Trade Union Annual Congress. Sample containing about 13002 words speech recorded in business context

11 speakers recorded by respondent number C384

PS2F7 X m (Dick, age unknown, president of trade union) unspecified
PS2F8 X f (Sheila, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2F9 X f (Kathy, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2FA X f (Ethel, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2FB X f (Kathy, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2FC X m (Steve, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2FD X m (John, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2FE X m (Graham, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2FF X m (Adrian, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
HLUPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
HLUPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 100904 recorded on 1993-06-06. LocationHampshire: Portsmouth ( The Guildhall ) Activity: trade union congress speech

Undivided text

Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [1] Colleagues.
[2] Minimum wage.
[3] I propose to take composite twenty followed by motion three three four and composite twenty one.
[4] Erm, the executive are accepting all these motions but on a couple of them want to put in a speaker with a statement and er after twenty one will to put that statement to the C E C. I now call composite twenty abolition of Wages Councils South Western Region to move, G M B Scotland to second.
[5] Priority in debate to Southern and Northern regions so if all the additional speakers could come down to the front, be very much obliged.
[6] South Western region to move ...
Sheila (PS2F8) [7] Chair, Conference,, Clothing and Textile.
[8] South Western Region.
[9] Moving composite twenty.
[10] This Tory government's relentless attacks on the poor of this country go on day after day.
[11] V A T on heating is the latest, and now we have rumours of V A T on food.
[12] Yet still they persist on the abolition of the Wages Councils.
[13] By stopping the Wages Councils this government, through the Employment Secretary, now it's David Hunt, and we in Wales know enough of David Hunt.
[14] They are turning their backs on the low paid workers.
[15] Taking away the protection which the Wages Councils provide is the latest step in the bullion offensive against the poorest in society.
[16] It is quite clear getting rid of the Wages Councils would result in lower wages, poor jobs, and a move away from equal pay.
[17] In nineteen ninety one, six thousand workplaces were found to be underpaying one or more workers.
[18] In nineteen ninety one, twelve thousand eight hundred and twelve workers were found to be underpaid.
[19] In nineteen ninety one, arrears totalling one and a half million pounds was due to those twelve thousand eight hundred and twelve workers.
[20] In nineteen ninety one, of those six thousand employers found to be underpaying, just seventeen were prosecuted.
[21] All were found guilty.
[22] This was the highest number of convictions in one year since the present record began in nineteen forty five.
[23] The government's response?
[24] Is to abolish the law that embarrasses the employers and gives minimum protection of low paid working people.
[25] What an appalling set of figures.
[26] But still, we have an appalling government.
[27] A government that believes we are out of recession, but is still making Britain the Taiwan of Europe.
[28] This Union needs no convincing, nor does the Labour Party, of the need to retain the Wages Council.
[29] The Labour Party must continue to reject the tax on the low paid, the young, the elderly, and needs to commit itself to a restoration of the Wages Councils, an increase in the power of the Wages Councils, and an improvement in the Wages Inspectorate, to ensure that all employers who break the minimum wages legislation be detected and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
[30] Conference, there are two and a half million low paid workers in Britain, covered by Wages Councils.
[31] Our own clothing and textile section are an exam [clears throat] pardon me.
[32] We cannot allow the protection to be taken away from them.
[33] Colleagues, I gave you twelve thousand eight hundred and twelve reasons for you not only to support by raising your hands, but by actively supporting your fellow members in their fight to retain the Wages Councils and to guard and protect their wages.
[34] I move.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [35] G M B Scotland ...
Kathy (PS2F9) [36] , G M B Scotland.
[37] President, Congress.
[38] It is hardly credible that with all the economic problems facing this country, the latest Tory brainwave to aid recovery and keep growth is the abolition of the Wages Council.
[39] They wrongly believe that things can be put right by operating a framework where those on low pay can be paid even lower wages [clears throat] excuse me.
[40] Congress, we know that low pay never saves jobs and never will.
[41] The wages simulate growth as to put the unemployed back to work and have a high paid flexible work force.
[42] This government is intent on isolating Britain in Europe as the only country with no minimum guaranteed wages, and a producer for low cost products.
[43] In Scotland a quarter of a million of the workf workers would be affected by this Tor er, sorry, this Tory policy, mainly part-time working women and ethnic groups.
[44] We must recognize this policy for what it is, to turn Britain into the sweatshop of Europe.
[45] It is the duty of this Congress to cam to campaign and oppose this greedy Tory government and its policies at every turn.
[46] Remember, trade union and public opposition forced the re-think in the poll tax.
[47] We can do the same again.
[48] I second.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [49] Southern Region ...
Ethel (PS2FA) [50] President, Congress, supporting composite twenty.
[51] Congress, Wages so Councils set minimum rates of pay in some of U K's lowest paying industries.
[52] They provide over two point five million, three quarters of whom are women with protection, industries such as clothing and textiles, shops, hairdressers, and leisure services are all protected by the Councils.
[53] Over the last few years the t Tory government has reduced the amount of wages inspectors.
[54] Each now is responsible for over thirty four thousand workers.
[55] Instead of dealing with problems of low paid and increasing the number of inspectors, the government is going to abolish them completely.
[56] Congress, as the majority of low paid workers are women, the abolition of Wages Councils is direct discrimination.
[57] Although more women are j t joining trade unions, they have to continue to work in places where their bosses are opposed to union membership.
[58] It may even be impossible to gain full recognition.
[59] Laws are needed to protect women's rates of pay and ensure they get a fair day's pay for a fair day's work.
[60] Of course, not only women are in danger of being unprotected.
[61] Millions of others will be openly exploited by unscrupulous employers.
[62] Th the economy can only suffer [...] shortages and low productivity as a result of poverty pay.
[63] We must support the introduction of a minimum wage and fight against the abolition of Wages Councils.
[64] I urge you to please support this motion.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [65] Northern Region.
[66] Oh right, what happened to the Southern Region?
[67] Did they waive their rights?
[68] Ah ... You've got to have eyes in the back of your head here I'm telling ya.
Kathy (PS2FB) [69] , Southern Region.
[70] Speaking in support of composite motion twenty.
[71] Conference, President.
[72] The Wage Councils were set up to establish legally enforceable minimum wages for employees and associated trades and prevented unfair competition [...] .
[73] The Wage Council provided a useful basis for pay determination, especially in industries where there is little collective bargaining.
[74] The vast majority of the estimated two and a half million employees covered by the Wage Council work in the retail hot retail, hotel and catering, and textile industries.
[75] Many of these employees are women often working part-time.
[76] The scrapping of the Wage Councils will mean that millions of working people will be open to exploitation by unscrupulous employers.
[77] In the near future employers will be able to pay even lower wages and employees will no will have no legal right to challenge low pay.
[78] Many of our comrades in the hotel and catering industry work long and unsocial hours for as little as two ninety two an hour, a hundred and fourteen pound for a thirteen ho thirty nine hour week.
[79] Conference, who can survive on a hundred and fourteen pound a week?
[80] Many hotel workers don't belong to trade unions.
[81] It has always been difficult to organize hotel workers by the very nature of their industry but the time has now come for those very workers to join the G M B so that collectively we can fight the exploitation of low paid workers.
[82] Conference, I ask you to support this motion that calls for a publicity campaign to name those employers and establishments that exploit th their staff so they can make a fat profit, and to update the hotel list.
[83] If we really mean what we say we should blacklist those es establishments that refuse to recognize trade unions.
[84] After all, why we should we as trade unionists contribute to the ill-gotten gains of exploiters of human beings.
[85] Conference, please support
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [86] Motion three three four Wages Councils.
[87] Lancashire to move ...
Steve (PS2FC) [88] , Lancashire Region, moving motion two three four.
[89] October the first nineteen ninety three is almost certainly the date the Wages Councils will be abolished.
[90] The abolition of the Wages Councils will not nothing less than rob two point seven million workers, mainly women workers, on minimum wage protection.
[91] Some employers will cease the opportunity as a chance to pay less and thereby making it even more difficult to make ends meet.
[92] Hotels and catering, clothing, retail, are three of the main Wages Council's industries, of which we have a large membership.
[93] The G M B currently negotiates at national level in industries as collective bargaining, but within the scope of the Wages Council.
[94] One could try and argue all the Wages Councils are doing in effect are rubber-stamping a joint motion agreed in advance between employers and unions.
[95] However, if the Wages Councils were abolished there would be no guarantee that a negotiated minimum rate would be applied.
[96] The result could be pay freezes, even pay cuts.
[97] Employers must simply abandon the national agreement altogether, or the employers may simply ban the national agreement altogether, as has happened in other industries like cotton spinning and weaving.
[98] Abolishing the Wages Councils would be a green light to sweatshops, a direct attack on the lowest paid.
[99] Wages undercutting is one of the possible results of abolition.
[100] We have already seen premium rate pay like double time for Sunday working attacked after statutory controls on them were removed in nineteen eighty six.
[101] The same attack would undoubtedly be made on basic rates when the Wages Councils are removed altogether.
[102] Employers who claim they can stand aside from com from com from competitive pressure to undercut are truly on one.
[103] The Wages Council's rates are currently used as a reference point in deciding what pay levels should be.
[104] Without it there could be a free for all and if abolition goes through the employers may well find themselves having to resort to some form of cooperative or wages club in its place.
[105] There is a place for minimum rates of pay.
[106] If there are no minimum rates of setting arrangements then standards will slip and conditions will deteriorate.
[107] Abolition of the Wages Council could seriously affect equality of pay between the sexes.
[108] A report by academics for the T U C shows there is no case for abolition.
[109] It is northing more than another attack aimed at the trade unions under the government's Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Bill, and takes absolutely no account of the additional hardship it will impose on our members.
[110] A big proportion of them are women.
[111] Basic rates set by the Wages Councils apply equally to women and men.
[112] Over four fifths, that's two million, of these w of those who the wages c wages are protected by the Wages Councils are women and as there would seem no point in abolition unless the wages were gonna fall, then it is women who will suffer disproportionately, along with another vulnerable group, single parents.
[113] I urge Conference to condemn this uncaring cynical government's decision to abolish the Wages Council and call for the establishment of a National Wages Council.
[114] I se to set minimum rates of pay for all workers in all industries and services.
[115] I move this motion.
Dick (PS2F7) [116] Thanks
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
John (PS2FD) [117] , seconding motion three four four.
[118] I'm not gonna go over t [...] what my colleague has said but what I do wanna know is when are the Labour Party gonna get hold of some issue and make some sort of mileage out of it, because we've got a number of sponsored MPs and we can't get 'em off the doorstep at election time, but when it comes about doing summat for us and consider the fact that it affects many many people and we talk about the links that the Labour Party and the trade union has, I think the Labour Party's already severed 'em, as far as I'm concerned.
[119] Support the motion.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [120] Composite twenty one, Minimum Wage, Lancashire Region to move ...
Graham (PS2FE) [121] , Lancashire Region.
[122] President, sisters and brothers.
[123] Moving composite twenty one Minimum Wage.
[124] Congress, if a few more voters got off their backsides last year and gone out and voted, and voted Labour, there'd be no need for this motion at all because it's Labour Party policy anyway.
[125] If ever the poor low paid need a decent wage it's now.
[126] The new jobs being created are mostly part-time, low paid, unskilled, with no promotion prospects and few employment rights.
[127] Yes, you've guessed it.
[128] The rising jobs are for women.
[129] In eleven U K regions more women than we men now have jobs.
[130] Jobs on the cheap.
[131] British Home Stores and Burtons have sacked thousands of full-time staff and replaced them with part-timers.
[132] What they call them is [...] .
[133] You just wo get called in when it's busy and work between eight and sixteen hours.
[134] You've gotta be in the job five years opposed to two years to get protection against unfair sacking, sick pay, redundancy pay, maternity leave.
[135] If you work less than these hours you have no rights at all.
[136] The Tories encourage low pay.
[137] They're happy for Britain to be a [...] at the bottom of the income scale with rich rewards for those on top income.
[138] It's estimated that over ten million people now earn less than the Council of Europe's decency threshold for wages.
[139] Sixty eight percent of ad adult earnings, an increase of twenty five percent since nineteen seventy nine.
[140] And at the same time the income divide between the top twenty percent of men and the bottom twenty percent is now greater than it were hundred years ago.
[141] Shame.
[142] Nearly one million people have now had to claim mean-tested benefits in order to top up low pay.
[143] Independent analysts have estimated that a minimum wage set at three pound forty an hour would add one point eight percent to the total labour costs in Britain.
[144] But wages are only one element of overall costs.
[145] In reality, it would mean just a rise of nought point two percent on overall costs.
[146] In France where minimum wage have ri risen dramatically a study found no si ni no effects on wage infl inflation or unemployment.
[147] The introduction of a national mo minimum wage set at three pound forty an hour would directly benefit four point five million workers.
[148] Seventy eight percent of these, that's three point five million, will be women.
[149] Fifty nine percent of this, that's four point five million, will be working part-time.
[150] The ex Chancellor will gain a billion pounds through National Insurance and reduced benefits.
[151] Seventy thousand'll be removed off housing benefit and twenty nine thousand from rent rebates.
[152] Forty thousand from family credit and two hundred thousand people will be [...] means-tested benefit.
[153] Please support this composite.
[154] I move.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [155] Northern Region to second ...
Adrian (PS2FF) [156] Mister President, Congress,, Northern Region, seconding composite twenty one.
[157] Congress, after fourteen years of power the Tories have are still hell bent on ruining the lives of low paid working class.
[158] More than five million full-time workers are low paid, and with the significant growth in numbers of part-time workers, the amount of low paid employees is increasing.
[159] Women in particular are concentrated at the bottom of their occupational hierarchy of the least rewarding jobs.
[160] Colleagues, of the Western economies, Britain is almost alone in having no legal minimum wage or equivalent.
[161] Surely, at a time when the U K's economy position is disastrous, even the Tory government should see that low wages are a drain on the nation's resources as they reduce industry's productivity potential.
[162] Just as investors expect a high return for their capital, we should expect working people to receive a fair return for their labour.
[163] It is well known that foreign companies such as Nissan, [...] , Mitsibushi, all come to British, all come to Britain because British workers are amongst the lowest paid in Europe.
[164] British labour is cheap.
[165] Congress, the time has come to demand change, to demand that British workers enjoy the rights enjoyed by workers across the rest of Europe.
[166] This demand is not unreasonable.
[167] The demand is a fair day's pay for a fair day's work.
[168] A national minimum wage.
[169] Mister President, I second.
[170] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [171] Does Liverpool wish to put in a speaker?
[172] No.
[173] Thanks very much.
[174] Colleagues, I call to put the C E C position ...
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [175] , C E C. Congress, the C E C is asking you to support composite twenty, support motion three three four with qualification, and support composite twenty one.
[176] The Conservatives are determined to abolish the Wages Council.
[177] It's absolute disgrace.
[178] They're hell belt in, hell-bent in removing the last statutory protection against the poverty pay for workers in the U K. They will make us the only country in Europe without some minimum standards.
[179] Most of the two point five million workers affected are women.
[180] Delegates, the abolition of the Wages Council is an employment ch an employers' chapter to create sweatshops.
[181] What civilized government can really believe that the basic rate in my factory of two pounds seventy nine P per hour is too high?
[182] Could they clothe, feed and house a family on that kind of money?
[183] I don't think not.
[184] There's no economic justification for abolition.
[185] Many small employers want to keep Wages Councils.
[186] What we, we workers need is better management, not lower pay.
[187] Many more workers will be forced, by low pay, to claim benefits to make up their income, when they want to earn a decision wage.
[188] That also means we will be subsidizing bad employers through our taxes and the fiddling factory owners will undermine the decent conditions we have fought for over the years.
[189] We must continue to campaign on this issue and support taking legal action in Europe against the attack on women's pay.
[190] Motion three three four also deals with the abolition of the Wages Council and the C E C would like you to ask you to support it, but with qualification, that a national minimum wage rather than a national Wages Council is likely to be the best way to set a minimum rate of pay.
[191] To show our continuous commitment to fighting lo low pay the C E C ask you to support composite twenty, motion three three four and composite twenty one.
[192] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [193] Thanks very much .
[194] Composite motion er twenty to the vote.
[195] All those in favour?
[196] Against?
[197] That's carried.
[198] Motion three three four.
[199] All those in favour?
[200] Against?
[201] That's carried.
[202] Composite motion twenty one.
[203] All those in favour?
[204] Against?
[205] That's carried.
[206] Colleagues, trade union Rights.
[207] There are a number of motions in this particular section.
[208] They are as follows.
[209] Composite twenty two, composite twenty three, motion three four two, motion three four three, motion three four six.
[210] Without exception the C E C are recommending you to accept them all but there is at least one where we're accepting with a qualification.
[211] Following the debate I will call to put the C E C position.
[212] I now call composite motion twenty two.
[213] Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Bill.
[214] Yorkshire Region to move.
[215] Lancashire Region to second and colleagues if, if all the other movers and seconders and the C E C speaker would all come down to the front it would help us enormously with time ... Yorkshire Region to move.
[216] Is it?
[217] Okay, alright .
Dick (PS2F7) [218] , Lancashire Region, proposing composite motion twenty two.
[219] Congress, this legislation is th yet another attack on the workers' rights, wages and ability to organize.
[220] It is yet another attack on trade unions.
[221] It is a sick government that is proud of the fact that it's not signed up for a Social Chapter.
[222] It is even more sickening when official statistics show that one in four of all those suffering from poverty wages in Europe live and work in Britain.
[223] What does this legislation do for the low paid in Britain?
[224] I'll tell you what it does comrades, it kicks 'em right in the teeth.
[225] This legislation scraps the Wages Council.
[226] Mind you, not known for their generous pay awards, these Councils according to the government are a main obstacle to economic hope and prosperity in Britain.
[227] The G M B speaks for these workers, and we know that abolishing the Wages Council will not provide any hope or prosperity for millions of low paid workers all over Britain.
[228] The Civil Liberties Organization recently condemned the British government for violating international standards on the trade union rights.
[229] This leg legislation carries out further attacks on trade union, encouraging members of the public to sue strikers.
[230] Even Howard Davies of the C B I called this unhelpful.
[231] This legislation forces members to authorize on an annual basis their employer to deduct subs from their pay.
[232] The reason for this is very simple.
[233] It's to make it unreasonably difficult for unions to collect their subs and undermine collective organization.
[234] Again, this legislation attracts the Bridlington procedures that facilitate into the union membership disputes.
[235] The reason is obvious.
[236] It is, it is to support unions like the U D M and encourage scab unions.
[237] The only progressive things in this legislation are those demanded by European laws.
[238] On maternity rights the government has weakened the rights available to British workers and on [...] they are resisting reorganization of [...] cases.
[239] This legislation is nothing to do with employment rights.
[240] It is about weakening rights and are attacking trade unions.
[241] Congress, I move.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [242] Thanks ...
Sheila (PS2F8) [243] President, Congress,, Yorkshire North Derbyshire Region, seconding composite twenty two.
[244] This Bill follows fr on from a series of attacks on the trade union movement and working people over the last fourteen years.
[245] These new measures will do nothing to improve industrial relations in this country.
[246] It is typical of this Tory government, a government that has not had a constructive idea all the time it has been in office, but thinks that union bashing is the only answer to the country's problems, that thinks it is the only way to unite the Tory troops.
[247] They honestly do not care, care about this country.
[248] They do not care about the unemployed.
[249] They do not care about the sick.
[250] They do not care about our future.
[251] They care about only one thing, about themselves and th that's staying in power.
[252] This is hanging on on to the reins of government and they are prepared to destroy the country in the process.
[253] The legislation is not only unnecessary but it is, it could set industrial relations back years in this country.
[254] At a time when more progressive countries are facilitating improved levels of communications between all sides of industry, this government sets out to cause disharmony and to create friction.
[255] More sensible governments place the onus on solving problems through social partnership, through improving standards, through actually encouraging training and recognizing skills.
[256] In the midst of this terrible recession this government can think of nothing better than scrapping Wages Councils and introducing more union curbs.
[257] These new measures will actively encourage unscrupulous employers to further exploit over two and a half million low paid in this country, mostly of them women.
[258] These measures make Britain an employment dumping ground, a country that pays its workers low wages and offers its workers no protection.
[259] Probably the largest attack is centred on the deduction from wages or check-off legislation.
[260] This is not unusual these days from employees while blaming the economic situation to refuse an increase in pay.
[261] But, in order to maintain the services to our members, unions will probably still have to increase rates at an annual basis.
[262] Imagine the situation where employers are now obliged to notify employee members of that rise in contribution and also reminding them that they have the right to withdraw their authorization.
[263] So not only do we have the challenge every three years to ensure that our members renew check-off but we will have in all probability through a similar process on an annual basis.
[264] What a drain on valuable time and resources.
[265] Colleagues, this composite calls for the immobilization of the union's many resources to campaign against the vicious and unnecessary legislation.
[266] It refers to G M, G M B sponsored MPs and MEPs.
[267] We demand that they defend our interests, both in Westminster and Eur European Parl Parliament, but we must realize that until the electorate of this country vote in a Labour government, as I am sure they will do in the near future, no later, we will have a w workplace campaigns, we'll have workplace campaigns to educate and inform our members.
[268] We are good at organizing and organizing we'll do.
[269] Colleagues, support this composite.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [270] Composite motion twenty three to be moved by Midlands ...
Kathy (PS2F9) [271] President, Congress,, Midlands and East Coast Region, moving composite twenty three.
[272] Congress, in moving this composite I have no intention of delivering a history lesson.
[273] We're all painfully aware of our individual employment situations have changed for the worse over the past fourteen years of Tory government.
[274] As each slice of anti-trade union legislation has gone onto the statute book we've become less able to effectively represent our membership.
[275] We have witnessed the massive growth in unemployment, a huge increase in the number of part-time and home workers, many of them accepting a grotesquely low rate of pay.
[276] The decline in real earnings of all industrial workers is reflected in the growth of overtime in every industry.
[277] Twelve members of the European Community moved towards the standardization of workers' rights as contained in the Social Chapter of the Maastricht Treaty.
[278] John Major's government gallops proudly in the opposite direction.
[279] At a time when only one in five Conservative voters think that there is a need for further anti-union legislation, the government is pushing through the Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Bill.
[280] The preceding composite has focused our attention on the effects of the forthcoming legislation.
[281] It is strange to consider that were it not for the intervention of Conservative industrialists, the proposals in this Bill could have been far worse.
[282] Lord Prior, figurehead at G E C, and former Tory Minister, argued against the government's original proposal that the employee's authorization of check-off facilities should be on a yearly basis.
[283] Such a proposal, he concluded, would be unworkable from the employer's point of view.
[284] He also indirectly supported the Bridlington Agreement by stating that employers preferred single union deals.
[285] The Tories have stopped short of making trade union membership illegal but is it legal to punish trade union members financially through selective redundancies, and as collective agreements are cancelled through offering inferior individual contracts and withholding pay rises?
[286] The Tories attempt to justify their punitive legislation by stating that industrial disputes affect economic growth.
[287] During the past twenty five years Italy has had the highest strike rate in Europe.
[288] During that same period of time Italy's average growth in industrial production has been four percent, compared to the U K's one point nine.
[289] The Tories would also that curtailing trade union rights is an important factor in attracting foreign investment.
[290] During the first eleven years of Tory government approximately twenty thousand jobs per year were created by foreign-owned companies.
[291] Compare that to the millions who joined the unemployed register.
[292] Congress, the very least we can ask of the Labour Party is for a total commitment to the repeal of all anti-trade union legislation enacted since nineteen seventy nine, and a commitment to sign the Social Chapter of the Maastricht Treaty.
[293] Only then can we begin to repair the damage caused since the Tories came to power.
[294] We can then effectively return to fighting for the improved quality of life of all our members.
[295] President, I move.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [296] Thanks very much.
[297] G M B Scotland to second, G M B Scotland to second.
Ethel (PS2FA) [298] President, Congress,, G M B Scotland, seconding composite twenty three.
[299] In the last fifteen years we've been a country where law had little to do with Labour relations.
[300] Britain has become a country where almost every aspect of industrial relations are now covered by legal restraints.
[301] Although we should remember this discussing this motion today that the British state has never been averse or slow to use the law to subjugate working men and women.
[302] However, the reason that the contemporary attacks are different is that the shackling of trade unions was an integral part in Margaret Thatcher's economic package and if the only reason for [...] this legislation was because it was part of a failed economic strategy then that in itself should be enough, but the real effect of anti-trade union legislation should be examined in the context of a wider social and industrial parameter, and if we take just one Act, the Employment Act of nineteen eighty, we can get some idea of the effect of Tory employment legislation.
[303] Six and seven of that Act increased the limits for unfair dismissal from twenty six weeks to two years.
[304] Section eight helped to introduce short-term contracts ... section nine removed the minimum basic award t for compensation for unfair dismissal.
[305] Section fourteen reduced the time period for entitlement of guaranteed payments and, perhaps worst of all, sections eleven twelve and thirteen on maternity rights affected the rights of women to return to work.
[306] Of course, this Act was followed by those of eighty two, eighty four, eighty eight, eighty nine, ninety, ninety one, ninety two and ninety three.
[307] All of them are equally vicious and vin vindictive.
[308] But we can see from the nineteen eighty Act that.
[309] despite its protestations, that it speaks in the name of individuals by shredding employment protection and undermining collectivism.
[310] This government undermines each and every worker.
[311] The truth is that acting in is isolation workers simply cannot recognize their rights against the superior powers of employers and of capital.
[312] Ultimately trade unions are the workers only social protection.
[313] There's a very succinct quote about law by Oliver Goldsmith and he puts it really into perspective and he says, laws ground the poor and rich men rule the law.
[314] It's time to get these laws off the backs of the working class.
[315] Support the composite.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [316] Does Birmingham wish to put a speaker in?
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [317] No
Dick (PS2F7) [318] No.
[319] Thanks very much.
[320] Colleagues, motion three four two.
[321] Labour Movement Media Campaign.
[322] Midland Region to move ...
Kathy (PS2FB) [323] President, Congress,, Midlands and East Coast Region.
[324] Today, we've had two examples of the media campaign.
[325] Timex in Scotland.
[326] What do we know about the Timex dispute in Scotland?
[327] I personally don't know a lot about it apart from the fact that Arthur Scargill went up there and there was a bit of excitement.
[328] But it made the national press because Arthur was up there and there was a bit of shouting and scuffling.
[329] John mentioned the Burnsall dispute.
[330] I've never heard of that one at all.
[331] But by looking at this document here, it would appear there's been more violence committed there against lawful pickets and yet that doesn't make the national press.
[332] Two examples of bias in the press.
[333] The Labour im [clears throat] ownership of the mass media tends to be concentrated in the hands of a few companies.
[334] Not just, not just publishing but also broadcasting in cinemas.
[335] I quote from [...] the sixth of July nineteen eighty seven.
[336] On all three continents where Mr Murdoch rules his titles support businessmen, governments and their ambitions.
[337] It is an awesome power which threatens our democracy.
[338] It is not simply because Mr Murdoch interferes with editorial policy, which he does, but because his staff, from the moment they are employed, know what is expected of them.
[339] They know what to write and how to write, and if they do not they will be out the front door before they can pick up their hats and coats.
[340] End quote.
[341] Awesome power indeed.
[342] Labour should not get elected.
[343] Kinnock cannot be trusted.
[344] Too many U-turns.
[345] Kinnock too lightweight and a clown, slipping on the beach.
[346] Labour would do better with John Smith as a leader.
[347] Labour hold victory rally in Sheffield before election.
[348] The bias at times is obvious.
[349] At others more subtle.
[350] Television interviews.
[351] Get the politician or the industrial leader against a bi a good background, own office, bit of make up, comfortable in his own surroundings.
[352] Interview the trade union leader in the street.
[353] Traffic, unflattering angles, our knows about this a very subtle way
Dick (PS2F7) [354] [clapping] you know what they're laughing at?
[355] You know what they're laughing at?
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Kathy (PS2FB) [356] A very subtle way of colouring people's views.
[357] Indeed, leading up the General Election, one tabloid paper said truth, not propaganda, and it ran a series of articles each day de doing features on the main Parties, to give a fair and balanced view, but also running other features claiming nothing wrong with the N H S, banking systems and other high profile problems.
[358] But then, on the day of the election, they said, we have given you all the facts but on balance advise you to v vote for John Major.
[359] Bias?
[360] What bias?
[361] There are out there people of thirty plus who have never known a Labour government, who only know what they see and read.
[362] We cannot afford to wait t a few months before the next election.
[363] We need now to get our act together.
[364] Unions put out newspapers, many put out more than one.
[365] We need an urgent review, maybe less papers but more information on rights lost and what Labour policies are for the future.
[366] Some of these thirty plus never had the rights so how do they know what have gone?
[367] Questions need answering.
[368] What is the Social Charter?
[369] Why huge job losses if we have a minimum wage?
[370] Why would a maximum forty eight, forty eight hour week lose jobs?
[371] It's up to us to inform them.
[372] Fewer, but better, papers.
[373] Bright snappy leaflets for notice boards.
[374] [...] Lord Northcliffe once wrote, God made people read so that I could fill their brain with facts and later tell them whom to love and whom to hate and what to think.
[375] Well we need to make people think and we need to make them care.
[376] Support motion three four two.
[377] I move.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [378] Thank you .
[379] A seconder for three four two?
Steve (PS2FC) [380] President, Congress,, Midlands and East Coast Region, seconding motion three four two.
[381] Congress, as you know, our Union supports a free press but would like better rights of redress.
[382] Let me give you an example of the misuse of the press.
[383] The Sun published a front page lead stating that a Labour London borough had banned the teaching of Baa Baa Black Sheep as racist.
[384] This had been replaced by Baa Baa Green Sheep.
[385] This story was completely untrue and was successfully challenged in front of the Press Council.
[386] The correction was printed in a small two centimetre box hidden in well inside the paper.
[387] Other countries such as America allow papers to have a political leaning in terms of editorials etcetera.
[388] But actual stories must be balanced and if not, the correction has to be the same, must have the same prominence in the original, as the original, article.
[389] Why won't this government adopt a similar law for this country?
[390] Now, one of the successes that the media's had, if you can call it a success, is to link socialism and losers together.
[391] The trouble is, the media is able to influence the public and unfortunately influential people in the trade union and labour movements, and maybe they believe the propaganda that socialism is dead and respond accordingly.
[392] That's the media, the power of the media.
[393] What is needed from you Congress is to fight these distortions and to take back the front page headlines and make sure that the headlines are accurate, fair and truthful.
[394] I second motion three four two.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [395] Three four three Lancashire Region to move ...
John (PS2FD) [396] , Lancashire Region, speaking on motion three four three.
[397] The anti-trade union laws which we face in October are just another attempt by this government to wipe out socialism and break the trade union movement.
[398] We must demand that these laws be abolished because if this government has its way, the working man will have gone back one hundred years.
[399] Together with the abolition of the Wage Councils and the minimum wage, the working man will find himself at the mercy of the unscrupulous bosses.
[400] The laws have already crippled the working people throughout the U K. We watched unions being taken apart and what has the leadership done?
[401] Nothing.
[402] Get up front.
[403] Attack these laws.
[404] We will start to rebul rebuild the movement brick by brick.
[405] Only by being united will we defeat this government.
[406] promised to fight for the miners.
[407] Three hundred thousand marched in London, hundred thousand elsewhere across Britain, supported by millions.
[408] The tragedy is that didn't carry the fight through.
[409] I believe what goes around comes around, and our day will come.
[410] No more oppression, no more shackles, no more exploitation.
[411] We must start to fight back now and the G M B should be at the for forefront.
[412] I say fight the laws, fight this government, fight for the survival of socialism and the trade union movement.
[413] I move.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping] ...
Graham (PS2FE) [414] Mister President, Congress,, Lancashire Region, seconding motion three four three.
[415] I believe, brothers and sisters, at this Conference, we must decide whether we're gonna take away from here back to our members any credibility.
[416] I don't imp intend to preach to the converted but what I do intend to say to anyone in this hall that's either indifferent or complacent or just too idle to do anything than let this motion drift by them, that if we don't get together on this issue to get the message over to our national officers and in turn the T U C, that if we don't stand and fight for the right to uphold the basic principles of what I believe to be trade unionism, that is the right to withdraw labour, the right to protect our brothers and sisters from oppressive employers, the right to command decent conditions and fair pay without fair reprisal.
[417] If we don't make a stand now then all of us in this hall will be a living, breathing testament to the betrayal of all those that have gone before us and we'll leave nothing for anybody coming in the future.
[418] As a works convenor, I work along twenty shop stewards, and I can tell this Congress that the message that they've given to me from the people from the people that have elected them, is that they're sick and tired of the perpetual bleating of the T U C about how they have to abide by the laws, when the only laws that are there are the laws that are bringing this movement down.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Graham (PS2FE) [419] There comes a time when natural justice supersedes any law made by any government, and that time's now.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Graham (PS2FE) [420] No longer the excuse of keeping low profile ... [tape change] actions, hoping for a Labour government because if we haven't got the guts to stand up and fight the government that made these laws, then we've got no right to challenge a future Labour government that inherits 'em.
[421] Brothers and sisters, I say to you that the message that must leave this Conference is one that says to all trade unionists, we will fight any oppressive legislation used against us.
[422] All our brothers and sisters, when they need us, whatever the cost, wherever the place, we need no one to do the job for us.
[423] We won't wait any longer.
[424] We must say to our officers now, today, don't sit back and see the life blood squeezed out of our union.
[425] Show this government something, by your example, that they haven't got, and that's strong leadership.
[426] The leadership that the T U C have starved us of for over ten years.
[427] And give us back the pride and the credibility that we once took for granted as trade unionists but we allowed to slip away from us, and make us a force to be reckoned with, and send this government a message, we'll never allow anyone at Westminster to tell us how to run the G M B, we'll never allow anyone at Westminster to prevent us from protecting our brothers and sisters and we'll no never ever allow anyone at Westminster to defeat the trade union movement.
[428] I second the motion.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [429] Motion three four six Southern Region ...
Adrian (PS2FF) [430] Congress, Mister President,, Southern Region, moving motion three four six.
[431] Colleagues, the de-recognition and non-recognition of trade unions in the U K has fast become the central challenge to and for the trade union movement, particularly as this government is committed to accelerating the de-recognition process.
[432] This creeping destruction of workers' rights has spread rapidly from journalists to printers, from tanker drivers to docks, telecom managers to mines, and lecturers to insurance staff.
[433] Slowly but surely the rights of trade union reps are being eroded.
[434] In some cases, incentives are being given by management to workers who disassoc disassociate themselves from the unions, leading to hostility and antagonism within the workplace between workers who have traditionally been united in furthering industrial relations.
[435] Trade union de-recognition is having effect of reducing the solidarity of workers and of reducing rights built up over a hundred years of trade union movement.
[436] And the government is proud of its achievement.
[437] In fact, it is so proud that it now boasts at a European level of the cheap U K labour costs and the lack of workers' rights.
[438] Two months ago the British government took out advertisements in regional newspapers in Germany encouraging business to come to Britain to take advantage of low labour costs compared to elsewhere in the E C. The advertisement proudly noted that the labour cost index for Britain is one hundred, compared to one seventy eight in Germany.
[439] In another publication, circulated by the D T I to foreign embassies, the government boasts and I quote, new labour laws have been introduced so that employers are now under no statutory obligation to recognize any union.
[440] Colleagues, if this government is so blatantly prepared to sell out its own workers in such a public manner, then there will surely be no limit to the steps they will be prepared to take to further reduce union power.
[441] We must fight the challenge for what it is.
[442] A direct attack on the fundamental freedoms and rights of workers to organize themselves collectively.
[443] But social dumping is but one example of the way in which the European spirit has been abused by this government.
[444] Unscrupulous employers have found new ways of sidestepping European social directives which depend on having union representatives in the workplace.
[445] By de-recognizing these representatives, employers can effectively ignore their obligations in Europe and thereby deny workers' rights accepted as basic conditions in the eleven other member states.
[446] Colleagues, union de-recognition strikes at the very heart of the trade union movement, and in preparing to face this challenge, the G M B must be at the forefront of the fight.
[447] Congress, I move.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [448] Is there a seconder for three four six? ...
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [449] Congress, I second motion three four six.
[450] The nineteen eighty Employment Act gives the possibility to the employers through the U K to de-recognize legitimate trade unions and these trade union re representatives has to be the most damaging piece of government legislation of the last two decades.
[451] It is directed at the core of the transpor the general un er the er tee the union movement, which is unity thr throughout the workplace.
[452] It has allowed employers to drive a wedge between workers making the members of thi the, the workforce a second class citizens within their, their own workplace.
[453] It has allowed unscrupulous employers to avoid E C directives such as collective redundancies, transfers of undertakings, a range of health and safety directives.
[454] I second this motion.
[455] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [456] Colleagues, I call to put the C E C position ...
Dick (PS2F7) [457] , Southern Region Secretary, responding on behalf of the C E C. President, Congress, the C E C is asking you to support composite twenty two, support composite twenty three, and motions three four two and three four six.
[458] We accept motion three four three with some qualifications as it begs the question actually how do we refine anti-trade union laws?
[459] We have long sought parliamentary protection against the common law and have already accepted some state interference in our rulebooks.
[460] We have, for example, welcomed laws that allows us to merge and accept transfers of engagements from other trade unions and also laws allowing political expenditure.
[461] The G M B supports a fresh approach to industrial relations' law with a completely new legislative code which brings international standards fully into the U K. President, we are totally opposed to the repressive trade union laws brought in by Tory governments over the last fourteen years.
[462] Tory governments that have said they are the champions of the individual, but have eroded the rights of individual workers over the last fourteen years.
[463] That want economic benefits of Europe for the [...] of the business world but have denied British workers the protection of European social legislation.
[464] That abolishes Wages Councils but denies the lowest paid British workers a minimum rate of pay which the other eleven member states provide.
[465] As mentioned by the speaker of three four six about advertising in foreign newspapers, they have the audacity to advertise in foreign newspapers that cheap labour is available in Britain.
[466] They actually take pride in promoting Britain as the sweatshop of Europe.
[467] What kind of government is this?
[468] It's been mentioned by several speakers today.
[469] They're a sick cynical uncaring government that will go to any extremes to deny individual workers their rights.
[470] This was clearly illustrated just over a week ago when, by the cynical abuse of the legislative process, they introduced an amendment to the Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Bill at the eleventh hour in the Lords.
[471] They did this to overturn the Court of Appeal ruling that found on behalf of a Daily Mail journalist and an employee of British [...] .
[472] The judgement found that the trade unionists had been penalized for being members of a trade union.
[473] They were denied a pay rise when they refused to sign a personal contract because they wanted to be covered by the trade union collective agreement.
[474] The government's justification for this amendment was, and I quote, it was not in line with what the government expected.
[475] This is according to someone we've never heard of before and hopefully will never hear of again, a Viscount Ullswater.
[476] They're actually now infringing on our civil rights.
[477] They're infringing on our basic right to be a member of a trade union.
[478] And it was mentioned by the member of motion twenty three, they're actually now starting to look at membership of a trade union being illegal.
[479] The disgraceful action was described by Hugo Young of The Guardian as a shameful saga of a politically sick society.
[480] Congress, what is just as worrying is apparently the Parliamentary Labour Party was extremely reluctant to take any stand at all to respond to this blatant breach of I L O laws.
[481] Perhaps they should spend more time concentrating on protecting interests of workers than promoting constitutional debate within the Party.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [482] President, where do we go from here?
[483] I am pleased to report to Congress that, following a meeting with our lawyers, we're reasonably confident that there are in fact two avenues open to us to challenge the government in the Courts on the Social Chapter.
[484] We will now be considering how best to progress this challenge.
[485] We will continue to campaign vigorously with our colleagues in the trade union, and hopefully the labour movement, on all aspects of employment rights, not just through the media as asked for in three four two, but at the workplace.
[486] Despite fourteen years of trying to smash us into submission, they'll fail to break the spirit of the working people of Britain.
[487] Our members have had enough of repressive Tory employment laws that give too much power to unscrupulous employers and no protection for the workers.
[488] The British public have had enough.
[489] Trade unionists are fighting back.
[490] The General Secretary mentions some of them in his Report, and I do not apologize for mentioning it again, they're fighting back at Timex, they're fighting back at Burnsall, in my own region at Crawley we've twenty members who've been on strike for the last sixteen and a half weeks.
[491] They're fighting back in other workplaces throughout the U K. We must fully support these workers and campaign for them.
[492] The G M B will use every aven avenue open to us to ensure that British workers do not become the sweated labour of Europe.
[493] We demand the same rights, protection and civil liberties that other European workers enjoy.
[494] C E C recommends support composite twenty two, twenty three, motions three four two, three four six, motion fo three four three with the qualifications mentioned.
[495] Thank you colleagues.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [496] Thanks very much indeed er .
[497] I put the, put the Resolutions to the vote.
[498] Composite motion twenty two, all those in favour?
[499] Against?
[500] That's carried.
[501] Composite twenty three, all those in favour?
[502] Against?
[503] That's carried.
[504] Motion three four two, all those in favour?
[505] Against?
[506] That's carried.
[507] Motion three four three, all those in favour?
[508] That's carried.
[509] Er, anybody against?
[510] That's carried.
[511] Motion three four six, all those in favour?
[512] Against?
[513] That's carried.
[514] Colleagues, you'll have noted the time of the day.
[515] It's about fourteen minutes, thirteen minutes past four by my watch.
[516] Now, we were due to finish at four o'clock but I'm not suggesting we can get through all the business if we carry on.
[517] However, we've got the next composite twenty four on part-time workers which is very important, and rights of work.
[518] All these motions are associated in a way with the previous debates that we've had.
[519] I think, if we went on for another half an hour or forty five minutes, we could clear virtually everything.
[520] We would only be then left with the er Regional Reports.
[521] However important those are, I feel confident that we could get those in at the end of the week somewhere.
[522] Would you agree with me that we carry on?
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [...]
Dick (PS2F7) [523] Thank you very much indeed.
[524] Part-time workers, composite motion twenty four, part-time and temporary workers, Yorkshire Region to move.
[525] G M B Scotland to second.
[526] Priority in debate Northern Region.
[527] If speakers could come down to the front please ... Colleagues, settle now please.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [528] President, Congress,, Yorkshire North Derbyshire Region,mov moving composite [clears throat] moving composite on part-time and temporary labour.
[529] You might find it's a little bit strange me stood up here talking to you about temporary labour, part-time workers, when you've heard what Asda's gone through and said temporary labour situations all morning.
[530] But I'm still here to ask you to support this motion on the plight of casual and temporary workers.
[531] Many of us here present today have worked for our employers for over two years so we have some protection under law.
[532] Well, it's a bit of a joke really.
[533] In many instance not even that's a consolation.
[534] The casual workers are the perfect tar target for the employ employers who to swing the d Sword of Damocles.
[535] They'll chop your heads off when they feel like it.
[536] This is how the employers see the temporary and casual worker.
[537] They'll do any job.
[538] They'll not answer back.
[539] They can move 'em about when they feel like it.
[540] And they'll put up with any conditions.
[541] They can pay 'em what they like and if they upset anybody they're down the road.
[542] Well, we all know that cos that's exactly what happens to 'em.
[543] If we carry on to let 'em do as they like, what'll happen is this section of the workforce will go in such a decline, they'll be very profitable which as we've already heard as Asda are trying it on now.
[544] When costs are so profitable why would they need full-time employees, they can just have us stood at the door any d any g at the gate any week they want, begging for a day's work.
[545] My granddad did.
[546] I'm sure some of yours did.
[547] In a lot of, a lot of situations these er employees can't go to bank, get a loan, they can't get a mortgage, building society won't listen to 'em, nobody really cares about 'em.
[548] ... We need to ensure that these people get some form of equal right, equal right with a s simple contract.
[549] More and more employees are using these casual workers and every one of our jobs is under threat cos if you lose your job tomorrow, you're a casual the day after.
[550] As easy as that ... people who have to work under these conditions, right, in the threat of w threat of labour, have real problems with the kids.
[551] You know, the normal things in life.
[552] A bit of security of employment so they can sort of sort out for an holiday.
[553] Instead what happens is they do thirteen weeks as some place and they're down road.
[554] It's no good at all.
[555] ... If their protection under agreement and under law was exactly the same as a full time-worker then what'd happen is simple.
[556] There'd be no need to have 'em as casuals or temporary workers.
[557] I've heard in fac er in my factory, I've heard it in other places, right, when a temporary l temporary or casual worker goes down the road, or a part-timer work's cut short, ah it's only a casual and he only expected to be here for a few weeks.
[558] Who'll tell his wife and kids that cos I don't want to.
[559] And it does matter.
[560] It matter to all of us.
[561] We can't accept these conditions for our employees so sign 'em up for the G M B and fight for their rights.
[562] Fight for a fair, the fairness, and a fair ineq quality of life.
[563] Colleagues, I move this motion.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [564] G M B Scotland to second?
[565] G M B Scotland to second ...
Kathy (PS2F9) [566] Chair, delegates,, Lanarkshire two branch, clothing and textile section, seconding temporary workers.
[567] The forgotten people, or so it seems.
[568] The people who continue to be discriminated against by employers with regard to pay, holidays, redundancies, working conditions, pensions, maternity rights etcetera.
[569] Congress must fully support moves by the T U C and the Labour Party to ensure that temporary workers are treated no less favourably than full-time workers.
[570] Action is essential.
[571] Particuary particularly, sorry, in today's economic climate.
[572] Increasing numbers of people are being employed on temporary basis.
[573] Making life so much harder for th for the worker and so very much easier for the employers.
[574] For example, if there is an unexpected budgetary overshoot, the labour force can effortlessly be reduced by simply not renewing employment contracts, which is why industries are succumbing to the same ruthless logic.
[575] I urge you to support this motion for temporary workers, and let's have equal rights for all.
[576] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [577] Northern Region ...
Ethel (PS2FA) [578] , Northern Region, supporting composite twenty four.
[579] President, Congress.
[580] How would you like to have no employment rights?
[581] This is the case with most temporary workers and some part-time workers.
[582] No right to redundancy and no right to accrued holiday pay.
[583] Most will be paid less than full-time workers and be on short-term contracts, I E monthly and in some cases weekly.
[584] In my own particular section of the clothing and textiles the union fought long and hard to gain the same rights and conditions for temporary workers, and so leading to permanent employment in most cases.
[585] In the present economic climate, I feel we are taking a backward step to the bad old days.
[586] How many rights have we lost since the Tories came to power?
[587] We now have many more temporary and part-time workers, with the so-called, in commas, decent employers, who will do anything to save money.
[588] Isn't this a threat to the workers who feel their job is permanent?
[589] How many employee employers, I E British Home Stores, have paid off their full-time staff and given them part-time only employment.
[590] Timex in Scotland who sacked all their workforce, who now have no job at all.
[591] How many more will try this on in the future?
[592] We can no longer stand by and let this happen.
[593] When will we say enough is enough?
[594] Well, Congress, I say it's now.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [595] Congress, the C E C are recommending your acceptance with a statement and I call National Vice President ...
Kathy (PS2FB) [596] Congress, President,, speaking on behalf of the C E C. Congress, the C E C is appalled at the increase in the use of part-time and temporary contracts by employers as a way of cost-cutting.
[597] This increase, accelerated by the recession, has meant inequality and discrimination for hundreds and thousands of workers.
[598] The growth in the labour market flexibility, as employers like to call it, has become another way of describing de-regulation of employment conditions and eroding trade union rights.
[599] Under the Tories part-time and temporary working all too often, not all too often, always,ha means low pay, poorer working conditions and few of the benefits enjoyed by full-time workers.
[600] Britain is fast becoming a sweatshop economy based on cheap labour and no investment and the Tories have proved it.
[601] John Major himself, when they put adverts in every press in Europe, come to Britain, our employees have no rights and they are cheap labour.
[602] So it's not rhetoric, it's truth.
[603] Instead of moving forward into the twenty first century, the Tories are moving backward us backwards with working conditions that would be more suited to the nineteenth century.
[604] Colleagues, since nineteen eighty one, we have stood on this platform and denounced C C T, compulsive competitive tendering, because it was the start of low paid temporary workers.
[605] Lower the hours, no holidays, doing the same amount of work in shorter hours, if you want to win the contract.
[606] Most of us, or most employees, were threatened.
[607] Well, some time ago Jack Straw was supposed to have said that under the no new er Acts, or under a Labour government, that C C T would remain because of a transfer of undertakings we didn't er need to change.
[608] This union made Jack Straw in no doubt, and the Labour Party, that on their election the compulsory element of C C T will be removed, and if they had any ideas they'd better forget 'em.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Kathy (PS2FB) [609] Congress, not so long ago we had Panorama and I T V, and I congratulate both of 'em, for highlighting to the world the problems of temporary and low paid part-time workers, where one agent went under cover and where Panorama highlighted that temporary working conditions, not of back-street sweatshops, not of the little corner shops down the road, or th or the little needlework factories, but of E M I, one of our biggest producers in this country, that they were employing labour for one year eleven months and twenty eight days and then sacking 'em.
[610] What a disgrace for a company to behave, a company like E M I.
[611] And there's not only E M I, there's a vast number of 'em.
[612] Well, a few weeks ago, on your behalf, I attended the National Policy Forum of the Labour Party and we made it quite plain that the Labour government in its manifesto will have full employment rights for all from day one, so no one can abuse workers' rights.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Kathy (PS2FB) [613] And you'll be pleased to know that Frank Dobson has agreed to meet us on the fourteenth of June and we will make sure, to the best of our effort, that that policy will be endorsed.
[614] Congress, the C E C is committed to negotiating full-time rights and benefits for part-time and temporary workers.
[615] We will ensure our bargaining agenda makes the employer's so-called flexibility work for G M B part-time and temporary workers and it will be full empli employment right for all from day one.
[616] Thank you.
[617] Support the composite.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [618] Thank you very much indeed .
[619] I put composite motion twenty four to the vote.
[620] All those in favour?
[621] Against?
[622] That's carried.
[623] Rights at Works, colleagues, will include motion three two three, motion three three eight, three five O, three five two, three five three, three six five.
[624] C E C are accepting, coupled with a statement and with a qualification and then I'll be asking to respond for the C E C. Motion three two three May Day Holidays.
[625] Lancashire Region to move and could the other speakers move, and seconders, additional speakers, come down to the rostrum please ...
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [626] President, Congress.
[627] I never thought in my wildest dreams that this motion'd be on an agenda.
[628] But there again I'm not bloody surprised.
[629] The leadership we've had from the trade union movement over the last fourteen years, we've been picked off on everything.
[630] As the old Greek said, what you have you hold.
[631] Now we're likely to bloody lose it.
[632] I can't for the love of me understand the leadership of all the unions that allowed, we don't even get enough holidays of what they get on the continent, we should be asking for more, not taking them off us or putting it in October to celebrate Nelson and Trafalgar because I couldn't give a monkey for 'em.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping] [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [633] If you want your holidays, you have them in the summer time and May Day is a workers' day.
[634] It's nothing to do with politics, with the Labour Party, the Conservative or the Communist Party.
[635] It's always been a workers' day and I hope it will remain so.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [636] Is there a seconder? ...
John (PS2FD) [637] Er, Lancashire Region.
[638] President, Congress.
[639] In seconding the motion for keeping the May Day holiday, it is my opinion that th th g this government is having yet another go at the unions.
[640] It seems to me that we are having to fight all over again to keep many things that we have already fought for and gained in the past.
[641] We must all fight together to keep thet
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [642] Motion three three eight, European Legislation, Lancashire Region to move ...
Graham (PS2FE) [643] [clears throat] , Lancashire Region, moving motion three three eight on European Legislation.
[644] President, Congress.
[645] Over the last few weeks certain parts of European legislation have come to the forefront of media attention.
[646] Not least, the ruling of a maximum working week of forty eight hours.
[647] This Tory government, in its infinite wisdom, has decided not to introduce this ruling until at the earliest two thousand and three.
[648] What a farce.
[649] This government should be forced to stand by its convictions, not just pick and choose rulings to follow which will fill its [...] whilst ignoring those which will benefit the ordinary working man.
[650] Why should the government be allowed to get away with limiting the Transfer of Undertakings legislation to the private sector?
[651] Are public sector employees' rights less important than those of private sector employees?
[652] I think not.
[653] I move.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [654] That seconded?
[655] Thank you very much.
[656] Motion three five O, Employment, London Region to move ...
Adrian (PS2FF) [657] President, Congress,, London Region, moving Resolution three five O. Congress, I'm sure everybody here has heard of, or had experience of, the changes taking place in the terms of our employment.
[658] No longer do we take it for granted as meaning that we get a job in a company, or an industry, with the hope and intention of learning new skills, gaining experience and becoming part of an enterprise, in turn passing on skills and giving others the benefit of our experience.
[659] In the past, this did not mean that we would not move from company to company, it most certainly did not mean that we ha that we thought we had a job for life, but it did mean that we expected a degree of permanence and improvement as part of the reward for our endeavours and labour.
[660] But that has all changed now.
[661] What we now see all too often is a variety of less secure substitutions for full-time direct employment.
[662] These come in the guise of short-term and temporary contracts, agency staff and contracting out, rolling contracts and extended trial periods, right across the employment scene.
[663] And make no mistake, although this has been introduced in a piecemeal and seemingly haphazard manner, it is in effect a well thought out policy, with the strategy coming from the Tory think-tanks and implemented with gusto by their close friends and allies in both public and private industry.
[664] And the goals of this policy are many and varied.
[665] Prime amongst them is to d to undermine nationally agreed wages and conditions, to undermine rights embodied in industrial law, to undermine trade union membership and organization.
[666] And the victims of this policy are often low paid and often women, but it's by no means confined to these groups.
[667] It is widespread and growing to the extent that the government is currently seeking to legislate for variable contracts between trade union members and non-members.
[668] But the effects and intentions of short-termism go far beyond these limits.
[669] Just think what we have struggled to build up over the years, for what we call job security.
[670] We've struggled to establish financial security so as to provide for the needs of our families and communities.
[671] Good health, good housing, good education and freedom from the fear of poverty and deprivation.
[672] And we approach this in a positive manner, so that hand in hand with stability we had job satisfaction, fulfilment and pride.
[673] But once a job becomes a series of chances with restrictions built in, all of what we struggled for becomes a thing of the past.
[674] Uncertainty replaces contentment, insecurity replaces hope.
[675] Some aspects of short-termism can be dressed up to look appealing.
[676] Well, it's better than no job at all som I hear them say.
[677] No, there can be no doubt that long-term effects will be bad for organized labour and a cruel price for many, a price not worth paying.
[678] Colleagues, short-termism must be opposed and reversed.
[679] I move.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [680] Is there a seconder for three five O?
[681] Thank you.
[682] Motion three five two, Yorkshire Region to move ...
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [683] President, Congress , Yorkshire North Derbyshire Region, moving three five two.
[684] Contracts of Employment.
[685] A contract of employment can also consist of items other than those listed in employment statements.
[686] Works rules, custom and practice, and some terms in collective agreements can all be incorporated.
[687] The law says that once the employment contracts have been accepted by the employee, then the employer should not make changes without agreement.
[688] If employers try to give notice to change the contract without agreement then they are in fact giving notice to terminate the contract and offering a new one on different terms.
[689] If the employee refuses the change, the employee will be in breach of contract.
[690] If they try to impose it unilaterally, the employm employee would then be entitled to resign and claim constructive dismissal, or alternately, in some circumstances, take the action to a County Court.
[691] This is, of course, is where the problem starts.
[692] The employee must leave his or her employment on the chance that their case [...] succeed.
[693] Bearing in mind that even if an employer's action amounts to constructive dismissal, this does not always mean that the dismissal will automatically be unfair.
[694] The tribunal or court could well take the view that the business needs to reorganize or terminate practices or indeed to cut costs.
[695] All of these can be viewed as valid reasons for changing a contract.
[696] To succeed with a er constructive dismissal case the proposed changes must be viewed as fundamental.
[697] Many changes are not viewed as fundamental in today's economic climate, so in theory we may seem to have the backing of the legal scheme, where in practice we have to cope with the interpretation which is weighed towards the employers and their economic arguments.
[698] Th that is why this motion calls for the C E C to introduce a rolling campaign aimed at introducing legislation which will bind companies to the status quo until new agreements are reached through consultation.
[699] A company breaking this agreement should give us the absolute right to seek compensation.
[700] New legislation is needed because employers can hide behind the smoke screens of reorganization for economic reasons, which enables them to make changes to working people's terms [clears throat] conditions of employment.
[701] Surely if a change is impl imposed on employees, then regardless of the su supposed economic arg argument, regardless of the employer's dictatorial attitude, we should be able to say these proposed changes will not take effect until full negotiation and agreement have been reached.
[702] Colleagues, I ask for you to support, to support this motion.
[703] I also ask you to monitor an any unilateral decision made by your employers and document any changes.
[704] Let your full-time organizer have the details.
[705] We will then be in a position to support our campaign with the facts.
[706] Colleagues, support this motion.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [707] Thanks very much colleague.
[708] Is there a seconder? ...
Dick (PS2F7) [709] President, Congress,, Yorkshire North Derbyshire Region, seconding motion three five two, Contracts of Employment.
[710] has outlined the complex legalities involved in trying to stop emp employers imposing changes to contracts of employment against the wishes of the employee.
[711] On one hand we know that the employees cannot make changes to contacts without agreements.
[712] On the other hand, we realize how difficult it is to use the law to bring these rogue employees to task.
[713] Unfortunately many employees also know how difficult it is for us to stop them simply imposing changes without agreement from the people that are affected.
[714] There are, of course, certain alternatives to using the law.
[715] Workers can refuse to accept the change and withdraw their labour.
[716] Many workers are already looking over their shoulders with four million people in reality unemployment in the United Kingdom.
[717] They do not see strike action as a real choice, and why should they?
[718] They have [clears throat] they have t why should they even have to contemplate taking this type of industrial action?
[719] They have kept their side of the agreement, kept their part of the contract.
[720] Colleagues, fourteen years of Tory rule has taken its toll.
[721] Many employees are using the excuse of falling sales to impose changes to previously agreed conditions, often using the excuse to impose changes to conditions that have been fought for for many years.
[722] They will sometimes attempt to justify the situation by buying out certain conditions.
[723] The workers would rather stick to the status quo but know that an industrial tribunal would rule that the employer was forced to make the changes for supposedly sound economic reasons, and moreover had sought to agree financial compensation.
[724] The motion asks the C E C to initiate a campaign aimed at changing legislation, giving workers the right to refuse to accept changes to previous agreed contracts.
[725] We must start by collating and documenting all cases, all changes, where imposed [clears throat] affecting G M B members.
[726] We should highlight and publicize these imposition, pass the information to our sponsored MPs, ask them to raise the issues in Parliament.
[727] Our forbearers in the trade union movement fought hard to win many of the conditions enjoyed by G M B members today.
[728] They would turn in their graves if they knew that we were allowing employees to simply give twelve weeks' notice of intent to change those conditions.
[729] We need legislation to deal with this issue, but we need legislation with teeth.
[730] We need legislation that will help us retain our hard-fought rights and conditions.
[731] Working people need to maintain their dignity.
[732] If employers can simply change conditions without fear of the law, then the law needs changing.
[733] Colleagues, support the motion and you will help people's dignity in work [...] been stolen.
[734] Support the motion and you will hopefully be starting the campaign for fairness, a campaign for a level playing field, a campaign for justice under law.
[735] Colleagues, I second the motion.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [736] Motion three five three, London Region. ...
Sheila (PS2F8) [737] President, Congress,, London Region.
[738] The saying, one law for them and another for us, goes back a long way.
[739] Probably nobody in Congress was alive when it was first said.
[740] However, the reasons for its conception are as valid today as they were whenever the saying was first coined.
[741] It is truly amazing that in a civilized country with a government staunchly committed to law and order, or so they say, that the tax payer, you Mr President, you fellow delegates, me, and my members, our members, are left to pick up a bill amounting to millions of pounds as a result of actions by certain employers, which are, without doubt, criminal, but not against the law.
[742] I'm talking, Mr President, about companies who, using the mask of the recession, [...] their very best management and at the worst blatant fraud, by going into liquidation overnight, owing millions in unpaid wages, holiday pay, redundancy pay, P A Y E, National Insurance, pension and union contributions, not to mention V A T. There are provisions, subject to limits, for payments of these outstanding debts.
[743] We pay them.
[744] But this takes time, months in fact.
[745] The distress and hardship caused to redundant workers cannot be valued.
[746] However, that disc distress is greatly increased when these workers find that their ex-bosses opens another business with another name, just over the road or in the same premises.
[747] There are numerous examples of this mal-practice.
[748] The sewing factory in Buckinghamshire where twenty five workers arrived to find the door locked and the company in receivership, owing them a total of a hundred thousand pounds.
[749] The brand name of this factory was sold and is now being manufactured abroad, but an unsuspecting public still buys that brand, after having paid in taxes the outstanding debt.
[750] The engineering factory in Hertfordshire who conned their staff into working for three weeks without pay before finally going into receivership.
[751] The loyal workers were gobsmacked to find two months later their ex-boss had bought all his ex-machinery at the receivers' auction for next to nothing and started up in business again under another name in the same premises.
[752] Colleagues, there are many more examples of this crime which is not a crime.
[753] Go on a train without a ticket, or don't get a TV licence and the re [clears throat] is a substantial fine and a criminal record.
[754] Rob workers and the country of millions of pounds and get off scot-free.
[755] A tax loophole for the bosses and a tax noose for us.
[756] Congress, this motion urges a change in legislation so that, in the matter of insolvency, the employer be held liable to a much greater degree and indeed be held criminally responsible for actions involving awardance of debt liability.
[757] For the sake of all employees and re employment rights, I move.
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [758] There a seconder for three five three?
[759] Is there a seconder?
[760] Formally seconded, thanks very much.
[761] Motion three six five, Single Table Pay Negotiations.
[762] Lancashire Region to move ...
Kathy (PS2F9) [763] Er , Lancashire Region, moving motion three six five.
[764] Th the motion's basically saying that we want to continue er our demands for harmonization of conditions pe irrespective of what peop jobs people do er in terms of negotiating, negotiating agreements.
[765] Now the er th it the resolution does say, where appropriate, and I think that obviously it it's not inappropriate, it's not appropriate, to undermine er agreements on the basis of negotiating locally, is what the resolution actually refers to so er so I can see and I would anticipate appropriate would be where it does not undermine er national agreements.
[766] Er, I also wanted to raise the issue of er the public service section in respect to er this because there's something prob perhaps not actually tackled in the resolution but equally er important I think is that it's actually getting the resources into er er down to the br branch level and er if we took this resolution literally, er what it would actually mean would be that er in har with harmonization of agreements we would be handing over er our majority on the manual workers, public service workers to [...] , so obviously we gotta take this resolution very seriously, but consider its implications and the relevance of the word appropriate because I don't think that we want to be er handed over to [...] come July the first er single table bargaining where we are an absolute minority and where th th that union merge that's taking place is obviously hostile to our union.
[767] So I, I move the resolution three six five.
Dick (PS2F7) [768] Thanks very much .
Unknown speaker (HLUPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2F7) [769] Seconder for three six five, formally seconded.
[770] I'm calling of the C E C. Whilst is coming to the rostrum, just make the point colleagues that it's nearly ten years since G C H Q and a massive demonstration is planned when that particular date occurs and we're gonna be very much involved in it.
Ethel (PS2FA) [771] President,, C E C, Lancashire Region.
[772] Congress, the C E C accepts motions three fifty, three five three and three six five.
[773] We mis wish to make statements on motions three three eight, three five two and we have a qualification to motion three two three.
[774] Let me begin with the qualification.
[775] Motion three two three is quite right to criticize the blatantly political proposal to remove the May Day holiday which would leave the U K as one of the few civilized countries without a day to acknowledge the labour movement.
[776] However, we regret the use of the word genocide in the motion since it is quite out of proportion [tape change]