Thursday, September 16, 2010

The end of Congress

Delegates are leaving Manchester after the last full annual Congress of the TUC, Congress having voted by 5 to 1 (that's 5 million to 1 million) in favour of the slimmed down Congress in London in 2011 and every other year thereafter.

Now wasn't IMHO the time to do this, but democracy has decreed that it shall be done. UNISON's 1.3 Million votes were cast with the General Council in accordance with the decision of our Policy Committee in July. This decision will not even be reported to the full NEC until October as a majority of my NEC colleagues have been happy that our NEC shall not meet between Conference and October.

The full TUC Congress will now be a biennial event, in spite of spirited opposition led by the NUT with PCS, RMT, FBU and NUJ. (Perhaps the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group (to which all those unions belong) will think of organising a one day Conference for union activists on the Thursday after next year's mini-Congress?)

The loss of a full annual Congress is not a good thing, but in terms of meaningful democracy and lay control at a critical time, the absence this year of the traditional July meeting of our NEC is an error which must not be repeated.

Overall this was a good Congress, with unity in opposition to the Government. Whilst this is a blog you read for carping criticism of the leadership of my own Union and the movement, it is worth recording the positive highlights of the week.

UNISON moved the most important Composite of the week, supported by every union except BALPA (who did of course once number Norman Tebbit in their ranks).

UNISON and PCS agreed an important joint statement about working together against the cuts which we can use locally to build opposition to the ConDems.

UNISON got positive media coverage for our defence of public services.

Whilst we might have wished for more and sooner in terms of the campaign against the Government, our task now as activists is to build the campaign for which Congress has called.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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