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From The Socialist newspaper, 23 September 2015

TUC Congress debates action to defeat the anti-trade union bill

Iain Dalton, Congress delegate with Usdaw (personal capacity)

Opening just one day after Jeremy Corbyn's stunning victory in the labour leadership election, this year's TUC Congress in Brighton had a noticeably different mood.

Hundreds of cheering supporters outside greeted Corbyn's arrival to address the conference which was matched by an equally warm reception inside. Delegates enjoyed the refreshing experience of a Labour leader speaking in support of strikes and the vital role trade unions play in defending workers.

Pressing issue

The most pressing issue on the Congress agenda was that of the government's latest anti-union legislation. The main composite motion included references to giving support to any union finding themselves outside this law as well as organising committees to resist this legislation based on trades councils and local anti-cuts groups.

However, the potential difficulty for the TUC in developing a serious strategy to defeat the anti-union bill could be seen by the TUC leaders 'reservations' on a stand-alone RMT motion.

Despite passing a motion two years ago to consider a general strike, they quibbled over the inclusion of references to 'generalised strikes' to defeat the bill. That they didn't formally oppose the motion reflects the huge pressure from below. This was shown by the big turnout to the National Shop Steward's Network pre-Congress rally and lobby as well as a number of general secretaries pledging to go to jail if necessary in defiance of the legislation.

A number of Socialist Party members spoke during Congress, including PCS (civil servants union) vice-president John McInally in the Trade Union Bill debate, to explain how PCS has re-recruited 90% of its members in groups such as the Department for Work and Pensions where check-off has been removed by the Tories. They now intend to roll this out across the public sector.

Lobby

Significantly, the proposed lobby of the third reading of the bill looks set to be a mass protest. Local trades councils should organise transport for any union members and supporters to attend to turn this lobby into a mass demonstration.

The willingness to mobilise significant coordinated industrial action may soon be put to the test as congress pledged to mount a campaign against the public sector pay freeze.

The attacks facing workers since the election mark nothing less than an all-out declaration of war on the working class. It will be vital that pressure is maintained on the trade union leaders to deliver the action necessary to defeat the Tories.


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In The Socialist 23 September 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Corbyn under fire .... Organise to fight cuts!

Cameron must go

Refugees brutalised by thug EU governments

Liverpool's Labour mayor took pay for job he no longer did

Prying Conservatives demand yet more powers to invade our privacy

Them & Us

What we saw


Socialist Party feature

Fight for a real living wage for all!


International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Widespread abstention dominates election

Australia: Turnbull deposes Abbot to become PM

International news in brief


Workplace news and analysis

TUC debates action to defeat anti-trade union bill

Nominate Roger Bannister for Unison general secretary

Traffic wardens strike for better pay

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party review

TV review: This is England '90


Socialist history

1985: police murder sparks Brixton riot


Socialist Party youth and students

Organise the student fightback!

Good response to Nottingham Socialist Students


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

London protesters demand affordable housing

Socialism back on the agenda in Wolverhampton

Tower Hamlets housing campaign lobbies council

North Kent TUSC meeting


 

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Related links:

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