Trade Union Annual Congress. Sample containing about 11700 words speech recorded in business context

11 speakers recorded by respondent number C385

PS2K5 X m (Dick, age unknown, president of trade union) unspecified
PS2K6 X m (Bob, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2K7 X m (Bill, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2K8 X f (Avril, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2K9 X m (Mel, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2KA X m (Cliff, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2KB X m (John, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
HLWPS000 X u (No name, age unknown) unspecified
HLWPS001 X u (No name, age unknown) unspecified
HLWPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
HLWPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 100911 recorded on 1993-06-08. LocationHampshire: Portsmouth ( The Guildhall ) Activity: trade union congress speech

Undivided text

Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [1] vote against it because the future of our union and the interests of our members is at risk.
[2] Let's take it and prevent a constructive relationship with the T & G developing into an unworkable alliance.
[3] I was gonna say unholy but I took it out, I thought it was a bit strong.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [4] Let's stop wasting our time and effort on going down this road to ruin.
[5] We don't need immediate reaction to UNISON or anyone else.
[6] What we should do is show that we're the best union by effectively representing our members, and if others want to join us, then they can, but on our terms.
[7] I move rejection of the statement.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [8] Southern Region?
Bob (PS2K6) [9] , Southern Region.
[10] President, Congress.
[11] The General Secretary has told us that the documen the special document on cooperation with the T & g was carefully written.
[12] It was so carefully written that I've read it three times and I don't think it says anything.
[13] This union has got a long history of, this union's got a long history of amalgamations, some conducted more successfully than others.
[14] This is not an amalgamation we're considering, it's not a merger, it's an enormous undertaking.
[15] But it's something we cannot afford not to be involved in.
[16] We cannot afford to pussyfoot around with it, we cannot afford the time not to be on the move, on the move because that's the only way our members are gonna dictate what they want.
[17] There will be a price to be paid, but it's not to be undertaken at any price.
[18] There are many sacred cows with within this organization that must be preserved, principally our regional structure, our regional financial structure, er is one of the main things that we have to preserve.
[19] My own personal opinion, regardless of what other people think about sectionalization, is that our sectional structure is something which was wi er built up, at times with difficulty and prices have been high and pay has been high.
[20] But it's something that we need to preserve strongly.
[21] The two organizations are s er so large that you can't join 'em together with two pieces of sticking plaster and three tin tacks.
[22] There must be created a new and vibrant organization to meet the challenge of the twenty first century and beyond.
[23] To our colleague from London, let me say I happen to be a boilermaker, not because I'm a dinosaur with me head in the past, but because that happens to be the occupation that I follow and that's what I am.
[24] But let me say that in saying that I'm a boilermaker, I have always been, I am now, and I will always be proud to say that I'm a boilermaker.
[25] But at the same time I'm proud to say that I'm a member of the T an er of the G M B
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Bob (PS2K6) [26] a member of the G M B. I'm proud to say that I'm a trade unionist, and I'm proud to say that I'm a Socialist, and if I'm gonna remain that, and if we're gonna carry that message forward, we've gotta be on the move, we've gotta do it, we've gotta carry it forward, we can't afford to muddle our way through.
[27] We've gotta have a direction, and it's not about who gets the best jobs and who gets the best power positions, it's about dictating an agenda by the members for the members in the interests of our members, the T & g 's members and all trade unionists in this country.
[28] I support the paper.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [29] Northern Region? ...
Bill (PS2K7) [30] President, Congress,, Northern Region, supporting the special motion.
[31] And we will try to be sensible in this debate.
[32] Mr President, since nineteen twenty four and the great amalgamation which formed the G M W, it has been the ambition of many within the G M W and the T & g to complete the task and bring together the tru two great general unions to form one super union.
[33] Over the years many obstacles have arisen to halt these dreams, yet still for many the ultimate objective remains.
[34] In recent years those ambitions of merging the T & g and the G M B have received fresh support.
[35] The decline in membership, the economic recession, has damaged all the trade unions and has forced us all to examine all prejudices, to look above the sectional interests and wherever possible do all we can to protect our movement.
[36] Congress, for all these reasons, the Northern Region support a Special Report.
[37] However, at our pre-congress meeting, many reservations were expressed, the most important of which was concerned at the timing of any merger and about how the new union would be controlled.
[38] Many asked, is it the right time for the G M B to even consider merging with the T & g , particularly given the fact that over the past thirteen years the T & g has lost over fifty percent of their membership and now stands in great financial crisis.
[39] These issues are far- reaching and fundamental to our union.
[40] They require urgent attention by the C E C and must be addressed before any talks are conducted with the T & g .
[41] By supporting this Report the Northern Region does not support a merger at this time.
[42] Instead, we are asking for a frank and open debate within our own union and on that basis, and on that basis alone, will the Northern Region support the Report.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [43] South Western Region? ...
Avril (PS2K8) [44] , South Western Region, speaking in support of the Special Statement.
[45] In supporting this document I believe that we have to look realistically to the future and recognize that one general union would benefit trade union members in the U K far better than continuing to be in competition.
[46] In recent years, cooperation, not competition, has proved that the G M B and T G W U can work together for the advantage of all our members.
[47] We know that throughout the region there has been closer contact between our two unions, hosting joint conferences and campaigns with distinct advantages for all.
[48] Conference, with unemployment on the increase and trade union membership on the decline, trade unions must move forward with wider appeal, with a new concept of unionism for the future.
[49] But colleagues, although my region supports the document, with such an important issue, caution must be our by-word as some regions have had more success than others.
[50] On this basis, the South Western Region supports the C E C Statement.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [51] Lancashire? ...
Mel (PS2K9) [52] Conference,, Lancashire Region.
[53] President, Conference, Lancashire Region supports the document, but with reservations.
[54] I'll talk about the reservations in a few minutes, but the Lancashire Region supports any amalgamation initiatives with any union which is here in the country.
[55] Indeed, that's already our policy.
[56] But, and it's but, supporting the document today does not give the C E C the green light to rush into any amalgamation with the Transport and General Union and carve up the G M B.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Mel (PS2K9) [57] Now colleagues, I've been a member of the G M B for twenty five years.
[58] I've been an activist for over twenty years in this organization.
[59] I've been coming to conference for the last fifteen years to help build the grand union which we've got today and I'm not gonna sit back and watch this carved up, for nobody, for nobody.
[60] A lot of talks, a lot of talks, a lot of consultation is the order of the day.
[61] We don't want any hidden agendas.
[62] The cards have gotta be firmly put on the table.
[63] Everybody's gotta be kept informed of the developments as the merger and the talks start to unfold.
[64] I'm gonna come back to the reservations, because if this amalgamation with the Transport and General Workers goes through, there's gonna be the inevitable casualties.
[65] Yes, casualties within this organization, and nobody in this hall today can escape the possibility of the knife.
[66] Long time officials, lay officials, staff at the organization, you might as well face up to the fact colleagues, a lot of you will have to go.
[67] There's gonna be mass redundancies within the organization, mass redundances, from the shop stewards through to the general sect.
[68] Regional ...
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Mel (PS2K9) [69] regional offices, regional offices is gonna close.
[70] There's only gonna be the need for one hea one one head office.
[71] We're gonna have a surplus of national officers.
[72] Some people say we've got them now.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [73] No no, just behave yourself.
Mel (PS2K9) [74] We're gonna have a surplus of organizers and, dare I say it, one of the General Secretaries is gonna be made redundant.
[75] Unless we take the cuts on board, it's gonna be a waste of time discussing the possibilities of the amalgamations in the first place.
[76] Cuts are gonna have to be made.
[77] And I want to remind you of the history of when amalgamations take place, because a number of people have touched on that very point this morning.
[78] The larger union swallows up the smaller union, and let's get it straight, the T & g are not taking the G M B over.
[79] We're talking about an amalgamation.
[80] Yes, look at a possible amalgamation, recognize the many difficulties which lie ahead, but remember also that the members and the activists within the G M B need to be kept fully informed of what the C E C are doing.
[81] I don't want to listen to any more of the media speculation telling me what's happening to our union.
[82] We have got to get involved.
[83] To finalize, colleagues, you've read the book, now you can see the vision.
[84] The invasion of the body-snatchers.
[85] The D an the T & g and the G M B.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping] [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [86] Yorkshire Region? ...
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [87] President, Congress, colleagues.
[88] Thanks , the bugger's pinched part of me speech.
[89] This Report highlights some of the changes that trade unions have already experienced over the recent years in attempts to explore a new style of trade unionism that is in tune with the needs of working people.
[90] A new style that will allow us to reach the year two thousand with a structure that is suitable for th a new century.
[91] The document details recent experiences of closer contact with the T & g .
[92] It refers to exploring the scope for reducing, or eliminating, duplication of efforts and resources.
[93] This exploration of methods aimed at reducing expenditure, while at the same time improving our service, must be continued.
[94] And if these explorations conclusively point to an amalgamation with the T & g or any other union, then so be it.
[95] But, before we consider any amalgamation with the T & g , we must ensure that our own house is in order.
[96] We must ensure that we know in which direction we are going.
[97] We must decide how the G M B will cope with dramatic changes that will have, and will take place, in the workplaces that we represent.
[98] We must examine in fine detail our own structure.
[99] How we re serve our members, communicate with our members and ask ourselves the question, do we give them what they want?
[100] Have we coped with the very different needs demanded in small groupings of workers based in small shops, or residential homes, or private sports centres, small offices or even individuals working on their own?
[101] Our traditional recruitment base, large factories, are becoming a thing of the past.
[102] Fourteen years of Tory rule has seen to that.
[103] They have butchered our manufacturing base.
[104] To attract this new category of workers to the G M B our own [...] of servin servicing, will have to change.
[105] Quite possibly, many of these people will not be represented at their workplace by a shop steward or lay representative.
[106] They will need advice direct from the nearest G M B office.
[107] The advice that they need will in all probability be a different nature to the normal required in large workplaces.
[108] To make the G M B relevant advice is going to have to be available over the telephone.
[109] With the advances in information technology, answers to many questions could be delivered in minutes, not just on industrial issues, like how cold does it have to be before we stop work, or how heavy a load should I lift, but other questions not related to work that we have not always answered in the past.
[110] Questions related to more social issues, income tax, social security etcetera, could be answered using this system.
[111] G M B employees would need training enabling them to become experts in this field.
[112] Perhaps eventually small drop-in offices would be open in large towns or cities, offering instant face to face access.
[113] Of course, these activities would run parallel to our existing system of servicing our more traditional workforce.
[114] I note that the C E C proposes to report back in nineteen ninety four G M B Congress with an indication of what form the new union resulting from any such amalgamation might take.
[115] The Report will hopefully address many of these issues that I have raised.
[116] Proposed changes to the way in which we have traditionally served our members.
[117] Adapting to new times, releasing new concepts.
[118] This enables the G M B to say without fear of contradiction to any new partner, our house is in order, our structures are in place.
[119] This is the way forward.
[120] Colleagues, I look forward to the Report to Congress in nineteen ninety four.
[121] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [122] Birmingham Region? ...
Cliff (PS2KA) [123] Colleagues,, Birmingham and West Midland Region.
[124] The Birmingham Region fully supports the C E C document and the amalgamation with the T & g , or any other trade union that will fit in and complement our organization.
[125] It would be difficult indeed to argue against the T & g being allowed to merge into the G M B. This organization represents peoples who work in the same type of companies, very often within the same workplaces that we work.
[126] The saving in officer time, shop steward time, and the fact that we fight one another for the same people to join our organization, would be savings great indeed.
[127] The members who've joined the G M B over the past, joined the G M B because in their opinion this was the best trade union in the U K and we are very very proud of our heritage.
[128] And what we wanna say to the General Secretary and the C E C that during the talks that there is one thing which must be maintained, and that is the structure of the G M B. The T & g comes to join us on our terms.
[129] And if you thought you had a fight last year over bi-annual congresses, you wait until you try and do anything that will affect our structure in the future.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Cliff (PS2KA) [130] I'll keep this brief.
[131] I think I've made the relevant points that others may have missed.
[132] Most of what I wanted to say has already been said.
[133] The Birmingham Region supports.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [134] Ask the General Secretary to respond, C=conference ...
John (PS2KB) [135] , General Secretary, responding on behalf of the C E C. Er, perhaps just the two motions first.
[136] Two five five, the reason why the Executive asked for withdrawal was because it's moving us a bit too fast along this track, and it's moving us in a particular direction before we've had the time to think about whether that's the right direction to go.
[137] It may be that a federated structure is either the best long-term, or the best short-term, structure.
[138] But we haven't got there yet, and to give the answer before we've really considered the question is probably the wrong way round.
[139] We're not diving into anything, in fact all we're asking really is inviting you to agree that the C E C might go for a collective paddle with the T & g to see the temperature of the water.
[140] So I hope, in my remarks, and I hope in the general tone of the debate, there's enough to reassure London Region that we need to move forward at a careful pace.
[141] We'll certainly ensure that the prospect and possibility of a federated structure is one the matters which is considered by the C E C during the next few months, and will form part of the Report that comes back to Congress next year.
[142] Er, the other motion is of course pointing to so many of the changes that are taking place in our industrial society which prompt us into building a new union.
[143] I hope that two two eight can be referred so that that discussion can be taken into account in determining the needs of members in the new world, and therefore the design of the new union.
[144] Now, on the Report itself, and just a few quick points.
[145] The idea of course the vision is to create a better union, not one that is exactly like us because er, difficult for me to say so, but we have got the occasional fault here and there.
[146] Not one which is exactly like the T & g .
[147] I won't even comment on their faults because er it might be reported, but something which is better than either.
[148] So how do we do it?
[149] Well, if we're going to move forward to that sort of union, there are really only three unions in this country that can be used as the base for that new structure, that new organization.
[150] G M B is one, T & g 's another and there's a third which I'm not going to name, but most of you can probably guess.
[151] If they want to join us in this enterprise, so much the better.
[152] It would make a better spread across the number of industries and services and if, if they join us, it would help us all considerably.
[153] Several delegates have talked about care.
[154] That's absolutely right and that's why the caution is there in the statement.
[155] The danger with all mergers is that two and two ends up by equalling three.
[156] The new union is less than the sum of the other two.
[157] Our task is to try and make sure that two and two come out at five and the members get a better deal from the new union than they got from either of the amalgamating unions.
[158] Timescale.
[159] Well, there've been some silly things said about this in the Press, and one or two by our colleagues elsewhere.
[160] This is not an enterprise that can be completed in a few months.
[161] If we were just gonna bolt together the two unions then that may be able to be done in a couple of years or so, but if we're trying to build something better, then we're talking about a project that takes place over several years.
[162] And that's why it's important that there needs to be an open debate, both within the union, and there needs to be a proper flow of information from the Executive in these discussions to the branches and to the members to tell them what's going on.
[163] But of course then we get to an almost impossible task.
[164] I wish I had a pound for every time I have denied holding a meeting with the T & g .
[165] Those meetings haven't taken place but of course no-one believes it because mis-information is much more exciting than the truth.
[166] We will send regular reports.
[167] We hope the branches and members w w will believe those reports because they will be the truth, and not some of the more highly coloured statements which I'm sure will be put around from time to time.
[168] We're only suggesting a start on this project but the attitude of mind, our mind, in taking that particular step is important.
[169] Several people have been er kind enough to remind me as General Secretary, and other people, that we're all expendable.
[170] And so we are.
[171] We've really gotta start this project by thinking what is in the interests of the members.
[172] What is the best way forward for them.
[173] trade unionism has been failing in this country for the last fourteen years.
[174] There's no point in wrapping it up.
[175] We've gotta change that failure round into success.
[176] So the starting point is what is best for the members.
[177] We'll come to the personalities and the positions later on along the track, but first of all it's got to be the members.
[178] And there will be changes.
[179] There must be changes.
[180] But they will have to be the subject of consultation and debate and I guess that some of the debates will be really quite lively.
[181] So the beginning an important project.
[182] I hope that on the basis of the assurances given, two five five can be withdrawn.
[183] I hope two two eight can be referred so that the content and discussion and the Report it asks for can be part of these discussions.
[184] Support the Report and let's see if we can succeed in what must be the greatest enterprise in the trade union Movement since the nineteen twenties.
[185] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [186] Thank you very much indeed .
[187] Could London agree to the withdrawal of the two five five? ...
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [188] , London Region.
[189] Listen carefully to what the delegates have said on the Report.
[190] I note most have got gr some reservations, quite a lot of reservations o on the issue.
[191] All I can say is when you read that document carefully it's an open cheque for the C E C. They can go and come back next year and give you a date for a merger.
[192] says no, we're not gonna do that.
[193] But still if you read that carefully it doesn't say he ca that they can't do it, the C E C. So I urge you to vote for the motion two five five.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [194] C E C position is therefore asking Congress to oppose two five five.
[195] All those in favour?
[196] Against?
[197] Two five five is lost.
[198] Motion two two eight.
[199] C E C are asking for reference.
[200] Midland Region accept reference?
[201] Thank you very much.
[202] Does Conference accept reference?
[203] Thank you.
[204] Special Report.
[205] All those in favour?
[206] ... Against?
[207] That's carried.
[208] Thanks very much indeed colleagues.
[209] We now turn to a number of motions on G M B services.
[210] Motion two two seven, Shop Stewards.
[211] Lancashire Region to move.
[212] G M B Services, Northern Region to move.
[213] Two three one Publicity, Liverpool Region to move.
[214] Shop Stewards, Lancashire Region, motion two two seven ...
Dick (PS2K5) [215] , Lancashire Region, moving motion two two seven.
Dick (PS2K5) [216] , hang on a sec.
[217] Colleagues, if you are moving out, move out very quietly please ...
Dick (PS2K5) [218] Congress, if I asked the question, is there a shop steward in the house, I would've been confident to say yes, but they all seem to be leaving.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [219] But I can safely say it today.
[220] But if I was to ask the same question throughout industry today the answer would be very different.
[221] A recent survey carried out by Labour Research shows that out of two thousand workplaces studied, there was a marked decline in unionization.
[222] During the eighties the proportion of employees in union membership was down to forty eight percent in nineteen ninety, from fifty eight percent in nineteen ni eighty four.
[223] This gloomy story is reflected in the disappearance of [...] union representatives.
[224] Our decline is widespread, affecting workplaces of all types.
[225] What're we gonna do about it?
[226] Well, brothers and sisters, I haven't got the answer.
[227] But if this motion is successful and a working party is established, one of the conclusions that we might reach is that General Secretaries should keep their sticky fingers off shops steward's commissions.
[228] I move.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [229] The seconder? ...
(HLWPS000) [230] , Lancashire Region, seconding motion two two seven.
[231] Colleagues, I agree with everything just said.
[232] But talk about incentives.
[233] I believe the opposite is happening.
[234] There is an attack on the benefits and commissions.
[235] If some of this year's proposals are passed our members will receive less next year than they get now.
[236] Three weeks ago I was invited down to a meeting of water workers.
[237] They were just dropped out of a union, it just happens the one we're quite friendly with at the moment.
[238] They were dissatisfied with the service and the benefits provided.
[239] I was asked, if we join your union, what will we get?
[240] I went on that morning to sell this union the benefits we provide.
[241] I recruited twenty one members that morning, a few more to come I hope.
[242] I tell you, colleagues, am I glad that meeting was before this Congress.
[243] Now, now, if I can hold on to these members depends on benefits being maintained, not decreased, that's not an incentive.
[244] Commissions, Jesus, colleagues, can you imagine two branch secretaries eh?
[245] One on ten percent, one on five, I think I know who's gonna be happy.
[246] Eh, I don't know who comes up with these ideas, I don't honest.
[247] But if that's an incentive they're not living in the real world.
[248] I often wonder if the people who come up with these proposals have any experience in recruitment.
[249] I doubt it, eh?
[250] I tell you what might be the answer, colleagues, a fortnight's compulsory re recruitment campaign for these people.
[251] Half five in a morning, with the rain going down the back of your bleeding neck, the police set upon you by the owner and the manager, eh, that'd liven 'em up.
[252] Eh?
[253] [giggle] Colleagues, they wouldn't be too keen on cutting commissions then.
[254] [clapping] Eh, I don't doubt.
[255] Now, now [clapping] sorry, I've gotta laugh at that one myself.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping] [clapping]
(HLWPS000) [256] Now, now, I know they're trying to save, I know they're trying to save money.
[257] Yeah, we know that.
[258] Problem is, we're trying to save this union.
[259] That's the difference.
[260] And I think they should have a vested interest in that.
[261] I really do.
[262] Because if we, we, the rank and file don't succeed, we're all gonna go down the tube together.
[263] Support motion two two seven.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [264] Thanks .
[265] Motion two two nine, G M B Services, Northern Region to move ...
Bob (PS2K6) [266] President, Congress,, Northern Region, moving motion two two nine.
[267] I think our union has changed dramatically over the last few years, not to the point that our great history has been lost, but we have adapted to the world in which we live.
[268] Our education department has undergone a review which in return has produced quality materials and in turn quality stewards which meet the needs of all members.
[269] The health and safety department now known as the health and safety and environment department, is envied by other unions, and has clearly responded to its own review.
[270] Now Congress, I believe that we must adapt the considerable changes which have taken place in the last few years of Tory terrorism.
[271] Our organization is crying out for high quality information to fulfil the demands made upon both full- time and lay officials.
[272] This information is increasingly becoming of local nature, C C T and L M S make it difficult for our national research department to deal with local issues.
[273] At this point, Congress, I should add that this motion is not an attack on our research department.
[274] More cries for devolution.
[275] N H S, Local Authorities, multi-nationals, are all going down the road [...] local bargaining.
[276] And what happens from district to district, region to region, is sometimes as far apart as John Major and the British people.
[277] We know the reason local bargaining is being encouraged, it's to lower wages and conditions and give rich financial benefits to the few.
[278] There is a rule for a central research point but again colleagues, more is needed in the regions.
[279] Our union has been, without doubt, the shining light in terms of what we offer to members.
[280] And we must continue to improve and better the information that is provided.
[281] The easiest way is to channel resources into the regions.
[282] A review by the C E C, in my opinion, would show that the agenda for the future will be local.
[283] Bargaining will be local, and research, whatever nature or subject, will have to be local to support our activists and officials.
[284] We can boast that changes not made were not necessary but without looking ahead and of course responding, we will leave our organization floundering and will lose out locally to others.
[285] Please support this motion.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [286] Seconder for two two nine? ...
Bill (PS2K7) [287] President, Congress,, Northern Region, seconding motion two two nine.
[288] Colleagues, the service sub-committee of the C E C has already initiated reviews of departments which offer support to national, regional and lay officials.
[289] The outcome of the reviews have certainly taken into account the needs of the membership which of course means a better organization.
[290] I feel the time is now right to respond to local bargaining initiatives, C C T and L M S, with a review of how the research department could best provide their services to the people at the sharp end.
[291] There is a need, more than ever, with many changes that are taking place, for information to be provided quickly and effectively, delivering to the point [...] and value to our members.
[292] Congress, I therefore ask the C E C to immediately instigate a comprehensive review of the research department which, with doubt, without doubt has supplied excellent information in the past, but I feel should be given the opportunity to fulfil and identify local needs of regions.
[293] Our union, more than ever, needs a quick response service and hopefully this will be on the line if the review begins.
[294] Please support this motion.
[295] I move.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [296] Motion two three one, Publicity, Liverpool Region? ...
Avril (PS2K8) [297] President, Congress,, Liverpool, North Wales and Irish Region.
[298] Colleagues, in moving this motion I am seeking the C E C to give this union the credit it deserves when achieving victory for its members throughout with a wider publicity campaign through the media, although if is on the television again tonight I think he's gonna have a higher rating than Coronation Street this week.
[299] Under the section that I am a member of, is the public sector, the largest section of the union.
[300] We need bold headline posters in colour to identify what sections they represent so that we can give our members activist up to date information in advance of other comp competition and other unions.
[301] Because of the competition we face from the new union, UNISON, we need application forms geared up to the particular industries that we require.
[302] I move.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [303] Two three one, seconded?
[304] Seconded, two three one?
[305] Did somebody say formally?
[306] Thanks very much.
[307] Colleagues, the C E C wish to put a speaker in in respect of motion two two nine, we're seeking reference, I call ...
Mel (PS2K9) [308] I hope that wasn't an omen.
[309] , Midland and East Coast Region speaking on behalf of the C E C. Congress, the C E C is asking you to support motions two two seven and two three one but refer motion two two nine.
[310] On pages one 0 six and one 0 seven of the General Secretary's Report, reference is made to the C E C organization sub-committee reviewing the work of the research department.
[311] This was done last year.
[312] The research department has followed the lines set by that review.
[313] It has shifted resources from routine servicing to policy development.
[314] Investment has been made in online financial information services.
[315] This has speeded up the flow of information on companies to the regions.
[316] A great deal of progress has been made on equal rights.
[317] Negotiators guides on disability and harassment have also been produced, as well as model agreements and other support services for officers.
[318] These have become key areas of the department's work.
[319] The department has directed much effort to European issues.
[320] The G M B's European officer has contributed a lot here and at the cutting edge in Brussels.
[321] It has been recognized that the European Directives are increasingly affecting what happens in the workplace.
[322] Examples of this are these.
[323] Acquired Rights Directive, the health and safety [...] and the forty eight hour week.
[324] Back on the home front, bargaining is shifting rapidly from the national arena to local level.
[325] It is recognized that G M B's resources need to reflect this.
[326] This especially applies to research services because they supply the raw material with which we work, the information needed by the union to enable it to respond to the challenges which arise day by day.
[327] We must be constantly vigil and keep a sharp look out for new issues which need to be put on our agenda, so that we can keep pace with the changes that affect our members and organization.
[328] The research department is the resource that is well placed to do this, as demonstrated by the examples of equal rights and training.
[329] Similarly,ex the excellent output of the research department is essential to formulate effective responses to the ever more sophisticated management who constantly employ new techniques in human resource management and attacks on our members' pay and conditions.
[330] Examples of this are of performance related pay
Dick (PS2K5) [331] could you wind up please?
Mel (PS2K9) [332] Yes, which has sometimes been a pre-cursor to de- recognition.
[333] Therefore, the C E C is asking you to support motion two two seven, refer motion two two nine and support motion two three one.
[334] Thank you.
Dick (PS2K5) [335] Thanks very much.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [336] Propose to take the vote colleagues, motion two two seven as being accepted.
[337] All those in favour?
[338] Against?
[339] That's carried.
[340] Reference is being sought on two two nine, Northern Region prepared to refer.
[341] Agreed?
[342] Conference accept that?
[343] Thanks very much.
[344] Motion two three one, Liverpool Region, the C E C are asking you to accept it.
[345] All those in favour?
[346] Against?
[347] That's carried.
[348] I now call motion forty six, rule twenty seven, Legal Assistance.
[349] This is a C E C motion to be moved by ...
(HLWPS001) [350] Morning Congress, er , er speaking on er Mm moving motion forty six on behalf of the Executive.
[351] Under er rule twenty seven, the er Central Executive Council authorizes regional secretaries to provide legal assistance.
[352] Er, this usually consists of asking law firms who specialize in personal injury claims to represent our members in claiming compensation for occupational accidents and diseases.
[353] As the General Secretary's Report indicates, last year members obtained about forty million pounds in compensation, almost all of it through our regional solicitors.
[354] With the support of regional legal officers and a set of guidelines and codes of practice, we ask the solicitors to abide by regional secretaries ensuring that cases are pursued as forcefully as possible with the members interests uppermost at all stages.
[355] However, regional secretaries, despite our many wonderful skills, cannot be litigation experts and run the cases.
[356] We rely on the good advice of our solicitors who advise us on the appropriate action to take.
[357] So, when a solicitor recommends that a writ is issued, we usually, almost invariably, authorize that step, provided it falls within the guidelines.
[358] The same goes for medical reports and engineers' reports and so on.
[359] And the same also applies when our solicitors report that, having done th bes very best they can, they cannot recommend that the union continues to finance the claim.
[360] Try as we might, we cannot win every case.
[361] With the best will in the world many cases have to be withdrawn or discontinued each year.
[362] The question posed by motion forty six is this.
[363] When a regional secretary, acting on the advice of the solicitor, indicates that a case cannot be won, and terminates legal assistance under rule twenty seven, should the member be able to appeal against that decision?
[364] The C E C thinks not.
[365] Decisions to terminate legal assistance under rule twenty seven are different from other decisions made within the union, because they are invariably made on the express written recommendation of a specialist in law.
[366] Appeals against termination of legal assistance are unfair to regional committees, to the appeals committee of the C E C, and to the appeals tribunal.
[367] None of these bodies, any more than a regional secretary, is an expert in personal injury litigation.
[368] Yet, the appeal by definition, asks them to second guess
Dick (PS2K5) [369] , could you wind up please?
(HLWPS001) [370] the advice of a barrister.
[371] They cannot do so and should not be asked to try.
[372] And what is the regional committee being asked to do?
[373] To refer the case back to the same solicitor who has reported that the case cannot now be won, or refer it to a different lawyer?
[374] What happens if the new solicitor also recommends closure of the case?
[375] Currently the member is able to appeal afresh.
[376] This is not sensible.
[377] President, Congress, the C E C does not lightly bring forward a motion which limits the right of appeal, but in these very special circumstances we feel it is both justified and necessary.
[378] I move motion forty six.
Dick (PS2K5) [379] Thanks very much .
[380] Is the motion seconded?
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [381] Formally seconded.
[382] Could you formally pen it?
[383] Thank you.
[384] Formally seconded.
[385] The C E C are obviously asking you to support this colleagues.
[386] All those in favour?
[387] Against?
[388] That's carried.
Dick (PS2K5) [389] Colleagues, I'd now like to extend a welcome to .
[390] is Director General of the Engineering Employers Federation.
[391] Colleague, any more interruption you can go through that door.
[392] Now, I'm telling you.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [393] Except for a three year secondment to the Ministry of Defence, most of his career has been spent in the motor industry.
[394] has been Managing Director of world-wide sales for Land Rover and Director of European ... [tape ends side one and starts side two] group, he was also a main Board Director with Rover.
[395] joined the E E F in July nineteen ninety two, since when he had led the call for an industrial policy in Britain.
[396] Invite to address Conference.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping] ...
Cliff (PS2KA) [397] President, ladies and gentlemen.
[398] President, thank you for that welcome.
[399] I must confess I was surprised, curious and highly delighted when er you invited me to speak to you here today and er I'm very and sincerely pleased that you did.
[400] I am glad to be here.
[401] Nevertheless, I do feel a bit like Zsa Zsa Gabor's fifth, or was it sixth, husband on their wedding night.
[402] I'm er I'm pretty clear what's expected of me but not so certain that I know how to make it sufficiently interesting to achieve your undivided attention.
[403] Now, no doubt your predecessors, and certainly mine, would be astonished to know how we can meet in this way, but I wonder whether they'd approve?
[404] My guess is that they might not.
[405] Indeed, I'm not er sure that there aren't still members of both our organizations who believe that right now each of us is supping with the devil.
[406] I don't see it that way at all but if they're right er I'd defend your invitation and my acceptance by quoting the old idiom, better the devil you know.
[407] You must be the judges of whether or not I'm the devil or at least his representative, but I hope you don't see me that way.
[408] If you do, let me strike a deal with you straight away.
[409] I won't judge you by your past if you don't judge me by mine.
[410] It's time to take off the dinosaur suits and start talking real business.
[411] I'm here because I believe that we share many objectives and because I know that there's more that unites us than divides us.
[412] I'm sure that when you adopted your working together slogan you were not thinking that it included employers.
[413] But why shouldn't it?
[414] Surely we all want to achieve the same objectives, an end to recession, low unemployment, a prosperous and fair economy, good education, training and health care.
[415] In short, a stable and caring society in which everyone can live in reasonable comfort and security and to which everyone contributes according to their means.
[416] Now I'm not so stupid to believe that we'll always necessarily agree on how those objectives should be met.
[417] But we should see where the common ground lies and, having identified it, we should build there, and if we fail to do this, we'll be failing both our groups of members.
[418] Failing future generations and failing U K P L C. And I'm sure you don't want to leave that legacy any more than I do.
[419] In this short talk, I propose to concentrate just on two things.
[420] I'd like to talk about the needs for and the potential benefits of an industrial strategy and then I'd like to tell you how the employers view trades unions today.
[421] First, industrial strategy.
[422] This is a topic which the E E F has been promoting hard since last October.
[423] We've been doing so because we believe that without an industrial strategy U K living standards and status will sink quite quickly to those of a Third World economy.
[424] We don't want that and I'm sure you don't want it either.
[425] For U K P L C to succeed in the years ahead, we simply have to agree objectives, navigate by the same map, and aim at the same goals.
[426] Now, it's mot going to be easy, not least because it will require the politicians to be more cooperative and less combative.
[427] It's simply not good enough for them to say, as they have for the last forty five years, elect us, we'll change everything and then things will be alright.
[428] We need long- term industrial policies that survive general elections and changes of government.
[429] How else will we ever have sustainable strategies for energy, for transport, or telecommunications.
[430] Had we defined a robust industrial strategy for the U K in the nineteen seventies, would we be looking back now on twenty years of consistent industrial decline?
[431] Had we [...] a powerful industrial policy in the nineteen eighties, would we be looking back now at a crisis of industrial investment in the nineteen nineties?
[432] If the U K is to be globally competitive in the future, we simply cannot afford to perpetuate such mistakes.
[433] Now the chief purpose of an industrial strategy is to develop strategic thinking about our national industrial affairs and provide a common background against which the key decisions determining that future can be made.
[434] Without the basic information and understanding, market forces cannot be expected to function as they were intended.
[435] Now we at the E E F define an industrial policy as the development of a common understanding about the role of industry and the economy, between industry, government, finance and education and about the direction of technological and industrial progress.
[436] And by government I mean, not just the government of the day, but the opposition parties too.
[437] And it's this common understanding that many of our competitor countries possess and which we so sadly lack.
[438] Without it, the future of U K industry and of the economy as a whole, will be in danger.
[439] Let's take a brutally honest look at our current position.
[440] Our manufacturing base is in long-term decline, accelerated by the current recession.
[441] Despite our success in improving productivity in the eighties, there's an urgent need to rebuild belief and confidence in U K industry.
[442] We have a chronic trade deficit, high unemployment, and our productive capacity in manufacturing is simply too low.
[443] Now, our pivotal problem is that our appetite to consume is about to exceed our total capacity to produce.
[444] Despite the surge of investment in the late nineteen eighties, the long-term trend is towards investing an ever smaller proportion of what we earn.
[445] Our statistics show that we consume all that we're capable of producing, yet we're investing less and less in new capacity to produce.
[446] In nineteen seventy two our manufacturing sector accounted for thirty two percent of gross domestic product.
[447] By nineteen ninety two, it had fallen to just about twenty percent.
[448] And that matters because our existing capacity cannot maintain our national living standards and our balance of payments.
[449] And for too long we've been misled into believing that manufacturing and industry had become unimportant.
[450] In truth, our future competitiveness and prosperity depend more than ever before on technology and industry.
[451] The potential for future economic growth depends partly on innovations in production technology, to reduce costs and, crucially, on innovative products which create new markets in themselves.
[452] Innovative products are an essential part of the process of economic growth, providing new employment and not just in manufacturing.
[453] We must not forget that most economic growth, even in service industries, originates from technological innovation in the manufacturing sector.
[454] Service industries are rarely able to improve their productivity, service quality, or competitiveness by their own efforts alone.
[455] They usually need new and improved or more affordable equipment and the future growth of service industries such as travel, broadcasting and entertainment, and increasingly in education and health care activities and environmental protection, will depend upon continued technical innovation.
[456] Now many people seem to think that technology means machines and equipment, but machines and equipment and the software that run them are only the products of technology.
[457] Technology is about the ability to produce goods and services competitively.
[458] It's therefore about people, their skills, their knowledge and their organization for cooperative activity.
[459] It takes time for industry to accumulate expertise, to build teams, and to establish a strong market position.
[460] To achieve industrial competitiveness normally requires decades of persistent activity, not just a few years, but it can be thrown away very quickly and very easily.
[461] Strategic vision and consistency of policies by firms, by their financial investors, and by government, are crucial, and this cannot be achieved without a coherent sustained industrial strategy.
[462] The problem is the long-term industrial strategy for prosperity is not a glamorous thing.
[463] A long-term industrial strategy does not produce profits tomorrow.
[464] It will not win votes tomorrow.
[465] At least that's what the politicians used to think.
[466] Now I believe things are starting to change.
[467] The bad news, on which I expect you'll agree with me, is that across all parties, the professional politicians have been letting us down for decades.
[468] They really don't know much about industry.
[469] They don't really care enough about industry, and they certainly don't understand that our timescales are quite different from theirs.
[470] Industry certainly needs to be high on the political agenda but like Northern Ireland policy, the main parties must agree a mutual policy.
[471] Industry is simply too important, with too many people's jobs depending on it, to be a party political punchball.
[472] Let's build on the good news, that Heseltine and Cook understand the need for a national industrial strategy.
[473] Let's get industry out of party politics and make it a truly national priority.
[474] Wouldn't that really benefit your members and mine?
[475] Wouldn't that begin to ensure that the U K will be th in the premier league in the twenty first century?
[476] Now my second topic, how do employers view the trade unions today?
[477] Surprisingly you may find, perhaps not so very differently from yourselves.
[478] We've both had to cope with two recessions and undergo immense change in that process.
[479] But it's because we accepted the challenge of change, even though we may not have liked everything that went with it, that we're here today.
[480] Leaner, yes, but probably fitter too, and more competitive.
[481] Now, trade unions have changed dramatically over the past ten years.
[482] You've down-sized, restructured, looked at amalgamations and generally sought a new role, just like the E E F, just like industry.
[483] A bonanza in fact for management consultants and accountants.
[484] Er, speaking of accountants, I must tell you that one of the perks of my job is to be able to get out and about in the real world, to real companies, meeting real people.
[485] And a couple of weeks ago I was at a chemical engineering company where the managing director told me that they were now using accountants for their safety experiments instead of rats.
[486] Erm, you mi you might share my surprise when I heard that.
[487] So I asked him whey on earth they were doing it and he said, well there are three very simple reasons.
[488] First of all, there are far more accountants around now than there are rats and er we were having great difficulty in getting hold of the rats and I thought, well that sounds logical.
[489] The second er reason which he gave me, of course I should have thought for myself, he said, but the accountants more accurately represented the human form than did the rats, so that was a clear one to him, but it was the third one that really floored me, when he told me that their staff had been getting really attached to the rats.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Cliff (PS2KA) [490] Now, er, now back to the main theme, which is that you've become more business-like, in every sense of the word.
[491] You collaborate much more readily with industry.
[492] We only have to look at some of the long-term deals, the single union deals and changed working practices to see that.
[493] They haven't all, I accept, been greeted with standing ovations, and some unions have moved more quickly to accept change than others.
[494] It's the same too with some employers.
[495] But those changes were not met with the politicized and combative attitudes of the past.
[496] That's because there's a new realism.
[497] Unions have turned professional, serving their members' interests in the way that members, or perhaps I should call them customers, demand.
[498] You now offer a lot more than just negotiations on pay.
[499] You provide a wide range of personal services and you take a keen and active interest in important issues such as health and safety, child care, training, and the environment.
[500] And we agree with you on many of them.
[501] Many of the changes, sad but true, came about through recession, particularly the first one.
[502] We lost a third of the workforce in my industry, mainly in unskilled and semi-skilled posts, many companies went bust and others were cut down in size dramatically.
[503] But that recession also brought about the improvements in industrial relations which we see today.
[504] The companies and the workforces that came out of it we were far leaner, more committed, and more aware of the need for change than their predecessors had ever been.
[505] Managements took steps in a variety of forms to improve communications with employees.
[506] And unions became less sensitive about companies communicating directly with employees.
[507] Unions also started to accept the kind of deals that are commonplace today.
[508] In short, we started to work together.
[509] Now, the recession that we're emerging from right now, hopefully, has been quite different.
[510] It hit sectors and people who largely escaped before, the skilled, the clerical workers, the managers and the professionals who've been badly mauled this time, and where last time around er the service sector was expanding to mop up some of those who'd lost their jobs in manufacturing, this time the service sector too has been in deep trouble.
[511] Now, it always takes a crisis to bring people here talking to you today, and I'm very glad to be able to do so our people, and more so the craftsmen within that particular indu our people, and more so the craftsmen within that particular ind at their request.
[512] And we're taking a lot more time talking to the Labour Party, and not only at their request again.
[513] The big issue is rebuilding and expanding our manufacturing base to ensure that we remain a prosperous industrialized country.
[514] But there's another big issue, one that unions and employers have got to tackle to clear the ground for greater cooperation between us, and that's the still passive acceptance of the them and us syndrome.
[515] And yes, it's still there in places.
[516] I'm not sure why, because without realizing it, we've something else very much in common.
[517] We're all employees.
[518] I'm an employee of the E E F in the same way that is an employee of G M B, in the same way that managers and staff are all employees of the companies they work for, in the same way that your rank and file members are all employees, in the same way that your full time officials are all employees.
[519] When we come to think about it there are very few owner-occupiers around these days.
[520] Now, if we can work together on solving this one, we'll find it much easier to work on some of the others.
[521] And where we've got to work together right now is to ensure that the U K stays competitive.
[522] Now, I know our views on this will differ somewhat, but even the European Commission has publicly expressed its concern just recently over the levels of unemployment across Europe and about the international competitiveness of European industry compared with the rest of the world.
[523] And that's why the E E F, not alone, but together with our colleagues in engineering employers' organizations throughout Europe, German, the French, the Belgians, the Dutch, argued against the working time directive in its original form.
[524] That draft er approved by the Social Affairs Council a week ago does not allow the flexibility for companies and their employees to determine working time arrangements at local plant level, but we do question the E E C's involvement in this area.
[525] Working time, including overtime, should be decided by local voluntary agreement and I do emphasize the word voluntary.
[526] President, one final point.
[527] Remaining competitive in this world, particularly when so many countries are also in recession, means keeping a tight rein on costs.
[528] I know that many of you and your colleagues have been under great pressure during our own recession to restrain wage claims and to accept deferred or even zero settlements.
[529] But my message today is straightforward.
[530] We've got to continue that restraint even as things start to get better, and that means restraints from the top to the bottom, from board room to shop floor.
[531] The prize of long-term success is too precious to throw away for transient short-term benefit.
[532] Mr President, at the beginning of my address I said that we would see where the common ground lies.
[533] Let's find it and, better still, let's build on it.
[534] Thank you for your attention and for the warmth of your welcome today.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [535] thank you very much indeed for that er address.
[536] Colleagues, can we now turn to recruitment, a number of motions, motion two three six, Recruitment, Birmingham Region to move, motion two three seven, Lancashire Region to move, composite four Recruitment for the Unemployed, Midland Region to move, motion two four two, Accrued Membership Rewards, Liverpool to move, motion two four three, Recruitment Procedure, Liverpool.
[537] I call Birmingham Region to move two three six and again colleagues, if supporting speakers could come down to the front it will assist. ...
John (PS2KB) [538] , Birmingham and West Midland Region, moving motion two three six on recruitment.
[539] During the seventies unions were reporting record membership.
[540] Indeed, our own region, Birmingham West Midland, had a membership in excess of one hundred thousand members.
[541] In the seventies life was rosy for all trade unions and everyone within the organization felt secure.
[542] Every cloud had a silver lining.
[543] Nothing could go wrong and all unions, especially the G M B, had the Midas touch.
[544] But in nineteen seventy nine things did go wrong.
[545] Thatcherism was born and during the last decade there has been record redundancies and bankruptcies within the U K as a whole.
[546] Unfortunately many were trade union members who lost their jobs and have not retained their union membership so have been lost to our organization.
[547] We now find G M B offering nineteen seventy style benefits to a nineteen ninety style membership.
[548] The effect on us that every year our General Secretary during the finance debate, asks Congress to approve increases in contributions.
[549] This is a situation that cannot and must not continue.
[550] It is a recipe for disaster.
[551] So what can be done to redress the balance?
[552] Two things.
[553] One, retain the membership we have.
[554] Two, recruit new members.
[555] If the G M B could reg retain the unemployed and redundant, it would give a solid base on which to work.
[556] It is no good signing up a new member and then losing two others.
[557] That's one step forward, two steps back.
[558] The result of that is crumbling foundations.
[559] The way forward then is to recruit, and the importance of new members was never more critical than it is at this time.
[560] Too many people still see union membership as belonging to a militant organization.
[561] Old images die hard.
[562] People still see unions as wage negotiators and nothing else.
[563] So, how does the G M B best get over the message to the mem non- members because unions have progressed a long way since our founder, Will Thorne, collected subs in a bucket.
[564] The need to sell our organization and the services and expertise that can be offered, such as legal advice and representation, advice on social security benefits, education.
[565] We have our own colleges and run courses on all kinds of subjects.
[566] Health and safety, where information on this wide ranging subject is available, our own department skilled in occupational pensions, advice on personal pensions through our own bank, Unity Trust.
[567] In fact, expertise in a whole range of subjects too numerous to mention.
[568] President, in this motion I have tried to outline things that could be important and useful in recruiting drive.
[569] But it mustn't just be left to the activists to recruit.
[570] Our national office must help by better media coverage, bringing to non- members attention what we have to offer and how useful it is to belong to a trade union.
[571] If the right approach is used in a positive way, success will follow.
[572] President, colleagues, I move.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [573] Is there a seconder?
[574] Formally seconded, thanks very much.
[575] Motion two three seven, Lancashire Region ...
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [576] President, Colleagues,, Lancashire Region, moving motion two three seven.
[577] The subject of proper union organization in the taxi trade is very important to our branch and, as I'm sure you will appreciate, recruitment is difficult when little G M B recruitment literature appertains to the taxi trade.
[578] Existing recruitment literature deals with employed persons within the workplace and the values of union organization when negotiating with the employer for proper wages, workers' rights and benefits.
[579] None of the above appertain to the taxi trade as the trade is predominantly self-employed.
[580] There are three hundred and sixty seven local authorities in England and Wales who are authorized to licence and administer the taxi trade in their respective areas.
[581] Although these authorities work within the framework of central government legislation, their interpretation of this legislation is not always correct and is often reckless and to the detriment of the trade, its members' income and working conditions.
[582] The treatment that is received from councils by the trade is shoddy and inconsiderate and often disrespectful and contemptuous.
[583] The taxi trade is desperately in need of organization in order to improve conditions for the workers employed therein, and therefore national recruitment is necessary in order to begin that organization.
[584] Recruitment literature needs to convince the taxi trade that proper organization can, and will, improve their working conditions, and that by being members of a recognized trade union who have expertise in dealing with local authorities, the trade will benefit.
[585] Recruitment will ideally contain enough information to convince the taxi trade of the benefits of strong membership when dealing with representation at local level, and long-term advantages of being a member of the G M B when dealing with national issues.
[586] Working conditions of the taxi driver are extremely poor and could be likened to Victorian times, hours worked are ra rarely less than sixty per week, there is no holiday pay, no pension rights, no sick pay, and no say in which way the trade is administered by local authorities.
[587] How many in the G M B are working under similar conditions?
[588] I guess not many that are sat in this room.
[589] So you can see the need for proper organization and the need for increased support from the union?
[590] We must get the trade organized and on the way to improved working conditions.
[591] However, before these aims can be achieved, we first of all have to recruit and this, as I said before, cannot be done without literature required.
[592] If passed, this move will be the first step on the way to mass recruitment and organization within the trade.
[593] As we have heard earlier on this week in the General Secretary's Report on the financial position of the union, the money generated by this recruitment in the taxi trade will, I am sure, be greatly received.
[594] I urge Conference to support this motion.
[595] Thank you very much.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [596] Thanks .
[597] Is there a seconder?
[598] Formally seconded, thanks very much.
[599] Composite four, Recruitment of the Unemployed, Midland Region to sec er move ... and second.
[600] Is it gonna be formally seconded?
Dick (PS2K5) [601] President, Congress,, Midlands and East Coast Region, moving composite motion four.
[602] Colleagues, it is with a mixture of sadness, disappointment and disbelief that this motion is required to be brought before Congress today.
[603] The wrong that unemployed people are not allowed to join this great union is a wrong that must be righted today.
[604] There can be fewer more devastating experiences in life than to be thrust from a situation of regular employment with all the stature that this entails, to becoming an enforced member of society's underclass, the unemployed [clears throat] the situation with a total lack of dignity, ask anyone who tries to claim benefits, the situation with a loss of social standing and frustration at unachievable ambitions.
[605] We hope that sooner or later the philosophy that classes people as mere units of labour will be consigned to the dustbin of history which it deserves.
[606] Unfettered competition of dog eat dog policies must surely give way to positive employment policies and achieve what [...] desired, a society set free from idleness.
[607] But what of today?
[608] Where can a person turn to for advice, support and encouragement?
[609] To its shame, not certainly at the moment, to the G M B. We don't want you.
[610] No job, no membership.
[611] That is the message.
[612] Politically we cannot allow this situation to exist any longer.
[613] Imagine the situation on the floor of the House of Commons.
[614] The Labour Party, in a rare attack on unemployment through John Smith, is confronted by the usual stereotype smart arse Tory Minister.
[615] His reply, but Mr Smith, even your own union does not even allow the unemployed to join.
[616] Where is the compassion?
[617] Where is the concern?
[618] What embarrassment.
[619] I understand that the C E C are asking for reference of this composite.
[620] I hope that they reach a decision sooner than later, a decision to allow the most needy members of our society to join us.
[621] Finally, you will note that the motion provides that membership at the reduced rate will not be a fiscal drag on the union.
[622] I move.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [623] Whilst the seconder is coming to the rostrum colleagues, perhaps I could advise Conference of what the position is at the moment concerning the programme.
[624] We're certainly going to overrun again at lunchtime today because I do want to get Section Secretary's Report in, and the, certainly the special motion on Swan Hunter Ship Building Limited, so I will take the remainder of the recruitment motions, Report and certainly the special motion.
(HLWPS000) [625] President, Congress,, Midlands and East Region, seconding composite motion four.
[626] I recognize that it represents a major change in policy to even consider the idea of recruiting the unemployed, but I understand the C E C for looking for referral and we will be happy with that this year.
[627] What prompted the submission of thi the motion is the growing feeling of disaffection and desertion among the unemployed, particularly the union unemployed in this country, who many never have had a job.
[628] Once the labour movement offered hope and support to these people.
[629] They now have no ch no voice, there is only one way to counter this.
[630] We, the G M B, have got to offer them that support.
[631] The long-term consequences of the current do-nothing policy are easy to predict.
[632] We'll have ha we will have been an irrel irrelevant to them for so long that when they do find another job or even a first job, then we will have a major task to convince them of the value of trade union membership.
[633] It is in our own interests to create a profile amongst the unemployed.
[634] Think about it.
[635] An unemployed member now could be a full member in the near future, possibly in firms where we have previously had no members.
[636] There is another dimension to this motion that needs to be considered.
[637] If we continue to ignore these people, especially the young, we may be fighting them in the near fu future as they are actively being targeted by the far right British National Party and other fascist organizations that are using this sense of desertion.
[638] We will have to offer an alternative to the crap that they are peddling.
[639] We have to offer support and, above all, we have to offer hope.
[640] Fascism does not begin with the concentrations camps, that's where it ends.
[641] It begins in social conditions exactly like those in Britain now.
[642] Let's ha let's offer the unemployed an alternative.
[643] Please consider the implications of not acting on the motion very carefully.
[644] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [645] Motion two four two Liverpool Region.
[646] Formally moved.
[647] Is it formally seconded?
[648] Formally referred?
[649] Motion two four three Liverpool Region? ...
Bob (PS2K6) [650] , Liverpool, North Wales and Irish Region.
[651] President, Congress, the ex er we believe the Executive are accepting motion two four three, but we believe it should be aired at Congress today.
[652] Surely it is better that new members feel that they are members of an organization which deals with them in a more personal basis and are not just another number.
[653] Each member of our union is an individual and deserves the recognition of their status as an equal partner in our great union, both for their own self-esteem and as means of demonstrating our respect and encouragement for that person to play their role in the affairs of the union.
[654] With the establishing of sections, it is vital that the members no the member knows what avenues are open to them and what facilities and rights they have, and how to utilize them and contribute to the running of the union.
[655] With the facility of computers it is possible, as shown by other unions as well as forward-looking branches of our own, to communicate with members on a personal basis.
[656] This approach is never more important than when a person first joins any organization.
[657] You only have to have w you only have one opportunity to make a first impression er make a first impression.
[658] So why not do it then?
[659] Given that the member will be sent their membership card, it would seem a small step away to actually send them a letter addressed to them personally welcoming them to the union and advise them at the very least on the basic facilities and benefits, plus other important information, and signed by the Regional Secretary, if not by the General Secretary.
[660] To inform them of who to contact if they have a problem plus benefits, discounts etcet etcetera, with particular emphasis on accrual benefits that may be lost if membership lapses, and the possible mention of loyalty benefits that may assist them in helping to recruit and retain other members.
[661] With the system correctly set up, the whole process can be completely, completed automatically by the use of technology and it could be set up speedily upon receipt of a membership application.
[662] Surely a massive aid to recruitment and retention.
[663] My region asks you to support motion two four three.
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [664] Thanks very much .
[665] Is two four three seconded?
[666] Formally seconded.
[667] Thanks very much.
[668] The C E C wish to put a speaker into the debate.
[669] I call ...
Bill (PS2K7) [670] President, Congress,, Lancashire Region, speaking on behalf of the C E C. Congress, the C E C are asking you to support motion two three six, support motion two three seven, seek a referral of composite four, referral of motion two four two, and ask you to support two four three.
[671] Colleagues, motion two three seven calls for the union to recruit within the licensed taxi trade.
[672] But whilst there's clearly a high degree of non-unionized labour in the trade, the union needs to assess the potential benefits of committing resources in this area, given the transient, often temporary nature, of the workforce.
[673] The C E C are to seek a referral of composite four.
[674] We already reviewed our position on the recruitment of unemployed people as outlined in a new concept of trade unionism, prepared and, specially prepared, for this Congress.
[675] We do not wish to pre- judge this review and therefore ask for the composite to be referred.
[676] We also ask that motion two four two be referred.
[677] The motion contains several interesting ideas which the C E C would wish to examine in its review.
[678] Therefore, to summarize Congress, the C E C are asking you to support motions two three six and two three seven, seek referral of composite four and motion two four two for the reasons outlined.
[679] And finally ask you to support motion two four three.
[680] Thank you .
Dick (PS2K5) [681] Thanks very much .
Unknown speaker (HLWPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2K5) [682] Propose to take the vote Conference of motion two three six.
[683] As has indicated, we are seeking acceptance.
[684] All those in favour?
[685] Against?
[686] That's carried.
[687] Two three seven is accepted with a statement.
[688] All those in favour?
[689] Against?
[690] That's carried.
[691] Composite motion four er reference is being sought.
[692] Does the Midland Region agree?
[693] Agreed.
[694] Conference accept that?
[695] Thanks very much.
[696] Motion two four two.
[697] Reference is being sought.
[698] Does the Liverpool Region agree?
[699] Agreed.
[700] Thanks very much lads.
[701] Conference accept that?
[702] Motion two four three.
[703] You're being recommended to accept.
[704] All those in favour?
[705] Against?
[706] That's carried ... [tape change]