Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurrah for Bob Crow

Perhaps the only thing that can wake up the TUC Congress on its last morning is a speech from RMT General Secretary Bob Crow, disappointingly not re-elected to the General Council this week.

Congress has just unanimously agreed Composite 3, expressing our opposition to recent judgements of the European Court of Justice which seriously restrict the ability of trade unions to take action to defend our members interests.

Motion 7, which Bob Crow is now moving, did not form part of the Composite and the TUC General Council are supporting it whilst expressing reservations. "Support with reservations" is the TUC equivalent of UNISON's "support with qualifications" and essentially means; "you can vote for this but we won't do anything about it."

I wait with interest to hear Brendan Barber express the reservations, which I assume relate to the fact that whereas Composite 3 called for a mass lobby of Euro MPs, Motion 7 calls for a day of action and demonstration.

Yesterday's international debates were good - particularly the strong support for the Cuban people and Cuban revolution. It is hardly a novel or original observation to note that the TUC is all in favour of radicalism as long as it is thousands of miles away or hundreds of years in the past.

Brendan Barber is now explaining the General Council's reservations. First, they don't want to give unconditional support for the United Campaign against the anti-union laws as not all TUC affiliates support the campaign. Secondly, they don't want to commit themselves to a demonstration and lobby of Parliament. Thirdly the General Council does not wish to commit the TUC to opposition to the Lisbon Treaty on the basis of this motion.

Bob Crow is rising to reply. Congress has passed the motion unanimously but on the basis that we have been told that it won't be implemented. You have to love the TUC...

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