Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday pm - Prentis

The public services not private profit fringe at lunchtime was hugely successful with over 160 people listening to Mick Shaw FBU, Jon Rogers UNISON, Gill George unite and John McDonnell MP - the fantastic Lango the convenor for the
fremantle workers was also on the platform and gave an inspirational speech on the devastating effects she and her members are suffering under fremantles attacks. Lango received a standing ovation, she, her colleagues and the work the barnet branch are doing are being spoken about all over the conference - they are an example for all of us.

This is what the psnpp campaign is about bringing all the trade unions together defending our public services and our public sector workers.

It remains a travesty that unison uses spurious excuses to not join in with this campaign but that does not stop unison activists engaging with the campaign as todays turn out showed.

(Pics to come later)
So back to conference.

National minimum wage motion -this was moved by Sarah Lewis of the greater london region, and supported by the retired members.
Jo cardwell gave another barnstorming speech and received the loudest applause of the conference so far - jo spoke about her work in the youth offending team and made the point that the age discrimination in the minimum wage is disgraceful. She also said that perhaps the government should bring in a maximum wage to stop the grotesque bonuses in the city whilst our members face a pay cut.

The motion carried

Dave Prentis's speech.
Dave welcomes new delegates and says this week is a week of reunions 17th

The unite secretaries Derek Simpson and Tony Woodly have buried the hatched, I spoke to Tony recently and said I'm sure your closer to Derek than you make out, but what would u do if u saw derek staggering down the street Tony said no problem dave I'd just reload.

Dave goes onto thank Norma our out going president and says she has been a great president and has done the union proud.

He then pays tribute to Jean Geldart who retires after 37 years service to our union.

He mentions lots of members who have won battles and campaigned and organised (but misses out fremantle?!?) And says it is these people that shape our unions success.

Workers of the world unite might be a dated phrase but with globalisation and multinational companies if we are to defend our members our international connections are vital. As are our strengths working with our unions in the UK, I spoke at the GMB conference last sunday.

The GMB and UNISON are sister unions -we might bicker but were grown up to recognise were stronger together.

He applauds the ofsted and meat hygiene strikers.
We will oppose any attempt to impose an unfair pay policy on them.

Msg to the Government abandon your pay policy its unjust its unfair.
If this gov continues it will pay the ultimate price.

If the gov is serious about tackling inflation tackle corporate greed, shell, the obscene city bonus's it is a disgrace when 10s of thousands of ps workers can't even afford homes.
1 in 6 million households living in poverty its immoral and a disgrace that members of parliament can claim more in expenses in a month than our workers can earn in a year.
We didn't elect a labour government to treat us this way.
Even though we have accepted a 3 year pay deal be in no doubt that there is no blank cheque if prices continue to spiral we will reopen the pay negotiations and if the gov refuse we will ballot for strike action and that's a promise.

Ads in all papers tomorrow to say vote yes in industrial action ballots in local government.

He then attacks the tories they haven't changed they're still attacking trade unions and the labour leadership to be honest doesn't look good.

Ministers have to be dragged into delivering party policies and when we finally make progress on agency workers were told that there has to be a moratorium on workers rights well we do not accept it.

We hear the same broken record inviting private companies into our health sector.
Is it any wonder that our members are saying , our labour gov needs to remember who its friend are.

Its not to late its time for our gov to listen, act and raise our people up or our people will bring gordon down.

2010 is just round the corner - we want labour candidates that stand up for our people. This union our union will organise the most powerful campaign to support public services uniting all public sector workers. (You could just join psnpp -mj)

Update at 4pm

Conference is getting through business quite well - which is good from the point of view of getting motions debated but can mean that important speeches do not get to be heard. In fact some delegates are concerned that supporters of the leadership are packing out speakers lists well in advance to try to limit debate.

Conference passed Motion 57 on Trade Union Rights. Bob Oram who moved the motion for the NEC failed to pick up on what the General Secretary had just said about how we should support only those MPs who support our policies - how will UNISON carry out the policy we have just agreed to continue "to strongly support the campaign for a Trade Union Freedom Bill"? In responding to a question from the South West Region, Bob more or less said that we would carry on as we are. But is that working?

Conference also agreed Motion 79 on Vulnerable Migrant Workers - this is very good but largely commits the Union to do what it is already doing and has already agreed to do in the past. This is a bit of a theme on the Conference agenda.

Composite A on Strategic Service Delivery Partnerships, moved by the South West Region has also been agreed, with an excellent and informative contribution from Somerset County on the work which they have been doing to respond to this latest form of privatisation.

Composite B on Home Care is also being agreed unanimously as I write. This calls upon the NEC to step up our campaign against privatisation but otherwise commits us to continue to do what is already being done.

Both these high priority composites imply strong criticism of the Government but Conference hasn't really heard those criticisms this afternoon...

Further update...

Chair of Policy, Jane Carolan, is moving Motion 49 on the Economy and is making clear criticisms of the Government over the abolition of the 10% tax rate at the same time as non-doms are asked to pay a pittance.

This is a good speech, contrasting the impact upon our members of rising food prices with John Hutton wanting to "celebrate" city bonuses.

The motion demands that the Government changes course. This is exactly what the LRC have been calling for.

Francis Prideaux moves the first amendment. This sensibly points out the range of UNISON policies which have been adopted by Labour Party Conference (and then ignored by the New Labour Government).

Francis explains how the Government could afford to implement UNISON - and Labour Party - policy - with progressive taxation and an end to expenditure on war.

The debate continues...

Mike Foster from Kirklees has just had an excellent response to having pointed out that UNISON should copy the GMB and withdraw support from MPs who don't back our Union's policies.

Adrian O'Malley from Wakefield Health is also now going down well, calling for an end to PFI.

These left wing speakers are striking a chord with Conference - will the NEC notice this?

Amendment 49.1 has been carried (well done Francis!) and John Appleton from Oxford Brookes is now moving Amendment 49.2, which he tells us was drafted by Ann Black - an elected member of the Labour Party NEC, attacking the Government over the 10% tax fiasco.

John says that our best and only chance is to lean on the Labour Government to do the right thing - he remembers campaigning in 1979 and knows how much worse the Tories can be.

Charlie from the Voluntary Organisations branch has come in to support this amendment. He is reminding Conference of how the Labour Government of the late 1970s - and the weak opposition of the trade unions - paved the way for Thatcher. We're told not to rock the boat but actually what we want is to mutiny :)

Amendment 49.2 has just passed so 49.3 falls and Conference is moving on to 49.4 from Somerset County which calls for an increase in Corporation Tax. Nigel moves the amendment in a snappy fashion - asking the NEC how they will campaign and what they will say if the Government say no...

Deputy General Secretary, Keith Sonnet is called in to answer...

Keith is having a go at the Government over the 10% tax fiasco. He doesn't get round to answering Nigel though..

at which point my laptop battery is failing :/ so more later if I can find somewhere to plug it in.

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