Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Public Services Fringe Meeting at the TUC

I haven’t covered much on this blog about fringe meetings this week at the TUC. In fact for most delegates, fringe meetings are the main event since we have no opportunity to speak at Congress itself and are largely spectators.

Indeed UNISON delegates have no forum to express opinions at all after Sunday morning – when we had our one delegation meeting! We may need to look at how we organise our TUC delegation in order to increase its democracy and the accountability for decisions taken in our name.

I was very pleased to attend an excellent and well attended fringe meeting organised by the Public Services Not Private Profit campaign. John McDonnell gave a stirring introduction to the need for a joint union campaign drawing together the different struggles against privatisation in every sector.

John – and a number of General Secretaries of the unions supporting the campaign – have had to play the role that the TUC should have played in pulling this campaign together. Now as a direct result of the success of the campaign, the TUC has agreed on Monday a composite motion instructing the General Council to organise further joint union campaigning activity on this issue.

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of PCS, reported on the debates on the General Council – and the problem posed by those who foolishly believe that national demonstrations are not a good idea. Brian Caton of the Prison Officers Association expressed his justified anger at the attitude of some big unions who think it better to campaign on their own, leaving smaller unions aside. I agree that these are serious and legitimate concerns.

Any UNISON activists who would like a model motion for branches on this issue please get in touch!

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