Socialist Worker

TUC round-up

Issue No. 2321

Anti-racism

Congress passed a motion opposing racism in football was a motion from the Professional Footballers Association. The CWU communication union moved an amendment which called for the TUC to organise a national event involving Unite Against Fascism.

Tony Kearns from the CWU spoke about the success of the anti-EDL mobilisation in Walthamstow said, “There will be many new challenges as the effects of austerity bite. But the rise of the far-right can be combated.'


Palestine

A motion in against the siege of hazard and for Palestinian rights was passed. The motion included a call to send a delegation to Gaza to help lift blockade.

CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said, “The Palestinian people living in the Gaza strip have been subject to assault on both land, sea and air. The impact of the siege has been devastating. Gaza will be without drinking water by 2016.”

For the first time at a TUC congress there were no speeches against and no union took a position against.


Transport

Delegates voted in favour of a renationalisation of the network. Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA argued renationalisation would 'carry the support of working people up and down the country', as they were 'fed up with having to pay rip-off fares'.

Bernard Kennedy from Aslef, said fares were too high and the railways were 'broken, derailed and disintegrated. The rail industry has become a gigantic scam for siphoning off public money.'


Fringe

At a pensions fringe meeting called by the PCS, Unite and UCU unions, Dot Gibson, the head of the National Pensioners’ Convention said pensioners should “lobby, sit down in the road, take direct action, write letters, all sorts of things” to preserve local services.

She said, “I am in favour of direct action, sit in the road, things like that, go into the lobby of the town hall, mob handed, and say ‘we are not going to move’.”

At the Trade Union Cordinating Group fringe meeting Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, called for occupations of schools and hospitals. He said, “In the early years of the Thatcher government we occupied the hospitals. That’s the sort of thing we should be demanding.

“When they want to close down a youth centre, when they want to close down a school or a hospital, if communities want to occupy them we are going to support them. That’s the sort of action we need to take to challenge this government.”

John McDonnell MP recalled how Hayes cottage hospital had been one of those occupied in the 80s. The left wing Labour MP said, “With the scale of austerity coming. I came here to find out what the fuck the TUC council was going to do about it.”

He argued that the there was an urgent need both for direct militant action and to campaign for socialist ideas.


Debt crisis

Workers are borrowing more than £300 a month as they plunge into 'punishing levels of debt” according to the Unite union.

Research by Unite showed that the average amount workers were borrowing to get through the month had risen sharply from £127 to £327 pounds since March.

A study of 22,000 adults showed that almost half were borrowing money every month, up by 12 percent since spring. Four out of five said they had cut back on spending because of money worries.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said, 'This is the harsh reality for increasing numbers of working people in Osborne and Cameron's heartless Britain, with the real pain still to come as this Government seeks more and more cuts.'


London Metropolitan

An emergency motion on the crisis at London Metropolitan University which calling for and amnesty for international students was passed.


European Union

A motion calling for a referendum on EU membership proposed by the RMT was defeated.


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Article information

News
Tue 18 Sep 2012, 16:50 BST
Issue No. 2321
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