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GMB Congress to give Labour’s leaders a roasting over public sector pay freeze

It emerged today that no fewer than one quarter of the motions to the GMB Congress — eighty in all — relate to the political stance of the union. This comes after comments last month from general secretary Paul Kenny who warned that Labour support for real cuts in pay could have a “profound impact” on the union’s relationship with Labour — concerns that were repeated by the Union’s executive which was meeting today.  This number of political motions is unprecedented, reflects widespread concern by grassroots union members and will inevitably be one of if not the central issue for debate at the Congress. Labour’s leaders should expect robust criticism.

The Congress which consists of 400 delegates elected from branches and regions, and 200 ex-officio delegates meets in Brighton in early June. The closing date for the submission of motions from branches was 31 January, and they were reported to the Union’s 55-strong Central Executive Council today. The executive issued the following statement:

On public sector pensions the CEC recognized that for the three separate negotiations GMB are involved in, for local government, civil service and NHS, that each of these negotiations is at a different stage and that there is a lot more work to do to bring these negotiations to a conclusion.

The CEC agreed to give full support to the negotiating teams and agreed that GMB members, and no one from outside GMB, will make the final decisions when the negotiations are concluded and the final proposals are on the table.

The CEC noted that over a quarter of motions to GMB Congress from branches across the whole of the UK relate to the political stance of the union. The CEC determined that the union’s relations with the Labour Party and what GMB members expect and want from the Party will form a major plank in the debate at GMB Congress in Brighton in June.

The CEC expressed concern and disappointment with recent statements made by senior party officials and registered their growing frustration at the lack of a cohesive policy to protect working people from the ravages of the Tory led coalition government.

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