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The Socialist 12 June 2019 |
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Socialist Party members make big impact at trades council conference
Socialist Party member Kevin Parslow addressing the 2019 trade union councils' congress, photo by Iain Dalton (Click to enlarge)
Iain Dalton, Leeds TUC delegate
Socialist Party members made a big impact as delegates at the TUC's trade union councils' congress 8-9 June in Bournemouth.
Among the various motions passed, Socialist Party member Tanis Belsham-Wray moved one in support of the still unresolved Arriva Rail North guards' dispute, making the call for the company to be stripped of its contract and the service brought back into public ownership.
A motion was carried unanimously, based on the model by the Women's Lives Matter campaign calling for councils to defend domestic violence services, including by setting no cuts budgets.
Kevin Parslow seconded a number of motions from London which had originated from Waltham Forest Trade Union Council dealing with the fire service after the Grenfell Tower disaster and opposing gentrifying regeneration schemes.
Socialist Party members also tried to bring emergency motions in solidarity with the student climate change strike. Though neither was debated on congress floor, this did force the conference to issue a statement of full solidarity with student strikes and opposition to any reprisals from schools.
On another climate change motion Tanis was able to point to the way trade union councils in Yorkshire had provided active support to the students, including being invited to address rallies in Leeds, York and Hull as well as providing a meeting place for school students to organise in York.
Socialist Party member Katrine Williams moved an emergency motion making the demand to actively campaign for a general election on a positive programme of workers' rights and socialist demands for jobs, pay and services and nationalisation.
The motion also called on the TUC to encourage trade union councils to hold meetings and rallies to discuss a trade union and socialist response to the Brexit Party and a workers' programme for Brexit.
Despite TUC opposition this was decisively carried by conference, with a handful of votes against.
Throughout the conference Socialist Party members made the case for trade unions to take a lead on these issues.
We fully supported the call for trade union councils to be actively involved in the Stop and Scrap Universal Credit campaign. We argued that trade unions can give an outlet for the anger of workers by providing a collective way to tackle the problems facing our class.