Monday, September 13, 2010

United in defence of public services

Congress has today united all unions (except the air line pilots) in support of a wide ranging Composite motion (Composite 10) in defence of public services.

The composite rebuts the ConDem case for cuts, emphasising that the Tory motive is ideological and that the Coalition has no mandate for cuts. It also highlights the alternative approach of collecting the £123 Billion in taxes evaded or uncollected each year.

In passing the Composite, Congress has called upon the General Council to "lead a co-ordinated campaign across the labour movement with other working class organisations and local communities for progressive means of ensuring and improving the public finances."

Specifically the Composite calls for;
* opposition to cuts and privatisation;
*fair pay, pensions and equality;
*campaigning, involving Trades Councils, including support for the ETUC action on 29 September;
* co-ordinating industrial action, nationally and locally;
* co-ordinating union recruitment;
* presenting a clear alternative to the cuts.

Dave Prentis moved the Composite, which was seconded by Gail Cartmail of UNITE and supported by speakers including Brian Strutton of the GMB, Mark Serwotka, Bob Crow, Matt Wrack and others. Kevin Courtenay of the NUT provided an eloquent and effective conclusion to the debate, aside from a weird intervention from BALPA.

The most important point about this composite is the unity of our intentions and aspirations. Within that unity however is a debate about tactics and timetables. The composite asks the General Council to "consider" convening a Convention in defence of public services, without setting a timetable. The General Council have committed to a national demonstration in March 2011.

As to when we shall step up our campaign, Brendan Barber said the TUC "stood ready" to co-ordinate action which Dave Prentis said would take place "when the call is there." Brian Strutton said the GMB would begin next month to prepare for national industrial action. Mark Serwotka said we should start now.

Activists at a local level need to use the fact that all our national unions (unless you're an airline pilot) have backed this Composite to step up the drive for unity in local anti-cuts campaigns. We also need to keep up, through our campaigning, the pressure on the General Council to step up national campaign activity.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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