Trade Union Annual Congress. Sample containing about 13024 words speech recorded in business context

11 speakers recorded by respondent number C403

PS2GD X m (Dick, age unknown, president of trade union) unspecified
PS2GE X f (Prue, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2GF X m (Les, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2GG X m (Dave, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2GH X m (Duncan, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2GJ X m (Dave, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2GK X m (Alan, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2GL X f (Peggy, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
HUCPS000 X u (No name, age unknown) unspecified
HUCPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
HUCPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 100907 recorded on 1993-06-07. LocationHampshire: Portsmouth ( The Guildhall ) Activity: trade union congress speech

Undivided text

Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [1] We people who must vote for the Party if we are ever to win power again.
[2] So, adopt this report, give the thumbs down to those who want to break the links and support a wider form of democracy where the trade union is paying the levy is not only a valuable member of the Party but is valued as well.
[3] We've heard the voice of the Party professionals, we've heard the voice of the Labour leadership, now let's all speak on behalf of the ordinary trade unionists and say with all the force that is necessary on behalf of those millions, men and women, young and old, we support the Party, we pay for the Party, we have a right to democracy in the Party because never forget it is our Party too, I move.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [4] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Prue (PS2GE) [5] Prue , Southwestern region speaking on behalf of the C E C.
[6] President, Congress, I am very pleased to second this C E C statement on how we can strengthen and modernize the links between the Labour Party and trade unions.
[7] Some people in the Labour Party seem to believe that Labour will be better off without the unions.
[8] They don't seem to feel that the democratic organizations of working people are relevant to the new model Labour Party.
[9] The truth is that union members are the backbone of the Labour Party.
[10] We provide the Party with its broad base, we keep it on its feet and when necessary we keep those feet firmly on the ground.
[11] Labour needs members more than ever to help form policies relevant to ordinary people and to get those policies across.
[12] Most Labour supporters in unions played an active part in the last general election and county elections.
[13] We put up posters, we persuaded work colleagues to vote Labour and we made financial contributions.
[14] Instead of closing the door o to its union supporters, Labour should be opening up new ways in.
[15] It's not good enough to say that union members can only participate if they become full members of the Party.
[16] I'm a Labour Party member and I would urge as many people as possible to join in, but I also recognize that many people feel membership demands the time and commitment that they haven't got.
[17] They fear endless meetings and worry that they don't know enough to join in.
[18] These barriers are especially strong for women and younger people.
[19] But the same union members who don't want full membership are particularly keen on other forms of involvement, like voting for Labour's leaders and helping to select Parliamentary candidates.
[20] We should listen to how people actually want to make a contribution and base our structures on their views, instead of rather male structures which demand substantial commitment.
[21] The proposals in this statement do just that.
[22] They will ensure that we all continue to have a say in Labour's decisions and I urge you to support them.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [23] Thanks very much indeed, Prue.
[24] Composite twenty nine, Labour Party trade union and links, Midland Region to move, London Region to second.
Les (PS2GF) [25] President, Congress.
[26] Les , Midlands and East Coast Region, moving composite twenty nine.
[27] One member, one vote sounds very democratic, doesn't it?
[28] Why is it that some general secretaries of certain unions are pushing us down the path of severing our links?
[29] Maybe it is because they don't want to fulfil their financial commitments.
[30] Well, if that's the reason they should at least be honest about it.
[31] At a recent meeting with members of the Shadow Cabinet and trade union leaders, one high profile Shadow Cabinet member argued for, one member, one vote.
[32] When asked how he would fund the Labour Party he said, oh, we would still expect you to pay.
[33] It seems to me that the trade unions are welcomed with open arms whenever money is needed and yet some don't want us to participate.
[34] Comrades, instead of severing our links, we should be strengthening them.
[35] Remember why the Labour Party was formed.
[36] Don't let us do the Tory's work for them by tearing ourselves apart.
[37] I'll tell you what comrades, I'm sick to death of some people in the party shying away from association with us.
[38] They seem to be ashamed of their roots.
[39] Don't they realize we're a part of the same movement?
[40] Let me tell you, I don't want anyone making excuses for me, I'm proud to be a trade unionist and I'm proud to be a Socialist.
[41] You know comrades, it's time we stopped pretending to be something we're not.
[42] This is what we believe in and we are proud of it and maybe, just maybe, we would start winning elections instead of losing them.
[43] We are going through a crucial period.
[44] What this Tory government intends to do is see total destruction of the trade union movements.
[45] We have to make sure in this trade union and labour movement that because there will be struggles ahead, this has to be one that is foremost in our minds.
[46] This conference has to give a message to Jo John Smith to maintain union links, to strengthen them, not destroy them.
[47] Our party is about morolity morality, morality and justice and truth and it's about representing our class, That's what we have got to get back to to win the next election.
[48] Congress, I move.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dave (PS2GG) [49] Morning, Dave , London Region, second in the composite twenty nine.
[50] They say a week in politics is a long time and I now know what they mean.
[51] I came to Congress with my contribution to this debate firmly fixed in my own mind, but unsure of the view of the leadership of our union, given the views quoted to them in the press as their own.
[52] My own view is that the fate of working people, the trade unions and the Labour Party are one and the same and that any attempt to weaken links between us condemns us all to the same failure.
[53] The trade unions depend on effectively representing working people in industrial field for their survival and the Labour Party has to represent the trade unions for their survival in the political field.
[54] I do not feel therefore, there is any crime ... for the trade union role in, in the constitutional procedure of the Party, whether it be selecting candidates or voting at conference, indeed I feel it is the strength of the movement.
[55] Which do the so called modernizers of the Party prefer, a party of two hundred thousand rift with division and on minority issues or a stable party with the input of four million working people?
[56] You tell me which is more democratic.
[57] Like many I have supported this union's policy my C L P, but also like many I have been hurt and angered by the attempts of some of the Party, both nationally and locally to deride and belittle the unions as a thing of the past and not relevant to the Party's new media image and that working class issues were not worth presenting at elections because they are unpopular with the tabloids.
[58] The modernizers have had their chance.
[59] This union has been more than tolerant with them.
[60] We offered them [...] on the basis of them creating a mass membership party.
[61] This they have plainly not been able to do and yet they still try and bounce us along the same old route through their friends in the media.
[62] For many of us, even the options of support registers and levy plus, are schemes whether they are dubious starters.
[63] We feel it is now right and proper that the debate is to be had and that our roots, our heritage and our future are defended on our terms and in our forums and not in the editorials of Sunday newspapers, and as for les people's letters to the newspapers, and Kinnock and co saying to people, individual members, why should the Labour Party not trust you with the choice of your candidate, it is you who do the work to get them elected, who are they kidding?
[64] What did we do at the election, did we sit on our arses?
[65] No, it was our members out there, and this letter is typical of the contempt with which they seem to hold our members.
[66] We are not just here to be leaflet and voting fodder for professional politicians, we are here to take a part in our party, and we will defend that right.
[67] I second the composite.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [68] Well said that.
[69] Motion three nine six, Lancashire Region, G M B, Parliamentary Panel.
Duncan (PS2GH) [70] Duncan , Lancashire Region, moving motion three nine six.
[71] Congress, the erm, nineteen eighty three, the gang of four, ten years on, nineteen ninety three.
[72] Perhaps what we're seeing is the emergence of a gang of five.
[73] We saved the party in nineteen eighty three, the G M B saved the party in that er,a crisis time th with the formation of the S D P and today the Tory government on its knees, staggering along and we have some people in the leadership of the Party and including, we can name them now, somebody's written,writte written to all the constituencies, Neil Kinnock, who have given up the ghost of Labour ever winning again, and that's what's the base and the root of what's going on, that's why they want these proposals going through, they want to separate the trade unions from the Party so they can do a deal with the Liberals because they've given up.
[74] Tha that's the reality of the situation, as I see it and people in my constituency
Dick (PS2GD) [75] Dun Duncan you are on three nine six by the way are ya?
Duncan (PS2GH) [76] Yep.
Dick (PS2GD) [77] Oh.
Duncan (PS2GH) [78] You told me three, nine, six.
Dick (PS2GD) [79] Yes, no I was just wondering, that's all.
Duncan (PS2GH) [80] Yep, I'm gonna get there [...]
Dick (PS2GD) [81] Ti the clock is running very fast Duncan.
Duncan (PS2GH) [82] Right, okay, so the situation we're in today is that we're actually got to defend our Party, the Party is the whole labour movement, from that political direction in which the leadership or ex-leadership and some people in the Parliamentary Party seem to want to take us.
[83] I'm very active in the Party in Manchester and er would support the union and the region er, as a constituency er constituency member and I, you know, spend hours every week trying to ke keep this, keep the Party in Manchester going and I think that what we've actually got, what we're seeing inside the Parliamentary Party, are a number of people who seem to have forgotten who they're supposed to be representing.
[84] I think what we actually want is more people who are more in tune with working people and their hopes, and their dreams and their aspirations, and tha in, in parliament, in the House of Commons than we've got at the moment and so the motion I'm putting forward which is to propose that we actually look at the Parliamentary Panel and make sure we get a few decent shop stewards in the House of Commons, a few people who got experience of actually being on the shop floor, a few people who got experience in the last fourteen years, that the last four Conservative governments have actually tried and defend and fight for the interests of working people right down the grass root, those are the people that we actually need in the House of Commons and we shall be looking at our Parliamentary Panel and we shall be looking at it very seriously to ensure that we get those sort of people onto that Parliamentary Panel and those sort of people into the House of Commons, that's the best way to represent working people in Britain today and that's the sort of contribution the G M B should be making.
[85] I move.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dave (PS2GJ) [86] I'm here again, Dick.
[87] Dave , Lancashire Region.
[88] Last time today.
[89] We're talking about three nine six G M B Parliamentary Panel Dick and I'll just have to follow Duncan, he had his little rhetoric on the Labour Party that he's ... he believes in so much.
[90] Well, I also believe, as I said earlier, that we should have p MPs who represent the G M B ... about MPs who represent theirselves, for what they can get out of it, what kudos they can get out of it, but leave the activists to do all the work for 'em, to do all the work.
[91] Therefore if we have activists who are put on the panel alib fi safe seats, marginals or unwinnable seats and we've been in some areas where it's been unwinnable, haven't we Dick, we've still canvassed, we've got the votes up,p places like Macclesfield where they got Nicholas Winterton, where they got that racist Churchill.
[92] We've still been there.
[93] But eventually we're gonna get people in, if the C E C take up our recommendations from Manchester's one one five branch, that we're gonna get people who represent the members of the G M B, the working class, the people that we want to be represented.
[94] With the Parliamentary Panel now, as it says on the motion, there's a lot up for retirement.
[95] There'll be a lot of people vying for those places as well.
[96] I also have seen in Oldham near where I live, where an MP was imposed on [...] that was held by Lamont for twenty two years, lived in Aberdeen I think it was, came to Oldham once a week to do his surgery and they put somebody in from the T N G.
[97] Don't know how it happened, but he got there and he lives in London now.
[98] Oldham about must be the only place where the l MPs have never seen the town.
[99] Why not get people that is activists and Oldham might well [...] the branch for Oldham [cough] you've got Dave from Stockport they've got a MP retiring, they're getting on now, you've had, we've had your time now, for God's sake go you've been there long enough, let's get the activists in, let's get G M B members and let's get this parliament back to what it should be and not the Tories.
[100] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [101] Right colleagues, I now propose to go round the regions and invite regional speakers on the Labour Party trade union links er document, Liverpool, do you wish to put a speaker in?
[102] ... And if it is the intention of regions to put speakers on, especially those regions that are situated at back of Congress, if the speakers could come to the front it would save a great deal of time.
Alan (PS2GK) [103] Alan , Liverpool, North Wales and Irish Region.
[104] President, Congress.
[105] Liverpool and North Wales support this document.
[106] Unfortunately colleagues, colleagues from London, from Northern Ireland sorry, have no say.
[107] ... Sorry about that lads.
[108] ... Mind you there's a lot of Northern Ireland lads in London anyway, erm ... we think that when our members voted to return the political levy they also voted to continue to have a say in the running of the Labour Party.
[109] The Labour Party was set up by the trade unions and is still funded by the trade unions.
[110] The Labour Party front bench must realize that the ordinary trade union members voted, as I said before, for a say in the Party.
[111] We'll need to go back to them again shortly.
[112] Will they vote in the same way if their right to have a say is taken away from them?
[113] As I said before, two thirds of our regions support the document.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [114] Midland Region.
Peggy (PS2GL) [115] Peggy , Midland, East Coast Region, speaking to the C E C statement.
[116] The Labour Party was founded in the nineteen hundreds.
[117] After a decision of the Trade Union Congress which brought together trade unions and socialist societies.
[118] The financial strength that the trade union link has brought to the Labour Part Party is vital.
[119] To the functions of the Party itself, therefore trade unions provide the Labour Party with resources in money and organizational support.
[120] Britain is virtually the only country in western Europe where there is not now substantial state finance for our pol a polit political parties.
[121] The trade unions are directly linked to more than eight million people.
[122] The union membership leads to a ten percent h h higher like likelihood of voting Labour.
[123] The misleading public image of the unions and the role within the Labour Party is encouraged by the Tories and the Liberal Deb Democrats and their friends, the mass media.
[124] There can be no justification for the comments we have heard from certain leaders of right wing er trade unions, who wish to take away the very principle of what we're talking about, the block vote, especially one, when one of 'em, allegedly, who haven't even bothered to pay their contributions to the General Election Fund.
[125] And I'm certainly not prepared to take any advice from them, when they can't even pay their way in the Labour Party.
[126] So why should we pander to the media and the right-wingers of the Party?
[127] The Labour Party cannot and will not survive without the affiliation of the trade union movement.
[128] What the right-wingers are saying is that we will have the trade unions' money but we will not give 'em the right to vote.
[129] Well I say to them, they can go to hell.
[130] I'm a Socialist,i but it's a swear word now, well [laugh] I am proud to be a Socialist so I will stand up and be counted.
[131] We support the views arrived at by the C E C, we should be proud of our title the Labour Party and shout from the hi highest rooftops where we live and work.
[132] The media campaign mentioned yesterday should be put in into operation immediately.
[133] Diluting our principles will not get us elected to power.
[134] Midland and East Coast Regions support the document.
[135] Congress, we ask you to do likewise.
[136] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [137] Whilst the, the London Region speakers come into the rostra I'll just make the point, Peggy in fact is only the third women that's spoken this morning.
[138] I know that we've a long way today er to go today but would you just bear that in mind colleagues.
[139] Right Ed.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [140] Congress, President.
[141] Ed , Westminster trade union Political Staffs Branch, London Region.
[142] Speaking against one member, one vote but also speaking against the half-hearted document that has been put out by the C E C.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [143] Before starting comrades I think it's time that we nailed a couple of lies that are being put about, about this union and other trade unions.
[144] The first is that we're two disparate organizations, the Labour Party and the G M B.
[145] Well I'm gonna prove that's not the case.
[146] Could all Labour Party members in the audience, in the delegations, put their hands in the air please.
[147] Labour Party members.
[148] There you go comrades, every, nearly every single delegate is a Labour Party member.
[149] We are the Labour Party.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [150] Eh, that was clever.
[151] That was very clever.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [152] The spin doctors around the lad Labour leadership have claimed that the links need to be changed.
[153] Well, like most of you I spent four weeks during the general election out on the doorstep.
[154] I was in Mitchenham more than a marginal, which sadly the Tories retained and my own seat in Wantage, which also is a safe Tory seat.
[155] Not once was it mentioned, not once the links between Labour and the unions, nobody was interested.
[156] They were though interested in some of our policies which they weren't very happy with, but that seems to be ignored at the moment.
[157] What I would like to see colleagues is a slight change.
[158] Stop listening to people, such as Mr Kinnock, who has now written out to C L Ps telling them that they should be changing the way that the unions are linked to this Labour Party, not at all.
[159] It's time that they looked at themselves.
[160] They've lost four times and they should be asking themselves why.
[161] It's not the union movement that's lost the elections.
[162] ... What I would like to see now is a turn, sorry turning to the document what I would like to see is actually a change of direction.
[163] What we are looking to do here is to water down what we have at the moment.
[164] I don't think that's necessary.
[165] The register of supporters wouldn't work.
[166] Can you imagine it comrades, you would have a position in which we attempt to put into place a bureaucratic list of people who are meant to be Labour supporters, they aren't Labour members.
[167] I can see the problems now, people come up to you and whisper in your ear, how comes he's on the list, I saw him going into the Liberal club or the Tory club the other day, he's not a Labour supporter.
[168] No, it's not a good idea at all, we should stick with what we have at the moment, the representation of people who opt to pay the political levy.
[169] That is the sensible way forward.
[170] Moving on, another suggestion is that we should ballot our members about who we vote for as M for MPs and also for the leader of the Party.
[171] Well that's fine, but why should it be down to thirty percent?
[172] We represent over four million levy paying members, the trade unions that is, and it's only right that they should have a proper say in the election of the Lad Labour leader, not just the thirty percent as is being suggested here.
[173] Comrades, it's time that this union, along with other trade unions, made it absolutely clear to the Labour leadership, we are the Labour Party, it is us that gives resources, our time, our money, everything to try and get them elected and it's time they stopped kicking us in the teeth at times such as this.
[174] I move that we reject this report and that we have proper links with the Labour Party.
[175] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [176] G M B Scotland
Dick (PS2GD) [177] President, Comrades.
[178] Ian , G M B Scotland.
[179] If what Gerald said in his address to Congress yesterday that he knows of no Labour MP who wants to break the links between the Party and the unions were absolutely true then there would be no need for this debate today.
[180] But the harsh reality is that that is not the case.
[181] For the last fourteen years the trade union movement has shouldered the blame for the Labour Party's dismal showing in the general elections.
[182] The press blamed us for Labour's defeat, the Tories blamed us for Labour's defeat and now it looks as thought the Labour Party is blaming us for Labour's defeat.
[183] What an appalling state of affairs.
[184] The Labour Party and the trade union movement are bonded together because we share the same objectives.
[185] We both fight for social justice, we both strive for a better quality of life for our people and most importantly we both demand equality.
[186] The trade union movement can't succeed on its own, the Labour Party would most definitely fail without us.
[187] President, the movement has taken a luckily approach in the political er arena for a number of years now.
[188] We've been made to feel ashamed of our actions, of the past.
[189] We've been accused of screwing employers into the ground by our demands.
[190] Shameful, I'll tell ya what's shameful.
[191] The actions of Hoover and its attempts to undermine the wages and conditions of union members.
[192] The disgraceful way ordinary, moderate men and women have been sacked at Timex and the way this government cheapened the working man and woman in this country by rejecting the Social Charter and by portraying Britain as a low wage economy.
[193] That's what's shameful in our society and it's only the Labour Party in unison with our movement that can right the wrongs of the past fourteen years.
[194] Comrades, what we are asking of the Party is quite simple, the extension of democracy.
[195] What everybody must realize is this, the trade union movement is the meat on the Labour Party's bones and without us the Party would be a skeleton, lost in a political wilderness.
[196] President, I'd like to finish with a mo much publicized phrase, from a political skeleton and the Labour Party should take heed, we are, we are thick, we are well, we are here and we are staying.
[197] I support.
Dick (PS2GD) [198] Hear, hear.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [199] Southwestern Region.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [200] Twenty years ago I joined the Labour Party when I was eighteen years old which gives an idea of how old I am now.
[201] That was before I was working, before I was a trade union member.
[202] For eight years I was a county councillor having won a seat from the Conservative Party.
[203] Throughout that period I've canvassed for the Labour Party, I've campaigned for the Labour Party, I've argued for the Labour Party and one of the items that made me join the Labour Party and one of the items I got other people to join the Labour Party was that Labour was a mass Party, because it consisted of hundreds of thousands of individual members and it consisted of millions of trade unionists.
[204] That was the pe appeal to me, that it represented the labour movement, it represented the working class at large.
[205] I've argued that for twenty years, now suddenly overnight it's become unfashionable and let's make it clear why it's become unfashionable.
[206] It's become unfashionable because the media is now looking at an alternative scapegoat for the problems the Conservative Party, that's why it's a reason and what is arising from the Labour leadership at the moment is purely an attempt to placate the media.
[207] Congress, I joined the Labour Party and I became a Socialist, I remain a member of the Labour Party, I remain a Socialist, I'm a trade unionist, I won't give up my Labour Party membership and I won't give up my involvement to my trade union and my linkage between the trade union movement and the Labour Party without a fight.
[208] I support this ma er motion.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [209] Southern Region.
[210] Southern Region, wanna put a speaker in?
[211] Okay.
Prue (PS2GE) [212] Mickey Southern Region.
[213] President, Congress.
[214] Supporting in the C E C statement and Labour Party trade union links.
[215] What is there to say er what's not been said already yesterday, today, last year's meetings and in the last ten years.
[216] We are here pash passing motions, not to tell the TUs or the employers what went wrong, what's wrong.
[217] No, we're telling the government, we're telling them they've got it wrong [cough] excuse me.
[218] Every working person, every unemployed person, every pensioner knows only too well they've got it wrong.
[219] It's not the fat cats we gotta take notice of, who steal the cream and leave us with the sil sour milk even.
[220] President, we don't need [...] on our door.
[221] Let's tell the world they've got it wrong.
[222] Don't they know that.
[223] Poverty, low pay, [...] repossessions, crimes, hardships.
[224] You're staying in Portsmouth, spending a lot of cash, or generally we do.
[225] How much of that goes back into Tory funds, through the businesses, shops, the places you're staying?
[226] They don't ask your permission, if you wish that money to go into Tory funds.
[227] They want to stop our political levy and only half of the Tory funds is answerable for, from where they get it.
[228] If I can go onto the local theme a little, chair.
[229] Crime, in the first six months of Portsmouth in the residential areas on the outskirts, not in the town centre, five hundred and eighty break-ins into houses, eighty seven break-ins into houses.
[230] A hundred and thirty one of those were people who were out to work or unoccupied.
[231] Thirty seven of those were through doors what were left open or windows what were left open.
[232] Openg opportunity to just get a few bob.
[233] Car crime, nine hundred and sixty cars so far this year have been broke into in the Portsmouth, bearing in mind yours are around the town.
[234] Three hundred and seven of 'em are stolen, ninety one still not been repossessed.
[235] Twenty percent, twenty five percent of the crime committed em nationally, is by people under the age of sixteen.
[236] Twenty five percent, again, of sixteen to twenty five years old.
[237] Not much hope of a job, not much chance of a million young people who are trying to find cash or work, a waste of skills, a whole generation.
[238] Nearly one out of three sixteen year olds are without work, not much for the Tory law and order.
[239] Now you hear more cuts in the D S S, medical prescriptions, V A T on heating, light, more crime for cash.
[240] Our national income per head is lower than the French, it's falling below that on Hong Kong.
[241] Every month twenty thousand manufacturing jobs go.
[242] John, to get to the point, we've had a bus in Portsmouth plastered with G M B slo slogans, a talking point of Portsmouth for the last fortnight.
[243] What a good talking point, people didn't know what the G M B was, didn't know what they actually truly stood for with all the publicity what we do, all the good work we do lately, locally.
[244] Let's get the message over, let's go without one congress and I know that's near to John's heart and request the other unions, A E U, U C A T, T N G, request the T N, T U C to do the same and then plaster over every bus in Britain, the G M B's policy.
[245] Let's get Labour in, let's get our motion starting to work, let's keep the Labour Party trade union link, it's our only friend we've got in Parliament.
[246] For better conditions, less crime, a better Britain and the way ahead, Southern support.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [247] Northern Region.
[248] Here's Billy.
[249] Alright Billy. [laugh]
Les (PS2GF) [250] Billy Northern Region.
[251] [...] President, colleagues.
[252] I have over the years many times come to the rostrum but for the first time it gives me no pleasure at all in saying what has to be said.
[253] Not so long ago the Labour was singing the praises of the trade union movement, especially the G M B, yet, only last night on T V a Shadow Minister, David said the G M B were wrong in what they were doing, they should be behind John Smith.
[254] I thought only Tories done U-turns.
[255] Because we have all heard John Smith in the past say, I would rather lose an arm than lose the support of the G M B.
[256] Colleagues, in the words of Chief Sitting Bull man with pale face speaks with forked tongue.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [laugh]
Les (PS2GF) [257] Remember colleagues, it was our union under the leadership of Will Thorn that pushed for and formed the Labour Party.
[258] We should not allow John Smith and his hitmen to take it from us.
[259] For fourteen years we have been bashed by the Tories, we have been led by a pound of poof T U C and as now it's time to stand up and be counted.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Les (PS2GF) [260] If the Labour Party, if the Labour Party want our money then we want some influence and we don't, and we, and if they don't want to represent the views of our members they can do without our money.
[261] The link with Labour has got to be more than just signing a cheque.
[262] You might ask what does it cost the G M B, with affiliation fees, etcetera etcetera etcetera, around three million a year.
[263] [shouting] Over the last fourteen years forty two million pounds and if they go on the way their going on and the way they're talking it's all gonna be for nicks nowt [] .
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [laugh]
Les (PS2GF) [264] Just think, colleagues, what we could have done with forty two million pounds, we could have had a conference twice a year not the biannual conference they're on about.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Les (PS2GF) [265] Our, our minimum demand colleagues must be one, a reformed if electoral college for a selection of leader and for candidates, to a continual role for trade unions at conference.
[266] It makes me wonder colleagues, why this issue has been promoted lately.
[267] Do some politicians deliberately wish to provoke conflict amongst us and it's not just about money, many G M B members volunteer.
[268] We've had the speakers up here saying that they're going out, they're knocking on doors, so you know, it's not just about money, but I tell you what if they go on in the way they're going on there's no way Joe Bloggs is going out quite tonight on a vote night saying come out and give us your vote.
[269] That's all gonna be finished an'all, man.
[270] And there'll be plenty like me.
[271] This morning, this morning you know, I'm right up with the news isn't I?
[272] [laugh] This morning John Smith says he is saddened by John 's remarks, he thinks it will give some material to John Major, I've got news for him, many times I've been saddened when he's said nowt to John Major when all the clangers he's dropped.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Les (PS2GF) [273] So, they don't want us to have a say in the Labour Party.
[274] There's nobody, [shouting] nobody can tell me that the big national companies who pour money into the Tory fund, that they don't have a say in their policy.
[275] Who do they think they're kidding [] ?
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Les (PS2GF) [276] I'll tell you another thing, whatever the Spitting Images say about John he pays his money, he doesn't grab his bermuda shorts and a [...] wristwatch and fly off to the sunny islands.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Les (PS2GF) [277] Colleagues, colleagues, let me remind you once more, they need us more than we need them.
[278] G M B members should be always full members, no influence, no penance for our members, no way.
[279] It's our Party and we should not give up without a fight.
[280] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping] [cheering and whistling]
Dick (PS2GD) [281] Well done, Billy.
[282] Er.
[283] Lancashire.
[284] Follow that, Duncan.
Duncan (PS2GH) [285] Yeah, I can't
Dick (PS2GD) [laugh]
Duncan (PS2GH) [286] I'm not going to attempt to.
[287] Duncan , Lancashire Region, supporting the er t the C E C statement.
[288] I mean it's quite clear isn't it what we wa we want a party of Labour, we're organized, we're organized mass organization that speaks for almost a million people in this union, I don't [...] but er, almost a million people.
[289] We're speaking for working people in this country and we are a reliable indicator of the feelings, the dreams, the hopes of working people right across the country and any party that attempts to divorce itself from an organization such as ours, that attempts to speak for working people will lose its way.
[290] At the same time,d the Tories are on their knees, some people, as I said earlier, I think it's just as relevant in this debate, seem to have lost their way and when you took, look at what they're proposing in terms of say, the er the fifty percent, the, the er M Ps, fifty percent of the votes for er the Parliamentary leader which of course is very consistent with [...] , right, fifty percent of the vote, you take that along with proportional representation and what I believe you're seeing is the number of people who have given up the ghost and are preparing to restructure the Party around coalition politics, and that's where they're heading, and they're heading completely in the wrong direction because we're more in tune with what's going on in this country, the po opinion polls are saying fifty nine percent of the people actually I think, believe that er the Labour government is possible and will be voting for a Labour government, the alternative road is to oblivion and it's not about modernizing, the people who're proposing this coalition politics aren't modernizers, they're Victorian politics, that's what they're about, they're about taking us back, back before we created the Party, before we learnt the lesson that we needed to represent ourselves politically, they're going back to, let's skil see what we get out of the Liberals, the free trade Liberals, in the nineteenth century, that's where they're going back, that's not about modernization, real modernization is about making sure that the Labour Party speaks for the working people up and down this country and that's our contribution to make to that Party and therefore we should have a role in decision making and influencing the Party that enables us as an organization to express that feeling, and that understanding of what people actually want in this country, and that's why we're supporting the C E C proposals.
[291] Now, there's an, there's an alternative being put forward as a compromise, but a a compromise isn't a compromise, the compromise as it looks er involving us, and we're all Party members, as already indicated, as individuals and saying top up, let's top up, we're already paying aren't we, the political levy, let's pay a bit more, right, is actually one that reduces our input as an organization.
[292] Now I supported Prescott, I must say I voted for him for the er for deputy leader, right, but I think he's wrong, right, on this particular issue, this compromise that he's floating and I think it should be dropped.
[293] I think we should be going with the C E C proposals and we should maintain our influence and our role in the Party as a collective organization, a mass organization, of over eight hundred thousand members and will be steadily rising in the foreseeable future.
[294] I support on behalf of Lancashire Region.
Dick (PS2GD) [295] Thanks Duncan.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [296] Yorkshire Region
Dave (PS2GG) [297] President, Congress.
[298] Dave , Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Region speaking in support of the C E C sta statement.
[299] Colleagues, one hundred years ago in Bradford trade unionists and Socialists got together to form the Independent Labour Party which was the forerunner of the Labour Party as we know it today.
[300] In those days although there were some independent groups of radicals and others of no elite, allegiance the two main parties in Parliament were the Whigs and the Tories.
[301] Very few MPs were interested in the wor working people's demand.
[302] Trade unionists knew that they could only achieve a limited level of their ambitions through industrial means and they realized that they needed working class MPs to support them in parliament.
[303] They knew that they needed to form a political party that have three main aims, the need for working class M Ps, the need for an independent party to represent working people, the need for a [...] to propagate new Socialist ideals.
[304] The Party was formed for those reasons.
[305] Since then, by working together we have achieved many of our aims.
[306] Unfortunately, most of them bo achievements are now under threat.
[307] Old age pensions, compensation for accidents and injuries at work, free education for all children, the National Health Service, legislation regarding unfair dismissal and the nationwide public transport.
[308] After fourteen years of Tory rule all these and many other achievements are seriously threatened.
[309] We have already experienced the abolition of free eye and dental checks, we are suffering from the creeping privatization of the Health Service, the selling off of our water, our crumbling schools, and yet we have to concentrate on the issue of trade union, Labour Party links.
[310] Trade unionists did not lose Labour the last election.
[311] Quite the opposite.
[312] Once again the trade unions working individually and through the trade unions for Labour pulled out all the stops to try and secure a Labour victory.
[313] I am not convinced that this issue should be on the political agenda at all, not at this time, not at any time, in fact I am pretty convinced that this is a Tory agenda, a media agenda, why they do they not want to talk about crooks and spivs that support them, that donate thousands of pounds into their coffers?
[314] They want to set our agenda.
[315] They want to create a division in our ranks.
[316] It is the oldest trick in the book, divide and conquer.
[317] We accept modernization, we understand that the card or the block vote is one of the most misunderstood aspects of Labour Party procedure.
[318] It is criticized by the Tories and the media and of course they never explain how it works, so it is not surprising that the general public is suspicious of it.
[319] The G M B is a progressive union, we can support constructive change but we cannot support any changes that will disenfranchise ourselves from our Party.
[320] Remember, the Labour Party was formed for working people because we had an unsympathetic Tory government.
[321] All the top jobs were taken by people from privileged backgrounds.
[322] There was an enormous gap between the rich and the poor, nothing has changed.
[323] Interestingly enough Larry Witty, the General Secretary of the Labour Party, said at last year's Labour Party Conference that if it had not been for the steadily, steady influence of the unions during the eighties, when the Party was tearing itself in two, we would not have a Labour Party today.
[324] A recent G M B poll showed that sixty nine percent of people thought the unions should support Labour to balance big biglifs big business and what a major balancing act that is.
[325] The shipping and construction group P & O gave a hundred thousand pounds to the Tory election fund.
[326] Public relations Company Shanwick gave the same.
[327] Defence contractors Rolls Royce gave sixty thousand pounds, while United Newspapers, owners of the Express and the Star upped their donation last year.
[328] These people have the audacity to question our links, our legitimate links with our Party.
[329] Colleagues, we must ensure that the links are strengthened and not weakened.
[330] Too many people, the old, the young and the unemployed, working people in all occupations ... do not maintain our bond.
[331] Remember why the Labour Party was formed, remember who formed it, nothing has changed.
[332] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [333] Birmingham Region
Duncan (PS2GH) [334] President, Congress.
[335] Rose , Birmingham Region and I make it very clear on the onset that our Region is having a free vote on this because we haven't had the opportunity to discuss the document and therefore what I'm saying is purely my own views.
[336] The statement before us on the Labour Party and the trade union links sets aside various recommendations on how we are going to cast our block vote at this year's Labour Party Conference on this issue ... the options open to us are listed in this paper and I'd like to make the following observations.
[337] We as a trade union have been in the forefront of campaigning and supporting the Labour Party, not just as, in its election battle, but in attempting to modernize the Party's thinking, the Party administration, be it on the issue of quotas for women, on policy making, on finances and on the block vote.
[338] The G M B should be proud of this role, however politics and negotiations are all about compromise and not about head-on collisions and we try and avoid these as much as possible.
[339] Therefore I believe we can still arrive at a compromise on the options in the statement.
[340] Let's look at the recommendation of the C E C on the selection of parliamentary candidates.
[341] They suggest we support a reformed electoral college for the next round of selection, every transition towards the use of the register of Labour supporters for subsequent selection.
[342] I think we should say here and now that we support option one B, registered supporters as a compromise.
[343] I say this because I believe that those constitutional issues have to be decided once and for all at this year's Party Conference.
[344] We shouldn't adopt stands that we try this now and try something else next time round, which I believe is what the C E C is recommending.
[345] Turning now to the C E C recommendation on the election of the Labour Party leader and deputy leader.
[346] I support the recommendation of five B but the vote by trade unions and Socialist societies should be a ballot of registered Labour supporters.
[347] President, Congress, the introduction in the C E C statement is a laudable one and part of it states, and I quote, the G M B and others have asserted that reform means democratizing and strengthening the links by giving direct votes to individual union members.
[348] We as activists hold very special the important role trade unions have played in the Labour Party and feel that we have a continued role to play.
[349] However, in the need to arrive at a compromise and not to have full blown confrontation, a register of Labour supporters is the answer.
[350] At least that way I shall feel more confident that it's Labour Party members and supporters who are selecting candidates and electing the leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party and not a Liberal or Tory trade unionist who happens to be paying the political levy.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [351] Thanks very much indeed Rose.
[352] I am now gonna call the General Secretary to respond briefly to the debate, colleagues.
Dave (PS2GJ) [353] Well colleagues, there are couple of points that were raised that I think need a response.
[354] The last was Rose's comment about the register.
[355] Yeah, well the trouble with the register was that er, when it was put forward, and it was put forward by Tom Burlison and Tom Sawyer of [...] , er and they worked very, very hard, no one harder than Tom Burlison, to try to establish this possibility as a compromise to avoid the sort of conflicts that we're talking about at the moment.
[356] It wasn't our best position, but the supporters of O M O V wouldn't listen, wouldn't consider and you've heard Tom's record of those sad events, and of course then we were told that the Party leader says it would be administratively impossible to put the register in place this year in any event.
[357] So, that's why we went back to the reformed electoral college.
[358] Ed , I think argued a very strong case for a greater level of influence of trade unionists in the Party than is suggested in this reform and I can see the force of those remarks but the C E C adopted the position that we did not want to take a position of dominance to the Party Conference.
[359] We wanted levy payers to have a say but a say within the broad sweep of Labour Party opinions.
[360] We deliberately went for a position of responsibility and moderation in this argument, where if I may say so, some other people haven't put the same constraints on themselves.
[361] Two further points, Dave expressed it best, I think.
[362] The supporters of O M O V have put their arguments in what can only be said to be a ham-fisted and insulting way.
[363] They may have been intending to talk about reform of the Labour Party constitution, but what ordinary trade unionists heard was senior members of the Party talking as if they were ashamed of the trade union connection.
[364] That was what came through and that's what we all deplore.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dave (PS2GJ) [365] People are gonna have to work very hard to repair that damage.
[366] Secondly, and a slightly personal comment, one front- bencher was asked, er, about my comments in opposition to O M O V and in favour of trade union participation and he said John Edmunds is expressing his views, they are not the views of G M B members.
[367] Well, are you listening Gordon, now you know.
[368] So colleagues, support the report, support composite twenty nine, support the motion, because never forget, it's our Party too.
[369] Thank you colleagues.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [370] Colleagues, we'll take the vote now.
[371] All the in favour of the C E C statement would you please indicate?
[372] Against?
[373] That's carried.
[374] All those in favour of composite twenty nine?
[375] Against?
[376] That's carried.
[377] All those in favour of motion three nine six?
[378] Against?
[379] That's carried.
[380] Thanks very much indeed colleagues, and can I congratulate Congress for that particular debate.
[381] There is no other organization within the movement that could provide such a level of debate on this particular matter.
[382] Thank you very much and congratulations colleagues.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [383] We now turn to four motions in respect of the Labour Party motion three nine four, three nine nine, motion four O two and motion four O three.
[384] So n can I now call motion three nine four, representation at Labour and T U C conferences, G M B Scotland to move.
[385] Would the other speakers please come down to the front.
Dick (PS2GD) [386] President, Comrades, er Ian , G M B Scotland, moving motion three nine four.
[387] Er, President I'm going to say the time factor and I'll try to be as brief as possible.
[388] When apologize
Dick (PS2GD) [389] Colleague, just one second, I do apologize for, for cutting in, but colleagues if you're, if it's your intention to leave Congress for a few moments please do it as quietly as possible.
[390] Colleague.
Dick (PS2GD) [391] Er, thanks President.
[392] Er, let me apologize if the motion appears a little vague.
[393] What is being asked is this.
[394] When elected delegate for region to the T, T U C in the Labour Party conferences is not enough.
[395] The representation at Labour and T U C conferences does not reflect a lay representative organization which we are supposed to be.
[396] I was a constituency delegate till last year's Labour Party conference and I was absolutely astonished to see so many people from Head Office floating around the conference floor.
[397] National Officers, National Secretaries, Research Officers, other personnel from Head Office were a large part of the delegation ... not always around when important votes were being taken.
[398] President, having bums in seats has never been more important, well attended conferences.
[399] To ensure a wider democratic representation at conferences urge the C E C to look seriously at the situation and report back next year.
[400] I move.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [401] Motion three nine four seconded.
[402] Is it seconded, formally seconded?
[403] Thanks very much.
[404] Motion three nine nine.
[405] Labour Local Authorities, London Region to move.
Peggy (PS2GL) [406] John , London Region, moving motion three nine nine, Labour Local Authorities.
[407] The debate we've just had on Labour Party links raises questions, er, we believe about our attitude, our attitude, the union's attitude to the Party, the Labour Party when it does hold power, which of course it does, er locally in some areas of this country.
[408] This motion is about Labour Party accountability to our own union members and not about our accountability to a handful of M Ps, so whatever the result of the er particular, er Labour Party links debate we've just had, it's still important to consider the practical er effects of the link we have with the Labour Party locally.
[409] I'm happy to see that the attitude of the C E C and of the General Secretary has changed radically, I would say, since last year, when it and they opposed the Liverpool motion, which also called for accountability of Labour councillors and M Ps.
[410] And it's now, the C E C is now, and the General Secretary is now, rightly so, calling loudly for proper accountability from all levels, er of the Party organization.
[411] Whether we get it or not's another matter.
[412] This motion seeks at least to, to obtain some of that accountability.
[413] Liverpool City Council last year sacked hundreds of G M B members.
[414] Industrial tribunals as we heard yesterday from Ian have decided they were wrongly dismissed and that indicates the standard of the union locally but poses the question of why it was impossible for our officials, from the General Secretary downwards, to effect any influence whatsoever on the attitude of Liverpool City Council.
[415] The same question, that lack of influence on Labour authorities who are behaving like the worst Tory employers, has to be posed in relation to a number of situations throughout the country.
[416] For example, and the General Secretary was giving examples yesterday so I'm entitled to do one as well , for example , Islington Council, where a direct Labour organization that had successfully survived and grown through the worst of the Thatcher years and the worst of the Thatcher attack on public services has now fallen victim to a combination of a weak and corrupt Labour Council and an incompetent senior management.
[417] Hundreds of workers have been sacked, the convener and deputy convener victimized, while millions of pounds went out to private contractors.
[418] Now, there's nothing new for people who work for Labour Authorities and Local Authorities in general in that story, new at all.
[419] What's different about it is that we possess, the G M B London Region, possess sworn statements from managers and ex Chief Officers that conclusively demonstrate that what the trade union has been saying all along, what the G M B's been saying all along, about victimization, financial mismanagement and corruption, have in ta in fact taken place.
[420] That's what those sworn statements say.
[421] Even with this kind of evidence, even with that kind of evidence, almost uniquely good evidence in my experience, the Council leadership, which is in, has been in possession of it for the best part of a month has made no move to suspend any Chief Officer on charges of gross misconduct, which of course if it had been any of our members accused of something like that, they'd have been down the road instantly, nor has it reinstated any worker wrongly sacked.
[422] So, it'll be another Liverpool.
[423] Industrial Tribunals may make that decision but the Islington Council certainly isn't going to.
[424] Furthermore Jack , Larry , Terry , the Secretary of the Greater London Labour Party, have also been in possession of this evidence, and before and after receiving that evidence have apparently completely failed over a period of eight months to get Islington Labour Council to behave in a responsible fashion, just like Liverpool, and I'm sure, just like a number of other Labour Councils.
[425] The question for us, whatever the situation about Labour Party links, is how long we can continue to argue for our members to support the Labour Party locally and nationally, to pay the political levy to a Party that treats this union and treats union members with utter and absolute contempt.
[426] Whatever the form of the link that is chosen at Labour Party Conference, that ought to be top of our agenda.
[427] What is the Party gonna do for us, not what are we gonna do for the Party.
[428] I move.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [429] Seconder for three nine nine?
[430] Thanks very much.
[431] Call the mover of motion four O two.
[432] Labour Party Subscription Contributions.
[433] Midland Region.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [434] , Midland East Coast Region.
[435] President, Congress.
[436] Labour Party contribution subscriptions.
[437] Congress, as a strong Labour Party supporter and member for many years, and my father before me, I've always believed it to be the working man's Party, created and born from the sweat and blood of our predecessors, and throughout many years supported and financed by the unions with our subscriptions and the political levy and I see it's supported by the trade unions.
[438] That does not mean that the Labour Party are run or ruled by the trade unions.
[439] We do have and will maintain the links and influence within the Labour Party, or it would not even survive without us.
[440] Us meaning we, meaning our members, who voted to pay the political levy.
[441] Us meaning we, our members paying the eighteen pound to join the Labour Party.
[442] Us meaning we, our member attending a local Party, C L Ps, Labour groups, etcetera.
[443] Us, our members campaigning to secure councillors, MPs getting elected.
[444] Without any of us there would be no Labour Party.
[445] A party without influence, a party with opposition to even talk about.
[446] We must not let them forget where the Party came from.
[447] To encourage recruitment is not to price out existing members, not to prevent a possible mass membership, and although we encourage our members to join, we encourage family and friends also.
[448] When we're given the price tag, eighteen pounds, that's a different matter.
[449] So this Congress must pursue on our behalf, a serious approach to the Labour Party to reduce the price tag.
[450] How do we encourage membership when you openly deny them the right to vote?
[451] How can you survive without the political levy?
[452] How you can survive without those trade union subscriptions?
[453] The Labour Party is a party of the working class people.
[454] Who are the people who do the campaigning, the leafleting in every election, in every national election?
[455] We the union are the back-up system as been said by previous speakers.
[456] I say to John Smith, Neil Kinnock, Gordon Brown and the rest, the ones who put signature to paper on one member, one vote, remember all the elections in the past, remember Sheffield.
[457] Where does it come from, all the costs of those campaigns?
[458] Whom does it come from?
[459] You want my money, you want my support, you want me to campaign for the future, you want me to recruit, then to get all of this reduce the cost of the subscriptions thus encouraging mass trade union membership.
[460] Do not encourage people to stop paying the political levy, that is damaging itself.
[461] Do not, by taking away their right to vote or participate in their policies and selections, you need the back-up teams of the trade unions in all its elections.
[462] You need the finances of the affiliations and the subscriptions.
[463] To survive, price it right, re-look at the priorities.
[464] You are damaging the Labour Party, you are jeopardizing any opposition to this, this present Government, you're jeopardizing the future survival of the Labour Party.
[465] I have pleasure in moving motion four O two.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [466] John , Midland and East Coast Region.
[467] President, Congress.
[468] Increasing the contribution rate is not the answer to gaining mass membership to the Party.
[469] With party membership on the decline could one of the reasons for this be because of the cost?
[470] I haven't the answer to what an acceptable level of membership fee is but I'm certain an ever increasing rate will never generate a party of mass membership.
[471] The Party is dependent upon its activists, no more so than at elections.
[472] Can we afford for the activists to be priced out of the Party?
[473] We all are aware that funds have to be generated but it, it causes a lot of membership.
[474] That other means of raising revenue will have to be looked for, I second.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [475] Motion four O three, Midland to move.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [476] John , Midland and East Coast Region.
[477] President, Congress.
[478] Does the Labour Party recognize its members of longstanding?
[479] The answer is no.
[480] There is no automatic award given to its [...] .
[481] A comrade in my local Labour Party branch joined the Party more than sixty two years ago.
[482] We wanted to give him a gift to mark his membership.
[483] It was agreed that the Secretary of the Party would ask the Party to inform us of any awards, plaques etcetera, that could be presented to recognize his length of membership.
[484] Now it's started to get confused.
[485] A letter that relating to awards was received from the Party.
[486] It stated, there is no reason why your long serving member should not be nominated for a merit award.
[487] Unfortunately, we do not have any reason merit awards as such.
[488] With a reply like that it would have been a waste of time and effort to pursue the issue.
[489] We had to change direction.
[490] John Prescott, MP for Hull East was approached.
[491] John did the business for us.
[492] At a ceremony he presented a signed certificate recognizing the contribution and support to the Party the member had given.
[493] I don't believe that anyone joins the Party thinking that one day they will receive some token or award.
[494] Most of us would be happy with a membership card.
[495] I move.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [496] Ken , Midland and East Coast Region.
[497] President, Congress.
[498] Seconding motion four O three.
[499] Congress, this simply calls for the Labour Party, like the G M B and its experience yesterday in awarding like the gold badge to show and acknowledge long serving members with award of some sort of recognition.
[500] You can imagine the response a member would feel, actually receiving such a gesture.
[501] Ask Peggy, Peggy , ask Eric , we saw it, we heard it.
[502] How they felt yesterday receiving the gold, the gold badge.
[503] The length of service is on record at Walworth Road and it would not be of a great cost if you look at retaining membership who are real stalwarts of the Party.
[504] I don't like it when people take monies from people and forget or pretend that we are the faceless people.
[505] Just a thank you or the bill for next year's contribution.
[506] Many of us put hours of our spare time attending Labour Party meetings, AGMs City Party, Labour Groups and many more fringe meetings, all outside our normal days of work.
[507] Those of us who are fortunate to be in work.
[508] So, in recognition of loyal service and commitment an award would not come amiss.
[509] I second motion.
[510] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [511] Colleagues, the C E C are recommending acceptance and er, certainly in respect of several and reference on one motion and I call Robert to put their view.
(HUCPS000) [512] Thanks President.
[513] Robert , G M B Scotland, speaking on behalf of the C, C E C replying to motions three nine four, three nine nine and four O two and four O three.
[514] On three nine four er, the C E C is seeking reference back er, three nine four deals with G M B delegations to Labour Party and T U C.
[515] As the speaker indicated er, the C E C will not declare exactly what the intentions of the motions were but it's now, er now it's clear from the remarks of the speaker.
[516] The motion seeks to limit the number of full-time officials, in favour of the members.
[517] The proportion of full-time officials er, is already ro already low, for example, at last year's Labour Party Conference, of seventy four delegates, sixty three were either C E C delegates or lay members elected from the Regions.
[518] The remaining er, eleven erm, on the delegation were made up of General Secretary, Deputy General Secretary, elected national officers and a few senior staff.
[519] These people were needed to give advice on policy and industrial matters.
[520] The C E C has no difficulty with the principle to restrict numbers of full-time officials er, that are required, however erm, I think we also want to take into account er, the developments that are referred to in the motion with respect of the Labour Party and if these developments take place we will obviously have to examine that before we come to any decision on the matter.
[521] Er, motion three nine nine.
[522] The C E C support with er this qualification.
[523] Er, accountability of local representatives is obviously supported but we should not limit that demand only to G M B er councillors or councillors who have G M B connections.
[524] It is the view of the C E C that all Labour councillors and all Labour Councils should be demanded to consult on reorganization, redundancy and redeployment and improving of services and I know that the national section secretary,
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [...]
(HUCPS000) [525] Mick is already compiling a list of G M B councillors which will no doubt help in trying to er, ensure that that particular motion meets its objectives in the coming year.
[526] Motion four O two, the C E C accepts the basic aim of four O two, that is of increasing Labour Party membership.
[527] Er, I would ask delegates to bear in mind that trade union members can already join er, on the youth rates er, obviously an extension of that scheme would be welcome and is welcomed by the C E C.
[528] However, and it is a view of the C E C that although the current level of contributions, [...] contributions is high, it is not the only barrier to mass membership, I don't intend to go into a list of other reasons why some people choose not to join the Labour Party but I'm quite sure that many delegates here can give some examples at a local level.
[529] Also some political levy paying members may not join as individuals, although they remain ardent supporters of Labour and come out and work and vote for Labour at both national and local elections.
[530] It's already been said this morning they are entitled to a voice and therefore we need to retain er, a separate trade union membership.
[531] On motion four O three the C E C supports, obviously supports awards for long serving Labour Party members.
[532] These already exist as, as obviously the speakers to the motion is, are aware, they already exist at a national level, erm if we support this motion obviously what we're talking about here is introducing er awards at local or regional level.
[533] To summarize er delegates the C E C therefore is asking referral on motion three nine four, support with qua with the qualifications already mentioned for motions three nine nine, four O two and four O three.
[534] Thank you very much.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [535] Thanks very much Robert.
[536] Colleagues, motion three nine four, reference is being sought with the G M B Scotland agree, thanks very much.
[537] Conference agree, thanks very much.
[538] Motion three nine nine is being accepted, all those in favour?
[539] Against?
[540] That's carried.
[541] Motion four O two, we're asking for your support, all those in favour?
[542] Against?
[543] That's carried.
[544] Mo motion four O three being recommended to accept, all those in favour?
[545] Against?
[546] That's carried.
[547] Colleagues, it's about by my watch, which is probably wrong anyway, but however it's the one we're working to, about twenty six minutes past twelve.
[548] Now, what I'd like to do, I mean it's only sun shining out there so you'd only be wasting your time anyway, I'd like to consult you about moving on and getting in the next four motions on union organization.
[549] I think with your assistance we could probably get through it in about fifteen, twenty minutes.
[550] It would help us, er in terms of the end of the week.
[551] Would you agree to that?
[552] Thanks very much indeed colleagues.
[553] So, there's motions one seven five, one seven six, one seven seven and one seven eight in this particular section.
[554] Frank will be asked to respond on behalf of the C E C because there are various different stances the C E C are taking on these particular motions.
[555] So, I now call motion one seven five, Southern Region to move, again colleagues, it would be helpful if movers and seconders would come down to the, the front.
Prue (PS2GE) [556] Pauline , Securicor Apex five, Southern Region.
[557] Members, the retention of membership is a very thorny problem.
[558] When you're recruiting it's a bit like courting.
[559] When you first have eye to eye contact everything is new, splendid, you want to do the very best for each other, you want to look your best, you want to tell them all the good things and eventually you get married.
[560] And once you're married a little bit of complacency settles in and your membership is not quite so well served, but what you've got to remember is that whilst you're busy losing interest, somebody else is always interested in your partner or your member, so when, I'll rephrase that [laugh] I'll rephrase that.
[561] Your party, your other, never mind, and when that happens you get poaching and I've always said, if you treat your membership properly they'll stay with you, but you've also got to remember that the union is in dire financial straits, or so it tells us.
[562] But if you pare your officers to the bone, if you cut them any longer, you will not get a decent service from them, you will just have people in boxes with lids firmly placed on them and then where will the union be?
[563] If you don't give a man or a woman time to do a single job properly, then it's not worth doing.
[564] It's no use doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that and getting absolutely nowhere, because you'll get the two finger job.
[565] Go away, we'll go somewhere else where we can be looked after properly.
[566] So all the while you're retaining members, it's great, don't get complacent.
[567] John, don't screw your officers down into a box, because you're stretching them further and further.
[568] I know you've got financial problems, who hasn't, just remember, you've got to speculate to accumulate.
[569] I move.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Les (PS2GF) [570] Ann , Southern Region, seconding motion one seven five.
[571] President, Congress.
[572] The retention of members should be high on our priority list.
[573] It is obviously important to get people to join the G M B and it's just as important to keep them as members once they have joined.
[574] In the Southern Region we have introduced a retention system which is producing positive results as you will see in our regional report.
[575] With the way jobs are going it's harder to keep members as they move from job to job.
[576] Our members need to know that the services and benefits that the union provide are available to them regardless of where they work.
[577] The members are the lifeblood of this union and we cannot afford to lose any more.
[578] By making our benefits and services as attractive as possible it will encourage our members to stay with the G M B regardless of where they work.
[579] Also we could recruit new members in other workplaces who will be aware of what the G M B provides.
[580] Colleagues, we must not forget the low paid and the part-time workers, the majority of whom are women.
[581] To these people, we not only have to offer an attractive package but to be more visible, especially during these troubled times.
[582] President, Congress, once again working people face another political attack.
[583] It is more important than ever to develop methods and policies to retain members.
[584] Congress, I urge you to support this motion.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [585] Ken , Midlands and East Coast Region, moving motion one seven six, Branch Administration Officers.
[586] Conference, we are all well aware of the terrific financial burden that this union has been under over the last few years.
[587] With that burden around us we have seen a reduction in the number of full-time officers being appointed by the union and which in turn has without any doubt had a detrimental effect upon the members who we serve.
[588] It is for that very reason that I am moving this motion today ... as it gives us the opportunity to implement the rules of the union and at the same time would enable us to put into position, people who would be able to do all those things that are necessary to achieve what we require, recruitment, organization, paperwork, back-up service to full-time officials.
[589] That back-up service would also allow our full-time officers to concentrate on the recruitment and servicing of our members, which must and must only be and remain our highest priority.
[590] As time goes on, our membership and our finances will decide when we can take on full-time officials.
[591] This motion also creates an opportunity for the union, our union, the members' union, to encourage young members, [...] members and branch activists to take on the role of branch administration officers within the regions we represent here today and gain experience in an area of trade union work that they thought might never have, have existed.
[592] Conference, I believe that this existing rule nineteen, gives the G M B an opportunity to expand into branch administration officers across all the regions and use them to do any job that is needed and expected by the members.
[593] Conference, I believe that we can succeed if you are prepared to support this motion and I will leave you with this point.
[594] The only way forward for this great union is for all of us to recruit new members, so all of us must take this responsibility seriously.
[595] Branch administration officers are as I, I've already said, we'll be able to recruit and support full-time officials.
[596] Conference, I want to help that, and solve that position.
[597] I hope we all want to help together as a team and support our already stretched full-time officials.
[598] Rule nineteen gives us that opportunity.
[599] So congress, please don't let's waste the opportunity before us today.
[600] I therefore ask for your support.
[601] Thank you, I move.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dave (PS2GG) [602] Linda , Midland and East Coast Region, seconding motion one seven six, Branch Administration Officers.
[603] President, Congress.
[604] The mover has covered the motion extensively, but I'd like to add a couple of more points.
[605] We are not plucking this position out of the air, it's already there.
[606] In these difficult times it makes sense to look again at this post.
[607] It's self financing.
[608] We could promote computer training for the D A Os enabling a move to computer as branch records, making branch administration efficient and streamlined.
[609] Very importantly, just maybe, these prospective, highly motivated, branch admin officers would inject new life into non-active branches and from a personal point of view, I would see this as an opportunity to gain experience, which would encourage them to apply for regional organizer's jobs when they come available and don't we need more women officers?
[610] Please support.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [611] Motion one seven seven, London.
Duncan (PS2GH) [612] President.
[613] President, Congress.
[614] Keith , London Region, moving motion one seven seven.
[615] Congress, I understand the C E C are accepting this resolution for the qualifications so I will be brief.
[616] Past practice will [...] to use such private [...] , although they should have now, by now, all but disappeared.
[617] If we are to retain a level of even-handedness when dealing with employers ourselves we should at least make sure our own house is in order.
[618] If jobs or vacancies exist, our people, G M B people, should fill those vacancies.
[619] We have enough unemployed activists, who with a little training could cover those vacancies.
[620] Congress, I move.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [621] Would the seconder for one seven seven, formally seconded, thank you very much.
[622] One seven eight, Liverpool Region to move.
[623] Formally moved, is it formally seconded?
[624] Is it formally carried?
[625] Oh, we can't, we referred in it.
[626] Oh [laugh] sorry about that Frank.
[627] I do everything possible to help Regional Secretaries.
Dave (PS2GJ) [628] Thank you President.
[629] Frank replying on behalf of the C E C to one seven five, one seven six, one seven seven and one seven eight.
[630] Congress, the C E C is asking you to support one seven five.
[631] We seek withdrawal of motion one seven six in favour of one seven eight, we ask you to accept motion one seven seven where the certain qualifications and we seek referral of motion one seven eight.
[632] Colleagues, motion one seven five is in line with the union's general approach therefore the C E C has accepted this motion.
[633] The C E C seeks withdrawal of one seven six.
[634] In nineteen eighty four the C E C and this Congress favoured moving away from full-time officers to labour and secretaries and indeed we have implemented that policy.
[635] Even you, at later conferences, have protected those people when we have adjusted branch commission and we feel it would be a retrograde step to try and go back and turn those years away.
[636] Bearing those points in mind one seven eight offers a better way forward to use the skills and experience of our lay officials and members.
[637] Motion one seven seven, of course we accept in principle, that where we have vacancies, permanent vacancies, we should employ direct staff and if possible our members, which we do try to do.
[638] However, we do have some occasional vacancies, maternity leave, building maintenance work, long term sick, where we have to make sure our labour force is protected, where we do involve temporary labour and even on those occasions we attempt to employ people direct as some regions know.
[639] So, on that basis, we then accept that motion with those reservations.
[640] The contents of motion one seven eight appear to be sound, conference, we have been tried and we have been tried by some regions in a very limited way with some success.
[641] However, the C, C E C feels it needs to consult with regions, it needs more closely to examine the point in question and we would ask for reference of that resolution.
[642] I move.
Dick (PS2GD) [643] Thanks Frank.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [644] Thank you, President.
[645] Er, Congress.
[646] I hear what the C E C are saying and yes, I'm concerned about the union's finances.
[647] But the rulebook provision identifies branch administration officers, which I called for in the motion.
[648] Why do we continue to identify positions in our union rules if we're not gonna use them, and another point, is the, if rule nineteen was part of an employer's agreement, we would be first to challenge that agreement and ask why it was not implemented.
[649] I've been trained on union education courses, the same as you people have out there today, this union spends a tremin tremendous amount of money on training shop stewards to challenge such agreements.
[650] So Congress, I wish to challenge it.
[651] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HUCPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2GD) [652] Okay Ken, thank you.
[653] Colleagues, motion one seven five is being accepted, I put it to the vote, all those in favour?
[654] Against?
[655] That's carried.
[656] And you've heard from Ken in respect of one seven six, he's not prepared to withdraw, so therefore the C E C are recommending opposition.
[657] All those in favour of the motion?
[658] Against?
[659] That's lost.
[660] Motion one seven seven is being accepted, all those in favour?
[661] Against?
[662] That's carried.
[663] Motion one seven eight, reference is being sought and I understand that Liverpool have agreed.
[664] Conference agree, thanks very much indeed.
[665] Colleagues, just before we adjourn for lunch, could I ask you to try and take the opportunity to visit the Labour Party and Trade Unions for Labour stand where there is a live link to the national membership system.
[666] Thanks very much indeed.
[667] Congress stands adjourned until two P M, thank you.