Thursday, July 30, 2009

Holiday reading...

I’m still on holiday, but was pleased to see a copy of the Preliminary Agenda for this year's Trades Union Congress nonetheless. It doesn’t seem to have made it on to the TUC website yet.

Having gone on at some length about my concern that UNISON’s TUC delegation had failed to follow UNISON Conference policy to submit a motion calling for a defence of pension schemes across the public and private sectors. I was pleased to see Motion P23 from the GMB – Quality Pensions For All, which reads as follows;

“Congress is appalled at attempts by politicians, the media, employers and the pensions industry to undermine workers’ savings.
Millions of people are reliant on public sector pensions for their retirement income and now live in fear of their savings being decimated by a Tory government. Congress recognises that public and private sector defined benefit schemes are both sustainable and necessary; and that the closure of public sector schemes threatens quality schemes in the private sector that are already scarce as a result of continual attacks on members’ deferred pay.
Congress calls on the General Council and Labour Party to:
i) mount a properly resourced, coordinated campaign to promote and defend good quality defined benefit pension schemes
ii) show public sector schemes as a model of good practice to be replicated by employers, not to be cut to the minimum provision possible
iii) publicly support the long-term sustainability of public services and public service pensions
iv) explain the contribution to the economy made by funded schemes which invest billions in UK businesses
v) highlight the savings to the taxpayer from occupational pension saving and the cost generated by inadequate provision and increased reliance on state benefits
vi) challenge the hypocrisy of the pensions industry and politicians seeking to force workers to work longer and save for their retirement but refusing to guarantee secure and reliable means of doing so
vii) take the necessary steps to ensure that all workers on public service contracts can participate in public sector pension schemes.”

This motion seems (at point (i)) already more or less to meet the requirements set by our UNISON Conference, that UNISON should “bring a motion to the TUC calling on them to organise a united campaign in defence of final salary pension schemes in both the private and public sector.” Full marks to the GMB for putting this on the Congress Agenda.

And for those who think it’s ok that the UNISON TUC delegation ignored a Conference decision because “it would open the floodgates to Conference deciding our submissions to the TUC” I suggest a quick search of the Conference database online, which will show that only one other motion passed at this year’s Conference even hinted at a TUC motion (not that our motion P52 on defending the NHS quite does the specific thing that Conference Motion 45 was almost asking for in any case).

Perhaps we should invite the GMB to the UNISON social event at the TUC as a sort of thankyou for implementing our policies when we forget to do so ourselves?

Alternatively, since the UNISON delegate who danced with the GMB General Secretary at last year's Entertainment Unions' party may not be in Liverpool for a repeat performance, perhaps I should offer my services? (Alterting the breakaway online faction of my fan club to bring their cameras of course...)

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