Unions need to be more involved in politics, says Frances O’Grady

Coverage of TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady’s speech to the Trade Union Congress in Bournemouth yesterday from our friends Union News.  For more coverage of the TUC, click on the links in the Union News sidebar on this website.

In her first TUC conference speech as general secretary, Frances O’Grady said unions were united in defending workers’ rights to a political voice. Politics has been controlled for too long by people with too much power.

In Bournemouth at the TUC, union leaders firm up against Ed Miliband’s proposals

TUC Congress 2013In Bournemouth for the TUC Congress, the leaders of the three biggest unions affiliated to the Labour Party yesterday firmed up their position against Ed Miliband’s proposals to ‘reform’ the Labour Party trade union link.

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of Unison which already has two sections of its political fund – one affiliated to Labour and the other not, nevertheless said: “although we are put forward as a shining example we will not change the way we do things even if there is a special conference that asks us to do it.”

Unison’s affiliated fund is not an “opt-in” fund of the sort Miliband wants since all the members of Unison’s affiliated predecessors (NUPE and COHSE) were placed in it at amalgamation and the contributions of those who fail to specify which fund they prefer but do not “opt out” altogether are allocated between the sections. Prentis is therefore taking, if anything, a harder line than Paul Kenny of the GMB which announced that it will cut its affiliation next year to the level it expects would result from requiring members to opt in, though this will not affect GMB votes or representation until 2015 and could be reversed anytime before the end of 2014. Continue reading

Save the NHS and join the march and rally 29 September!

Watch this great video by Unite which explains how the NHS was first established and the privatisation threat that it faces today and get ready to join the march and rally for the NHS on 29 September.

Then put this date in your diary!

Defend Jobs and Services. No to Austerity.

March and Rally – Sunday 29 September 2013

Supporters of the National Health Service and all those who want to defend jobs, services and a decent welfare state will be marching in Manchester to deliver a clear message to Conservative Party Conference that we mean to Save Our NHS from cuts and privatisation. Continue reading

The practicality of a general strike

Len McCluskey appeared to throw down the gauntlet at the Hyde Park rally following last Saturday’s march in London. He is reported in the Morning Star to have said: “When the horrific welfare cuts bite in April the situation will be even worse, but we should take heart from this demonstration because we represent millions and millions of people of ordinary people who want an alternative – let’s go for growth.Continue reading

The boos won’t help, but Ed is wrong, wrong, wrong on austerity

Standing twenty metres from Ed Miliband during his speech in Hyde Park on Saturday, the crowd around me clapped and cheered loudly, as I did, when he referred to “a Chancellor of the Exchequer who tries to travel first class on a standard class ticket“.

Again, louder still when he attacked the “incompetent, hopeless, u-turning, pledge-breaking, make it up as you go along, back of the envelope, miserable shower” of a government. But when he started talking about hard choices, the atmosphere changed. Continue reading