Delegates to the conference of the Amicus section of the new Unite union gave incoming prime minister Gordon Brown a distinctly unenthusiastic welcome on Monday.
Brown was heckled when he claimed that health workers would receive large pay rises this year.
Some delgates shouted ‘rubbish’ in response to this. Hundreds of delegates had also held up paper hands demanding that Brown implement the fourth option of direct investment in council housing. Only a handful of people tried to start a standing ovation for him.
Derek Simpson, Unite joint general secretary, urged Brown to sack health secretary Patrica Hewitt because of the NHS crisis.
Simpson said, ‘Huge sums of money have been invested in the NHS but still our members have been offered a pay cut and jobs are under threat in every trust. Where has the money gone?
‘It’s been leeched by private profiteers. Patricia Hewitt is the holder of the only insecure job in Britain that I’m not prepared to defend.’
Despite Simpson also devoting a large part of his speech to attacking the left, a number of radical motions were passed on issues such as housing, employment rights, migration, Palestine and Venezuela.
The leadership was seeking to avoid debate and defeat from a conference angry at the problems faced after ten years of Labour.
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