Monday, September 14, 2009

TUC UNISON delegation meeting

Yesterday morning UNISON's delegation spent a couple of happy hours agreeing our policy on the motions coming up at Congress, which starts in a few minutes.

As ever most motions are supported - and the delegation endorsed all the recommendations of Saturday's Policy Committee meeting. I was in a (sometimes small) minority opposing those recommendations on three motions.

These were Motion 7 from the Prison Officers Association which makes an audacious call for strike action against the anti-union laws, Motion 56 from the National Union of Teachers (which we are opposing largely I think because it calls for a national demonstration against unemployment and spending cuts ahead of the General Election) and Motion 84 from the Communication Workers Union on political representation.

That last debate was most interesting for what was not said. I argued that the crisis of representation of working people argued in favour of the CWU proposal for a trade union Conference to discuss political representation and for this to be organised across all trade unions. Although the majority were not swayed by this argument, no one contributed to claim that UNISON Labour Link are doing a grand job (as would have been said even a couple of years ago).

The question of political representation for our movement is posed very starkly now. The leadership of the big unions may duck the debate for one last year ahead of a General Election but we cannot go on avoiding the issue for ever.

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