Trade Union Annual Congress. Sample containing about 12902 words speech recorded in business context

11 speakers recorded by respondent number C404

PS2H5 X m (Dick, age unknown, president of trade union) unspecified
PS2H6 X m (John, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2H7 X f (Denise, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2H8 X m (Frank, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2H9 X m (John, age unknown, general secretary of trade union) unspecified
PS2HA X m (Robert, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2HB X m (Alan, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2HC X f (Barbara, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
PS2HD X m (Billy, age unknown, trade unionist) unspecified
HUDPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
HUDPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 100908 recorded on 1993-06-07. LocationHampshire: Portsmouth ( The Guildhall ) Activity: trade union congress speech

Undivided text

Dick (PS2H5) [1] Order.
[2] ... Er, just a couple of announcements colleagues, if er, those delegates who actually smoke, if you've got any Embassy cigarette coupons, could you pass them to any members of the Northern Region.
[3] They're used by the South, Tyneside Local Authority Branch to help buy a camcorder for the Sullivan member who's recently undergone surgery to remove a tumour from his brain.
[4] So don't throw them away colleagues, hand them to any delegate from the Northern Region.
[5] Colleagues, just to try and let you know what, er I've got in my mind concerning the business that's fell off the agenda yesterday and today so far.
[6] You'll recall that the er, Regional reports in the Regional, in the General Secretary's, er report fell off the agenda yesterday and there are a number of resolutions which have fell off, at this morning.
[7] What I'm planning to do is to put them back in the order, colleagues could you settle down please, I'm planning to put them back on the agenda in the order that they fell off, and er, hopefully, the first opportunity in that connection may be Wednesday afternoon, but I need to have a discussion with colleagues about that, but I'll certainly let you know at the first available opportunity.
[8] Colleagues, standing orders commission report number two, John.
John (PS2H6) [9] President and Congress.
[10] Standing Orders Committee report number two.
[11] Composite three, contributions earnings related scale, due for debate on Wednesday afternoon will now be moved by Liverpool, North Wales and Irish Region and seconded by Southwestern Region.
[12] Two further composite reports have been agreed.
[13] Composite thirty two, toxic shock syndrome, comprising motion two five nine, Lancashire Region and motion two six O, Southwestern Region, both due for debate on Tuesday afternoon, Lancashire Region to move, Southwestern Region to second.
[14] Composite thirty three, age discrimination, comprising motion three five seven, G M B Scotland and motion three five eight and three five nine, both Lancashire Region.
[15] All due for debate on Thursday morning.
[16] Lancashire Region to move, G M B Scotland to second.
[17] The committee has ruled that an emergency motion from the Midland and East Coast Region, pit review and closures, is in order and will be emergency motion number two.
[18] The committee has been informed that the following motions have been withdrawn.
[19] Motion one two two, from London Region due for debate on Tuesday morning and motion four two O from Birmingham and West Midlands Region due for debate on Thursday afternoon.
[20] The committee has given permission for the bucket collection to be taken on behalf of our colleagues at [...] at the end of the Tuesday morning session.
[21] The committee has given permission for a bucket collection to be taken on behalf of the Matthew trust fund at the end of the Wednesday morning session.
[22] Will the Regional Officers responsible for all these collections, please contact the Congress Office to make the appropriate arrangements.
[23] President, I move.
Dick (PS2H5) [24] Thanks very much indeed.
[25] Conference accepts Standing Orders Commission report number two.
[26] Thanks very much, that's being circulated colleagues.
[27] Colleagues, I now call er, motion three, rule six, appeals procedure for members, that's for the South Western Region to move.
Denise (PS2H7) [28] President, Congress and our inclusive visitors as well, because nobody's mentioned them yet.
[29] Denise from the Southwestern Region.
[30] I'm here to talk about the rule which applies to appeals procedures for members.
[31] I don't suppose many have read it in depth, cos to be honest, when do we read a rule when we don't have to, unless we absolutely need it.
[32] I understand the C E C asked us to withdraw this motion because they say it is not necessary.
[33] Well, my region didn't agree with that, we feel it is very necessary.
[34] For those not familiar what happens is, a member puts their case to their branch.
[35] If they're overruled he or she can then appeal to the Regional Committee.
[36] If overruled there they can appeal to the Central Executive Committee and if overruled there, there's the appeals tribunal.
[37] The rulebook states that a member has the right to appeal but it doesn't say that they have the right to be told why they've lost.
[38] What this meal means in real terms is a member doesn't necessarily know for sure why they have lost.
[39] They would obviously have some idea from the appeal hearing it itself but since they have to put all of their reasons for their request in writing the very least I believe they should be able to have is a reasoned reply.
[40] I'd like to demonstrate this by reading a little bit from a letter that was sent to one of our members in this position.
[41] It's from the Regional Secretary, I write with reference to your appeal to the Regional Committee of today's date and I have to inform you that your appeal was unsuccessful.
[42] That's easy enough to understand.
[43] I would therefore advise you that you have the right to appeal to C E C within one month against this decision.
[44] Again that's easy enough to understand, it's in the rulebook.
[45] The final paragraph, if this is the course of action you wish to take, in the first instance you should write to me requesting that your appeal be heard by the Central Executive Committee.
[46] I will then forward your request to the General Secretary.
[47] Again, that's fine, but the member had no idea as to exactly why he'd lost the appeal.
[48] It doesn't tell you a great deal in that letter.
[49] As trade unionists representing our members in the workplace, this is something we would be unhappy with, to go through a procedure with one of our members and know that that member has lost but not exactly know why.
[50] I don't think it is something that we would accept.
[51] When our member then appealed to the Regional Secretary and said, well, I think I do wanna appeal and go further than this because I feel I'm right, what letter did we then get in reply.
[52] Again this is another one from our region.
[53] I quote word for word, on the question of wanting details as to why the appeal was overturned, it is not a practice of the organization to give the reasons for such decisions and I would add that I've spoken to the National Executive Officer on this matter and he's confirmed that we are not required to do so.
[54] Well, I'm sorry, if I was in my workplace I wouldn't be happy representing a member and then be told by the employer, I'm not required to tell you why you've lost your appeal and I don't think this is something we should do within our own organization on our own members.
[55] The C E C I believe are gonna say this isn't necessary.
[56] What we need is for every single appeal stage, for the member to at least have the right to know why he or she has lost.
[57] Please support this motion.
[58] Thank you.
Dick (PS2H5) [59] Is there a seconder?
[60] Is there a seconder for the motion?
[61] Formally seconded, thank you.
[62] Motion six, rule amendment, to be moved by South Western ... Motion six.
Denise (PS2H7) [63] Sorry, I was dozing off over there.
[64] Again this is about the procedure that we're following, but we're talking now about rules procedures for branches and I have to say that I'm up here without the support of my region on this one.
[65] I understand again the C E C is asking you to oppose it because they say it's not necessary.
[66] I would like to ask a question, that if this particular rule isn't necessary, then how does a branch go about appealing a decision made elsewhere in the union's hierarchy?
[67] I've just talked about what happens when a branch member wants to appeal but this is a branch as a whole that's made a decision at a meeting that it doesn't agree with something that's happened.
[68] Again I've got a letter to quote from, cos we're good at keeping correspondence in my branch.
[69] It's a letter from the Executive Services Officer that states, rule six, which is the one I've just been talking about on the previous motion, is quite clear in saying that only individual members can pursue appeals and not a branch.
[70] This is the basis on which my branch believes that we need a new rule which covers branches.
[71] Because we need that new rule what is happening at the moment?
[72] If a branch doesn't like something what does it get the chance to do?
[73] Well, it has to borrow rule six, that we were talking about just now.
[74] You might say to yourself, well is this a very rare occurrence, so that really this branch is making a fuss about nothing, branches don't have to go through appeals procedures, cos it never happens.
[75] That isn't the case.
[76] I've got another letter here from the General Secretary.
[77] You may appeal under rule six, my branch was told, this is the appeal procedures that refers to members not branches, but it will be well understood you are making the appeal on behalf of the branch, which obviously means we've gotta borrow one to do something else.
[78] It's not a rare occurrence because the General Secretary himself says, we've followed this procedure on many occasions in the past.
[79] If it's happening so often then should we not be having our own procedure for that to happen?
[80] If we look at rule six, and we've all been given rulebooks, if people have brought them with us, what we have to do is bend that rule so that it applies to branches, not members.
[81] What I'll do is I'll read you the first paragraph of rule six and actually bend the rule and put those words in and it really doesn't make any sense at all, so listen carefully on this one and don't be surprised if you don't understand me.
[82] Should any branch have any complaint to make they must do so to their branch secretary who must submit the matter to the branch, it's talking to yourself.
[83] If any branch is not satisfied with the decision of the branch they may appeal to the Regional Committee.
[84] Obviously you need to appeal to the Regional Committee if as a branch you're not happy, but this rule shouldn't need to be bent, we should have one that is ours to be used for branches, the General Secretary himself says that it's happened on several occasions so let's be a real trade union, not one that borrows from Peter to pay Paul, let's have a proper rule for branches.
[85] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [86] Is that seconded?
[87] Formally seconded.
[88] Thanks very much.
[89] I call Frank to put the C E C position.
Frank (PS2H8) [90] President, Congress, Frank replying on behalf of the C E C.
[91] Er, as the last speaker said, everybody has received a copy of the rules in their wallet and I would them to take a lo take, take that copy out and have a look at it.
[92] Take it out a have a look at it.
[93] ... Have a look at rule six.
[94] ... You've all got it, I hope.
[95] Page ten.
[96] ... We're all comrades here so the formalities should go out the window, for starters.
[97] ... The first speaker who was here at this rostrum ... made the point about er, the right of individuals and it's not in the rulebook.
[98] Have a look at the rule, the right of individuals is, is there.
[99] Have a look at it.
[100] I'll tell you what, there's not a lot of unions with that type of rule in their rulebook.
[101] The G M B is one of the only unions in my opinion, unless somebody can contradict me, who use that type of rule.
[102] You can take it to your branch, you can take it to your Regional Committee, you can take it as far as the C E C ... and that costs a lot of money.
[103] For one individual, but we're not complaining about that, we accept that.
[104] What they're asking for is already in the rule, already in the rule ... what the speaker spoke about, about er, motion number three on rule amendment, and have a look at it, what the motion states is not what she spoke about, not what she spoke about.
[105] Because if you read the motion she is just looking for the rights of an individual and rule, rule six in the rule book applies the laws of natural justice, which we're all for, the C E C agree, we're all for it.
[106] ... So, we are asking ... the Bristol and [...] branch to withdraw the motion.
[107] We're doing yous a favour, our lads speaks plain to you, we're doing yous a favour.
[108] We asking you, withdraw the motion.
[109] And if you don't withdraw it, the C E C is completely and totally opposed to it because we already have what it's asking for in the rule.
[110] Have a look at it, read it for yourselves.
[111] Look, I don't want to insult your intelligence, I'm an Irishman right, we don't have a pile of that according to everybody, like ya know.
[112] But have a look at the rule and you'll find that it bloody well states exactly what they're asking for in that motion.
[113] ... I'll move onto the next one.
[114] We're totally opposed to the next one.
[115] Totally.
[116] Now, I was gonna tell you a story but I'll not.
[117] You see the next one right, the reason we're totally opposed to it, as yous have been bloody debating it all morning, with the Labour Party, and I can't even bloody join it, cos I live in Northern Ireland.
[118] Now if lived in the Republic of Ireland I could join the Labour Party, but I can't join it because I live in Northern Ireland, right, but have a look at that motion, what you're talking about.
Dick (PS2H5) [119] Frank, could you wind up please.
Frank (PS2H8) [120] Er, sorry President, worthy President and all the rest of it, what I'm saying is that we're totally opposed to it because what you're going to have here is, you're gonna have a situation where branches, branches, you gonna have them fighting between branches and the C E C ...
Dick (PS2H5) [121] Thanks Frank.
Frank (PS2H8) [122] and we don't need that.
Dick (PS2H5) [123] Thank you very much.
Frank (PS2H8) [124] Thank you very much.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Denise (PS2H7) [125] Thank you, back again.
[126] We're not going to withdraw either of these.
[127] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Denise (PS2H7) [128] As has just been suggested, and I also mentioned in my speech, yes please, read the rule, it doesn't say at every stage and that is all we're asking for, that at every stage in the procedure a member knows why he or she hasn't won the appeal.
[129] I really don't think that's an awful lot to ask for.
[130] He mentioned cost, well one letter's ever so expensive isn't it, just to let someone know where they stand.
[131] I'm sorry if that's causing people a problem but that is basic human right.
[132] He talked of natural justice.
[133] Well, I consider that letting someone know why they've lost is natural justice.
[134] In terms of the rule that we need for branches, I've already said the General Secretary agrees with me, that this happens often.
[135] What it's got to do with the comrade's ability to join the Labour Party I'm not absolutely sure, perhaps someone can tell me afterwards.
[136] But branches need a facility, it's not about in-fighting, it's about something that actually happened within my branch, I'd like to add that we won the appeal, when the branch went through it raised two questions, we won one, we lost one.
[137] But we actually needed a procedure, that procedure was followed as best we could by borrowing another rule and it was achieved at the end of the day.
[138] There's no animosity within my region on the fact that one person felt one thing and one felt another and as democratic trade unionists there shouldn't be any in-fighting or animosity just because we need to discuss something on which we disagree.
[139] The whole purpose of a conference is about disagreeing with each other and then agreeing a statement as a compromise for whatever is reached at the end of the day.
[140] It's not in-fighting and I urge you to support both of these please.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [141] Colleagues, as, as conference will have heard from the mover of motion three, motion six, not prepared to withdraw and the C E C is therefore asking you to oppose both.
[142] Put motion three to the vote.
[143] All those in favour?
[144] Against?
[145] That's lost.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [146] Ooh.
Dick (PS2H5) [147] Motion six, yes it was, yes it was.
[148] No need for a card vote, clearly lost, put motion six to the vote.
[149] All those in favour?
[150] Against?
[151] That's lost.
[152] Oh yes.
[153] Clearly lost colleagues, I can assure you.
[154] Colleagues, can I just make a point as well while we're progressing.
[155] Erm, obviously, the right of reply er, is not an automatic right.
[156] It's where the mover chooses to exercise that particular right, but in so doing the mover cannot, or should not introduce new material and make another speech.
[157] He or she should respond to the er, the points that are being made on behalf of the C E C.
[158] I mean that's the rules of debate, but I thought I'd make that particular point because it has a little bit of poetic licence er in that [...] .
[159] Colleagues.
[160] Sections, special report, Section and Industrial Conferences.
[161] Can I advise your planning to take this particular debate.
[162] We'll ask for the General Secretary to move the C E C special report, that will be seconded by Robert , member of the Central Executive Council.
[163] We'll then take motion One one A, one one one A, er motion one one O, motion one five three, motion one five six, motion one six three.
[164] Those will be moved and seconded.
[165] We'll then come back and I will invite speakers from all the regions in respect of the special report.
[166] Call the General Secretary to move the special report, Section and Industrial Conferences.
John (PS2H9) [167] John , General Secretary.
[168] Moving the special report, Section and Industrial Conferences and also President if I may, at the same time, moving motion one one one A on behalf of the C E C, rather than returning to the rostrum a second time.
[169] First of all, the report.
[170] Colleagues, last year as you know er, the C E C put a report before you called Wider Democracy.
[171] You'll also remember it was quite a lively debate, history lessons, buckets and spades presented to the platform and a good deal of passion.
[172] Er, but that of course was all about the most controversial aspect of the report, which was the frequency of Congress.
[173] The rest of the report, which was the role of section conferences and industrial conferences, which have been the subject of fairly detailed consultations throughout regions over the previous two years and appeared to be widely accepted was hardly debated at all.
[174] But of course, when the whole report went down, when wider democracy was defeated, we also lost the guidelines for section and industrial Conferences.
[175] And that's left us in some er, difficulties frankly, because one of the things that er, the C E C was recommending, that work of a strategic nature, which at the moment is undertaken by industrial conferences should be moved over to be dealt with by section conferences and that meant that a number of industrial conferences need not meet any longer, so we would avoid the duplication, the overlap and the waste.
[176] The solution of course is obvious, this year the C E C, no doubt suitably chastened by the vote last year, is resubmitting the section and industrial conference proposals on their own, without any other issues attached.
[177] The logic is obvious, we have seven sections now, seven sectional conferences, these conferences must have proper terms of reference, proper guidelines for debate and clear rules as to who can attend, who can speak and who can vote, and that's the most important part of our report.
[178] To fill this obvious gap in our constitutional arrangements.
[179] The report goes on to recommend changes in industrial conferences, and I've already mentioned that, to ensure that there is no wasteful overlap between the two, and Robert in seconding the motion will go into some of the details of the er, way the new conferences will operate erm, following me.
[180] I now if I may President, turn to motion one one one A which amul er, amends rule A five.
[181] This is a more difficult issue.
[182] The rulebook and the Special Report spell out the nature and function of the sections.
[183] They are industrial sections concerned with what is happening in a particular industry, or a group of industries.
[184] That's of course why section conferences cannot debate matters reserved to Congress and why national committees cannot cons consider issues within the remit of the C E C.
[185] They are concerned with the industry and the section of industry alone, but of course the issue that we then have to deal with is, we must make sure that those section committees, those national section committees, carry credibility with the members working in that section.
[186] They must been seen, their decisions must be seen to reflect the interest and wishes of members currently employed in the section, and as we have always believed industrial and negotiating policy is best made by members at work in the sector who feel the day to day pressures, know what is going on, motion one one one A seeks to ensure that this will happen.
[187] So this, with some restrictions, confines the membership of the committee to people who are at work.
[188] But then of course the difficulty arises because these are difficult times, there is a recession, people are losing their jobs day by day and we didn't think it was appropriate to start applying some guillotine on people's election rights and their membership of the committee.
[189] So, of course, we've stretched things a bit .
[190] The amendment will of course not remove anyone during their period of office if they lose their job.
[191] Of course not, they've been elected for a period, they serve to the end of that period, whether they're made redundant or not, so they go on for the four year term.
[192] And also, of course, we've so worded the er, amendment to rule to ensure that anybody who does any work in the sector in the eighteen months before the election period, even of a temporary nature, will be eligible to stand as a member of the section committee.
[193] Now, of course, when you put restrictions on that seem to deny any group of members any rights, you must be very careful.
[194] So lest any misunderstandings arrive that this is some thin end of some wedge, I should also add that the restriction we're proposing only applies to national committees, doesn't apply to any other office anywhere in the union and to reinforce that point the C E C will be recommending support for a general motion underlining the rights of people who are unemployed or retired to hold office throughout the G M B.
[195] Colleagues er, the defeat of Wider Democracy last year left us with a bit of a hole in our constitution.
[196] I hope you will accept this report, you'll pass the amendment and complete the constitutional framework of our sections.
[197] I move.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [198] Could I have motion one one one A formally seconded?
[199] Thank you Mary.
[200] Robert to second the special report.
Robert (PS2HA) [201] President, Congress.
[202] I have been introduced but there is only one small point and [...] .
[203] I am from the Scottish Region and a member of the Technical Crafts Section.
[204] President Congress.
[205] On behalf of the Central Executive Council I second the special report on sectional and industrial conferences.
[206] We need a coherent guideline for the relationship between Congress, sectional national conferences and what up until now we have called national and regional conferences.
[207] This is provided in the report.
[208] The aim of the guidelines is to set out a clear role for each conference within a coherent, sensible framework.
[209] The sectional conferences will decide strategic issues affecting industrial groups within the section.
[210] They will be responsible for the overall strategy of the section.
[211] The newly named national negotiating conferences will decide bargaining issues affecting members covered by the particular national negotiating councils.
[212] But if there is no national negotiating councils then there is no delegates, national delegates' conference.
[213] Regional delegates' conference will be held where the regional nat the regional negotiating councils or where there is a need for a regional sounding board for the effective operation of the national negotiating council.
[214] They will feed the national negotiating council.
[215] So, we have a coherent democratic system for developing industrial and [...] policies within the union.
[216] The inevitability of that Congress should pull back, excuse me, the inevitability means that Congress should pull back from indus industrial strategies and negotiating deals, but should be left to the members concerned.
[217] Indeed Congress will concentrate on debating and deciding issues of a wide spread and common concern to all our members, such as finance, the rulebook including the structure and organization of the union, our political, economical, economic and social policies.
[218] Our relations with the T U C and the Labour Party.
[219] Nevertheless, you'll have a great deal to talk about within Congress and you'll have a lot more time to do so.
[220] The C E C believe that the report will provide a vibrant, democratic and sensible system for policy making of our union.
[221] It will involve more members with decision making taken by those who are responsible for reporting back to the members and for carrying out the effects of such responsibilities.
[222] It will enhance the accountability within the G M B and hereby improve the quality of the decisions we make.
[223] I therefore second the motion and hope you will support.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [224] Motion one one O, Midland Region to move.
[225] On one one, one one A, okay.
[226] Sit there colleague, would ya?
[227] ... And whilst Alan's coming to the rostrum colleagues, can the, the movers from London of motion one five three, one five six er, London again, one six three, Birmingham, if they would come down to the front and also it would be very helpful colleagues, if regions, if regions have indicated a speaker on the special report, if those colleagues could come down as well it would be helpful.
[228] Alan.
Alan (PS2HB) [229] Thanks Mr Chairman.
[230] Colleagues, Alan , Lancashire Region, opposing motion one one A on behalf of Lancashire Region.
[231] Colleagues, I must oppose this rule amendment.
[232] If passed anyone not in employment for eighteen months prior to nomination will not be eligible to attend any sectional conference.
[233] Colleagues, I have members in my branches who are unemployed but still pay full contributions ... not because they have to cos they want to,
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Alan (PS2HB) [234] they show their commitment to this union, where is this commitment, union's commitment to them?
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Alan (PS2HB) [235] I'll tell you what it is colleagues, it's a case of no pay, no play.
[236] Colleagues, it's a good job this rule was not out when Will Thorn was about, eh?
[237] He wouldn't have had enough members to attend a meeting, never mind form a trade union.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Alan (PS2HB) [238] For this union to say only employed members can represent them is disgraceful.
[239] Utterly disgraceful.
[240] The C E C should be ashamed of theirselves.
[241] In our branches, we believe the best person for the job should represent the members, not the best employed person.
[242] Oppose motion one one A.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [243] Barbara, are you on one one one A?
Barbara (PS2HC) [244] Yes.
Dick (PS2H5) [245] I had feeling you might be.
Barbara (PS2HC) [246] Er, Barbara , Birmingham Region, speaking against one one one, one one A, the amendment to rule A five with the support of the Birmingham Region.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Barbara (PS2HC) [247] Congress, rule A five seeks to debar the unemployed from taking an active role in this organization.
[248] There are calls to retain members, they wanna keep you, they want your money but if you're unemployed you take, can't take an active part in the G M B.
[249] ... They say this to the very people who have been the bedrock of this organization, the very people that built the organization.
[250] They who have kept the membership going under the Tory regime and they that have suffered the effects of recession and job, job losses and brought, brought about by the Tories.
[251] And now President, colleagues, this organization seeks to ostracize those very people.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Barbara (PS2HC) [252] Rule A five was brought to us by the amalgamation of the boilermakers, who themselves have tried to get rid of this bloody rule.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Barbara (PS2HC) [253] G M B mem G M D, B members are sick of having rules imposed on them brought about by amalgamation.
[254] It's high time we kept some of the old G M W rules.
[255] Colleagues, I would say, and if you'll excuse the expression, I don't think this C E C knows its arse from its elbow.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [256] Barbara, the lights
Barbara (PS2HC) [257] For
Dick (PS2H5) [258] Barbara, the lights are very strong in here.
Barbara (PS2HC) [259] Pardon.
[260] For in supporting rule A five at the C E C by a very slim majority they also supported resolution one five three by an overwhelming majority, which says exactly the opposite to rule A five.
[261] Colleagues, the Birmingham Region says, reject this amendment and support resolution one five three.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [262] Er, Billy, are you on one one A as well?
Billy (PS2HD) [263] Opposing.
Dick (PS2H5) [264] You're opposing.
[265] Is, are there any other colleagues, Alan please don't come down any more, please.
[266] What you waving at me for John.
[267] Right, you're there.
[268] Are you, any of you colleagues on one one A?
[269] No, right.
[270] Last two.
[271] Okay Bill.
Billy (PS2HD) [272] Billy , Northern Region, opposing the C E C rule, what we've just heard about.
[273] Congress, as a life-long trade unionist and I might add, it's me golden wedding next year.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Billy (PS2HD) [274] Because my good lady's always said, you married that bloody union the day you started work.
[275] As a life-long trade unionist, colleagues, I have held one firm principle.
[276] That principle colleagues, is equality.
[277] If this rule change is agreed, we accept that one member has more rights than another.
[278] It places member against member, it causes division, it destroys our solidarity and it weakens our movement.
[279] Congress, it's against this background, against a lifetime of commitment to equality that I firmly oppose the change.
[280] It stands against, it stands against every principle of trade unionism.
[281] To hold that one G M B member should have more rights than another, to say that one member can stand for an election, but not another.
[282] Congress, our principles have stood for a hundred and three years.
[283] By working together we have built a strong and powerful organization.
[284] By holding equality as a central principle of our union we have maximized solidarity between our members.
[285] [shouting] That regardless of background, education, race, sex, occupation or age [] every single trade unionist is an individual member with the same rights and responsibilities as his or her colleagues.
[286] Now, let's take the young activist, who starts off in the trade union movement.
[287] He starts off in his factory, in his workplace or what have ya.
[288] He organizes the place, he recruits members, he's run off his feet and the employer turns round and says, we cannot have this here, this lad's too good, [shouting] get him out, sack him.
[289] Aye, they do [] .
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Billy (PS2HD) [290] They do sack 'em, because it happened when there was full employment, never mind about [shouting] three million on the dole [] .
[291] And let's face it brothers, sisters, some of our members have more chance of seeing Lord Lucan riding [...] as they have of finding a job.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Billy (PS2HD) [292] Colleagues, colleagues.
[293] I am not going to insult your intelligence and beg you to vote or oppose this vote.
[294] I'm not going to insult your intelligence.
[295] But what I'll do if I may, applaud your commonsense when it comes to the vote.
[296] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [297] Mr President, Congress, brothers and sisters and I hope you're comrades and all after this.
[298] One lady speaker was right, the sister, the boilermakers brought this rule in.
[299] I wasn't at the conference, what a pity.
[300] It wouldn't have been on the books [laugh] if I ever seen blatant sectarianism at its worst [shouting] it's in that bloody motion [] .
[301] Here were people through no fault of their own, government policy, mismanagement and lo and behold, our union kick us in the bloody face because you're unemployed.
[302] [shouting] Well, I'll tell you this, you oppose this motion with all your might and don't let 'em get away with it [] .
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [303] President, Congress.
[304] Ivy , Midland and East Coast Region, moving amendment to rule A three.
[305] The rule as it now stands is a contradiction.
[306] It provides for an annual Apex Conference, it stipulates that the conference shall be advisory to the C E C and all decisions shall be subject to C E C congress policy.
[307] It then lays down that no matter shall be discussed that is within the remit of Congress.
[308] But all matters are in the remit of Congress.
[309] This effectively disallows any subject being discussed at an Apex conference.
[310] My branch submitted a motion to the Apex conference two years ago that sought to draw attention to unemployment amongst the white collar workers.
[311] It was ruled out of order by the Standing Orders Committee as it fell foul of rule A three, the subject was within the remit of Congress.
[312] Last year Manchester Central Apex branch submitted a motion highlighting the dangers of tampon related shock syndrome, arising out of the death of an Apex member.
[313] The Standing Orders Committee ruled it out of order under rule A three, within the remit of Congress.
[314] I'm pleased to see it on this year's Congress Agenda.
[315] Why are the C E C fearful of matters being discussed at the Apex conference?
[316] They are the final arbiters, as to where the motions passed at the Apex Conference are acceptable under the advisory element of the rule, my branch are only too aware of this.
[317] Four years ago, the Apex conference carried a motion from my branch seeking the continuation of the old Apex rule, providing for Gold badgers at retirement, for members with twenty five years continuous membership.
[318] What happened, the C E C refused to accept the decision.
[319] The Apex conference is finding itself severely restricted on matters it can discuss by this rule.
[320] It needs to be laid down what can and what cannot be discussed by an Apex Conference, my branch wish to remove the present restriction and ask for your support.
[321] I move.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [322] Is there a seconder for one one O?
John (PS2H6) [323] President, Congress, visitors.
[324] Jed , Midlands and East Coast Region, seconding motion one one O.
[325] What this motion quite clearly seeks to do is to widen debate at our Apex section conference.
[326] It's my firm belief that if we continue to stifle debate on general issues at our section conferences then we also restrict the flow of knowledge within the union.
[327] At present, there's no denying that sectional conferences need some guidelines, I mean you only need one experience like last year's Apex conference to realize that.
[328] Admittedly the confusion wasn't entirely the fault of the SOC, the mood of the delegates didn't particularly help but the situation was something like this.
[329] We were allowed to debate a motion on homelessness but a motion as a previous speaker has said, on toxic shock syndrome, was ruled out of order, as it fell within the remit of Congress.
[330] Confused?
[331] So was I.
[332] Was I therefore to assume that homelessness was an issue peculiar only to Apex members within the G M B or was I to reach the alternative, and I might say equally ridiculous conclusion, that despite its majority of women membership, toxic sock, shock syndrome was not of particular interest to Apex members?
[333] Of course not, well let's look a little further into the issue.
[334] Section conferences are composed of delegates, who in the main will never get to Congress.
[335] If we limit the forum for debate on important issues, such as T S S or for instance, racist attacks, to Congress, then many section delegates may never be exposed to those debates.
[336] So, as I've already said, we need some guidelines but are the existing ones the right ones?
[337] I would suggest not.
[338] I personally would prefer us to be looking at some way of allowing greater scope for debate at section conferences, and where necessary to have decisions on general issues deferred to Congress for ratification or withdrawal.
[339] Remember Wider Democracy?
[340] Well, if we're really into wider democracy we ought to be promoting wider debate, please support.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [341] One five three, London Region to move.
Denise (PS2H7) [342] John , London Regional Committee.
[343] Moving motion one five three, unemployed members qualification for office.
[344] Now there shouldn't be any terrible complexity about these series of motions that we're considering now.
[345] The motion that we are proposing is fundamentally straightforward.
[346] It simply recognizes the importance of retaining the experience of G M B activists in a situation like now where thousands upon thousands are being made redundant and in many cases victimized for trade union activity.
[347] So, what are we saying?
[348] That as they've been made redundant, as they've been victimized for trade union activity possibly, we then as a union decide that they cannot stand for office?
[349] That is what the section report says in certain aspects of it.
[350] Rule amendment treble one A, which the General Secretary also took the opportunity to move, does not fully address that situation.
[351] It makes it far more complex than it should be.
[352] It introduces, as has been pointed out by numerous speakers, the famous eighteen month rule.
[353] So it effectively disenfranchises unemployed, long term unemployed people from being active in that section.
[354] It's clear to me and I think it's clear to the vast majority in Congress that it's a matter for branches to decide who represents them in the various forums of the union.
[355] It's not a matter for ruling people out because they've become unemployed, through no fault of their own, absolutely not.
[356] So I've gotta say, that in terms of credibility it's, and the Regional Sec er, the General Secretary made the point about credibility within those sections, and within that, those elections, it's for the branches to, to actually decide who represents them credibly or not and for this, for any attempt to change rule in this particular way.
[357] We therefore have got to oppose rule amendment one one one A as well as oppose the Sectional and Industrial Conference Report for the same reason.
[358] Both of them in their own separate ways seek to disenfranchise unemployed members.
[359] It's very simple Congress, if you support motion one five three this probably will never happen again and we won't have the situation where there's an attempt to disenfranchise unemployed members.
[360] I move.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [361] Is there a seconder for one five three?
[362] One five three seconded.
[363] Formally seconded.
[364] One five six, London Region to move.
Frank (PS2H8) [365] President, Congress.
[366] Dave , London Region.
[367] Public Services Section, moving motion one five six, section conferences.
[368] Congress, as we are all aware, since nineteen eighty eight, this union has moved to sectionalization of its membership according to their trade.
[369] For example, local authority workers, like myself, to the public services section ... to the energies and utilities section.
[370] A very good concept and is probably working.
[371] The difficulty seems to arise within the membership in knowing exactly what areas of responsibility each section has, what are the rules of debate for sectional conferences, are decisions taken at sectional conferences binding on the union rulebook relating to that section and within all of this sectionalization, what role does the Apex conference now play, as those members, like myself, are presumably within one of the other sections too.
[372] Therefore Congress, we must call on the C E C to answer the confusion in plain English, so that I, and I'm sure many other of our members, can understand ... in the form of a document circulated to the branches so that we can go forward into the future at least understanding where we fit into our own union.
[373] And then with that understanding I am sure many more members will want to become delegates to sectional conferences, armed with a clear and concise guidelines.
[374] Congress, I move.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [375] Seconder for one five six.
[376] Thank you.
[377] Motion one six three, Birmingham Region to move.
John (PS2H9) [378] Rose , Birmingham Region.
[379] President, Congress.
[380] Motion one six three seeks to ensure that no pre-conference delegates' meetings are held prior to sections, regional and national conferences.
[381] I believe the C E C are accepting this motion and therefore the principle that's contained therein.
[382] In view of this and after many years of being in the movement and being active in the movement, I know when to quit when I'm winning, so I move motion one six three.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [383] Thank you, Rose.
[384] Is one six three seconded?
[385] ... Formally seconded?
[386] Thanks very much indeed.
[387] Colleagues, I now invite er, delegates from the regions who may wish to make a contribution on the special report.
[388] Birmingham Region first of all, do you wish to put a speaker in?
[389] ... It would be helpful again colleagues if er, potential speakers er, will come down to the front.
[390] ... Sorry, are you speaking on this colleague?
[391] Yes, well you'd need to come, oh you're going round that way.
[392] Okay.
Robert (PS2HA) [393] Er, Jim , Birmingham, West er, Midlands er, supporting er, the sectionalization of the union because erm, we were told a few months ago it was passed for nineteen ninety one.
[394] Now I heard John speaking about sections a minute ago and he said we need guidelines.
[395] The reasons that we need guidelines now is we hadn't time to study them at the time and up to the present moment, as far as I'm aware there's one section that's just been formed a couple of months ago.
[396] So, we didn't have time to study them to see exactly where they are, to see what relationship between congress, the C E C and the sections.
[397] Now, up to now we've met, it's probably a step forward but it will need careful monitoring because there is utter confusion as far as I'm concerned with, I don't know whether Apex is a sister union with us or a section and I don't think Apex know the difference themselves.
[398] The other problem we've got, and I will call it a problem, is the relationship to beat with, with the sections and elections to regional councils, in the union, where there's not enough people or just barely enough people to stand for a section and they're automatically elected.
[399] Now that can create problems between one person who's elected and a person who is not elected.
[400] Now that would need looking at, otherwise Birmingham and West Midlands er, accept the sectionalization.
Dick (PS2H5) [401] Thanks very much indeed, Lancashire Region
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Alan (PS2HB) [402] John , Lancashire Region.
[403] President, Congress.
[404] My experience of the new sections are working, doesn't fill me with any enthusiasm.
[405] I accept that they are a new concept and they may be an, an improvement in time.
[406] Nevertheless, I am concerned in three areas.
[407] The first and the most important is accountability of this Congress.
[408] All the national officers are held to account, they have to give a report of their activities and delegates can challenge them.
[409] Motions can be put forward and ones carried become the mandate for those officers.
[410] The section conferences are a merely advisory body.
[411] Motions debated, even if they are carried, do not become a mandate.
[412] The officers just take their advice, this is not accountability.
[413] If a motion about a particular industry cannot be placed on the agenda, that of our congress then we lose the accountability.
[414] It is essential that this right is not lost.
[415] The second is the expense.
[416] As the number of sections grow, another one is planned with the [...] then the cost of having these section conferences will, I believe, become astronomical.
[417] We've had the debate over whether or not we want our annual conference and that argument was won.
[418] Despite the cost we voted for our annual conference and I have a feeling the argument will be back again some time in the future, based on the fact of having sectional conferences and an annual congress, the cost is too high.
[419] The General Secretary and the C E C have to be quite clear, the cost will have to met by other means than altering our annual congress.
[420] The third is the condition imposed on who can attend as a full voting delegate.
[421] The present rule denies any delegate who's been out of the industry for eighteen months is discarded.
[422] What right has anybody, other than the members in that section deciding for themselves who represents them?
[423] We may have members who been unemployed longer than eighteen months.
[424] What right has the C E C to say they can't?
[425] If the members of a section want to vote for a full-time branch secretary, there was a member of that section, who's been a full time branch secretary for longer than eighteen months, what right has anyone got to say they can't?
[426] It's disgraceful.
[427] The next thing is that when the vote comes to the General Secretary for the union, anyone who's been out of the particular industry for longer than eighteen months won't be able to vote.
[428] We wouldn't accept that and why should we accept this for this section?
[429] If the General Secretary and the C E C are prepared to take the regions' concerns into account and adjust or alter the way the new sections are organized then we will support.
[430] If he can't give that assurance in his summing up, then we will be opposing.
[431] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [432] Thank you John, Southwestern Region.
Barbara (PS2HC) [433] Chair, Conference.
[434] Sheila , Southwestern Region.
[435] As John has already told you I'm sure you will all remember the debate last year, the wider democracy and I s I'm sure you remember you overturned it.
[436] Well colleagues, I hope that the guidelines for section document this year is supported.
[437] Colleagues, this document is surely the way forward for a progressive union which represents so many, many members spread over all aspects of industry.
[438] And in the scope and authority section of the document it gives the right for section conferences to have the authority to discuss and decide strategic issues affecting their industries.
[439] Surely this must be the way forward for the G M B and a much fairer and democratic way for our grass root members, who after all are the backbone of this industry, it's their [...] we discuss at our section conferences, it's their wages, it's their terms.
[440] They have a right, they have an import.
[441] The Southwestern Region supports the document.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [442] Yorkshire Region.
Billy (PS2HD) [443] Ron , Yorkshire, North Derbyshire Region, speaking in support of the special report on sections and industrial conferences.
[444] President, Congress.
[445] Yorkshire and Yor North Derbyshire Region welcomes this report which will standardize the structures of all the sections of the union.
[446] It will also ensure that decisions which affect our members are made by the activists employed by within the appropriate sections and industries.
[447] This will lead to greater accountability which I am sure will be welcomed by Congress.
[448] Sections are the best way forward for the union.
[449] Following the est the establishment of the public services section, I was lucky enough to be a delegate at the conference held in April.
[450] At that conference the number of delegates allowed for more lay activists to be involved.
[451] We achieved a better profile and there was more positive debate about recruitment and retention.
[452] All delegates were in attendance at all times throughout the conference.
[453] Structures that increase participation, encourage debate and widens representation and gives responsibility to activists to develop policies that affect the future of their industries will strengthen the, the sections of the union.
[454] Yorkshire, North Derbyshire Region commend the report to Congress.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [455] Northern Region.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [456] President, Congress.
[457] Peter , Northern Region, supporting the special report.
[458] Congress, last year the Northern Region voted against the special report titled Wider Democracy, which is very similar to this report.
[459] Similar, colleagues, but not the same.
[460] The Wider Democracy, as we all remember had one important difference.
[461] It called for an end to our tradition of holding an annual conference.
[462] Well, Congress, on two separate occasions the Northern Region informed the C E C that without the attack on an annual conference we will be pleased to support secal sectionalization.
[463] Well, colleagues, eventually two years on, finally the C E C has listened.
[464] They have removed the attack on our conference and at last we can now get on together to build a better union.
[465] Congress, on that basis, the Northern Region supports the report.
[466] Conference, I move.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [467] Southern Region.
Dick (PS2H5) [468] Orelia , Southern Region, speaking in support of the special reports.
[469] President, Congress.
[470] There is a need for consistent approach in regard to sectional conferences.
[471] To avoid to sectional conferences, to avoid the current confusion as a result of the changes within the union [...] .
[472] The proposer provides the opportunity for conferences to deal with the industrial and political issues in a more rational way.
[473] Regional and national conferences will deal with industrial based issues, leaving the sectional conferences to decide [...] .
[474] This structure will also show that our members' contributions are spent in an acceptive and efficient manner.
[475] This proposers will give the sections credibility and affirm the G M B as an amalgamation, friendly union.
[476] Southern Region supports the report and urges Congress to do likewise.
[477] Support.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [478] Thank you very much Orelia.
[479] Scotland.
[480] G M B Scotland ... No Scotland, G M B Scotland.
John (PS2H6) [481] I need it this time.
[482] Conference, chair.
[483] Mary , G M B Scotland.
[484] Congress, Scotland supports the report for industrial conferences.
[485] It's the way forward to attract and meet the needs of other unions and possible amalgamations and merges.
[486] I am speaking from my own personal situation.
[487] We came to the G M B from the [...] workers.
[488] Many in our branch recognize the need for the strength, the baddening , the experience, the equal rights, health and safety, training opportunities within a large union, but they were also very worried about losing our own identity.
[489] Within a union as large, as diverse, as it is, the sectional conference has, in our case, helped allay many of these fears and concerns and our own clothing and textile industry is still as active as ever.
[490] I support.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [491] Midland Region ... I say you aye.
[492] You're not from the Midland Region. [laugh]
Denise (PS2H7) [493] Transfer you if you want.
[494] Er Steve , Midlands and East Coast.
[495] Er, colleagues, Congress ninety two defeated the special report on Wider Democracy as is mentioned in this report and as John has previously mentioned.
[496] Er, and it was plainly obvious why.
[497] But as with most documents that come as packages er, we either have to accept the good with the bad or say no, and enough's enough.
[498] Now, last year in defeating Wider Democracy we did leave ourselves er, in limbo somewhat, with regard to the sectional, industrial conferences.
[499] Er, I'm personally glad to see the appearance of this document so that we can clarify the situation with regards to these conferences.
[500] The recently formed energy and utility section held its conferences, regional and national, earlier this year, and from the report-backs I received er, they were a great success.
[501] The conferences were held actually, shall we say according to these guidelines that you have before you erm, and it was felt that the remit of these conferences has already and will in the future erm, increase democracy, accountability and the efficiency in decision making processes in our union.
[502] The Midland and East Coast are supporting the document based on our region's successful experience of our sectional conferences and the need for these guidelines to be adopted along with the rule amendment, so as to enable future sectional conferences and delegate conferences to know exactly where they stand.
[503] Now, we did have a, a very heated discussion and concern was expressed regarding the rules governing eligibility, section and conferences for delegates which excludes those who have not worked in the industry or craft or trade for eighteen months prior to their nomination.
[504] Now, we could be denying a lot of very experienced noble colleagues the opportunity to contribute to debates, quite probably through no fault of their own, as we all realize.
[505] But it was felt though, that it was necessary to support the document in order to clear up a rather unsatisfactory situation er, where we're holding sectional and delegate conferences that don't have remits and guidelines er, which can clarify their position.
[506] I've been asked to ask er, a question also on appendix three, procedures for regional delegate conferences where it states that copies of the reports of regional delegate conferences shall be forwarded, forwarded to the regional secretary.
[507] Erm, the appropriate national industrial officers branch secretaries and the main workplaces in the industry.
[508] We would ask, because it's not actually clear erm, what that means, that the report from regional delegate conferences could be forwarded to all the G M B representatives at the main workplaces so as to keep all our members fully informed of the proceedings er, say again, the er, Midland and East Coast are supporting the document.
Dick (PS2H5) [509] Thanks very much colleagues.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [510] Well, I lasted.
[511] Right, [...] , London Region.
[512] Speaking on a proposed section conferences guidelines and of course, rule A five.
[513] President, Congress.
[514] I'll speak on behalf of the London Region against the sectional conferences report and also, of course, rule A five.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [515] [shouting] And our main concern is that it is victimization, the unemployed, in some cases, it will also victimize the sick and the disabled.
[516] Hang on, where am I?
[517] That no member of the union should be prevented from holding office or be active in any part of this union simply because they are unemployed, sick or disabled.
[518] But most of all, it's an attack.
[519] But most of it's an attack by our own union against what has been in the past the most active members of this union.
[520] It's important that when a member is made redundant that he keep in contact with his industry, so that he's in a position to be able to regain employment and also regain employment for his, for his or her fellow unemployed.
[521] And what a better place to achieve this, [...] industrial conferences in our own union.
[522] Come on John, think again.
[523] And what is long term unemployment in this day and age?
[524] I can assure you, it's nearer to five years than eighteen months.
[525] The eighteen months out of Trade Rule made some sense when this great nation of ours had something resembling full-time employment.
[526] And that was twenty five to thirty five, forty years ago.
[527] But today, with highest unemployment levels for many years, it's not the highest ever in some of our own regions, it's a lot of nonsense.
[528] John, all this will do is make, is make re is make it, hang on, I lost it.
[529] Hang on John, all this will do is make at least a quarter of our own members, in this union, to be inactive in their own industries.
[530] I say it's a vicious attack, that's been set upon them, by this vicious Tory government, over the last fourteen years is not enough.
[531] John, two years ago we invited you to [...] and introduced you to the [...] Chamber of Commons, among other places, as a modern trade union leader.
[532] But this victimization against some members of this union is not an act ... it's not an act of a modern trade union leader.
[533] It is an act of lunacy.
[534] Congress, both I and the London Region urge you to oppose this new rule A five and all the boilermakers as well.
[535] We know that in this day and age it's unworkable.
[536] Congress, please, careful on how you vote.
[537] Mould this lot of nonsense down, because me as a boilermaker had to live forty four years and there ain't enough people are still working to be able to run the sections [] .
[538] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [539] Liverpool Region.
John (PS2H9) [540] Ian , Liverpool, North Wales and Irish Region.
[541] Our region's got a free vote on this document so in that sense I'm not necessarily expressing the views of the region.
[542] People'll have to come to their own conclusions.
[543] In relation to the Special Document, whilst I support the document er, as far as it goes with one exception, and that's in relation to the unemployed members, but whilst I support it as far as it goes, I don't believe it goes far enough.
[544] I don't believed it has addressed a number of issues.
[545] It does not address the question of the establishments of regional committees of sections.
[546] It does not address the question of establishing regional conferences within the section in order that delegates can be elected to the national conferences.
[547] And also, it doesn't address the problems of the anomalies which exist between the various sections.
[548] I am a member of the largest section of this union, that's the public services section, yet we are only entitled to a hundred and fifty delegates when we have two hundred and twenty thousand members nationally.
[549] Those anomalies need to be addressed with the er, establishment of another section, when [...] amalgamate with our trade union.
[550] No doubt they will have their own terms.
[551] One of the ideas of the C E C setting out guidelines is in order to bring some consistency to proceedings.
[552] Well, we've not got consistency when you've got different rules for Apex, different rules for CAT, different rules for [...] , different rules for the public services.
[553] I think the C E C need to carefully think out er, the way they wanna go forward.
[554] Last year the document was defeated.
[555] I think the reason for the defeat was mainly due to the, the biannual conference issue.
[556] The C E C have had twelve months, the sections have been up and running, they should have learnt from the experiences over the last twelve months because all that they've done is presented us with the same document with the exclusion of the one issue of the two year conference.
[557] The final point I wanna make, we in Liverpool, more than anywhere else, understand the consequences of unemployment.
[558] But we also understand the consequences of political unemployment.
[559] We've seen activists sacked, we've seen activists been unable to, to get a job.
[560] They go on a list and they cannot get work simply because they've been activists.
[561] Let not our union discriminate against the activists like the bosses do.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [562] Colleagues, I call upon the General Secretary to respond to the debate.
Denise (PS2H7) [563] Well colleagues, John er, General Secretary speaking on behalf of the C E C.
[564] First of all, the section guidelines.
[565] There was, I'm glad to er, note widespread support for the section guidelines, as one colleague says, we were left in something of a limbo and we've gotta fill that gap.
[566] Taking some of the questions that were raised I think we can deal with them quite easily.
[567] It's certainly the case that we need more publicity for the sectional structure and you have a broadsheet which is being circulated, which starts the process of publicizing the structure of the union, how the regional and industrial structure works together.
[568] Accountability was raised by John.
[569] Well, the national secretary's national officers are of course accountable to the C E C, they are accountable to congress, the introduction of section conferences means that they have another, an additional level of accountability, which doesn't replace the accountability to the C E C or to Congress, but supplements it and subjects them of course to a closer scrutiny and a closer contact with the major activists in a whole sector of employment.
[570] That seems to me to be a major step forward and a number of delegates accepted that.
[571] The cost, there is no doubt the section conferences will cost money.
[572] That was a point made very strongly last year.
[573] The intention, however, as is clear from the document, is to cut back on the number of industrial conferences as that work is being swallowed up by the section conferences and as Robert in seconding the report made perfectly clear, industrial conferences, now called delegate conferences will only be held if there is a negotiating body for which the delegate conference has to frame policy, or in a number of other very limited situations.
[574] The role of the whole time branch secretary was raised and we, what we've done here, is to continue the practice that operated in respect of national industrial conferences, and it says on page four, as is currently the case for national industrial conferences full-time officials and branch secretaries not working in the industry may attend by arrangement between the region and the section secretary with the right to speak but not to vote.
[575] We've just rolled over exactly the same rule, exactly the same provision.
[576] Er, Ian, Ian made the point about some inconsistency and there is some inconsistency between the section conferences.
[577] This is an attempt to bring a greater level of uniformity than we have achieved so far, but we are bound by agreements made at the time of amalgamation and we cannot undermine or contradict those particular decisions, and that's why in a few cases, particularly in relation to the size of conference, there is some slight imbalance.
[578] That's not something we can address immediately, while the ink on the amalgamation document is still wet.
[579] Regional delegate conferences.
[580] Well, we're going to try to provide the first steps towards uniformity.
[581] We may have to follow up with other arrangements in the future.
[582] But we need to fill the gap, and by the way colleagues, I think it is appropriate, just to end this particular section of my reply with the comment that at the public services section conference from our count forty percent of the delegates there had never been to a G M B conference before.
[583] The argument about the establishment of sections was about industrial identity and it was also about widening the democracy within the organization, bringing in more activists, giving them a say in their own conditions of service and in the strategic issues affecting their industry.
[584] Forty percent additional delegates brought into the decision making structure seems to me to be a fine tribute to the establishment of the sectional structure.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [...]
Denise (PS2H7) [585] Motion one one O colleagues, we have asked you to oppose.
[586] This is the motion that says that the Apex conference would be able to debate issues of a general nature which are appropriate for this Congress, the decision making body of the union and for no other conference in the union.
[587] There's no point in trying to fudge this, you can only have one governing body and this is it.
[588] If you try and fudge it and set up three or four, say they can all discuss the same thing, you are building in the ability for major conflicts.
[589] If people want to discuss matters of general concern, they must get themselves elected to this Congress.
[590] If they want to establish questions of industrial concern, they should get themselves elected to the section conferences.
[591] I know there's some unhappiness in the Apex conference about the way things went in the past, I give this small amount of advice.
[592] The Apex conference must come to terms with the nature of that amalgamation and that said that the Apex conference would concern itself with matters of interest to white collar workers.
[593] Matters of general interest have always been reserved here.
[594] We can't compromise on that principle, we have to ask you to oppose motion one one O.
[595] And now we come to the difficult issue of the amendment to A five, one one one A.
[596] Many of the points that were made, in fact I think all of them, were made in the discussion within the C E C.
[597] Is it unfair to ex er, isn't it unfair to exclude unemployed members from any part of the union structure, isn't this a kick in the teeth, isn't this a way of undermining the position of unemployed workers?
[598] All of those points were made.
[599] On the other, just wait a moment and we'll come to the other side of the argument because the argument is carefully and evenly balanced.
[600] The other side of the argument is this.
[601] From time to time national committees will have to take hard decisions about the strategy for that particular sector, that's what they're there for.
[602] And from time to time because they will take those hard decisions, those decisions may not be popular.
[603] And they will then be asked to demonstrate their credibility.
[604] And if, and this is not a theoretical point, it's happened in another union, if the majority or a large number of people in that sector, on that committee are not working or have not recently worked in the sector, then tensions will begin to arise, concerning those members who are working at the moment, and say hey, hold on a minute, perhaps people working in the industry should make these hard decisions.
[605] The question doesn't apply in respect of the conferences.
[606] We've said people can go to the conferences with the right to speak, not the right to vote, because that principle applies, but the right to speak.
[607] They can go there as they did with the industrial conferences, but we have to make this careful balance between parts of our membership.
[608] We're not making the thin end of the wedge, we're going to support the motion from London Region.
[609] The general statement of commitment for unemployed workers, the unemployed people, the general statement of commitment to ensure that they are not excluded from parts of the union.
[610] But this is the industrial decision making body of the union.
[611] That's what the section committee is there for and the C E C after balancing these arguments decided that with all of the limitations, with all of the stretching of points and so on, on that basis, we should come down and recommend to you that only people who work in the section should be eligible for election.
[612] That's my reply to the debate on that point and colleagues, thank you.
[613] I move one one one A, reply to the debate on the other issues.
Dick (PS2H5) [614] Right colleagues, I propose to take the vote now.
[615] On the special report, section and industrial conferences you've been recommended to accept by the C E C.
[616] All those in favour?
[617] Against?
[618] That's carried.
[619] Motion one one one A, rule amendment, rule A five, the C E C motion, being recommended to accept.
[620] All those in favour?
[621] Against?
[622] That's lost.
[623] [cheering from audience] It's going to be terribly demoralizing this, for the C E C colleagues.
[624] Don't make a habit of it, please.
[625] Motion one one O, rule amendment, rule A three.
[626] Will the Midland Region withdraw?
[627] ... No, okay.
[628] C E C are recommending you to oppose that particular motion, motion one one O.
[629] All those in favour of the motion?
[630] Against?
[631] That's lost.
[632] Motion one five three, you're being recommended to accept.
[633] All those in favour?
[634] Against?
[635] That's carried.
[636] Motion one five six.
[637] Again you're being recommended to accept.
[638] All those in favour?
[639] Against?
[640] That's carried.
[641] Motion one six three, you're being recommended to accept.
[642] All those in favour?
[643] Against?
[644] That's carried.
[645] Colleagues, I now call Mick to deliver his report on public services section.
[646] That will be followed by er, a very lengthy debate on the public services.
[647] Mick colleagues.
[648] Mick, just before you start.
[649] Colleagues, I know that people are starting to move out, and I'm sure that it's got nothing to do with Mick's appearance at the rostrum, but colleagues seriously, seriously for the last couple of days we've had a great deal of disciplines so please try and be as quiet as possible.
[650] Mick.
Robert (PS2HA) [651] I wouldn't bank on it.
[652] Thank you President.
[653] Congress, Mick , National Office.
[654] It's now fifteen months since the Tories were elected for a fourth term and what've we seen since that election?
[655] More of the same.
[656] More attacks on public services, more attacks on workers rights, more privatization.
[657] Attacks affecting the old, the sick, the young, the homeless.
[658] Those members of our society most needing and most deserving of our quality public services.
[659] In local government alone, between now and April nineteen ninety four, it's been estimated that anything between thirty three thousand and a hundred thousand jobs will be lost.
[660] Our own, jointly commissioned with the T & G ke community, showed a loss of seventy thousand jobs and a deficit of seventy one million pounds.
[661] Since nineteen eighty eight, again local government alone has shed over five percent of its workforce.
[662] The new round of compulsory [...] , the reorganization of local government will threaten many more jobs.
[663] Many of those jobs will be white collar workers.
[664] The figures for the health service are no different.
[665] Our union, Congress, cannot stand back and witness thousands of public servants, many of them our members, become yet another statistic in the unemployment figures.
[666] As a union we need to build a broad coalition with the providers and the users of public services and if necessary, with the employers.
[667] We have got to protect not only our members' rights, but our public services, and from this conference today we've got to make it quite clear, to central government, that we demand investment in our public services.
[668] We demand investment in the infrastructure.
[669] We must demand investment in training, in education, in order that we can provide those quality services.
[670] At a time when across Europe governments have been devolving power downwards, in Britain we now have a system of central control, unparalleled outside of the former Soviet Union.
[671] But we should not be surprised by the Tories' attack on public services.
[672] We all know their attitude, public is bad, private is good.
[673] As long ago as nineteen eighty six, the treasury stated in a supposed confidential document and I quote, most of the savings from contracting out are because contractors can offer poorer conditions of employment, contractors can eliminate costly bonus schemes, overtime pay and provide little, if any, sick pay and also avoid National Insurance contributions by means of part-time work.
[674] All of those that we have fought to build up through national and local bargaining over many years.
[675] And we've got an example here today, colleagues, of the Tory dogma on public services.
[676] Within the balcony we've got representatives from Tylers at Crawley, representatives of twenty three of our colleagues, who have been on strike for twenty weeks in defence of jobs, in defence of pay and equally important, in defence of safety standards
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Robert (PS2HA) [677] and I applaud our colleagues from Crawley.
[678] We've gotta expand upon the magnificent work that the Southern Region and our colleagues have done, and if necessary we've gotta take our campaign against Tylers to national level.
[679] Our ongoing successes with [...] and the acquired rights directive will eventually put a halt to the attacks on public workers' rights.
[680] However colleagues, let's be quite clear, that [...] is not the end of competitive tendering.
[681] It is not the panacea to all our ills and also we've gotta make it quite clear to the Labour Party that they cannot use [...] and the acquired rights directive to include compulsion in competitive tendering.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Robert (PS2HA) [682] Competition, yes, compulsion, no.
[683] But the attacks upon services is not the full story.
[684] In addition to the attacks on jobs, public sector workers, many of them who are poorly paid, part-time, many of them women workers now face an effective cut as the government attempts to restrict pay increases this year to less than one point five percent.
[685] Even by the Tories own [...] , this pay policy will remove some one point five billion pounds from the pay packets of over eight point six million public sector workers.
[686] I would suggest to this conference and more importantly to this government, that that is no way to lift this country out of the recession and it's no way for us to run an economy.
[687] And now we hear rumours that Lamont's successor is now actually talking about extending that pay restraint into nineteen ninety four.
[688] The message from our Congress must be quite clear.
[689] You're not on, we will not be made the scapegoats, with public sector workers will not pay for the Tories' mismanagement of the economy.
[690] I've spoken about jobs, I've spoken about services, I've spoken about pay.
[691] But the other evil part of the government's attack on public services is that it is an attack upon democracy.
[692] In the past the electorate had had their say by holding accountable, either centrally elected or locally elected officials.
[693] We had deb democratically elected representatives on our health authorities, on our schools and on our planning authorities.
[694] That's not the case now colleagues.
[695] Government appointees, over forty thousand ... a lot of them Tory grandees or supporters of the Tory Party, now populate unelected quangos which control many of our public services.
[696] Our commitment to quality public services, they're efficiently run, publicly accountable and operated without exploiting workers, must be and will be our main goal.
[697] Quality public services provided by public sector workers, funded by public money, responsible and responsive to the public.
[698] Our union with its long and its proud history in the public sector does not seek confrontation.
[699] We seek cooperation.
[700] But the message must be quite clear.
[701] We will fight to protect our members, our services and our democracy.
[702] I commend my report.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [703] Colleagues, we are gonna deal with that section of Mick's report that deals with the public services and that commences on page thirty four, thirty five, yes.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [704] Er, [...] , East London region.
[705] Where is it, oh yeah.
[706] It sounded good Mick, I mean it's your first year and I wasn't gonna come up here, but I thought I might as well start as I mean to go on.
[707] When I read your page I felt like I was listening to a Party Political Broadcast of the Labour Party.
[708] You know, telling us everything about the Tories, what they've done wrong and to go on from that, not telling us anything about how you're gonna put it right.
[709] Well, you know, Donald came up here year after year and took a real tongue lashing and you didn't really put anything down there that could be criticized this year but you said we're gonna fight.
[710] Are we gonna fight, how we gonna fight, because the local authority people are fed up with doing all the giving.
[711] Local negotiators like me take a lot of stick and I'm just gonna pass that stick straight on to you, because my members tell me all the time, I pay one thirty five a week, well so do I.
[712] So I want a service and I want the service from you.
[713] And I'm looking for you to satisfy me because I haven't found a man to do it yet.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [714] Er, thirty five [laugh]
Barbara (PS2HC) [715] Follow that.
[716] Er Liz , Midlands and East Coast Region.
[717] Mick,you your report rightly identifies community care as a [...] services ... our members' job security and working conditions.
[718] I will be grateful for any information you may have on private home care cooperative.
[719] With the systems from the local authority and the cooperative development agency, a pilot scheme has been set up in my area.
[720] Is this peculiar to Leicestershire or is it the shape of things to come, because my members are concerned.
[721] They really believe, and I also believe that this is a back door entry to privatization.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [722] Thirty six, thirty seven, thirty eight.
Frank (PS2H8) [723] Yes.
[724] Dave , London Region.
[725] Erm, under compulsory competitive tendering, Mick.
[726] I'd like to know why it's taken so long for this union to work again er, with the [...] regulations in public services.
[727] At a recent training course that I've been on apparently public services could have been protected since nineteen eighty one.
[728] Why is it only recently that we have started taking cases up?
[729] It's all very well earning compensation for our members but what we want in public services is our jobs, not compensation.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [730] [...] to Fulham One branch, London Region.
[731] Mick, what I'd like to know is and this links in with our other discussions this morning and also something that Mary er, mentioned yesterday.
[732] Jack wrote an article in Tribune saying that C C T was a good thing in some respects.
[733] Now I know that many people out there are absolutely appalled by this.
[734] Now, I'd like to know Mick, does Jack talk to you, does he talk to your counterpart in the T & G?
[735] If s if he doesn't why not and would, would you please tell us what possessed him to come out with such a, a remarkable statement and I think this goes to the [...] what we're talking about this morning.
[736] People like Jack are supposed to represent us in Parliament and he comes out with nonsense like that.
Unknown speaker (HUDPSUNK) [clapping]
Dick (PS2H5) [737] Thirty nine Yes, Duncan.
Billy (PS2HD) [738] Duncan , Lancashire Region.
[739] I wanted to base some comments about the UNISON's er, section of the report because er, I think it's