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Wales TUC conference censures Unison's critics
Ronnie Job, Socialist Party Wales
At this year's Wales TUC Conference in Llandudno, Swansea Trades Council delegate Alec Thraves was first asked to apologise and then, when he refused, formally censured following a complaint from Unison.
Alec's misdemeanour was, while supporting a PCS motion over further pensions strike action, saying that thousands of Unison members were frustrated they weren't on strike on 10 May because their "well-paid", "pension secure" leadership did not give them that opportunity.
While some delegates were committed to fighting all cuts, including cuts by the Wales Labour government, others wanted to manage the cuts more 'humanely' than the Tories.
Cardiff Trades Council's amendment to the Living Wage resolution, calling for £8 an hour with no exceptions, was defeated. As was Swansea Trades Council's amendment to a resolution on increased powers for the Welsh government, calling for no increases in taxation for low-paid workers and instead for taxes to be targeted at big business, profiteering landlords and the rich. But both received significant support from the more left unions, particularly PCS.
Remploy convenor Les Woodward moved a Swansea Trades Council resolution against cuts, demanding support for continued strike action on pensions. Bob Crow, seconding, laid the blame for the crisis on capitalism. It was unanimously passed but the General Council qualified their support by refusing to commit to a demo in Cardiff.
In the debate on a RMT motion on trade union rights, mover Bob Crow and other speakers made the point that Labour had left the Tories' anti-trade union legislation intact despite 13 years of majority government and threatened POA members with prison for taking strike action.
The General Council forced through on the card vote of the biggest unions - Unison, Unite and GMB - a reorganisation meaning only having a full three day conference every other year; and a one-day affair with only 'important' resolutions in between. This conference was itself the first since the November 2010 emergency one-day meeting!
In The Socialist 30 May 2012:
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