Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/479/2205
The Socialist 22 March 2007 |
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TUC try to cut conference childcare provision
OVER 250 women attended the Women's TUC this year. But most of the motions contrasted sharply with the interviews with trade unionists from Ford and others talking about their campaigns and industrial action to fight for equal pay in the past 30 years in the new TUC DVD.
Katrine Williams, PCS delegate
All of the emphasis of the motions was on using the law and lobbying (and also praising) the government for better rights, rather than taking action to defend our rights and take the movement forward. The PCS strike action was the only dispute mentioned by the delegates.
The main controversial debate of the conference was over cuts in provision of childcare at TUC events. There were two emergency motions submitted on this issue - from the FBU on the withdrawal of childcare outside "core" hours of conferences including fringe meetings and organised events and from the PCS on the decision to refuse childcare facilities for school-age children.
The motions were not composited, as there was opposition to the PCS motion from a number of unions. Whilst the NUT seconded both motions there was aggressive opposition to the PCS motion from another teaching union, the NASUWT.
This opposition included the remarks that women would be acting illegally by taking children out of school and could end up pushing their kid's school into special measures.
The opposition was taken up vigorously by PCS national executive member Zita Holbourne. Why should women with children only be able to be active at national level when their children are toddlers or after they leave school?
Trade unionists are responsible about their children's education. Seeing parents standing up for their rights, fighting discrimination and getting involved in the labour movement is part of this.
This issue will be taken up at the TUC congress in the autumn as delegates voted on the FBU emergency motion to be taken forward there.
The childcare cuts are most likely a cost-cutting decision in moralistic wrapping and will make it even more difficult for parents and especially women to get actively involved in the movement. They need to be actively opposed at every opportunity.