairly militant motions, some of which contain demands overlapping with Socialist Party policies.

The Labour Party motions are generally pro-Corbyn, with several criticising last year's mass suspensions. Calls include mandatory reselection of MPs at each election, opening up the Labour Party to wider support and ending the witch-hunts.

Numerous motions oppose the Tories' savage NHS sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) - demands include affiliating to the Health Campaigns Together group, national industrial action and working with other unions.

A couple of anti-austerity motions from Scotland urge GMB local government branches to mobilise against the cuts at local level. However, this is primarily an attack on the SNP-run Scottish government and councils - no motions similarly criticise Labour councils in England and Wales. The motion I moved successfully last year, demanding GMB calls on Labour councils not to impose Tory cuts, has been ignored.

As you'd expect, there's a huge number of motions on the implications of Brexit for British and migrant workers - and delegates are currently awaiting a special leadership report which will be debated at congress. There are also progressive motions about fighting fascism and Islamophobia and protecting the rights of migrant and EU workers.

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