Trade Union Annual Congress: trade union congress. Sample containing about 13625 words speech recorded in business context

11 speakers recorded by respondent number C343

PS2FT X u (No name, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2FU X m (Alan, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2FV X m (Donald, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2FW X m (Dave, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2FX X m (Les, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2FY X m (Charlie, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2G0 X f (Steve, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2G1 X m (Sammy, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2G2 X m (Peter, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
HDTPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
HDTPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 100906 recorded on 1993-06-07. LocationHampshire: Portsmouth ( The Guildhall ) Activity: trade union congress speech

Undivided text

(PS2FT) [1] Good morning, hope you all enjo hope you all enjoyed the meeting last night and er just by way of a change today we've got er er resolutions and debates on the Labour Party ... and from one socialist party to another can I extend the warmest congratulations of the G M B Labour Party Conference to our comrades in Spain who've been successful in winning a fourth general election.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [2] All against the odds, they've come through.
[3] Congratulations to Phil Philippe Gonzalez.
[4] Er colleagues can I start the today's business by extending a very warm welcome indeed to Councillor Dr. Alan , leader of the City of Portsmouth council.
[5] Councillor was born in Carlisle, and he's lived in Portsmouth since nineteen sixty six.
[6] Attended three universities, Durham, Indiana and Southampton.
[7] Indiana, by the way, is not in Britain.
[8] He is currently the principal lecturer in Phys in er in Fac Faculty of Environmental Studies at Portsmouth Polytechnic, and in nineteen seventy nine he was appointed a Justice of the Peace.
[9] Councillor 's political background started in nineteen sixty two when he joined the Labour Party.
[10] He's been a candidate on six occasions in Portsmouth municipal elections, and in nineteen eighty six was elected to the Havelock ward.
[11] From eighty six to eighty nine he was planning spokesperson for Portsmouth City Council and in nineteen eighty nine he was a candidate for the Euro election fo for [...] and East Hants, coming second with fifty one thousand votes.
[12] In nineteen ninety, Councillor was re-elected for the Havelock ward, and in nineteen ninety nineteen ninety one he became leader of the opposition for Portsmouth City Council.
[13] Colleagues would you extend a very warm welcome to Alan .
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping] ...
Alan (PS2FU) [14] Erm, Chair, delegates thank you for the welcome and thank you for the invitation to speak to you.
[15] I think I've got five minutes which is probably more than some of you delegates have got so I'll keep it fairly short and sweet.
[16] I'm, we're very proud that the G M B has come to Portsmouth at last er and er that your flag is flying in the Guildhall square.
[17] Last week we had the Co-op Congress, and the week before that we had the Basque flag flying from socialist Spain because of our new links with Bilbao [...] the ferry service there.
[18] I asked my neighbour, er I'm not a member of the G M B unlike the deputy Lord Mayor who spoke to you yesterday
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [19] Give him a [...]
Alan (PS2FU) [20] [laughing] er [] [murmuring from the floor]
(PS2FT) [21] You can collect your application form on the way out
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Alan (PS2FU) [22] if, if, if I could, I would have been I assure you.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Alan (PS2FU) [23] Er, I'm a member of N A T F E, one of those funny educational unions.
[24] But erm, one of my neighbours works for A C A S and I asked him er, his opinion of the G M B, and he said good negotiators, hard negotiators, but very good at getting better conditions for their members and I think he, and certainly I knew before, that the G M B is one of the most progressive trade unions in this country and we're very pleased to have them in Portsmouth.
[25] Er, delegates, I think sometimes conferences are held in a bit of a vacuum, you know, here you are in, in the hall, in the Guildhall er outside in the City of Portsmouth so can I say just a few words about Portsmouth.
[26] It's a real place, in many ways, if you if you walk round the small terraced houses, certainly in the area that I represent in Southsea, it looks a bit like a northern city.
[27] Neat terraced houses, densely populated, it doesn't vote like a northern city unfortunately.
[28] Very dependent on defence, and I know some delegates here work in our local defence industries, or in the dockyard, always been attached to defence and vulnerable now because of defence cuts.
[29] We have a, an unemployment rate officially of twelve thousand, probably the real figure as you well know is up probably sixteen thousand in a city of less than two hundred thousand.
[30] We have some new industries, I B M for example, but I B M are shedding labour at a very fast rate, something like seven hundred people are going in the next year, so we have our problems in Portsmouth.
[31] Don't let anyone suggest that it's all flourishing on the south coast, not so.
[32] We have a Labour-led council, which I'm proud to be the leader.
[33] We have only fourteen Labour councillors out of thirty nine and you'll be wondering how we manage to lead the council.
[34] Well, rightly or wrongly we've come to arrangements with the Liberals, not because we like the Liberals, not because we wanted to, but we, we were fed up with be being in opposition to tell you the truth.
[35] Year after year, watching the Tories make a mess of it, so we we've done, we've come to this temporary arrangement, and it's worked I think.
[36] Most of the time, comrades as you well know, it's damage limitation.
[37] In local councils, in trade union movement it's damage limitation, it, it's stopping the worst of Tory legislation and policies, in particular C C Ts.
[38] I'm proud that in the last two years under my administration we have not had one compulsory redundancy, and it's not easy I can assure you.
[39] We've had to make a million pounds savings this last year.
[40] We've got our ferry port, very proud of our municipally owned ferry port, I hope some of you will use it, or if you haven't done so already.
[41] A huge success, the government have said next year we can only borrow one million pounds to invest.
[42] Nowhere near enough, they're trying to get us to sell it off by the back door and we will resist that.
[43] A lot of employment there, and important to the local economy and we've managed to take some important initiatives in terms of helping the pensioners in the city, crime prevention, and other issues, so we think we've done a reasonable job.
[44] At the moment we're also trying to move our football club er rather a difficult exercise, you can imagine.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Alan (PS2FU) [45] Anyone from Leicester here?
[46] Where are the Midlands?
[47] ... I think I'll erm pass on er issues relating to the Labour Party leadership and er Labour trade union links.
[48] I, I've got my views, I'm sure you've got yours, and I shall listen later in the morning to the debate, but I would finally say delegates, that I hope you enjoy your stay in Portsmouth, in particular Southsea where most of you are staying ... if you have a chance go to the rose gardens, have a walk along the sea front there, there it's magnificent this time of year and a tribute to our staff in our direct works organization for their hard work.
[49] The heritage area also, I'm sure Jim said to us yesterday, is well worth a visit if you have the time, to see the Mary Rose and the Victory, and we have a very good selection of Indian restaurants, I recommend the Kashmir in
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Alan (PS2FU) [50] Anyway, welcome to Portsmouth, we're delighted to have you here, and we hope you come again.
[51] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [52] Colleagues, to mark the occasion, I'd like to present on your behalf er a copy of John 's Barrow Bright, and also a suitably inscribed tankard to Alan.
[53] Thank you very much.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [54] Thanks very much Alan, before we move on to the agenda colleagues, er could I announce that the collection yesterday for the Burnstall strikers realized a magnificent sum of five hundred and forty-nine pounds.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [55] and could I extend a very warm welcome colleagues on your behalf to a representative of one of the German trade unions I G [...] which our union is working very closely with in the chemical industry throughout Eur Europe.
[56] Reinhart
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [57] welcome.
[58] Right colleagues if you would turn to the General Secretary's report, on page, page one hundred and eighty, and we'll go through the pages from one eighty two to two six nine, one eighty, one eight one, one eight two, one eight three, one eight four, one eight five, one eight six, one eight seven, one eight eight, one eight nine, one nine O, one nine one, one nine two, one nine three, one nine four, one nine five, one nine six, one nine seven, one nine eight, one nine nine, two hundred, two O one, two O two, two O three, two O four, two O five, two O six, two O seven, two O eight, two O nine, two one O, two eleven, two twelve, two thirteen, two fourteen, two fifteen, two sixteen, two seventeen, two eighteen, two nineteen, two two O, two two one, two two two, two two three, two two four, two two five, two two six, two two seven, two two eight, two two nine, two three O, two three one, two three two, two three three, two three four, two three five, two three six, two three seven, two three eight, two three nine, two four O, two four one, two four two, two four three, two four four, two four five, two four six, somebody get me a drink!
[59] [clapping] Two four seven, two four eight, two four nine, two five O, two five one, two five two, two five three, two five four, two five five, two five six, two five seven, two five eight, two five nine, two six O, two six one, two six two, two six three, two six four, two six five, two six six, two six seven, two six eight, two six nine, applaud!
[60] Thank you very much
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [61] Colleagues, I now call the Section Secretary's report, Donald , to ask to give his report.
[62] Donald. ...
Donald (PS2FV) [63] Donald , National Secretary.
[64] President, delegates, the events of last October, and the coal crisis, dramatically showed at once the strength and the weakness of the trade union movement today.
[65] Our strengths are obvious, that of compassion, support and feeling for our people when in trouble.
[66] The higher feelings of human nature, of concern for another human being.
[67] The basic qualities that come from our socialist tradition.
[68] It was these strengths that brought thousands upon thousands of people flocking to the banners on that wonderful wet Sunday in Hyde Park.
[69] Many, not all, but many were trade unionists who instinctively sympathized with the plight of the miners.
[70] That sense of right and wrong, preventing those in power walking all over those weaker than themselves.
[71] A memorable and a proud day.
[72] But we also remember how that wasn't sustained, and the cynical political fix of the Tories a few months later, that for the moment has coped with the government's political crisis, and temporarily has bought a little time for a few pits.
[73] It's done nothing to tackle the short-term nature of the market in energy.
[74] It's done nothing to tackle the desperate need for a balanced energy policy that looks at the long-term needs of the country.
[75] That problem won't go away.
[76] The coal crisis exposed vividly the type of market in energy the Tories had introduced through electricity privatization.
[77] This is no natural market, it's a market that scandalously encourages the burning of scarce resources of natural gas, for the production of base load electricity.
[78] It's a market that despite our rich coal reserves, is fixed in such a way that it ensures that before the end of the century, will be a net importer of energy.
[79] How ridiculous, and all because a politically created market is rigged against coal.
[80] It's a market as well that's created a few monsters of its own.
[81] It's created companies that are more concerned with their future international profits as global energy companies, than in expanding their home base.
[82] It's created senior executives in water, gas and electricity, who have made a killing through massive pay rises, but they pall into insignificance, when you look at the scandal of the share allocations and what's been going on there.
[83] In the water companies alone, if you, there are thousands and thousands and thousands of pounds have been made by one or two people, as directors or chief executives of these companies.
[84] Severn Trent which held the record for disconnections last year, the chief executive, Roderick sold one hundred and thirty seven thousand shares at four hundred and eighty eight P under a share options scheme, and that was after buying them the same day, for two hundred and sixty two P.
[85] It's one of the quirks of the system, one of the little perks of the job, that he has therefore been able to make erm a rather quick killing of three hundred and ten thousand five hundred and thirty five pounds.
[86] John who was in actual fact the chairman of the company when it was a public service, he in actual fact made a killing of a quarter of a million.
[87] Northumberland, Northumbria Water, the chief executive, David , netted one hundred and fifty nine thousand and the former manage managing director, Robert a hundred and eighty six thousand.
[88] All from little deals that pass away quite quietly unless we can bring it to the attention of the public.
[89] We know a bit more about their massive pay increases, but not so much is known about the beautiful profits, about the wonderful conditions that they've allocated to themselves.
[90] It's a scandal, and it's got to be stopped ... It's these same senior directors of these same utility companies who are lecturing our members about the problems facing their industries.
[91] The problems facing their industries and the need for them to show restraint.
[92] It's our members who've the problems to face in these industries.
[93] The fragmentation of water and electricity industries, further privatization of water and electricity in Northern Ireland and water in Scotland, market testing in the National Rivers Authority, changes in British Gas with four reports to come from the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in July.
[94] The government review of the nuclear industry, brought forward to ninety three.
[95] Privatization in nuclear and atomic energy industries on the agenda.
[96] It's our members in these industries who've been given a hammering since privatization and who need as much support as possible to give them the confidence to face further difficult years ahead.
[97] Far from being lectured by those who're making millions out of privatization.
[98] We must take heart from our experience in Hyde Park, we must nurture that support and build up the confidence of our members.
[99] It will take time, I've detected, as I'm sure you have too delegates, a feeling of confidence in our debates so far at this conference, a confidence that hasn't been there recently.
[100] It's our job to transfer that confidence from the conference hall to the workplace.
[101] It won't be easy, but we must take the first steps now.
[102] Leading and promoting the debate on energy policy that the government wants to stifle, that presents us with just such an opportunity, if we don't begin to take the fight to the enemy the future is clear.
[103] More of the same, more privatization, more fragmentation, more job losses, and more demoralization with our membership.
[104] The debate on energy policy is a vital one, and one which the G M B as the only union with a sizable membership in all of the industries concerned, is well placed to lead.
[105] It will be a debate, an argument and a fight we must win.
[106] Not just for our members in the coal industry and their communities, not just for our members in the coal-fired power stations, not just for all of the rest of our membership whose industries depend on a secure supply of cheap energy, but for our children and the generations to come after us, whose very prosperity will depend heavily on our success in that campaign.
[107] The fight back begins now, I commend my report.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [108] Here, here.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [...]
(PS2FT) [109] Thanks very much indeed, Donald, page seventy six, seventy seven, seventy eight,
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [110] Yes ...
(PS2FT) [111] okay colleague, come and wait at the front, alright.
Dave (PS2FW) [112] Er Dave , London region.
[113] Just a question for Donald and just er an observation on our negotiation pay conditions from last year, the V I S council and the minimum acceptable performance levels.
[114] Many of us in the industry feel that British Gas have broken the agreement by altering er the review dates, now put on a three monthly basis rather than a six monthly.
[115] Some of our members have lost their consolidated rate and it's now become a bit of a running sore on the pay negotiations from last year, it needs to be sorted out, if confidence is to remain in last year's pay, pay deal. ...
Les (PS2FX) [116] President, congress, Les , Midlands and East Coast region.
[117] Very pleased to hear Donald, er, make comments on the rig rigged market er energy market.
[118] It's quite clear that Heseltine and co will not implement the committee's findings.
[119] In the East Midlands region, National Power applied to build a gas-fired power station, all the regional authorities rejected the planning application.
[120] They went ahead and applied to Hesel Heseltine, who agreed to let them build the power station.
[121] Building of this not only closes the thirty one pits but also threatens four further pits in the Notts area.
[122] Not only does it close four more pits but it threatens five power stations in the area.
[123] Five power stations with fifteen hundred jobs, mostly G M B members.
[124] Blatant disregard to the committee's reports and also public opinion.
[125] British Coal paid out less in ninety one ninety two, four hundred and ninety two million pound in wages alone.
[126] This has been taken out of the local economy in Notts.
[127] Thanks.
(PS2FT) [128] Seventy nine, eighty, and eighty one.
[129] Donald.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Donald (PS2FV) [130] Er, first of all on the comment from Dave in relation to British Gas and the minimum achieved performance level or M A P L er the initials that I've come to er know and love over the past few months, never having heard of them before.
[131] Erm, I couldn't agree more, er with er what Dave was saying, erm that er the whole operation of that bonus scheme needs to be thoroughly examined with British Gas.
[132] I have informally intimated to British Gas that we'll be taking it up with them, not as a mere procedural matter through the joint secretary's machinery, but as a negotiating matter, with the negotiating committee.
[133] There are a number of inconsistencies in that scheme, not least British Gas' delightful decision to interpret the er scheme in a way which they hadn't interpreted six months ago.
[134] I'll be delighted to hear from British Gas as to how they can actually turn round and change a national agreement without having any formal discussions with the trade union side at any time at all.
[135] So it's absolutely essential that we do go forward formally and take up all the issues in relation to the minimum achieved performance levels and the scheme arising from the consolidation of the effects of last year's pay settlement, but as er most of the delegates from British Gas will know, I've been er ensuring that we first of all get all of the reports in from the regional joint indu regional joint trade union secretaries to ensure that we have as much information for once as British Gas has, about what's going on within the company, and secondly we've had er full debates on the trade union side to ensure we were well aware of just exactly what our recollections were of what happened last year and to ensure we're going forward in a clear and a positive way.
[136] So I couldn't agree more, and that will be taken up in the fairly near future, following the information that I've been gathering in the various meetings that I've been having round the country on this.
[137] I had a most interesting meeting in Scotland with all of our lay delegates there, erm on Friday and some of you within British Gas will know that in Scotland they've even more problems with the M A P L than any of the other regions because they were operating a different system to start with in the first place.
[138] So we've major problems and they need to be taken up.
[139] You're quite right.
[140] Les on the rigged markets, and I think this go goes to the heart of the problem in relation to the difficulties that we have in relation to coal, the problems in relation to pits, and everything in relation to the whole campaign and what we need to campaign in relation to erm er energy policy and this is absolutely crucial not only for our members within the Energy and Utility Section but for our membership and for their families throughout er throughout the country.
[141] It's absolutely essential that there, we make the government recognize that the debate on energy policy is not going to go away.
[142] They want to stifle it well and truly.
[143] There was a problem during the er evidence to the various committees that were looking at the coal crisis and the problems in relation to coal, in that very often people were translating it into tonnage and the number of pits etcetera, whereas the argument needed to be that the rules of the game had been rigged in the first place at the privatization of electricity and the rules of the game need to be changed if we're gonna succeed.
[144] And that must be the way we go ahead.
[145] I give you this pledge on behalf of the
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Donald (PS2FV) [146] membership within the Energy and Utilities Section, erm, who recently debated this issue at their conference, that we will pursue the question of er the policy in relation to energy policy.
[147] We will pursue it vigorously, and we will campaign to get changed the basic rules which ensure that a country which is rich in coal resources ensures that it makes the most of the use of these coal resources, and changes the rules automatically excluding coal from being used from sensible base burning for electricity laws.
[148] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [149] Right, colleagues, we're now going to the Energy and Utilities debate and er I'd like to propose that we do it in the following fashion.
[150] We'll take composite fifteen, erm motion three O eight, motion three O nine, composite sixteen, and composite seventeen.
[151] Now, the C E C have got various different positions on, on all these motions, so I'll then call John to put the C E C position on those motions at the end of the debate.
[152] So composite fifteen, energy policy to be moved by Southern region, Midlands region to second and again colleagues if supporting speakers could come down the, the front I'd be very much obliged. ...
Charlie (PS2FY) [153] Thank you Chair, Charlie , Southern region, moving composite fifteen, energy policy.
[154] Delegates, some years ago I attended an international energy conference in Geneva.
[155] At this conference one of the African delegates described energy as the lifeblood of the nation, but the problem that he had, coming from Africa, was that the country he lived in, they had no coal, they had no oil, they had no gas and they didn't have the technology for nuclear.
[156] Yet here in the U K we actually have every one of these.
[157] It is important that er we actually develop these for the use of the nation.
[158] We have coal which we're leaving now under the ground or we're stockpiling it.
[159] We have oil in the North Sea which we are just wasting, we have gas which we get from the North Sea which we don't quite know what to do with it.
[160] It used to be regarded as a premium fuel for domestic and commercial use, now we just send it up the chimneys of power stations.
[161] And we have the technology for nuclear power, yet again we don't know what to do with it, we haven't developed it, we've just left it and we're creating nuclear power stations and we still haven't even decided what to do with the waste.
[162] And we've got technology there that we could perhaps use and export but we just leave it alone.
[163] We also have technology on renewables, this country is one of the most advanced, technologically advanced in renewables in the generation of electricity yet we don't put money into investment and resources of it.
[164] What do we have?
[165] We have a policy called market forces.
[166] This leaves coal in the ground, it burns power in power stations to generate, to generate electricity from gas, waste of a premium fuel.
[167] No good, has anybody heard about this magic word conservation lately?
[168] Since we've privatized all the power generators and the British Gas nobody even talks about conservation any more.
[169] It's burn as much as you can, use as much as you can.
[170] Now I'd like to just turn to British Gas where I'm employed.
[171] British Gas since privatization, and I think rightly so, and understandably, has had a defence policy against this government, and that defence policy is to turn itself into a multi-national energy supplier.
[172] It's been quite successful at that, but British Gas within two years, will be no different to Shell, B P or Esso.
[173] British Gas is subject, as Donald said, to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report.
[174] That is due out in July.
[175] They have a defence mechanism for that, and their preferred option at the moment is to divide British Gas into seven companies, and let one of those companies supply gas in the U K, and I think they're ready to abandon it.
[176] If they can't get sufficient profit out of supplying gas in the U K I think British Gas is on the verge of withdrawing from the gas market in the U K, and that a lot of jobs in this country and I think we ought to be aware of that and I think we ought to be campaigning to make sure that doesn't happen.
[177] For British Gas, its defence policy is its share price and its shareholders, not its workers, not gas supply in the U K.
[178] Who's gonna be responsible for safety once we allow the private market to dominate?
[179] We have a regulator that all he's interested in is in fact doing Michael Heseltine's work for him.
[180] ... The previous nationalized energy companies, that was gas, it was electricity, it also covered the water companies as well, were good employers, not only good at employment they were good at their jobs.
[181] The they gave good employment, stability of employment, good personal pension schemes, good career progression schemes, they put a lot of money in research and development, security of supply was the key issue for the customer, they put a lot of money into conservation, energy development, and of course, one other thing that they did that this government doesn't like, they actually recognize trade unions, and had trade unions represent the members who work there.
[182] Well, none of these unfortunately equate with the free market.
[183] The free market is where it's all going.
[184] Yet in energy terms the U K is the best po placed country in the whole of Europe.
[185] It has oil, it has gas, it has coal.
[186] What it doesn't have is a proper energy policy.
[187] Now I think it's up to the G M B to push this debate out, and we should say energy is the lifeblood of the U K, not the lifeblood of the speculators in the City of London, or the Tory Party, it's the lifeblood of the people in this hall, and the people outside, and I think we should support a proper balanced energy policy for the U K.
[188] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Steve (PS2G0) [189] President, Congress, Steve , Midlands and East Coast, seconding composite motion fifteen, energy policy.
[190] Energy policy colleagues, in the U K, is non-existent.
[191] The philoscity philosophy doesn't exist within this Tory government that would allow an eler energy policy to be framed.
[192] I'll tell you what does exist though, piecemeal short-termism.
[193] Quick political fixes in the name of free market philosophy.
[194] Doesn't protect people's jobs, doesn't protect the consumer, short-termism that doesn't seek to safeguard our vital natural resources for future generations.
[195] Quick political fixes that have a complete disregard for the environment.
[196] The efficient use and planning in a coherent, coordinated and balanced way of all our energy resources is essential in the long-term, to safeguard in the long-term, the energy needs of our nation for ourselves and our children.
[197] We have the resources but we import coal.
[198] Columbian coal, mined by women and children, we have the resources, but we import electricity via an undersea cable from France.
[199] We have the resources, but we import gas, and I'm a gas lad as well, and I find that situation farcical.
[200] Colleagues, let's end this situation, let the G M B, as the motion states, be in the fore forefront of pursuing an equitable, balanced energy policy to serve this nation now and in the future.
[201] Congress, I second.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [202] Motion three O eight, Scotland to move. ...
Sammy (PS2G1) [203] Sammy , Scottish region.
[204] What the, President and colleagues ... as well as presenting himself as a great European leader, a demand which is not seen as be particularly, although at the moment, John Major and his government have sought to present themselves as green.
[205] Well, if they're green, all I can say about us, that we must be cabbage-looking.
[206] One of the agreements which our government signed at Rio, was for the setting up of a sustainability plan for a British economy, yet ever since the end of that conference, these proposals have been getting successfully watered down and deleted.
[207] We need to demand that Major keeps his promise, Britain is already, our willingness to go lightly on transgressors in the pollution field, is becoming legendary.
[208] Does it have to take another oil disaster like the Braer tanker, before Britain acts?
[209] Already, we're miles behind with catching up with standards which are accepted elsewhere.
[210] The labour movement has a role to play here, we need to start building bridges with the ecological movement, Friends of the Earth, and others for a strategy for jobs, for the economy which will tackle unemployment.
[211] But not at the expense of the environment and the living conditions of this and future generations.
[212] I move [...]
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [213] The seconder for three O eight ... seconder for three O eight.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [...]
(PS2FT) [214] Formally seconded, thanks very much, motion three O nine, G M B Scotland to move. ...
Peter (PS2G2) [215] Chair, congress, Peter , G M B Scotland, water privatization.
[216] The issue of water and the ownership of water in Scotland is a very emotive issue.
[217] It's an issue which has totally united every aspect of the Scottish community.
[218] I don't have to preach or tell our colleagues in England and Wales the effects water privatization's had on them since nineteen eighty nine, they can see it for themselves every day.
[219] [...] and workers made redundant since nineteen eighty nine, huge rises in water charges and the disconnection of water supplies to ordinary people and their families who cannot meet the new high charges for water.
[220] It's disgraceful, colleagues, in the later half of the twentieth century in John Major's Britain we have private companies disconnecting the water supply to people, a basic necessity of life itself.
[221] Ian Laing in his consultation paper, Investing for our future for Water and Trade Services in Scotland, set out eight options for consideration.
[222] The people of Scotland considered these eight options and duly replied with ninety percent of the rep replies including Tory councillors, and Tor Tor and some Tory, Tory-run councils, totally rejecting any form of water privatization in Scotland.
[223] But just show Mr Laing that he's not the only one that can [...] Strathclyde water engaged Sir William , in , not exactly a name that friendly with labour councils or trade unionists, to undertake a brief external overview of its strat strategy procedure in capital expenditure programme at a meeting on the twenty third of March.
[224] The overview was focused within the documents securing the future, Strathclyde's regional council's er response to the consul date consultation document Investing for the Future.
[225] The findings indicated there was probably no major savings in efficiency to be made which would produce a commercial charge more than the present public authority cost.
[226] In addition, which previously act previously acted on behalf of private water companies in England and Wales said Strathclyde was providing an appropriate service, with an affordable price which was responsive to local needs.
[227] The fact that highly respected consultants verify our conclusions further strengthens an already watertight case against removing the water service from public control.
[228] Therefore, we should urge our union and the er sponsored MPs in Parliament to oppose any form of water privatization in Scotland whatsoever, and to campaign for a turn, a return to the water services in England and Wales under properly controlled public authority.
[229] I move.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [230] The seconder for three O nine.
[231] ... Formally seconded?
[232] Thanks very much.
[233] Composite sixteen, Public Utilities, Lancashire region to move, Southern region to second. ...
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [234] Samantha , Lancashire region.
[235] Congress, President, public utilities, the name says it all.
[236] Essential public utilities for every single member of the public.
[237] Things people need for a basic quality of life.
[238] Privatization, high prices, disconnections.
[239] People calling round from next door for a bucket of water, the elderly and sick dying of hypothermia, or unable to light the house after dark, that's what Sid, and all the others who bought shares in the various sell-offs have a share in.
[240] Closing pits, the dash for gas, that's what privatization results in, the quick buck, buddy can you spare a pound for the water meter, VAT on fuel, how many more will die?
[241] You lose your job, you're at home all day, you heat the house to stay warm, get cut off because you fall behind with the bill.
[242] You want to get connected, the meter is fixed, so it's stay warm, don't eat.
[243] That's Britain today.
[244] Radical change is needed.
[245] We have to end private monopolies.
[246] Democratize utilities, involving con consumers, trade unions and the government.
[247] Privatization has failed Britain.
[248] We need to place these utilities under the control of the public.
[249] Rationalization is the best way to ensure that nobody dies because they cannot afford to use the basic services.
[250] Nationalization of all the utilities at the earliest opportunity, that is the task of the next Labour government, a basic quality of life for all, that is the meaning of clause four, so tell Sid, no VAT on fuel.
[251] Congress, I move.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [252] President, congress, Denny , Southern region.
[253] I'm here to second this composite, number sixteen, as regards public ownership of utilities.
[254] I believe that nationalization has become a dirty word in this country over many a year.
[255] I think it's about time we actually put that word back into the dictionary and made it a good word to have.
[256] The government over the past year has mugged the people of this country by privatizing all the public utilities we have.
[257] They are now increasing all the charges across those utilities.
[258] They are about to re-mug yet again by breaking up British Gas and I'm sure they'll break up every other utility they can.
[259] They're after making money.
[260] They're not after looking after consumers or the workforce, this trade union should start considering how to go about re-nationalizing the public utility energy companies within this country.
[261] For number one, they could start considering doing away with the regulator, and having an elected body to do regulating over the utilities.
[262] Yes, it is gonna be a long-term project, yes, the money isn't there to actually just go out and re-nationalize them, but by regulation approved elected bodies also with trade union members on them elected bodies then I'm sure we can start looking after the public and not the financiers and the accountants.
[263] I second.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [264] Composite seventeen, Lancashire region to move, London region to second. ...
Alan (PS2FU) [265] President, congress, Dave , Lancashire region.
[266] I tried to write a speech last year and I made a right mess of it, so this year I'm gonna speak from the heart, because I might get a boo like the leader of the council here, I install water meters.
[267] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Alan (PS2FU) [268] Erm, when I was a kid, I asked me dad what politics were about and he said, well Tories are for the rich and Labour's for the poor.
[269] The only thing the Tories can't tax is fresh air.
[270] Well, water meters proved that wrong, because what happens is, Billy is over there laughing at me, if you put a water meter in, to get that water back in the main what does it need?
[271] It needs to push all the air out of the water main.
[272] Where does that air go?
[273] Through the water meter.
[274] You weigh that all up, how much it's gonna cost over the years, you're paying for fresh air on water meters.
[275] Tories have done it again.
[276] On T V last week there was a programme, tuberculosis has come back into Britain, said it was the Asians bringing it back.
[277] It's not.
[278] People are frightened of using their taps, their baths, their toilets because of using water and paying for it.
[279] I pay through my wages, twenty P a week for something they call Water Aid.
[280] This sends money to the Third World.
[281] This money pays for villages and towns in Africa, Asia to have clean, portable water.
[282] They did an experiment, there was a, a tribe in Africa, I'm not being racist, they did, this tribe lived six mile from the nearest river.
[283] Every morning the full tribe got the pots, pans and went down to the river, washed, got the clean water, carried back and they lived well.
[284] Water Aid came in, don't do that, and installed a pipeline.
[285] They installed a six mile pipeline and put standpipes in the centre of the village.
[286] What happened?
[287] People started washing, using as a toilet clean water, they all got dysentery, malaria, diphtheria.
[288] They wiped out a village.
[289] Now that is what's gonna happen in this country.
[290] We have got good medical facilities, but as you just heard Samantha just saying, they're destroying that as well, the only people who wanted water meters, is when houses were on ratable value and they were paying two hundred thousand pound for a house at large rates [clears throat] and the water rates was the same house.
[291] So what they did, they said can we install a water meter, the water company said yes.
[292] There you go.
[293] Now they don't do that.
[294] Who just said they turn all the Leicester is it, they turn the water supplies off, Severn Trent sorry, Mr, Mr .
[295] They turn the water off, and then when they say do you want the water back on you can have a meter, but they don't tell you, you pay thirty five pound a quarter for the meter, and that's without a bit of water going through it.
[296] So right, you get the water meter in, you then start paying for the water, you get a bill between hundred and seventy to two hundred quid a year.
[297] And this is for a terraced houses that used pay thirty five to forty pound a year.
[298] Now as I say I install water meters because it's me job.
[299] I went into the water industry at seventeen years, and I've still not figured out how to do these new ones and make them go backwards I can do the other ones.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping] [clapping]
Alan (PS2FU) [300] But on a serious note, if we go along this line of the one thing, [...] to me then, of getting what we need, we have gas, we have electric, the one thing we do need, nobody could survive without, is water, Congress I ask you to support this m this motion.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping] ...
Donald (PS2FV) [301] President, er, Congress, David , London region, I speak in support of composite seventeen.
[302] Erm, just a word about the previous speaker, I'm also involved with water meters and if he wants to know how to, how to make them go backwards, if he can speak to me afterwards I don't have [...] .
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [303] [clapping] , [clapping]
Donald (PS2FV) [304] Domestic water metering should not be imposed because the likely effects will be increased and excessive charges.
[305] This will result in self-regulation of the use of water to the point where the health of the individual, the family and the public at large, will suffer.
[306] Availability of water and freedom of its use should not be governed by the size of one's wallet.
[307] I should also, erm, it should also be remembered that those with special health needs, may require to use more water.
[308] Why should they be financially penalized because they happen to be sick or disabled?
[309] The effect of metering will hit the poor and the disadvantaged.
[310] Perhaps the water companies, before embarking on a policy of compulsory metering, should put their own house in order first.
[311] I refer to the estimated twenty five percent of all water pumped that leaks away in broken mains.
[312] No amount of metering resulting in self-regulation by the sick and disabled
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [313] And the poor
Donald (PS2FV) [314] and the poor, will solve the problem of loss from worn out mains.
[315] I therefore urge you to support composite seventeen, to protect the life and welfare of all of us.
[316] I second the composite.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping] ...
(PS2FT) [317] Conference I now call the C E C speaker to put the C E C position on the various different motions.
[318] John by the way has recently been elected President of our Energy and Utilities section.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Dave (PS2FW) [319] John , Midlands and East Coast region, speaking on behalf of the C E C.
[320] President, Congress, the C E C is asking you to support composite fifteen, support composite sixteen, with a qualification, and also to support composite seventeen.
[321] In addition, we are asking that motion three zero eight be referred and that you support motion three zero nine.
[322] The Tories have failed miserably to develop a cohe coherent energy policy for the needs of Britain.
[323] Beyond short-term market forces this has backfired b badly upon them.
[324] The decision to close thirty one of our pits, was er, erm, I was gonna say a major error, I should maybe rephrase that to a Heseltine error.
[325] The President of the D T I chose to ignore what I thought was an excellent report from the special committee, which was headed by Dick .
[326] A fiver a ton subsidy Tarzan recommended, and we heard yesterday where he was getting the fiver a ton from, the miners' pension fund.
[327] Utterly disgraceful.
[328] The fiver a ton was never enough anyway.
[329] I can give you an example.
[330] At our first Energy and Utility Sectional Conference, we had the Chief ex Executive of National Power as a guest speaker.
[331] After the conference in conversation with the section secretary and myself, he stated that the fiver subsidy was a joke.
[332] National Power were buying coal from Australia for half the price of the subsidized figure.
[333] British Coal was charging forty one pound a ton to National Power.
[334] With the fiver subsidy got it to thirty six pound a ton.
[335] They can ship it, National Power can ship it half way across the world and get it for eighteen pound a ton.
[336] Totally immoral.
[337] The increased use of gas to produce elect electricity will result in faster exhaustion of our resources while the subsequent closure of the mines will deny us access to hundreds of years of our richest and greatest energy reserves.
[338] Britain needs a balanced energy policy, which ensures that our varied and rich reserves are utilized in the most efficient way.
[339] The qualification with respect to comp sixteen is that congress needs to be aware that a future Labour government will have to decide between many competing priorities.
[340] The Tories are also attacking our Health Service, our children's education, and are failing to invest in the training and research necessary to produce substantial economic recovery.
[341] A Labour government, with the trade unions with them, using a progressive agenda, will clearly have to prioritize the demands that will be made upon it.
[342] With regard to comp seventeen.
[343] Compulsory water met metering will impact most heavily on the poor, the sick and the elderly.
[344] Suggestions of water shortages are not acceptable.
[345] The U K is the wettest country in Europe and water companies should be forced to cut leakages from corrode corroded pipelines which allow up to twenty five percent loss from the water supply before it reaches the consumer.
[346] Metered water costs ten percent per year more than non-metered water.
[347] Where a household seeks to cut back on the use of water, it will be at the risk of hygiene, fewer baths, toilets left unflushed, and less washing of clothes and dishes.
[348] Ask the people across the water on the Isle of Wight what they think of metered water, a resounding thumbs, thumbs down I can assure you of that.
[349] The C E C is asking that motion three O eight be referred.
[350] While well argued, the motion if agreed, would threatened thousands of G G M B members' jobs in power generation.
[351] We believe that power stations should be fitted with clean coal technology and that energy taxes should be based upon emissions rather than the use of a particular fuel.
[352] To summarize colleagues, the C E C ask you to support composite fifteen, sixteen with a qualification outlined, and seventeen.
[353] We ask for three O eight to be referred or opposed if it is not and that you support motion three O nine as it's in line with current policy.
[354] Thank you very much.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [355] Thanks John.
[356] Colleagues, I propose to take the vote, composite fifteen is being accepted, all those in favour?
[357] ... Against?
[358] ... That's carried.
[359] Reference is being sought on motion three O eight, does Scotland agree to reference?
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [360] Agreed
(PS2FT) [361] Conference accept that?
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [362] Yeah
(PS2FT) [363] Thanks very much indeed.
[364] Three O nine has been accepted, all those in favour?
[365] ... Against?
[366] That's carried.
[367] Composite motion sixteen, has been accepted, all those in favour?
[368] ... Against?
[369] That's carried.
[370] Composite seventeen, has been accepted, all those in favour?
[371] ... Against?
[372] That's carried.
[373] Thank you very much colleagues.
[374] Erm, could I, probably timely colleagues, could I advise you that you can replenish your water jugs at the entrance on my right.
[375] ... Colleagues it's now my pleasure to call upon the deputy General Secretary, Tom to move his section of the report and to address conference.
[376] Tom .
Les (PS2FX) [377] Tom moving the deputy General Secretary's report.
[378] Colleagues, er since we meet in Portsmouth, let me begin by pinning my colours firmly to the mast and acknowledging that the one issue that will dominate my comments here this morning, alluding to anything else in the time that's allocated to me, in moving my report I think would simply not reflect my activities on your behalf over the last twelve months.
[379] Five years ago, you nominated me for the National Executive of the Labour Party.
[380] I was elected.
[381] Twelve months ago you nominated as Treasurer of the Labour Party.
[382] I was elected.
[383] Armed with your support I look forward to my first year in that position, to sorting the Party's problems.
[384] Maybe introducing a touch of that pragmatic responsible approach to financial control which has been a feature of this Union's development over the years.
[385] I look forward to tackling the Party membership system, I wanted to make some of the sound admin system and modern communication methods which allow this Union to send each new member a new membership card, were introduced to Walworth Road.
[386] Above all, I look forward as the new Labour Party Treasurer to bringing the party membership fee down from the dizzy heights of eighteen pounds to the level which we in the trades unions know ordinary people can afford.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [387] That's true
Les (PS2FX) [388] Well, we've made some progress in some areas, but not as much as I would've liked, although I intend to keep working at it.
[389] We could have been a lot more down the road to genuinely modernizing the Labour Party, making it a bit more in tune with our own members and those many thousands who should be members of the Labour Party.
[390] But of course, the modernizers have got their eye on a bit of the Party operation in need of their attention.
[391] Another cause waiting for a champion.
[392] So for the past year, I've sat on the Labour Party Trade Union Review Group, a working party set up in the heat of an election defeat, to defuse a potentially damaging row about the strange phenomenon in the party of Labour.
[393] The desirability of the link between the Labour Party and the trade union.
[394] Well, we didn't do too well did we?
[395] Even twelve months ago, the issue was the political flavour of the month, of real concern and anxiety only to a half, a handful of parliamentarians and a bar full of lobby correspondents.
[396] Now, it's the biggest issue in the movement.
[397] It's overshadowing the proceedings of this conference and other union conferences.
[398] It's keeping the Labour leader awake at nights, the column inches, full of knocking copy, and letting the Tories off the hook.
[399] And we have to ask the question.
[400] Why?
[401] We owe it to our members, if nothing else, to find the answer.
[402] Why, oh why in this most fertile season imaginable for a growth spurt in Labour popularity, have the green shoots of a Labour recovery been choked back yet again by our stupidity.
[403] Let's have this clearly understood, this is a self-induced, home-grown disaster.
[404] I've travelled up and down the country in the past few months, I've spoken to union branches, I've spoken to regional councils, regional committees, party meetings, general committees, regional conferences, and they all said the same.
[405] Indeed, it was said loud and clear at our political rally last night here in Portsmouth.
[406] Union Labour links.
[407] We don't want to know.
[408] It's not important.
[409] Get on with the real issues.
[410] An own goal yes, but even so, the review group was set up to smooth away a little local difficulty.
[411] That indeed is what it should have done.
[412] A private internal affair needed resolving, and I went on that review group, I was prepared to do all that I could to resolve it.
[413] Armed with a policy which you'd clearly stated, and which incidentally, coincides completely with the official and existing party itself, about the involvement of affiliates in the selection and reselection of members of Parliament.
[414] I went on the review group to sort the matter out ... too many of us went onto it convinced that the matter was already sorted out.
[415] Their minds made up, their stance adopted, immovable objects, objects before discussion had even begun.
[416] O M O V is the answer, now what's the question.
[417] I've seen political naivety in my time, but never at such close quarters.
[418] Colleagues, there is an arrogance abroad in certain quarters of our movement that is a dangerous thing because it's
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Les (PS2FX) [419] it's arrogance and inflexibility which has led us to where we are today, and that's on the brink of the crisis.
[420] Colleagues every other item on our agenda this week is yet another good reason why we can't afford a crisis in the labour movement.
[421] Let's start getting things in perspective.
[422] Let's take the pan off the boil.
[423] The plain truth is that after one year, an abundance of vitriol, a little mud slinging and some very bad publicity, we're right back where we started.
[424] In some ways, we're much further back from the starting line.
[425] Nevertheless, it's time to call a halt before it's too late.
[426] Those who can't see a role for the trade unions and the Labour Party need to be given time to see the error of their ways.
[427] And of course they will.
[428] The closer you get to an election, a general election campaign, the clearer things'll become for them.
[429] The forward- facing electors without our campaign exp expertise, back-up and money will not dissolve any deeply held if only recently announced objections to union association, for we all know what's likely to happen at the party conference in October if the brakes are not applied now.
[430] There can only be one outcome, the trade unions will retain their involvement in the Labour Party, I've been saying this all along, as have others, during the course of the last year, the trouble is, nobody listens.
[431] Now, perhaps, people will be more inclined to do just that, and if they are, then what we may need is a trade union link review group mark two.
[432] A reconstituted group which, perhaps with some different faces, which can do what originally so graphically this group failed to do.
[433] That's reach a common understanding which reflects the realities of a relationship we enjoy at the present day so that we can all get on with the task of serving our members and forming a Labour government.
[434] I move my report.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [435] Thanks very much indeed Tom, and now I'll deal with various different sections of Tom's report, pages eighty two, eighty three, eighty four, eighty five, eighty six, eighty seven, eighty eight.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [...]
(PS2FT) [436] Yes ...
Charlie (PS2FY) [437] President, Congress, Peter Middle and East Coast.
[438] Tom eighty eight, bottom G M B Direct, it reads [reading] G M B Direct, it is now established as the best trade union journal.
[439] Published bi-monthly, becomes necessary reading in the labour movement [] .
[440] Direct seven was sitting with Gillian Sheppard on the, the front.
[441] She's the one that's making us out of work.
[442] I wrote to this lot up here, and questioned it, and all of a sudden the ball starts bouncing, somebody starts supporting Fulham.
[443] We're in the premier league here, this union.
[444] We're not in fourth division.
[445] We can do without anybody but this movement in that document, and it's about time somebody starts listening.
[446] Tom, if you're in charge of that, let's get these delegates on them front pages, we can do without the Tories.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [447] Eighty nine, ninety, and we now move from one O, sorry.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [448] Good morning Congress, er back to page eighty eight, President, sorry er, couldn't get your eye.
[449] Er, Tom it's regarding erm, Direct.
[450] [...] by the way representing South Western region.
[451] It's regarding Direct.
[452] My colleague who was just up here was talking about Gillian Sheppard who's on the cover of Direct.
[453] Being a representative of a national race committee, I'm often dismayed at the ne the lack of black people demonstrated or portrayed in Direct.
[454] Recently on the cover of Direct, was a young black person who was er, a depiction of somebody unemployed in Britain today.
[455] Unfortunately, the photograph could have been er, mistaken as a stereotypical photograph of somebody from Los Angeles, or any other part of the world where there is problems in inner city area.
[456] Please, Tom when er placing photographs in Direct, please try to make them a little more appropriate.
[457] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [458] Now turn to page one O four, one O five, one O six and one O seven, and one O eight.
[459] Tom could you respond to those points please. ...
Les (PS2FX) [460] First to er, Peter's point about er Gillian Sheppard, on the er, on the er Direct, I must say to you, I got a bit of a surprise when I saw Gillian Sheppard in such brazen er fashion on er on Direct, but you know, you've quickly got answers in this organization, and somebody said ah well, it was meant to be an obituary to her and they were a bit perceptive in that er respect.
[461] But that's not the reason, of course.
[462] The reason was that we were touching three million unemployed at that particular point in time, and it was felt that the best way of making an impact was to highlight this in the way in which it was done.
[463] And whether it did anything else, I can tell you Peter, you're not the only one that's made reference to Gillian Sheppard being on the cover of our journal.
[464] I've been inundated with calls.
[465] I'm still not sure whether it was right or wrong, but it certainly got the reaction that was necessary that people appreciated that she was there, she was the Minister for Employment, and indeed she was causing a hell of a lot of problems for G M B members.
[466] On the other point that was raised in respect of er Direct.
[467] I think our delegate will appreciate that er, it is a difficult issue, we do try as much as we possibly can to project all aspects of our membership in a fair fashion, and we go out of our way er, to be fair in respect of er certain er areas.
[468] I would simply conclude that while we're always open to any sort of criticism, we're always open to any kind of recommendation that might be made, erm to us in respect of er Direct.
[469] Direct, itself you know, it did win the T U C award.
[470] It wasn't anybody else's awar it was a T U C award and you can imagine the very issue that has been raised here today are the very aspects that are critically analyzed by the T U C in determined award, but I will take on board the points that have been mentioned.
[471] Thank you President.
(PS2FT) [472] Thanks very much Tom.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [473] Right, colleagues, could I now advise Congress as to how we're gonna proceed from here.
[474] Er, first of all, we're gonna have a debate which I would term as politics, which will take in motion three nine seven, the Labour Party, motion three nine eight, Sponsored Members of Parliament, and then I go, gonna ask the deputy General Secretary, Tom to respond to that particular debate, then Party and Union links, there'll be the C E C statement.
[475] Labour Party and trade union links to be moved by the General Secretary and to be seconded by Pru from the Central Executive Council.
[476] I then take composite motion twenty nine, Labour Party trade union links and then motion three nine six, G M B Parliamentary panel.
[477] We'll then, I'll then invite a speaker from each region on the C E C statement and following on from that we'll then take the vote on the statement and comp twenty nine and motion three nine six.
[478] We'll then move on to motion three nine four, representation at Labour and T U C conferences, and motion three nine nine, Labour local authorities.
[479] Motion four O two, Labour Party subscription contributions, and then motion four O three, Labour Party member awards.
[480] I will ask Robert Thompson member of the C E C to respond and put the C E C's position, and we'll take the vote on those particular motions.
[481] Is that clear colleagues?
[482] ... Thanks very much, I now call motion three nine seven, the Labour Party, to be moved by the Lancashire region.
[483] And again colleagues, it would assist, er, if movers and seconders and supporting speakers and speakers who're speaking on behalf of the regions, if they could come down to the front.
[484] David.
Alan (PS2FU) [485] Thank you.
[486] David one four sorry, one four eight Rochdale, Lancashire region.
[487] ... [clears throat] Coming down here this week, I came a week early actually, I, I used a week's holiday as well, and er my lady friend says I think we'll buy a house in Goodwood.
[488] I said no, she said you won't leave the ... union will you, I said no, she said alright we'll buy one at Haydock, still in the Lancashire region ... and the reason why the union is my second love, obviously my first love is me family, is what it's done for me, but I also think what I've done for those people who represent me and yourselves in Parliament.
[489] Now when those people in Parliament are absent, by their silence, they may be there, you don't always see 'em, you then get a bit annoyed, but I tell you, you get bloody annoyed when they walk past you, which happened to me and to the regional delegates at Lancashire North West Labour Party, I won't name who they are, but they didn't even acknowledge us.
[490] This president behind me led a delegation of er fourteen of us, one of 'em got a gold badge yesterday, Eric , half of 'em sat down there, and we went canvassing in Rochdale, last election, just before ninth of April, that disaster we had.
[491] We didn't canvass in a nice little area, we canvassed on the side of the bloody moors.
[492] It was blowing a gale, am I right Dick?
[493] And he's there shouting right what do they vote, right okay, and we heard this row, and I look round, it's Eric , got the gold badge yesterday, and he's dragging somebody out their house [shouting] you voted Tory, you voted Tory [] .
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Alan (PS2FU) [494] So we all sort of gathered round, was it Eric or Ernie, I think it was Eric, so we all gathered round, that was the, the zeal that we had, to make sure that we got a parliamentary candidate sponsored by the G M B, in Rochdale.
[495] That was down to us, they voted Liz , Liberal.
[496] But the energy was still there, we know full well, that there's other MPs there, I think it's thirty seven we've got and we, the only one that I know well is Gerald Kaufman.
[497] You can get hold of Gerald Kaufman just like that.
[498] Great, he's not even in my constituency.
[499] Mine's a teacher, I think, Jim .
[500] Talking to John Prescott this morning, I went to his speech last night, and John Prescott's never altered.
[501] Three years ago in Blackpool North West Labour Party, he said I stand up he said and people say I lose me temper.
[502] Now, I'll never believe that of John Prescott.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Alan (PS2FU) [503] but I saw him on the television last week, breakfast T V, not last week, week before, just before I got into work, and this woman on the television asking this stupid question, she said why don't you put any opposition up in Parliament, and he hit the roof, but what the television did, they didn't switch off when he played bloody hell with 'em, excuse my French er President, but this is how it went, he couldn't give a damn about you bloody lot, he kept the television on, it just showed his frustration.
[504] Now to me, and John Prescott's not even in our union, shame, that man should be is doing what every other G M B member of Parliament should be doing.
[505] Now we see, you go into work, or as one delegate said before, you don't go to work because the places are boarded up, we've got management in North West Water, arrogant, it's unbelievable.
[506] Directors, they've signed one off sick, from British, er Vicker's shipyard, and give him sixty thousand pound a year directorship.
[507] How can you be retired sick and get one of them?
[508] But the arrogance of the people and yet when we're going to work, we've got to try and combat these people, and what help have you got?
[509] You've got your shop stewards, your activists, you, in my region, we've got some great officers, the one that I have, Pat is great to work with, but in the last two years, I've had to get hold of Pat more and more, [...] myself.
[510] But do we get hold of M Ps?
[511] Not a bloody sign of them.
[512] And I'll tell you summat, I'm getting sick and tired of it.
[513] I have one pair of shoes at a time, and I wear them out pretty quick because I'm doing all the canvassing for our lot.
[514] They don't do it.
[515] How many members have they recruited to the G M B?
[516] Go on, name me one.
[517] Not one.
[518] How many members have they recruited to the Labour Party, there won't be so bloody many.
[519] But I'll tell you something, we haven't got to get sick, we've got to get people who support us.
[520] People who put our message across, I'm gonna finish before red light, here, people who're gonna do the job for us in Parliament, showing the G M B is the number one union, and we've got to make sure it's right.
[521] Support this motion, thank you Congress.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping] [...]
Sammy (PS2G1) [522] John , Lancashire region, supporting motion three nine seven.
[523] Congress, time and time again, the majority of our sponsored MPs appear unable to sustain any sort of attack on this government's policies.
[524] In fact, when they raise an issue, it's either for a, a personal ego trip, or they're just paying lip service.
[525] I'm of the opinion that the reason they remain in opposition is that many of them have very little in common with the very people that they're supposed to represent.
[526] How do we ensure issues that directly affect the G M B members and there's millions about, now I say nowadays, are highlighted in their proper manner.
[527] We support these MPs time and time again, which we should be doing, but in return, we certainly want their support.
[528] Support the motion.
[529] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [530] Thank you John, motion three nine eight sponsored members of Parliament.
[531] Midland region to move.
[532] Yes
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [...]
(PS2FT) [533] Well, thanks very much, I hadn't realized it had gone, I don't know to be honest, I bet it's hiding behind there.
[534] We'll check it out
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [...]
Peter (PS2G2) [535] Colleagues, President, Congress, Alan , Midlands and East Coast region.
[536] This co motion calls for a simple thing.
[537] It calls for this union's sponsored MPs not to pair with Tory M Ps.
[538] Yesterday, we had the debate on, on the abolition of Wage Councils.
[539] Indeed, this union had a campaign of sending postcards out to MPs asking them not to vote for the abolition of Wage Councils.
[540] Yet, when the vote was taken, it showed a considerable number of Labour MPs had not voted.
[541] That vote condemned over a million workers to poverty pay.
[542] Yesterday, in your address to Congress, President, you said that Labour MPs were paid to oppose this government and they, and that they should be accountable.
[543] And John mentioned the sleazy way that this Tory government goes about things.
[544] Every time a Labour MP pairs with a Tory, leaving that Tory MP free to go about his other business commitments, most of them highly paid, that MP abstained from taking part in opposing this government's policies.
[545] The C E C in opposing this motion, are also guilty of abstaining, of abstaining their responsibility to its low, to its lowest paid members, members it has pledged to fight for.
[546] I move.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Les (PS2FX) [547] President, Congress, Les , Midlands and East Coast region, seconding motion three nine eight.
[548] Peer in, when I saw this motion, I took immediate interest.
[549] I didn't realize it happened.
[550] We've all seen debates on T V, er, only an handful of MPs are present.
[551] Where are all the rest.
[552] Paired off.
[553] Such, such issues as Maastricht, VAT on fuel to name but two, when first debated, only a hand handful of MPs are present.
[554] Can this do the movement any good?
[555] No.
[556] I attended a public sector lobby at Westminster.
[557] This organized by the T U C, Mary was also there.
[558] We listened to Jack Straw among others.
[559] What an experience, talk about Tory wets.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Les (PS2FX) [560] I must give credit to one speaker though, an MP from Burnley.
[561] He really livened up the debate.
[562] Peter he's incidentally a G M B member.
[563] Burnley can be proud of him.
[564] After the lobby, I managed to speak to Jack Straw.
[565] Asked his opinion on pairing.
[566] His answer, I believe pairing is necessary.
[567] Short and not so sweet.
[568] I then spoke to Geoff , MP for Ashfield C L P, and until recently also an M E P, strongly in favour of pairing.
[569] His answer was he could not manage his commitments without pairing.
[570] Alan my own MP was next.
[571] He explained the Party line, in favour.
[572] He then explained his own position, which was quite different.
[573] Strongly against, but he could see the need for some front bench MPs to pair.
[574] New MPs tend not to pair and will attend most sittings, he said.
[575] Usually it is when, it is the old guard when apathy sets in.
[576] We in the trade union movement know about apathy.
[577] Ex-officio N E C Dennis Skinner was next.
[578] I asked Dennis his view and I was taken aback.
[579] He agreed pairing was a good idea.
[580] Could I have caught him at a bad moment, could he have mellowed, I couldn't believe it.
[581] Dennis Skinner saying pairing was a good idea.
[582] He then explained.
[583] In seventy one when I first came to Westminster, I was introduced to pairing.
[584] At my first important debate, I paired up with five of the Tory buggers and then I turned up.
[585] Pairing allows Tory MPs to sit on their boards of directors, manipulate your pension funds, to rally support for their party, and enhance their salaries.
[586] We should not be supporting this practice.
[587] Congress I second.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
(PS2FT) [588] Colleagues, the C E C are recommending accepting with a qualification, three nine seven and are seeking withdrawal of three nine eight.
[589] I call Tom to respond.
[590] Tom. ...
Les (PS2FX) [591] Thanks er, President, the C E C are accepting erm motion three nine seven with a, a qualification and erm oppose three nine eight.
[592] Now the movers of the motion from Lancashire quite rightly identified that the major issues that should be concerning Labour MPs and particularly sponsored MPs are issues like unemployment, the National Health Service, and local services.
[593] All of these are key political issues.
[594] Er, we call on Labour Mem Members of Parliament to give their support in each of these areas mentioned, and we do constantly have a dialogue and provide what is the union line in terms of erm these particular er issues.
[595] But I wouldn't wish anybody er to get the idea that we as a union wish to take away what really is the parliamentary privilege that members of parliament have got to have to look after their own constituencies in addition to being sponsored members of parliament.
[596] Now I'd hate to think that anybody got the impression that we actually gave them instructions.
[597] We're simply not able to do that.
[598] There might be occasions when we feel that we'd like MPs to take a particular line, in fact there are occasions when I'd like to see MPs take a particular line, but we can only ask them, we cannot in fact insist that they do take a particular line.
[599] It's a little bit unfair I think as well to generalize, on sponsored members of parliament because, you know as well as I do, on some of the issues that have been very very important to us, not the sort erm, er the sexy issues that head, hit the headlines, but issues that mean a lot to our members, our sponsored members generally do work very, very hard.
[600] But I can think areas er like on Europe, I don't there's been anybody who's been in terms of projecting the issue erm, er better than George Robertson has dode done in terms of the European er issue.
[601] On the er three nine eight, erm, the C E C are erm asking for withdrawal of these, this motion, they asked initially for withdrawal.
[602] That wasn't the case for very much the same reasons of course.
[603] We expect sponsored MPs to be present at important votes, and particularly on these occasions when our members are likely to be infect affected.
[604] The motion goes on to say that sponsored MPs should not pair with erm Conservatives.
[605] Now, I've heard what the move move movers have had to say, and you did, I don't need to tell conference that most of the business of running the country is actually done outside of the chamber itself, it's done in the various committees I mean, Dennis Skinner was mentioned there.
[606] Now Dennis will not sit on any of the committees, well we simply could not get our view and the representation that we want if we did not have erm membership of er particular er committees.
[607] So the pairing system does allow that sort of work to go on.
[608] In addition to that, John Prescott was mentioned, and John could not attend the meetings that he does around the country if he did not have the facility to be able to be away from Parliament during times when erm, there are votes that need to be taken.
[609] So I would simply suggest that, erm, on the two motions, er President, as I said at the outset, that we would support three nine seven, and in view of the fact that three nine eight is not withdrawn, the C E C would ask you to oppose three nine eight.
[610] Thanks.
(PS2FT) [611] Thanks very much Tom.
[612] propose to take the vote, colleagues, er as Tom has said the C E C are
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [...] [clapping] ...
Alan (PS2FU) [613] Dave , Lancashire region, on three nine seven, Chair, when I got elected to the Labour Council in Rochdale, I took a whip that I had, did what the policy was of the Rochdale D L P.
[614] Surely, if a Member of Parliament takes a G M B sponsorship they should take the whip that we give and follow our rules and not go against us by going by constituent.
[615] Either go for the constituent, or be sponsored by G M B
(PS2FT) [616] David, David, it's not a point of order that.
[617] I mean you're exercising your right of reply, but for what particular purpose, I don't know because the C E C are accepting the motion.
Alan (PS2FU) [618] Ah, but with referral, with a qualification, Mr President.
(PS2FT) [619] But, nevertheless, it's being accepted. [clapping]
Alan (PS2FU) [...]
(PS2FT) [620] Colleagues, I propose to take the vote on three nine seven.
[621] The C E C are accepting it, all those in favour?
[622] ... Against ... That's carried.
[623] Is the Midland region prepared to withdraw three nine eight?
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [624] No
(PS2FT) [625] Okay, propose to take the vote.
[626] The C E C are therefore opposing three nine eight.
[627] All those in favour of the motion?
[628] ... Against?
[629] ... That's lost.
[630] ... Colleagues, Party, Trade Union Links, the C E C statement, Labour Party trade union links to be moved by the General Secretary, John .
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping] ...
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [631] Colleagues, John , General Secretary, speaking on behalf of the C E C and beginning with a rather unusual announcement.
[632] Er, our press office tell me that we have just had a call from ten Downing Street, who want a copy of this speech.
[633] This is not a joke
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [634] this is not a joke, absolutely true.
[635] And I hope that John Major and central office of the Conservative Party study it carefully since it is about party democracy and the Conservative party have a few lessons to learn in that direction.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [636] But colleagues, I, I, I turn to the regrettable series of events that Tom has er already described because a virulent form of spring fever seems to have infected the Labour Party.
[637] Three million unemployed, homelessness and poverty on a scale not known for a generation.
[638] Health service falling apart at the seams, and this the moment when, instead of attacking this awful government, a number of Labour politicians have decided to attack us, the trade unions who founded the party, and loyally supported the party through thick and thin.
[639] And recently there's been quite a lot of thin.
[640] I don't know what the three million unemployed think of that sense of priorities, but I think it's appalling.
[641] Apparently some Labour politicians think we're an electoral liability.
[642] We heard that claim, I would call it a slur, at the last election.
[643] So whatever our reservations at the behest of the party, trade unionists kept in the background.
[644] We organized, we supported, we gave a great deal of work behind the candidates of the party as Dave has already mentioned, but we kept off the television, we kept off the radio, we kept out of the newspapers.
[645] The Scarlet Pimpernel would have been proud of us.
[646] There was of course a massive mistake in that general election campaign, but it wasn't of the trade union making.
[647] Quite the reverse.
[648] In spite of trade union protests, not just by representatives of this union, but by representatives of a number of unions, all within my hearing, the public heard little about our vote winning policies for full employment, or a minimum wage, or decent rights at work, the Party said next to nothing in high profile terms, about child care or maternity rights or the exploitation of part time workers.
[649] That was our agenda, it wasn't the Party publicity agenda.
[650] Instead, the Party prof professionals decided that the campaign should be fought on the basis of what they called themes.
[651] What this meant in practice was that we overplayed the Health Service, we underplayed almost everything else, and then got into an awful muddle over proportional representation.
[652] So were the trade unions to blame?
[653] Not on your life.
[654] I visited thirty eight constituencies during that campaign and I'm convinced of one thing.
[655] If we'd fought that election on the trade union agenda, we would have won a lot more votes than the campaign issues chosen by the professionals.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [656] Hear, hear, that's true, yeah.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [657] Some critics of the trades unions have pretended that we oppose the modernization of the Party constitution.
[658] That charge is nonsense.
[659] Remember this booklet, some of the longer attending members of the G M B will do, we debated it in the conference of the old G M B five years ago.
[660] A radical programme for the Labour Party reform of the future.
[661] Far more radical than anything that's been discussed in the last few months.
[662] In that same year, on behalf of the union, I went to the rostrum at the Labour Party Conference, to move a resolution calling for the end of the block vote.
[663] I actually used the phrase this motion is the death- knell of the block vote, and the beginning of individual voting of trade union members within the part Party.
[664] I have to say that if some of those born again modernizers had supported us then, we could have settled these issues long ago, and got on with the business of winning elections, which I thought was what party politics was about.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [665] But the core of this disagreement is about what we really mean by democracy.
[666] There are two groups of members in the Labour Party, something over two hundred thousand individual members, who pay an individual subscription, and the four million trade unionists, who pay through the political levy.
[667] Two groups, not one.
[668] And one group is an awful lot bigger than the other group.
[669] Some Labour politicians want the important decisions in the Party, selecting Labour candidates, or electing the leader, to be made only by the two hundred thousand individual members, without any voice for the four million trade union levy payers at all.
[670] They call that one member one vote.
[671] I repeat it to you with a sense of irony.
[672] Our executive has a different view of democracy.
[673] We believe that everyone who contributes, should have the right to participate in Labour Party democracy,
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [674] and that means colleagues, that means not just the two hundred thousand individual members, but also the four million trade union levy payers, who back the Party through those payments, strengthen Labour's organization, and give invaluable support at election time.
[675] We balloted our levy paying members last year in the election for the Party leader, you remember it well, over a hundred and forty thousand G M B members took part in that secret ballot.
[676] With constituency support, and the votes of other trade unionists, John Smith was elected Party leader by a larger number of contributing members than ever had the chance to vote for John Major or Paddy Ashdown.
[677] That's the contrast, and that should be a matter of pride.
[678] I wish Labour politicians would spend less time searching for points of disagreement in the Labour Party constitution, and more time pointing to the total absence of democracy in the Tory Party where there is no participation, no ballots, and they don't even have the confidence to tell Party members where the money comes from.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [679] Just remember the G M B's reform programme.
[680] Ballots of trade union levy payers.
[681] A new system of policy making with wide ranging consultation.
[682] A total reform of the Party conference.
[683] That's our reform programme.
[684] If you want to label people modernizers, we got there in this union first.
[685] But we are not in favour of any policy that squeezes trade unionists out of the Party or of any policy that denies trade unionists a voice in Labour Party democracy.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [686] Perhaps both Party leaders will be interested in that bit.
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HDTPSUNK) [687] I end, I end colleagues, with a comradely warning.
[688] Financially, and organizationally, the Labour Party is in something of a mess.
[689] With a small individual membership, the Party badly needs the trade unions to provide that broad and representative support across classes and across occupations.
[690] Unless they're very very careful the supporters of one member, one vote so called will create a narrow and exclusive Party, limited to those lucky people who can stump up an eighteen pounds membership fee without thinking too hard, and in the Britain of nineteen ninety three there aren't quite as many of those as perhaps we would like to see.
[691] Our reports on the options that we support offer a different model for the party.
[692] Wider, larger,