Congress Decisions 2010

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Congress Decisions 2010

Listed below are the decisions taken by the 2010 Trades Union Congress on the motions and amendments.

The numbers given to resolutions and motions refer to their number in the Final Agenda, or to that of the Composite or Emergency Motion.

This document also includes the General Council statement 'The economy, public spending and public services'and the result of nominations and elections to the General Council and General Purposes Committee for the Congress Year 2010 - 2011.

Resolutions Carried

6 Anti-union laws

Congress reiterates its total opposition to the anti-union laws introduced by Tory Governments in the 1980s and '90s. Congress deplores and condemns the failure of three Labour governments to repeal these vicious laws.

All of this has caused great difficulty for unions considering industrial action.

Congress further condemns:

the increasing frequency of judges to oversee democratic trade union balloting procedures on spurious legal and moral grounds

the intention of the Tories to make these laws even more draconian.

Congress agrees that it is even more vital now for the General Council to:

campaign actively for the repeal of all anti-trade union laws

offer full support and solidarity to all workers in struggle, including those whose action is deemed 'unlawful' under this draconian and archaic legislation.

TUC Trades Union Councils' Conference

7 Blacklisting

In March 2009 it was revealed that the Consulting Association was operating a blacklist in the construction industry; over 40 major construction companies were using the blacklist, which contained the names of over 3,000 construction workers.

Congress notes that while construction workers have been worst affected by blacklisting, workers in many other professions have experienced the destructive effects of the blacklist.

Conference further notes that following the revelations about the Consulting Association, the then Labour Government undertook to introduce legislation to outlaw blacklisting.

Conference welcomes the UCATT-commissioned report Ruined Lives, which developed a detailed critique of why the draft regulations were entirely inadequate.

Congress notes with extreme regret that the Government refused to countenance any strengthening of the regulations, which are so weak that they will not prevent blacklisting.

Congress calls on the General Council to mount a campaign to ensure that new legislation is introduced to ensure that the disgusting practice of blacklisting is stamped out once and for all. New legislation should include:

blacklisting becoming a specific criminal offence

protection for workers undertaking unofficial industrial action

protection from blacklisting for workers undertaking 'activities associated with trade unions' and not the narrow definition of 'trade union activities'

an automatic right to basic compensation for any blacklisted worker

an automatic right for any worker to be informed, should a blacklist be discovered on which their name appears.

Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians

8 Public Interest Disclosure Act

Congress notes that the Public Interest Disclosure Act came into force in July 1999. It protects most workers against unfair dismissal or being subjected to any other detriment by their employer for making disclosures about wrongdoing, also known as 'whistle-blowing'.

Congress further notes that the Act covers all employees, trainees, agency staff, contractors and home-workers, regardless of length of service or age. However self-employed/freelance/short-term workers and volunteers are not protected. Their more vulnerable employment status makes it much less likely that they will report wrongdoing for fear of losing their employment or not being employed again.

The exploitation of these workers is common and particular problems exist with regard to employment status and non-payment of the National Minimum Wage.

These problems are made worse by the fact that the UK lacks legislation to enable third parties, including trade unions, to take an employer to an employment tribunal for breaches of employment and discrimination laws, on behalf of a worker, without the need to identify individual vulnerable workers.

Congress therefore reasserts its support for additional measures to support enforcement of employment/workers' rights and to tackle exploitation, and will campaign to extend protections to these workers, including the ability for trade unions to take cases against employers in principle, without the need to identify individual vulnerable workers.

Equity

10 Equality impact assessments (EIAs)

Congress believes that equality should be at the heart of all trade union collective bargaining and is an essential pre-requisite to protect rights to services within the public sector.

Congress notes that:

public sector employers have a statutory duty to conduct EIAs

EIAs have the potential to identify potential discriminatory effects of an employer's policies, procedures and practices

many higher education institutions and further education colleges have not rigorously carried out EIAs

use of EIAs across the public sector is not widespread.

Congress recognises the weakness of the Equality Act and the lack of any detail on the new equality duties.

Congress calls upon the General Council to:

continue to raise awareness among affiliated unions as to the importance of EIAs

encourage affiliates to gain official recognition for the role of equality officers in their collective bargaining with employers

organise a campaign through affiliates within the public sector to conduct comprehensive and effective EIAs, placing pressure on both the Government and employers

urge affiliates to campaign to ensure the new specific duties within the Equality Act are more advantageous and effective than previous provisions and mount a vigorous campaign to remedy the equality deficit in trade union collective bargaining.

University and College Union

The following amendment was ACCEPTED

In paragraph 2, at end of sub-paragraph ii), add:

'and mean policies can be developed and implemented to promote equality and lead to a more efficient and fair allocation of resources.'

In sub-paragraph iii), line1, after 'colleges' insert 'public bodies and central government departments'

Add after 'duties' at end of paragraph 3 'with the risk of EIAs not being conducted.'

In paragraph 4, sub-paragraph a), add at end:

'including the resources required and the consequences of failure to properly complete EIAs'

FDA

11 A workplace agenda for women

Congress welcomes achievements for working women over the last decade including:

family-friendly working - more than doubling maternity pay from £55.70 in 1997 to £123.06 in 2009

fair pay - National Minimum Wage from £0 in 1997 to £5.80 in 2009

part-time and flexible working; childcare and carer support

women and training, especially unionlearn and the opportunities it has brought to women in manufacturing

tackling domestic violence

gender duty and Equality Bill developments.

However, Congress recognises:

key issues from the Women's Charter agreed at TUC Women's Conference and the TUC Congress motions on ending women's poverty and women and pensions remain priorities

pressures from employers and others to cut back action for women's equality and oppose further progress

particular difficulties in paid time off for women reps.

Congress calls on the General Council and TUC Women's Committee and affiliates to:

remain continually vigilant, oppose attacks and support organising women, whilst campaigning and bargaining for women's equality at all levels

prepare a report of achievements on women's equality and to highlight outstanding issues for working women as a Trade Union Workplace Agenda for Women

be part of the International TUC Women's campaign for Decent Work for Women

defend unionlearn and the rights of union learning reps to champion skills in the workplace and develop innovative training for women at work.

Congress resolves to fight a Tory Party looking to make savage cuts to workplace rights and public services.

TUC Women's Conference

12 LGBT rights in the new political situation

Congress notes the new coalition Government's 'programme for government' and its positive commitment to improving hate crime recording and asylum rights, and to tackling homophobic bullying in schools. However, Congress is very concerned about the following:

the announced £6bn cut in public funding, with larger cuts yet to be announced, and in particular the impact on LGBT community organisations and LGBT users of public services

the lack of commitment to the full implementation of the Equality Act

the encouraging of greater 'freedom' within the state school system in terms of curriculum and governance, including the encouragement of more faith schools

the continuing religious exemptions to LGBT employment rights.

Congress reaffirms its commitment to full LGBT equality in society and positive action to achieve this aim. Congress deplores the proposed cuts in public funding that will disproportionately affect working class LGBT users of public services. Congress supports the TUC challenge to the European Commission on the legality of the current religious exemptions to LGBT employment rights in the UK.

TUC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Conference

13 A workplace agenda for disabled workers

Congress welcomes achievements for disabled workers over the last decade, including extending the Disability Discrimination Act to all workplaces, the Disability Equality Duty, and funding for Access to Work.

However, Congress remains concerned that:

disability discrimination prevents disabled men and women getting and staying in work

fear and lack of information are still major factors preventing disabled people getting their reasonable adjustments

the current economic situation further worsens the position of disabled workers across workplaces.

Congress calls on the General Council, TUC Disability Committee and affiliates to:

campaign for redundancy matrices, sickness absence, health and safety, bonus, capability and other procedures explicitly to include protection from disability discrimination, while continuing to monitor the impact of the global economic crisis on disabled workers; and provide affiliates with a negotiating toolkit to assess workplace policies and procedures to identify disability discrimination and include examples of model agreements

identify specific industrial disability equality issues to be addressed - including industrial injuries to those who drive at work now wrongly classified as road traffic accidents - and support for agency workers on responsibility for reasonable adjustments

c) develop and support a positive trade union workplace agenda for disabled workers demonstrating the importance of trade union membership to disabled workers, backed up by monitoring, participation and trade union education.

TUC Disability Conference

16 Defence of the welfare state

Congress condemns the Government's emergency Budget, which announced cuts of £11bn in welfare, including measures to force more people off Disability Living Allowance; cap Housing Benefit; uprating benefits in future by consumer price index (CPI) rather than retail price index (RPI); a three-year freeze to Child Benefit; the abolition of maternity grants; and cuts to tax credits; while giving tax breaks to business worth over £24bn.

Congress believes that these cuts represent a fundamental undermining of the welfare state as a safety net to ensure a decent standard of living for those unable to work.

Congress recognises that the cuts will disproportionately affect women, black people and those with disabilities.

Congress notes that alongside these cuts the Government has announced that it will cut 8,000 staff from Jobcentre Plus, affecting workers delivering welfare services in central and local government.

Congress further notes that the delivery of the Government's Work Programme will be outsourced to the private sector, despite the DWP's own evidence that publicly-delivered welfare programmes are more effective at supporting people into work.

Congress reaffirms its beliefs that:

compulsory workfare schemes are in contradiction to the notion of welfare rights

welfare should be delivered by publicly-employed staff acting through publicly-accountable agencies.

Congress believes the Government is fundamentally attacking the welfare state and instructs the General Council to:

mobilise an ongoing broad-based campaign to defend the welfare state

campaign to increase the poverty-level of UK benefits

support the development of more unemployed workers' centres.

Public and Commercial Services Union

19 Restoring ethical banking: ending the sales-commission culture

Congress welcomes the establishment of an Independent Commission on Banking and also welcomes the establishment of the new Consumer Protection and Markets Authority. Congress believes that these bodies have an opportunity to build upon the work to stabilise and support the UK banking system since the banking crisis of 2008 by ensuring that banks provide the services their retail and business customers need at fair prices instead of trying to maximise product sales and profits.

Congress notes that unions in the financial services sector are regularly informed of the pressure staff experience to sell products to customers. Congress also notes that some employees feel that they have no option but to succumb to this pressure because they rely upon bonuses to make salaries up to a decent wage.

Therefore Congress welcomes the work undertaken by the Which? Independent Commission on Banking and agrees with the Commission's analysis that 'the sales-based culture [is] disliked by customers and branch staff alike'.

Congress also welcomes the recommendation by the Commission that: 'Remuneration for frontline and branch staff should not be linked to sales and should reward customer satisfaction, the fair treatment of customers and the fair resolution of complaints. There should be no commission or bonuses received for selling to customers.'

Congress believes the Government must ensure that the there is no return to the short-term decision-making culture that did so much to precipitate the banking crisis, and that ending sales-based commission to top-up low pay is an important step in this direction.

Accord

The following Amendment was ACCEPTED

Add new final paragraph:

'Congress calls on the General Council to lobby the Government to pursue the previous Government's proposals to set up a working group to consider to what extent financial services firms' staff targets and incentives lead to poor outcomes for consumers and employees and how they can be reformed.'

Unite

27 High Pay Commission

Congress notes that the coalition Government has asked Will Hutton of the Work Foundation to investigate high pay in the public sector. The examination leaves out an investigation of high pay in the private sector.

Congress therefore agrees to set up a shadow 'High Pay Commission' to investigate high pay across the whole of the economy, and in particular the difference between the highest pay and the lowest pay within the top FTSE 100 companies. It shall examine the history of high pay and current trends. The Commission will deliver its report with recommendations by no later than Congress 2011.

Communication Workers' Union

The following Amendment was ACCEPTED

In paragraph 2, line 4, insert after 'trends':

'and include an examination of the contribution that the introduction of a national maximum wage would make to addressing the increasing gap between rich and poor in society'

Unite

28 National minimum wage and apprentices

Congress welcomes the fact that the coalition Government has agreed to maintain the National Minimum Wage, one of the most significant achievements of the Labour Government.

Congress further welcomes the fact that apprentices in the UK will receive the legally enforceable protection of a National Minimum Apprenticeship rate from October 2010.

However, Congress is concerned that measures will be taken that will undermine the National Minimum Wage, such as freezing all rates or cutting back on the enforcement budget.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

establish a campaign aimed at significantly increasing all rates of the Minimum Wage but with particular focus on the National Minimum Apprenticeship rate

organise a specific publicity and awareness campaign aimed at apprentices so that they are aware of their new statutory right and its enforcement process

monitor all issues and developments around the new National Minimum Apprenticeship rate, including possible abuse and lack of progression through apprenticeship levels 2, 3 and 4.

Congress further instructs the General Council to press the coalition to commit itself to:

an annual review and increase in all rates of the National Minimum Wage and the National Minimum Apprenticeship rate

increasing existing levels of expenditure on enforcement

stepping up the publicity and awareness campaign with particular reference to the new rights available to apprentices from October 2010.

Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers

29 Internships

Congress supports internships as a way of helping young people to gain experience of the workplace and opportunities for permanent employment. Congress is concerned that some employers offer poor quality placements and effectively use interns as unpaid labour.

Congress congratulates the TUC on its website for interns and calls on the General Council and individual unions to oppose the exploitation of interns and work with employers to develop high quality placements with the appropriate remuneration.

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists

36 More freight on rail

Congress acknowledges that the UK's freight transport infrastructure is the country's economic circulatory system, interlinking rail, road and water networks as well as boosting economic growth and enhancing employment. It further recognises that freight taken by rail produces 70 per cent less carbon emissions than the equivalent road journey and can also play a significant role in reducing road congestion, which is estimated to cost the economy £17bn a year.

Congress welcomes the fact that total rail freight traffic has grown by more than 60 per cent in the last 10 years, which have seen rail's share of the surface freight market rise to 11.5 per cent. Congress notes the considerable suppressed demand for rail freight across sectors such as construction, with forecasts showing the potential to double tonnes carried by 2030, including a fivefold increase in container rail freight.

Congress accepts that the initial and final leg of a freight journey must go by road but believes that a more sustainable future will require more long-distance journeys to be undertaken by rail supported by enhanced rail freight infrastructure.

Congress therefore urges the General Council to support the campaign to get more freight on to rail, lobby the coalition Government to prioritise rail freight while also protecting jobs across the freight sector, and to call on the Government to ensure that HGV regulations are properly enforced for the health and safety of workers and the travelling public.

Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen

37 The Strategic Defence Review and its implications for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA)

Congress recognises the remarkable work done by the RFA and its civilian crews in support of our armed forces. Congress notes in particular the recent relief work undertaken by RFA ships following the Haiti earthquake and in support of the multinational counter-piracy deployments off Somalia.

However, Congress is alarmed by repeated reviews of the RFA's operations, usually undertaken under the guise of 'value for money'. Congress is concerned at the wasted effort and damaged morale that has been caused because the RFA has repeatedly had to demonstrate its unrivalled efficiency and professionalism to these successive reviews, even though a series of in-depth reports was carried out within the space of just a few years that confirmed the efficiency of the RFA in very clear terms. Against the backdrop of government spending cuts, Congress is concerned that fresh attempts will be made to commercialise or downsize the RFA.

Congress urges the General Council to assist campaigns to oppose any such moves and to resist short-term savings that could have a detrimental long-term impact on the RFA's operations. Congress also notes the strategic importance of protecting the RFA's status as one of the biggest employers and trainers of British merchant seafarers and calls upon the General Council to strongly oppose any moves that would erode this.

Nautilus International

The following Amendment was ACCEPTED

Insert new paragraph 3:

'Privatisation and commercialisation of the RFA would result in the MOD losing command of the key element of the Royal Navy's support structure and would represent a betrayal of the brave seafarers who have played a vital role in numerous conflicts, with many paying the ultimate price with their lives.'

National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers

44 HMRC resources and the deficit

Congress notes with concern the potential effects of the coalition Government's intention to cut public service expenditure by £6bn in 2010, and its intention to further cut departmental budgets by up to a quarter in years to come. Congress deplores the severe consequences that such cuts will have on the pay, conditions and job security of public sector workers who were not to blame for that deficit, or the wider economic meltdown, in the first place.

At a time when Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs' own estimate of the 'tax gap' continues to be in the region of £40bn, Congress finds it both ironic and nonsensical that such cuts will only further erode HMRC's capacity to collect the taxes necessary to fund public services, contribute to a healthy UK PLC, and ensure that every UK citizen benefits from continued investment in high quality public services, such as schools and hospitals. If the tax gap were reduced there would be less need to cut public service expenditure in order to address the deficit.

Congress calls on the General Council to develop and support a campaign against the cuts in HMRC, but also to press and persuade the Government to put more resource into HMRC's cadre of senior professionals: the tax, legal, accountancy and policy experts working in the public sector whose job it is to counter and tackle fraudulent evaders and those making use of complex schemes and artificial arrangements to avoid tax.

FDA

45 Public sector cuts

Congress notes with concern cuts in public services in particular affecting those who require podiatry care. Congress notes the references to cuts not affecting health services but knows that podiatry services are being cut through vacancy freezes, cost improvement plans, reduced access and the redesign of services. The majority of citizens who use podiatry services are the elderly and those at high risk due to illnesses such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Cuts lead to longer waiting times and increased risks for these vulnerable groups.

Congress knows that cuts in the funding of podiatry create more pressure on the health economy as high-risk patients go untreated. It has a detrimental effect on progress that has been made on the prevention agenda, which does so much to educate the public about the importance of good foot care. This is an intolerable situation that the vulnerable should not have to experience. For clinicians, the effects can be devastating: increased caseloads, higher levels of stress and inevitably higher levels of absenteeism through sickness. This pressure also leads to a change in the culture of an organisation, resulting in increased levels of bullying, reduced morale, and a greater turnover of highly skilled staff.

Congress calls on the Government to act on its pledge not to cut health funding and to ensure podiatry services are not cut and that those who need podiatry care will continue to receive the NHS treatment they need, when they need it, delivered and managed by NHS podiatrists.

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists

46 Private Finance Initiative

Congress recognises that in the United Kingdom both Conservative and Labour Governments have sought to justify the Private Finance Initiative on the ideological grounds that the private sector is better at delivering services than the public sector, and that it is now the preferred method for public sector procurement.

Further, Congress condemns this method of procurement and recognises that it has failed and placed an unnecessary burden on the British taxpayer. Congress therefore demands a return to a public financing structure to finance our prisons, railways, hospitals, schools and all other public infrastructure.

POA

47 Sick pay

Congress notes that in the current climate, there is a policy of reducing the level of public expenditure. Local government is particularly hard hit. This reduction is often at the expense of public sector employees.

One example is the attempt by several local authorities to move away from the national agreement on sick pay, with a specific proposal to cease payment for the first three days of sickness absence.

These workers deliver services to the public. It is in everybody's best interests for these services to be of the highest quality. It is not in anybody's best interests for those delivering these high quality services to be trying to deliver them when they are ill. Children with severe and complex difficulties are especially vulnerable.

There are many public service workers who are bound by professional codes of practice, which could be contravened by attending work when they are unfit to do so.

Congress affirms that it considers that nationally agreed terms and conditions of employment - particularly those set out in part II of the national agreement on pay and conditions of service - must not be eroded at a local level, and will resist any attempts to do so by local authorities.

Association of Educational Psychologists

The following Amendment was ACCEPTED

In paragraph 1, add at end:

'This is evidenced by the circulation to councils of the LGE advice on 'reducing workforce costs', which gives the green light to councils to attack many Green Book conditions, including sick pay'.

In the final paragraph add at the end 'including supporting affiliates in combating the LGE advice'.

UNISON

49 NHS hospital car parking charges

Congress notes that previous Health Secretary Andy Burnham announced to the Labour conference in 2009 that over the next three years he wanted to phase out car parking charges for in-patients, giving each a permit for the length of their stay, which family and friends could use.

Congress also notes continuing media interest in English NHS hospitals car parking charges, particularly the best and worst as identified by the BBC on 9 June after consumer watchdog Which? published its research findings. Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust was the worst; over a period of one year the hospital clamped 1,671 cars and made nearly £2m profit.

Congress believes that this is a national disgrace in terms of an unfair charge on patients, visitors and NHS staff.

Congress further believes that all NHS car parking in England should be free not only for in-patients, family and friends, but also for out-patients.

Congress also notes with concern that in many English NHS hospitals, car parking charges for staff have increased significantly over recent months. For example, at the Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton, the charge for some staff has increased from £90 per annum to £500 per annum.

Congress believes that this level of increase is not appropriate or justifiable.

Congress calls on the General Council to campaign and lobby the Government for:

the abolition of car parking charges for in-patients and out-patients, as well as family and friends

fair and reasonable car parking for NHS staff.

Society of Radiographers

50 Malnutrition and dehydration

Congress is appalled to note that in 2010 one-third of all adults admitted to hospitals and other care settings continue to suffer from malnutrition, and many are also suffering from dehydration. This can lead to reduced quality of life, increased dependency, longer hospital stays, and can ultimately cause death. In addition, malnutrition costs the UK economy an estimated £13bn each year.

Over the last 20 years, numerous reports have been produced by different bodies highlighting the ongoing prevalence and detrimental effects of malnutrition across a range of settings and age groups - but especially in older adults.

Key bodies forming the Council of Europe Alliance produced the flyer, 10 Key Characteristics of Good Nutritional Care. The Care Quality Commission, the new health and social care regulator, will be assessing provision of nutrition and hydration in these settings. A new nutritional assessment tool will be used from October 2010.

Despite this, levels of malnutrition and dehydration remain unacceptably high. Most reports have issued guidance addressing the significant problem; however the statistics show guidance alone is not being effective.

It is time to convert guidance into requirement. Congress is therefore instructed to lobby the Government to introduce a statutory regulatory framework of comprehensive nutritional standards for all health care settings in order to reduce this great burden on health and quality of life.

Congress also recognises that issues around health care affect everyone and calls on all unions to raise awareness within their membership of the importance of identifying and tackling malnutrition.

British Dietetic Association

The following Amendment was ACCEPTED

Insert new paragraph 6:

'This framework should also set standards for:

i) minimum spending on food and care per individual

ii) transparent ownership of care settings

to ensure that vulnerable people, low-paid care workers and taxpayers do not pay the price for extortionate rents and exploitation of the vulnerable by any profiteer.'

GMB

51 Investing in our future

Congress believes that the coalition Government's austerity measures will damage the recovery and consign a generation of young people to the scrapheap of the unemployed. Congress maintains that the country needs investment in jobs, not austerity.

Congress deplores the savage cuts that have taken place since 12 May 2010 to youth and community provision, the scaling back of financial assistance for post-16 students and reduced investment in 16-19 education and training provision.

Congress is alarmed that the scrapping of 14-19 academic diplomas, the de-recognition of vocational qualifications in school performance tables and the creation of new technical academies for 14-19 year-olds will recreate a two-tier system of education that will stigmatise and disadvantage thousands of young people.

Congress asserts that securing the economic recovery requires investment in skills and jobs and parity of esteem across all forms of education and training for young people.

Congress commits the General Council to hosting a summit on jobs and youth, involving unions, and student and other civil organisations, and publishing and promoting a detailed strategy for change.

NASUWT

52 Young people and the recession

As the financial crisis unravels, youth unemployment has soared to record levels. Unemployment amongst 16- to 24-year-olds now stands near the politically sensitive one million mark. The recession means large-scale unemployment among those completing their education. Young people are forced into jobs in low-paid, low-skilled sectors, as competition for graduate opportunities and apprenticeships becomes far greater.

This affects young people's health, friendships and family life. A recent Prince's Trust YouGov report found young people are likely to suffer 'permanent psychological scars' as a result of being unemployed.

The credit crunch compounds the difficulties facing young workers. Increases in transport and other costs often have a disproportionately greater impact on young workers. Very few young workers are able to own their home, either sharing rented accommodation or continuing to live with parents. Graduates suffer the burden of student loans, which also discourage younger students from entering higher education or studying away from home. Far too many young workers are burdened with financial worries making it difficult to make ends meet on a daily basis. Protecting young workers against debt, and securing acceptable living standards for them, is an essential part of a sustainable economic policy.

Congress notes the brutal cuts already implemented by the Government and resolves to fight against them. Unity across the public sector and wider trade union movement has never been more vital. By investing in education we safeguard education jobs, while providing education opportunities for those young people not in employment, education or training (NEET).

Congress believes it is the responsibility of the whole trade union movement to campaign for decent jobs and opportunities for young people.

Tax payers' money should be spent on investing in public services and creating jobs, instead of funding bonuses for bank bosses. Congress opposes the privatisation agenda. Money should be invested in a new social housing building programme to tackle the massive housing waiting lists and create new jobs for those unemployed within the construction industry and as well as supporting the cultural sector.

Trade unions and trades union councils nationwide are already supporting a mass mobilisation of young people to campaign for these aims through the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign. Congress calls on TUC young members to come together on the issue of youth unemployment to fight for real jobs on trade union rates of pay that offer the guarantee of a secure future for young people.

Congress calls on the General Council and affiliates to:

launch a widespread campaign against the cuts in public services, using all available methods including the media and public demonstrations, working with trade unions, trades union councils, service users and communities

ensure redundancy arrangements are extended to all young workers

defend jobs and conditions in all sectors, to ensure people are fairly compensated in the event of job losses by campaigning for employment rights for all workers from day one

campaign for decent, permanent jobs for all young people, linked to the needs of communities and the environment

improve conditions and opportunities for the self-employed, and for freelance, temporary and agency workers

campaign for a living wage in line with the European decency threshold, and for proper training and conditions in line with trade union agreements for all and to assist those working in creative industries (where hourly rates are not applied) to formalise their working arrangements and strengthen enforcement mechanisms

liaise with unions' youth networks to produce literature on young people's rights and organising; provide organising training and funding for young people by young people; and work to recruit and organise young workers by referring to previous victories and ongoing struggles

build for a national demonstration against youth unemployment across the trade union movement by the end of 2010

campaign to work towards the equalisation of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for all workers from the age of 16

pressure the Government to enforce the law in cases where employers violate the NMW and increase the size of the enforcement team; Congress recognises the violation of NMW is both immoral and illegal - the Vetta v London Dreams Motions case has proven that interns are entitled to the protection of NMW laws

encourage the growth of, and work with, bodies seeking to organise the unemployed to harness their collective strength, while supporting them individually

campaign for apprentices to receive at least the full adult rate of the NMW from day one, unless that is superseded by a beneficial collective agreement, with at least one day a week set aside for paid training and a guaranteed job at the end of the scheme.

TUC Young Members' Conference

55 Inclusion

Congress notes the progress that has been made in all aspects of social inclusion during the last 13 years. Congress is concerned about the threats to this progress that are now being made, and that the social and educational progress of children and young people will be marred by proposed changes to the policy and practice of inclusive education.

Inclusion is conducive to the health and well-being of children and their families; inclusive practice in education promotes active citizenship, high

self-esteem, improved academic outcomes and shared responsibilities.

Inclusive education is also cost-effective and promotes:

empathy between children

integrated communities

improved life chances.

Congress therefore seeks an assurance from the Government that every child still matters and has the entitlement to inclusion, and that schools can expect resources to make this a meaningful educational experience.

Association of Educational Psychologists

56 Threats to local authority education services

Congress notes with deep concern that the coalition Government's early announcement, within days of taking office, of £6.2bn public expenditure cuts to be implemented this year, included a disproportionate reduction of £1.1bn in local government expenditure. In addition, informed forecasts for the next three-year comprehensive spending review commencing in 2011, point to further significant cuts of at least 5.5 per cent per annum for local councils, in real terms, over this period. These sharp reductions will directly affect key local authority education and children's services, on which many schools and colleges rely, including support for educational improvement, children with special educational needs, schools' utilisation of educational technology, education welfare, and the early years' sector.

Congress further notes that the coalition Government's projected promotion of various types of highly autonomous state-funded schools, outside the local authority family of schools in their area, will add to these pressures on important council education services, despite their long-standing positive reputation confirmed annually by the Audit Commission's detailed national school surveys in England.

Congress therefore affirms that the specialist skills and knowledge developed within these services over many years must be recognised and protected, in the interests of schools and of the nation's children and young people, and calls on central and local government to ensure adequate funding and ongoing developmental support for these services and the professionals they employ, over the coming period of further educational reforms.

Aspect

60 Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) referrals

Congress fully accepts the importance of protecting children and vulnerable adults from those who might cause them harm and recognises the need to maintain lists of adults barred from working with such groups. However, Congress believes that the current ISA referral regime is flawed in that it is not properly understood by providers of regulated activities, and does not apply sufficient rights to referred individuals for representation and appeal.

Congress calls on the General Council to press the Government for changes in the referral system to ensure that its operation is fair to referred individuals and that the referral criteria used are consistent, clear and easy to follow.

Association for College Management

The following Amendment was ACCEPTED

Add at end of first paragraph:

'The Scheme must allow individuals to have full rights to state their case and to appeal against a bad decision. The cost must not be charged to those who need registration in order to work.'

In paragraph 2, line 1, after 'Congress' insert 'welcomes the work done by unions to campaign for changes to the Scheme and'.

National Union of Teachers

62 Social care

Congress applauds the work of social carers in both the public and voluntary sectors and their day-to-day work that significantly improves the lives of millions of individuals and families. Congress condemns the continuing media attacks on frontline social carers, who are all too frequently blamed for the ills of society and the extreme actions of individuals; and who are not afforded a voice or right of reply.

Congress recognises the daily challenges faced by social carers in professions that are undervalued and who continue to suffer from lower pay, under-investment in skills and training, poor career development and a lack of political and managerial support.

Therefore, Congress calls on the General Council to defend the work of social carers from media attacks and to highlight the essential and valuable work of social carers.

Community

65 The BBC's remit

In March 2010 the BBC announced its intention to close both the BBC Asian Network and 6Music as part of its strategy review. Although 6Music has since had a reprieve, plans to close the Asian Network appear to be going ahead.

Congress believes that the BBC, as the main UK public service broadcaster, funded by the licence fee, has a duty to represent minority interests. At present very few British Asian artists are offered broadcasting opportunities within the BBC's mainstream output, and Congress fears that closing the Asian Network and attempting to incorporate Asian talent within other BBC radio stations may lead to the evaporation of the BBC's focus on championing new music from Asian artists, whatever their genre.

Congress believes that, instead of the proposed closure of the Asian Network, the BBC should expand its coverage of the diverse cultures that make up modern British society. It is also vital that these should be national services available to all rather than localised stations. In addition, Congress asks the General Council to remind the BBC that highlighting the wealth of talent in our under-represented communities can not only provide much needed employment opportunities for artists from BME groups, but will also undoubtedly broaden the diversity of listener base for BBC programming.

Musicians' Union

66 Arts funding

The new coalition Government has already asked Arts Council England (ACE) to make cuts of £19m to its budget and the upcoming comprehensive spending review could force the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to make cuts of more than 25 per cent to its budget. If cuts of 25 per cent or more are passed on to ACE, jobs in the creative sector will undoubtedly be at risk.

The creative industries are currently growing at more than twice the rate of the rest of our economy and they contribute £11.4bn to the UK's balance of trade. They constitute a greater proportion of GDP than any other country in the world - and yet they receive a very modest amount of funding from the Government. At a time when our general economy is struggling, it would be illogical to cut jobs and therefore cause permanent damage to one area that has consistently maintained growth.

If the creative sectors must make cuts, the main priority must be to protect jobs. Congress believes that it would be preferable for ACE to rein in artistic ambition and the funding of new projects in the short term in order to maintain frontline services and jobs for the future.

Congress calls upon the General Council to campaign to protect employees in the creative sector and to urge the Government and ACE to ensure that jobs are not sacrificed for the sake of funding creativity.

Musicians' Union

67 England bid to host the 2018 World Cup

Congress supports the bid to bring the World Cup to England in 2018. In these difficult times, this is one goal that can unite the nation and at the same time provide huge economic benefits for our country and our people. As the 2010 competition in South Africa has shown, football has a unique capacity to heal divisions and bring people together and in the coming years the anticipation and excitement leading up to the tournament will undoubtedly have a very positive impact throughout the land. The spin-offs in terms of increased economic activity and employment are compelling and the enthusiasm of our citizens in bringing the Cup home are indeed worthy of universal support.

English football can proudly boast some of the best players in the world and the most entertaining football, and Congress feels strongly that the opportunity to host the World Cup in England is long overdue. Trade unionists have always been passionate about our national game and Congress therefore backs the call to bring the Cup to these shores and hopefully see England triumph once again.

Professional Footballers' Association

The following Amendment was ACCEPTED

Insert new second paragraph:

'There will also be opportunities to promote football, and sport in general, in our schools and colleges and to encourage young people to link up with those from other countries competing in the World Cup, to promote education for all, anti-racism and international friendship.'

Association for College Management

68 Haiti

Congress believes that, as many of us work to figure out appropriate strategies to support the people of Haiti, it is important to note that the most vulnerable people can experience a slower response to the consequences of the original disaster.

For example, women experience the most negative consequences of catastrophic events, in particular higher rates of injury and death, displacement and unemployment, increased incidence of HIV, domestic violence, increased poverty and the disproportionate responsibility for care.

This is especially true for women marginalised by race, sexual orientation, class, health issues, ability, age and legal status. Additionally, in times of crises and environmental emergencies, poor and marginalised women, who are least responsible for the horrific conditions in which they live, are often neglected.

Congress therefore calls on the TUC Race Relations Committee and General Council to:

seek and make links with at least one specific women's organisation/network in Haiti

develop and sustain a productive relationship with the Haitian trade unions through TUC international links

commit to continue to secure resources for the aid effort

look to organise a visit to Haiti to assist with reconstruction efforts.

TUC Black Workers' Conference

70 Supporting international development

Congress reaffirms the ILO Philadelphia Declaration that 'poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere' and notes that half of the world's workers continue to exist on less than $2 a day. We believe that contributing to the struggle against global poverty is a moral imperative but also a vital part of trade union solidarity. International development is about much more than overseas aid, but Congress welcomes the commitment of the leading UK political parties to spend the UN target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income on aid and urges the Government to put that commitment into law without delay.

Congress believes that trade unions have a huge amount to contribute in the field of international development and welcomes the work being done by the ITUC, the TUC and individual unions. Drawing on funds from individual members and from the Department for International Development, they are already assisting unions in developing countries to challenge and reduce poverty, hold leaders and politicians to account, build quality public services, and promote equality. Congress urges the Government to continue funding trade union work in this area, as governments across the developed world do. And Congress urges unions to promote the work of the TUC and its appeals for funding for trade union projects in the global south.

Accord

71 Vietnam

Congress appreciates the incredible achievements of the Vietnamese people in rebuilding their country since Vietnam's liberation 35 years ago from one of the most brutal wars in history, which destroyed the infrastructure of the country.

Congress recalls with respect the three million Vietnamese killed and four million injured in the fighting and bombing.

Congress notes that over eighty million litres of defoliants, including the dioxin Agent Orange, were sprayed on forests, farms and villages and that the legacy of this terrible poison still lives in on with over three million people affected and many birth deformities and health problems still today. Congress further notes that no reparations have been paid for this appalling damage.

Despite the devastation of the country, Vietnam has rebuilt at an incredible rate and greatly improved the living standards of its population. Congress congratulates the Vietnamese trade union movement in the role that its members played in the liberation of the country and subsequent reconstruction.

Congress further congratulates Trade Union Friends of Vietnam and the Britain Vietnam Friendship Society and affiliated unions for the work they have done to maintain contacts with Vietnamese workers and their families, and urges affiliates to consider their work. Congress calls on the General Council to establish closer links with the Vietnamese General Confederation of Labour.

Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union

77 Asbestos on ships

Congress records its concern at the Government's announcement of a review of health and safety legislation. Congress notes that statistics show that the workplace death and injury rates for merchant seafarers continue to be well in excess of those ashore, and is therefore alarmed to note evidence that asbestos is still being widely used onboard merchant ships being built today in certain parts of the world.

Congress further notes with profound concern that asbestos may often be introduced into ships certificated as being asbestos-free, because of the continued use of the material in a wide range of equipment and components.

Congress notes that there are national, EU and international regulations designed to prohibit the use of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials and is disturbed at the evidence showing that these rules are not being adhered to.

Congress therefore calls upon the General Council to campaign for the relevant national, EU and international bodies to take appropriate action to ensure compliance with the relevant regulations regarding the use of asbestos products onboard ships.

Congress also urges the General Council to press for rules to require the mandatory training of seafarers in identifying asbestos products and in the precautionary measures that have to be taken when asbestos is identified.

Nautilus International

78 Industrial injuries

Congress deplores the fact that despite the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) scheme being designed as a compensation payment, there are people losing other benefits when it is paid.

Congress is concerned that people suffering from prescribed diseases, particularly lung diseases, are being robbed of the small amounts of compensation they receive at a time when they need it most.

Congress notes that the Government Consultation Report in 2007 concluded that 'the people who need the resources the most, are those who receive them'.

Congress asks why, in 2010, those who need resources the most are having them taken away.

Congress welcomes the work done by the TUC in relation to IIDB and recognises that the small amounts of compensation paid in relation to the severity of the injuries need to be increased.

Congress requests that the General Council raise the unfairness of the system with the Government to ensure that this issue is not forgotten.

National Union of Mineworkers

79 Cosmetic use of sunbeds

Congress recognises the key role that unions can play in health awareness and in campaigns to promote well-being.

The Labour Government introduced legislation to understand and create awareness of the risks associated with prolonged usage of sunbeds and to limit access to units on the high street by banning anyone under the age of 18 from using these facilities.

However, with changes in climate and despite this legislation, there continues to be an increase in the incidence of skin cancer and associated conditions in this country to the extent that the UK has a higher incidence rate than Australia. The unnecessary use of sunbeds as a cosmetic procedure has the potential to increase the risk of skin cancer and death from cancer and to place unreasonable demands on NHS cancer services at a time when the Government is trying to reduce costs, streamline service delivery and promote healthy lifestyles.

Affiliated unions have considerable influence with members and the resources to highlight the dangers that misuse of sun beds for tanning pose to the general public.

Congress calls on the General Council to work with the Government and relevant charities to further restrict the use of sunbeds to treatment of clinical conditions under the control of appropriate medical, nursing and allied health professionals.

Society of Radiographers

80 Reform of General Council

Congress notes that, at present, the 12 largest unions in the TUC have guaranteed representation on the General Council. In total they hold over 30 seats.

There are nearly 50 other unions also affiliated to the TUC, each having fewer than 100,000 members. These unions are allocated just 11 places on the General Council, according to the TUC's rules and the structure of elections for Section C. However, these unions represent almost three-quarters of a million workers and have a broad range of experience, as well as organising diverse groups of members.

Congress further notes that it is nearly 10 years since the rules governing the composition of Section C were last revised. Since then the number of trade unions affiliated to the TUC has reduced in number from 76 to 58.

Congress believes that all unions have an important role to play in our movement. To be at its best the TUC must harness all the talents of its affiliates, and we should work more closely together in order to achieve this. Congress believes that the best way to do this is through full representation on the General Council for all affiliated unions, large and small. This would put an end to the divisive and damaging battle for the 11 seats reserved for the smaller unions seeking election to the General Council.

Congress therefore resolves to initiate a review of the rules governing the composition of the General Council with a view to addressing these issues.

Equity

81 Report-back on Congress motions

Congress notes the need for a public report-back on the actions taken following the previous year's Congress decisions.

Congress therefore calls on the General Council to arrange, as part of its annual report to Congress in future years, for a specific, written report-back on the actions taken on all motions carried or remitted at the previous Congress.

Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union

Composite 1 Employment rights

Congress believes that the right to bargain collectively through a recognised trade union and the right to strike are fundamental human rights.

Congress welcomes the recent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which have supported the ILO's recognition that the right to strike is 'an indissociable element of the right to collective bargaining'.

Congress welcomes the decision of the ECtHR to elevate the right to collective bargaining in status to that of an essential element of Article 11 of the European Charter of Human Rights.

Congress deplores the fact that British law imposes obligations on trade unions in relation to strike ballots that are unprecedented in Europe and that the law seeks to frustrate trade unions on technical grounds from their right to take collective action, rather than to provide a framework for assessing whether there is genuine worker support for the proposed action.

Congress deplores the increasing use of the courts by employers to prevent legal industrial action by our members and the recent succession of court cases against affiliates whose members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action to defend safety, jobs and conditions only for the courts to rule out the action on minor technical grounds. Congress is concerned that this wave of litigation by the employers is undermining the already limited right to take action.

Congress fully supports the view of the TUC General Secretary that 'the right to take peaceful industrial action goes far wider than any particular dispute and is a hallmark of a free society. All fair minded people should now see ... fundamental freedoms are now being eroded.'

Congress congratulates Unite, PCS and RMT for their defence of their members' interests and defeat of ridiculous legal action based on technicalities of the anti-union laws.

However, Congress notes the success of the media company Johnston Press in securing an injunction against the NUJ on the basis that it 'employs no journalists'. This is despite the group's claims in its annual report, in company bulletins and external publications that it employs 1,900 journalists and more than 7,000 employees. Johnston Press made the claim despite group-wide decisions on a pay freeze, closure of the pension scheme, and terms and conditions.

Congress is concerned that the financial cost of defending legal actions such as that by Johnston Press could make it impossible for smaller unions to do so. Congress is therefore concerned that legal precedents could be established that affect all unions due to the lack of funds available to some.

Congress calls upon the General Council to pursue, within its existing policy on employment rights established at the 2009 Congress, a campaign that uses the ECtHR's decisions to challenge existing UK laws, which are designed to undermine trade union democracy and rights of workers. The campaign should include:

the exclusion of companies employing less than 21 workers from statutory collective bargaining rights

the limited scope of protection against unfair labour practices during organising campaigns for recognition

the opportunities for employers to enter into agreements with non-independent trade unions to prevent access to statutory recognition procedures.

Congress agrees to consider:

supporting affiliates taking challenges to the European Court of Human Rights, such as RMT's current challenge that the ability to organise industrial action is restricted by UK law in breach of Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights

how to ensure that all unions can defend themselves against legal action designed to deny members their rights, where there is a good prospect of success.

Congress believes that, ultimately, the best way to defend our members' interests is to put an end to the UK's repressive anti-trade union laws. Congress further reiterates its support for the repeal of the anti-trade union laws. Noting the sheer difficulty and complexity of conducting industrial action ballots under current legislation, Congress calls on the General Council to campaign vigorously for a review and repeal of the anti-union legislation introduced by the previous Conservative Government.

Congress further welcomes the Lawful Industrial Action (Minor Errors) Private Members Bill introduced by John McDonnell MP, which if enacted will prevent employers from using minor technical errors to stop industrial action.

Congress resolves to fully support the Bill and requests that the General Council:

supports the lobby of Parliament called for 13 October 2010

ask MPs to attend the Second Reading of the Bill on 22 October 2010.

Mover: Unite

Seconder: National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers

Supporters: Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union

National Union of Journalists

United Road Transport Union

Composite 2 Trade union outreach

Congress recognises the importance of reaching out to diverse sections of the population to make the case for trade union membership. We acknowledge the importance of publicity and recruitment campaigns on issues that are important to the majority of trade unions, such as job losses, pensions and pay.

Congress also recognises that the majority of trade unionists are now women, and that the cuts will have a disproportionate impact on disabled people; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; people from black and minority ethnic communities; and young people.

However, Congress recognises the on-going attack on public service broadcasting and the consolidation of media ownership and control in the hands of anti-union figures. Congress agrees to support media unions in their fights to stop cuts, end monopolies and find new financial models to support media diversity and quality journalism.

Congress therefore calls on the TUC to continue to play a progressive role, in particular in its work on equality. Together with a campaign on these issues, a meeting should be sought with broadcasters who have a public service remit to seek greater recognition of the role that trade unions continue to play. The TUC should also urge broadcasters to recognise the pressing need for action to ensure that all sections of society are portrayed realistically and by avoiding the use of stereotypes.

Mover: Communication Workers' Union

Seconder: Equity

Supporter: National Union of Journalists

Composite 3 Child poverty

Congress is deeply concerned at the direction of coalition Government decisions to make spending reductions by cutting back on the sources of vital financial support for working parents. Congress condemns policies such as the regressive Budget, abolition of the Child Trust Fund from 2011 and the withdrawal of the extension of free school meals, recognising that the effects of benefit reductions will increase levels of child poverty after 2012. Congress condemns the Government for taking steps that will lead to an increase in child poverty so soon after reaffirming the commitment to its abolition by 2020. Congress values the universal reach of Child Benefit and resists any attempt to restrict this by means-testing.

Congress remains aware that poverty damages the social and educational prospects of almost four million children, depresses the national level of achievement, and perpetuates the unjust social class divide in achievement and subsequent life-chances. It condemns the hypocrisy of politicians who claim to support social justice at the same time as implementing policies that increase injustice.

Congress recognises the vital role Child Benefit plays in any anti-poverty programme, and notes that restricting the reach of benefits for children or removing them altogether inevitably hits low income households hardest. Tackling low pay, addressing benefit withdrawal rates and protecting benefits that reduce in-work poverty are all necessary and effective measures of ending child poverty. Congress does not hesitate to remind the coalition of its commitment to eradicating child poverty by 2020 and will watch its progress towards this goal with keen interest.

The work unions are doing to increase members' incomes and to raise awareness of rights and support has now taken on a new urgency.

In view of this, Congress calls on the General Council to:

support the 'Claim It' campaigning work of affiliates

lobby the coalition to reaffirm its commitment to ending child poverty by 2020 and to publish impact assessments of all spending decisions in the light of this

continue to lobby the Government to publish a detailed plan on how it will meet its stated 2020 target

support affiliates' campaigns against low-paid, insecure employment

co-ordinate a vigorous campaign against any proposals to end the universal reach of Child Benefit.

Mover: Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers

Seconder: Association of Teachers and Lecturers

Composite 4 Manufacturing and industrial policy

Congress asserts that the future recovery of the UK economy will depend upon the growth generated by the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing continues to be a major contributor to the wealth of the UK - worth over £160bn to the economy and generating 46 per cent of UK export earnings. Congress notes the continuing challenges faced by British manufacturing companies as they emerge from recession, including liquidity and credit availability, rising energy costs, skills retention and environmental targets.

In the current economic climate the Government cannot allow manufacturing to decline as the need for a more balanced economy in this country will enable us to compete with EU countries in a globalised market. Congress believes that the emergency Budget failed to address manufacturing needs.

Congress recognises that to meet these challenges and to continue to provide jobs to the UK's regions, active industrial policies are required. Congress welcomes the belated interest in industrial policy by the previous Government.

Congress condemns decisions by the coalition Government that have removed industrial support from manufacturing companies - most notably the loan to Sheffield Forgemasters.

Congress also condemns the coalition Government's decision to cut the Future Jobs Fund, which was targeted at tackling youth unemployment.

Congress therefore calls on the General Council to develop and lobby for active industrial policies both in the UK and, through the ETUC, at a European level to ensure that manufacturing can play a strong part in a sustainable recovery and a low carbon economy.

Congress calls upon the General Council to work with affiliates to develop a strategic manufacturing campaign designed to pressurise the Government and based upon the following 10 pillars for manufacturing investment and jobs:

building a framework of policies to defend strategically important industries

continued financial support through interventionist policies

targeted support for small- and medium-sized enterprises

better use of government purchasing power to secure manufacturing jobs in the UK

maximising the opportunities that the low carbon revolution offers

delivery of an education and skills framework that meets all industry's needs

creating a university structure that builds on the science base so necessary to secure high-skilled jobs

creating the right investment environment for research and development including working with academics and their representatives on creating a funding regime that supports and fosters high quality research and whereby funding is not dependent on economic impact as currently proposed in the Research Excellence Framework

creating a level playing field to deliver security and fair pricing for energy

building a framework of legislation that promotes transparency and engagement for all stakeholders in the future of manufacturing.

Congress further calls for the General Council to campaign for the Future Jobs Fund to be reinstated.

Mover: Unite

Seconder: Community

Supporters: Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers

University and College Union

Composite 5 Pensions

Congress notes with alarm the continuing campaign against decent pension provision under the coalition Government.

Congress condemns the scale and pace of government cuts across the public services. The cuts combined with changes to taxes and benefits, represent a real transfer of wealth from poor to rich, impoverishing women in particular. Congress believes that such plans will further entrench poverty and inequality in our society leading to social divisiveness and must be strenuously opposed.

Congress deplores the short-sighted decisions taken by the coalition Government which adversely affect workers and pensioners while insulating employers. Delaying the earnings link restoration, watering down the 'triple-lock', cutting the indexation of past and future service and reducing pension protection on outsourcing, combined with a faster increase in the state pension age, all form a devastating programme for generations of pensioner poverty.

Congress reaffirms its support for the provision of quality occupational pensions in the public and private sectors. Congress opposes the sustained campaign seeking to undermine pensions and condemns corporate attacks on workers' pension provision in recent years, in particular the closure of final salary pension schemes. Congress condemns those private sector employers who have abandoned their responsibility for decent provision but believes the answer is to rebuild occupational pension schemes.

Congress notes the review of public sector pensions currently being undertaken by John Hutton, deplores the propaganda about 'gold-plated' schemes, condemns the repeated offensive references to 'pensions apartheid' and CBI scaremongering about public schemes creating a 'black hole' in government finances, which the Government intends to use to cut the living standards of millions of public sector workers in retirement. Congress notes that statements from the coalition Government suggest that working people can expect significant attacks on pension rights over coming months. Congress commends the TUC for its work so far in robustly defending public sector pensions and in co-ordinating union responses to Hutton.

As one of the first national battles around public sector pensions in this parliamentary term, the success or failure of action to defend pension entitlements at the BBC will be crucial. Congress notes Robert Peston's comments that the plans could be a blueprint for the rest of the public sector.

Congress rejects accusations that current public sector pensions are neither affordable nor sustainable, and notes the NAO report of March 2010 that demonstrates that public sector pensions will be no larger a share of GDP in 2060 than currently. Congress deplores the continuing misrepresentation of public sector 'pay-as-you go' pension scheme costs, which ignores current and past contributions and pretends that costs will all fall due at once. Congress reminds the Government that in previous years, when contributions exceeded pensions in payment, it simply kept that money. The Government has had a cheap loan from public sector workers' pension contributions but now balks at paying the pensions that are due.

Congress is appalled by the political manipulation and lies which portray public sector workers' pensions as 'gold-plated'. Congress deplores both the attacks on public sector pensions and the presumption of the coalition Government that public sector pension provision will have to be further diluted, involving an increase in retirement age, an increase in employee contributions, and a diminution in existing pension benefits.

Congress reaffirms that the changes already made (including higher retirement ages, higher contributions from employees and cost-capping for employers) are adequate to ensure their long-term sustainability. Congress notes that in 2005 public sector unions worked together to defend public sector pensions. No union's arguments in defence of its members' pension schemes should suggest any cuts in the schemes of any other worker.

Congress notes that in the public sector all staff are equally members of common pension schemes, in contrast to some private sector employers where defined benefit arrangements are more prevalent for directors and the most senior staff. Congress recognises that many public sector managers are paid significantly less than comparable private sector counterparts at a time when public accountability of managers has never been greater. It notes that senior civil servants and NHS managers already have an earnings cap applied to their pensions, and deplores the singling out of a tiny handful of cases in which this may not be the case. It recognises that attacks on the pension arrangements of senior public servants are part of a wider agenda to undermine all public sector pensions. Congress rejects any suggestion that pensions for senior public servants should be cut and believes that this would be divisive and unfair, and would serve to undermine the TUC's defence of pension provision as a whole.

Congress condemns the ongoing campaign being conducted by some politicians and sections of the media to seek to divide private and public sector workers on the basis of the right to a decent pension at retirement, which is merely an attempt to create a 'race to the bottom' in pension provision whereby each attack on pension rights is gradually extended to all groups of workers. Congress reaffirms its view that the real pensions' problem lies in the private sector, where employers' abandonment of occupational pension schemes means that workers face poverty in retirement and taxpayers face higher welfare costs. Rather than extending this to public sector pensioners, we need decent pensions for all.

Congress condemns the BBC's plans to attack future staff pension benefits and undermine the value of pensions already earned, effectively leading to the closure of the Corporation's defined benefit schemes. Congress welcomes the strong stance, including the threat of industrial action, taken by the unions in response to the BBC's pensions robbery.

Congress rejects the proposed government plans to switch the basis for pension increases from the retail price index (RPI) measure of inflation to the consumer price index (CPI), which will reduce public and private sector occupational pensions and state second pensions and could lead to existing and future pensioners losing thousands of pounds.

Congress is strongly opposed to the Government's policy to accelerate the increase in the age at which men and women are entitled to claim their state pension, which will disproportionately affect workers who cannot afford to retire early or those in physically demanding occupations. Congress rejects the Government's 'work until you drop' policy that is against the interests of workers' health, safety, dignity and quality of life and could increase long-term costs to our NHS.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

defend the welfare state

defend public sector pensions and campaign for decent private sector pensions

promote measured, informed and rational debate over public sector pension reform

engage with the Hutton Commission on public pensions and co-ordinate union responses to the interim and final recommendations of the Hutton review of public service pensions. Work to ensure that proper equality impact assessments are carried out at the earliest possible stage, including the impact on part-time workers

argue for the maintenance of the 2005 PSF agreement

develop research and publicity material to support the campaign to defend quality occupational pensions and demonstrate the value of these to working people as a whole and develop the case for extending the provision of occupational pensions to those not currently covered by such schemes

publish a report into the economic costs of inadequate pension provision in the private sector and commission research into the true cost of living increases applying to pensioners and create a pensioners' cost of living index

highlight the financial and social costs to the UK of the Government's pension reforms

monitor and publicise government breaches of the coalition agreement.

Congress calls on the General Council to support and co-ordinate the closest possible collaboration between affiliates in defence of schemes under threat (public and private sector), state pension rights and any future threat to the public sector pension scheme provisions, and to campaign for high quality pensions including affordable final salary schemes in both the public and private sectors. This should include:

an urgent high-profile, public campaign including the regional rallies and the national demonstration

support for the ETUC day of action in September

a national press and publicity campaign to tell the truth on pensions and expose the true cost of tax relief on pensions for the top 1 per cent of earners

co-ordination of union resistance to arbitrary attacks on good quality occupational pension schemes

resisting moves by employers and industry regulators to level down pensions in the private sector

lobbying against current or future moves to raise the state pension age

co-ordination of industrial action where appropriate and to fully support any workers forced to take industrial action in defence of pension rights.

Congress calls on the Government to:

engage in meaningful negotiation with unions on any changes to public sector pension schemes

consider the case for reviewing each public sector pension on a scheme-specific basis

require the private sector to negotiate with unions over workforce and executive pension arrangements

be transparent about the true cost and impact of pension reforms on individuals and the public finances.

Congress resolves to defend public and private sector pensions against attacks from the coalition Government.

Mover: GMB

Seconder: UNISON

Supporters: National Union of Teachers

Fire Brigades' Union

Educational Institute of Scotland

FDA

National Union of Journalists

Public and Commercial Services Union

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Transport Salaried Staffs' Association

NASUWT

Composite 6 Housing

Congress agrees that the provision of decent and affordable housing is a hallmark of any civilised society. Not only does access to a secure home provide warmth and shelter, it is also:

fundamental to the achievement of important social goals, such as tackling poverty and improving health and educational inequalities

a driver of good jobs, apprenticeships and skills.

Congress notes that following the general election, the coalition Government has abandoned planned increases in the number of affordable homes, scrapped plans to tighten regulation of the private rented sector, and caused untold misery and uncertainty through its vindictive attacks on Housing Benefit recipients. The Conservative Manifesto promised to 'make Britain the most family-friendly country in Europe' yet the House of Commons Library has estimated women represent three-fifths of those directly affected by cuts to housing benefits and will pay 72 per cent of the cost of the Budget changes to taxes, benefits and tax credits.

Congress also notes that reforms to the planning system and prejudice against recipients of Housing Benefit and social housing tenants are being magnified by the coalition's ideological spending cuts. Nearly three-quarters of new housing starts in the 2009-10 financial year were part-funded by the public sector. As such, further cuts now will have major consequences for waiting lists, long-term affordability, new social housing and jobs.

Congress opposes any weakening in the existing section 106 rules, which would result in fewer homes for social rent being built.

Congress is also opposed to the government proposal that council and housing association tenancies be limited to a fixed-term thereby denying long-term security of tenure to future tenants.

Congress calls on the General Council to develop a campaign to oppose the coalition's housing policy, for all social housing tenants to have long-term security of tenure, and to lobby for positive alternatives that highlight the social and economic benefits of building more social and council homes. Congress notes the importance of ensuring that such a campaign facilitates local activity, so that regional TUCs and affiliates can take part in planned referendums on new developments that threaten to give those who have homes a veto over homes for those who do not.

Mover: UNISON

Seconder: Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians

Supporters: Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Composite 7 Climate change

Congress agrees that the overwhelming body of scientific opinion supports the conclusion that climate change is real and significantly attributable to human activity. The Copenhagen climate change summit made clear that a step change in policy is needed to deliver the necessary emissions reductions to curtail dangerous climate change.

Congress further agrees that sustainability not profit should be the determining factor in measuring a successful recovery from the current economic crisis.

As recognised by the Committee on Climate Change, 'a road map to decarbonise the power sector is key to wider economy decarbonisation'. Congress is therefore disappointed that, although making supportive statements, the coalition Government has delayed key decisions that would ensure a secure and balanced low carbon energy supply for the UK. Evidence in the recent TUC/EIUG report revealed uncertain policy frameworks' impact on energy prices and green investment in energy-intensive sectors. Urgent action is needed, including:

reforms to support a stable floor price for carbon

a regulatory framework that encourages investment in staff and skills as well as infrastructure renewal

strategic government support to stimulate innovation and UK supply chains

pursuit of a binding global carbon reduction agreement to prevent carbon leakage.

Congress calls on the General Council to pursue these objectives as part of an active industrial strategy that also prioritises investment in high quality green jobs and skills in energy-intensive industries to increase efficiency and enable a positive contribution to a low-carbon economy.

Congress instructs the General Council to:

seek early meetings with Government ministers to emphasise the need for early progress to decarbonise energy production and to establish an ongoing basis for consultation with relevant unions

lobby for regulatory reform in order to support low carbon investment

press for a more pro-active approach to promote development of skills to support sustainable development

support a campaign for 1 million green jobs that would create employment that delivers in areas of need, i.e. transport, housing and energy and has positive environmental impact.

Mover: Prospect

Seconder: Communication Workers' Union

Supporter: Community

Composite 8 Coal in a balanced energy policy

Congress reaffirms its commitment to a balanced energy policy as a necessary part of the solution to climate change. The commitment of the coalition Government to carbon capture and storage (CCS) is therefore welcome but there is an urgent need for generating companies to come forward with immediate plans to replace current coal-fired power stations with new CCS plants.

In the absence of any incentive to encourage investment now, the country is at risk of being unable to meet electricity demand as existing plants (both coal and nuclear) close. It is also essential that, if carbon abatement targets are to be met, constraints on carbon emissions apply equally to oil and gas as well as coal. Failure to make immediate progress on these issues will reduce the available market for coal and endanger the survival of the indigenous coal industry, wiping out thousands of skilled well paid jobs. Congress is asked to press the Government on these issues.

Congress recognises that the deep-mined coal industry in Britain plays a major role in our ability to maintain a source of energy supply, which is of benefit to the people. Congress is deeply concerned that the number of British coal mines in production is not sufficient for the coal needed to guarantee the security of supply.

Congress notes that the average age of the workforce in deep mines is increasing and therefore the skills and experience needed to mine coal are in danger of being lost.

Congress is determined that the TUC, through its structure, continues its support for a British coal industry that is environmentally sustainable and agrees to step up support for the existing deep mines in production whilst starting a new campaign to support the development of new coal mines.

Congress asks the General Council to examine ways in which the Government can be encouraged to see the urgency of the situation and to act now to take the steps necessary to secure the skills and access to the coal beneath our feet.

Mover: National Union of Mineworkers

Seconder: BACM-TEAM

Composite 9 Government transport policy

Congress notes the proposals for transport set out in The Coalition: our programme for government, and £683m cuts to the transport budget. Congress is concerned that these cuts jeopardise improvements to the nation's infrastructure, which have an essential part to play in delivering economic growth and improved productivity as well as making significant contributions to social inclusion and environmental improvements.

Congress notes the Government's commitment to fair pricing for rail travel and making Network Rail more accountable. Congress believes, however, that these objectives are incompatible with the existing model of ownership and regulation that, even by granting longer franchises, put the interests of private operators first.

Congress is concerned that the coalition Government's rail franchising policy review is likely to give train operating companies more control over infrastructure and allow cuts to unprofitable services. Congress is alarmed that the discredited company National Express will continue in the industry following the cancellation of the Greater Anglia and Essex Thameside franchise competitions and despite advice given to the previous Secretary of State for Transport.

Congress recognises that both franchises serve Stratford station, a vital part of the Olympic transport infrastructure, and the projected timescale for their re-letting will result in uncertainty in the months leading up to the Olympics as well as continued profits for the asset-stripping National Express Group.

Congress is alarmed that the Potters Bar coroner has felt compelled to recommend action to address the 'continued risk of other deaths' and yet despite this warning the coalition's Rail Value for Money Review will further jeopardise rail safety by weakening safety standards and axing even more safety critical jobs.

Congress is critical of train operators and Network Rail who continue to put corporate and personal financial interests ahead of all other interests. The rail industry continues to be characterised by:

excessive executive reward

continuous attempts to close ticket offices or reduce opening times

redundancies

high fares, excessive increases and limited regulation

sharp practices, such as placing more and more restrictions on off-peak travel

train operating companies' immunity from any real commercial risk.

Congress believes that these problems can only be overcome through an industry with services being run in the interests of passengers, not for private profit. Congress urges the General Council to:

promote and support affiliates in taking forward the policy for a publicly-owned and accountable rail industry run on a not-for-profit basis where profits are reinvested in the industry

extend free public transport to other vulnerable groups and a subsidised fares strategy to encourage modal shift

defend and extend the availability and reliability of public transport

ensure a decent standard of living and working conditions for those working in the public transport industries

urge the Transport Secretary to bring the East Anglia and Essex Thameside franchises back into public ownership in March 2011 to ensure continuity of service before, during and after the 2012 Olympics

call on the Transport Secretary to adhere to the advice given to his predecessor and ensure National Express Group no longer operates in the UK rail industry beyond March 2011.

Mover: Transport Salaried Staffs' Association

Seconder: Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen

Supporters: National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers

Unite

Composite 10 Defending public services

Congress believes that the 2008 crisis is being used as the pretext for a global onslaught on public provision and welfare entitlements. Congress condemns the emergency Budget, which will result in the loss of over one million jobs and drag the economy into depression, noting that this coincides with austerity programmes being imposed by the IMF and EU and other institutions driving cuts and liberalisation.

Congress rejects the Government's belief that attacks on public services and the most vulnerable in society are a legitimate means by which economic recovery can be secured. Congress rejects the argument that cuts in jobs, public services, pay and pensions are necessary to pay for the national deficit. Congress also rejects the notion that the deficit has to be halved in four years. Congress deplores the coalition Government's demolition of the public services it took years of Labour investment to rebuild. Their 'regressive' Budget shows a blinkered approach to the economic crisis and pushes deficit reduction to a wholly unjustifiable extreme. £44bn of additional cuts per year represents a savage and opportunistic attack on public services, which:

threatens another three-quarters of a million people with the dole

endangers a private sector heavily reliant on public expenditure on goods and services

depresses consumer demand across the economy

brings us to the brink of a double-dip recession.

Congress notes with concern that women, many part-time and low-paid, will bear the brunt of benefit cuts. Women also comprise 65 per cent of the public-sector workforce the coalition is targeting.

Congress notes the forecast of the Government's Office for Budget Responsibility that an additional 100,000 will be added to the unemployment figures as a result of this budget and that the CIPD has forecast that the loss of jobs in the public sector could be as high as 750,000. The two-year pay freeze makes scapegoats of workers who were not responsible for the financial crisis.

The deficit has arisen because the banking sector collapsed sparking a recession. Bailing out the banks cost £1.3tn and the recession hit tax revenues and increased unemployment; it is not because public spending has been out of control.

Congress opposes the attempts by the Government to make ordinary workers and the unemployed bear the brunt of reducing the deficit. The poorest and most vulnerable in society would be disproportionately affected and the economic situation would worsen.

Congress notes the establishment of the Hutton review and opposes any attempt to deal with the national deficit through cuts to public sector pensions.

Congress believes the Government is using the deficit as a thinly-veiled guise to engage in an ideological dismantling of the state and an attack on workers and the most vulnerable in our society, which goes far further than even the dark days of Thatcher. The coalition has no mandate for hard-right economic policies. Without Liberal Democrat connivance the Tories would rightly be voted down in the Commons. The public did not vote for a Tory Government nor policies aimed at destruction of their public services and the dismantling of state education and the NHS. The labour movement has a right to oppose them.

Congress recognises that public investment and expenditure has been vital in propping up employment and demand, as well as providing essential help and support to those struggling with redundancies, reduced incomes, repossessions, and rising joblessness. The cuts now proposed will devastate public services with a consequent decline in living standards for all, particularly women and those in poverty.

Congress notes the vital contribution public expenditure makes to the wider economy through public procurement, which accounts for at least one-third of spending on goods and services across the rest of the economy. Spending cuts will therefore also have a direct impact on private sector employment. Congress recognises that public spending drives growth, which benefits recovery in both the public and private sector.

In addition, Congress condemns the reform agenda being pursued (e.g. the Education Act), which will transform the nature of public services away from universal provision for all, towards segregated and differential provision. The austerity agenda will further weaken public services by opening up new areas of public service to outsourcing and privatisation.

Congress further notes the introduction of regressive tax measures as opposed to revenue-raising, progressive taxation measures and is concerned that this economic strategy will result in a double dip recession. Similar measures of austerity in Canada in the 1990s also led to a widening of inequalities.

Congress believes there is an alternative: collection of the taxes avoided, evaded and uncollected from wealthy individuals and companies, which account for £123bn, and more, not less, investment in public services.

Congress sends solidarity to our comrades in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and elsewhere who are fighting the cuts and agrees there is an urgent need to establish a similarly wide-ranging united front of resistance against the attacks being carried out in the UK.

Congress calls on:

the Government to consult the General Council regarding the comprehensive spending review

the General Council to lead a co-ordinated campaign across the labour movement with other working class organisations and local communities for progressive means of ensuring the recovery and improving the public finances.

Congress resolves that all TUC affiliates will urgently work together to build a broad solidarity alliance of unions and communities under threat and organise a national demonstration, lobby of Parliament and national days of protest against the government austerity measures. Congress calls upon the General Council to:

reject cuts and privatisation and call for innovative public services funded through a progressive taxation agenda, including a 'Robin Hood Tax' on the banks and financial institutions to ensure that they clean up the mess they created, make an appropriate contribution to meeting the cost of their recklessness and act with more responsibility in the future

demand fair pay, pensions and equality of treatment and defend the terms and conditions in national agreements that provide equality-proofed pay systems

defend public services from measures that will increase inequality

consider convening a Convention of affiliates and representatives of users of publicly-funded services and the welfare state to establish a broad alliance against the cuts and maximise the impact of such opposition campaigns

publicise the recklessness and illegitimacy of the coalition's austerity programme

mobilise maximum opposition to these proposals, including support for ETUC action on 29 September and for continued campaigning at local, regional and national level and fully involve trades union councils in mobilising for these events

build a robust campaign in defence of public services, seeking to publicise and build this fight across the labour movement and local communities as a whole

support and co-ordinate campaigning and joint union industrial action, nationally and locally, in opposition to attacks on jobs, pensions, pay or public services

oppose the unacceptable inequalities within our society, taking every possible step to fight for social justice including defence of the jobs, pay and pensions of public service workers

further develop the arguments against these policies through research and the production of pamphlets and other materials

present a clear alternative to the cuts, including public ownership, higher rates of tax for the rich and closing corporate tax loopholes

co-ordinate a national union recruitment campaign in the national media to highlight what trade unions have to offer.

Congress further calls on the General Council to pursue these policies with the STUC, WTUC and ICTU, and internationally.

Mover: UNISON

Seconder: Unite

Supporters: GMB

Public and Commercial Services Union

National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers

Fire Brigades' Union

NASUWT

Prospect

Communication Workers' Union

Composite 11 The NHS

The NHS is facing huge challenges in delivering high quality patient care in the current climate. These include:

pressure to make massive efficiency savings

false distinctions between 'frontline' and 'non-frontline' jobs

further radical restructuring of NHS organisations

even greater stress on competition, risking fragmentation of services and the NHS becoming simply a provider of services that no-one else wants to take on

loss of clinical expertise as posts are cut or downgraded

weakening of staff morale and flexibility as national terms and conditions of employment, including pensions, are eroded.

Congress recognises that 'no change' is not an option. The NHS has to respond to an ageing population, the rising demand for new drugs and technologies, and the public health impact of obesity, problem drinking and lack of exercise. NHS staff are ready to meet this challenge but cannot do so without proper involvement in the planning of services, sustained investment, and much more emphasis on health promotion.

Congress condemns the White Paper, Liberating the NHS, altering irrevocably our public NHS by opening it up to privatisation through EU and international competition law and prioritising cash customers rather than NHS patients. The White Paper heralds the biggest 're-disorganisation' in NHS history, introduced at frightening speed. Congress is appalled by the anti-manager rhetoric accompanying these proposals, which nevertheless rely on managers and other healthcare staff to implement the changes while finding huge savings, including in management costs.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

monitor the impact of key health policy decisions in terms of both equity and the fundamental long-term future of the NHS

support the health unions in trying to protect NHS services - making the link between quality employment, quality staff engagement, quality teamwork and quality services

use the NHS Together campaign, if and when necessary, as a means of showing public support for the NHS

give TUC backing to on-going campaigns to promote good health

challenge proposals legislatively, and by working with patient and campaigning organisations.

Mover: Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Seconder: UNISON

Supporter: FDA

Composite 12 Academies, free schools and state education

Congress strongly supports the General Council's continued opposition to the fragmentation, centralisation and privatisation of state education, and in particular to academies, trust schools and 'free schools' as another variant of privately-managed but taxpayer-funded schools. Congress also deplores the privatisation of local authority education departments, which provide vital services to schools across their local area and ensure that all schools are supported according to their specific needs.

Congress reiterates its support for a state-funded, publically-managed and democratically accountable education system. Congress rejects the coalition Government's academies legislation, believing that such a policy will widen the gap between rich and poor, fuel inequity of entitlement to high quality education and fundamentally undermine local communities' involvement in their schools.

Congress believes further that the planning of school provision should be returned to local authorities, which should also have control over schools' admissions criteria, the employment of school staff and the use and disposal of school land and buildings.

Congress recognises that a majority of the public opposes the removal of schools from the maintained sector and supports the principle of a good local school for every child.

Congress notes that academies are drawing money away from further education colleges. One college has lost £500,000 because of the creation of a new academy. New 'technical academies' will also divert money away from FE colleges, reintroducing selection at fourteen and creating a two-tier system.

Congress further believes that the governance of schools should be by, and on behalf of, school communities with the full involvement of parents, local community representatives, staff and local authorities.

Congress welcomes the joint campaign of affiliates in pursuit of the defence of state education. Congress believes that this joint campaign, with education staff, governors, parents and communities working in co-operation with other educational organisations such as the National Governors Association and the Anti-Academies Alliance, is crucial in building a broad public consensus against the privatisation of our schools and colleges. Congress welcomes the inclusion of school privatisation policies in TUC events aimed at defending public services.

Congress instructs the General Council to:

intensify the campaign in defence of public services and in particular of state education

oppose the coalition Government's plans for academies and to campaign for all schools to remain within the maintained sector

oppose cuts to the Building Schools for the Future programme and further education funding

lobby the Government to re-integrate academies and trust schools into the state maintained system and to put an immediate stop to the controversial initiative of allowing the setting up of 'free schools'

lobby the Charities Commission to ensure that organisations such as the New Schools Network, which have overtly political aims, are not granted charitable status

support unions taking action where academies undermine the pay and conditions of their staff

keep affiliates informed, through briefings, guidance and other documents, on the latest government developments

establish a campaigning group within the TUC both to oppose government moves to break up the maintained school system and to put forward the General Council's vision for comprehensive education in the 21st century.

Mover: National Union of Teachers

Seconder: Association of Teachers and Lecturers

Supporter: University and College Union

Composite 13 Defending further and higher education

Congress notes:

the coalition Government's unprecedented attack on public sector pay, jobs and pensions with £1.2bn cuts to higher education (HE) and £200m cuts to adult learning (AL) already announced, and substantial further cuts to come to the HE, further education (FE) and AL budgets in the comprehensive spending review, increasing the threat of privatisation in the sector

the central importance of FE, HE and AL to the prosperity of our society and economy

for every job lost in the sector, another job is lost in the economy

over 200,000 people look set to miss out on a university place this year and up to 70 per cent of FE colleges are being forced to axe courses

the level of student debt, a huge burden on many students and a disincentive to students from poorer backgrounds.

In the face of continuing attacks on the funding, quality and accessibility of our public education service, Congress reaffirms its commitment to:

fair and affordable access to high-quality, publicly-funded post-16 education for students from all backgrounds with a fair contribution from business

total opposition to raising the cap on student tuition fees

a properly remunerated, valued and respected workforce in all areas of post-16 education

a contribution from a fairer tax regime that precludes further demands on the less well-off.

Congress notes that the continuing pressure on FE corporations from funding cuts has resulted in large numbers of redundancies, more restructuring and pressure for a pay freeze. However, Congress is alarmed that despite such problems the sector has spent considerable sums on consultants.

Congress believes much of this expenditure should itself have been provided by government rather than leaving colleges to spend in this way when loyal staff are losing their jobs; and while salaries fall further behind those working in schools and universities.

Accordingly, Congress calls on the General Council to:

raise public awareness of the high cost of consultants in FE

press FE colleges to dramatically cut such expenditure with immediate effect and divert subsequent savings towards protecting pay and jobs

And calls on the General Council to promote:

a co-ordinated campaign to defend post-school education amongst affiliates and the general public and in particular raise awareness of the negative impact of widespread job losses in FE and elsewhere in post-16 education

the central role of FE, HE and AL in delivering improved outcomes from the health and social care workforce for the public, and the considerable contribution that individuals make to the economic wealth of the UK

the contribution made by FE colleges to post-16 education and the economic recovery of the nation

the joint national education unions' campaign to oppose raising the cap on student tuition fees in HE, including the UCU and NUS mass national mobilisation of students and staff in November

a fair contribution from business through tax, to preclude further demands being placed on families, students and communities.

Mover: University and College Union

Seconder: Association for College Management

Supporters: Association of Teachers and Lecturers

Society of Radiographers

Composite14 Graduate unemployment

Congress notes with concern the increase in graduate unemployment in the United Kingdom as a consequence of the economic recession, which is continuing to affect both the private and public sectors. In November 2009 graduate unemployment increased by 44 per cent, and now 59 per cent of all graduates are not working in a field or profession related to the subject matter of their degrees. This is despite evidence of skill shortages, e.g. in science and engineering disciplines, and it will hold back progress in tackling women's under-representation.

Congress is also concerned that future cuts in public spending will only exacerbate the problems associated with graduate unemployment, which could result in a 'lost' generation of disillusioned young people saddled with debt and unable to secure employment that utilises the skills and knowledge base gained through their time in higher education. Graduates in regions outside London are likely to be hardest hit.

Congress fears that increasing graduate unemployment will also lead to many graduates seeking employment abroad because of the lack of support for employers to establish new graduate employment opportunities. This is particularly serious for the health and social care sectors of public service where UK graduates are sought after abroad.

Congress therefore calls on the Government to offer concrete help, support and assistance to graduates looking for work and to ensure that the continuing high level of unemployment is tackled as a matter of urgency. Congress calls on the TUC to prioritise initiatives to recruit graduates when they do start work.

In addition, the effects of the recession and the reductions in government spending must not be used as an excuse for cutting back on university places when, in fact, the need for high level skills during the recovery could scarcely be greater.

Mover: The Educational Institute of Scotland

Seconder: Prospect

Supporter: Society of Radiographers

Composite 15 Criminal justice

Congress welcomes a review by the coalition Government into sentencing and rehabilitation within the criminal justice system within England and Wales.

However, in order for that review to have credibility and the confidence of the public, it must be a root and branch review that looks at the causes of crimes such as alcohol abuse, drugs, mental illness and social exclusion, and must not focus solely on the costs of sentencing and rehabilitation and the passing of responsibility to resolve social problems to the private sector, whose main purpose is to satisfy shareholders.

Congress rejects the notion of 'payment by results' set out as part of the coalition Government's criminal justice agenda. In a major speech on sentencing reform in June, the Justice Secretary acknowledged the unacceptable growth in the prison population - almost doubled in 16 years - and supported the increased use of community sentences. However, he made no reference in his speech to the Probation Service, the lynchpin of community-based supervision, and failed to acknowledge its key role in protecting communities and rehabilitating those who commit crime.

The coalition Government's commitment in its policy programme to a rehabilitation 'revolution' is a return to a previous privatisation agenda that will undermine the work of the Probation Service as it struggles to deal with threatened cuts to its budget. The concept of paying by results is a nonsensical and sinister element of this plan and undermines the primary purpose of the justice system to act fairly and impartially, free from external influence. Introducing a profit motive to the dispensation of justice threatens the professional integrity of the Probation Service, the job security of its highly trained and skilled staff and the appropriate delivery of its interventions to the diverse communities it serves.

Congress supports the work of Probation staff and totally rejects the introduction of a profit motive. It will support the Probation trade unions in any action taken to maintain the Probation Service as a properly resourced and trained public sector justice organisation.

Mover: POA

Seconder: napo

Composite 16 Health and safety at work

Improving workplace health and safety is a priority for all unions. Congress is concerned that the current economic climate and resulting cutbacks by employers are leading to workers putting their health and safety at risk. Congress reaffirms its belief that effective health and safety policies and practices are even more essential at a time when thousands of people each year are killed or seriously injured in UK workplaces.

Congress notes that in 2008-09, according to HSE figures that are seen as an underestimate of actual accidents at work:

1.2 million working people were suffering from an illness they believed was caused or made worse by their current or past work

180 workers were killed at work and these figures do not include deaths in work-related traffic accidents, at sea or by occupational illness

131,895 other injuries to employees were reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR)

246,000 reported injuries occurred

29.3 million days were lost overall, 24.6 million due to work-related ill-health and 4.7 million due to workplace injury.

CSP research also shows that one in four people in the UK regularly work all day without taking a break because they have too much work to do or there are too few members of staff. An estimated 9.3 million working days are lost each year through musculoskeletal disorders caused or made worse by work, and 11.4 million due to stress or depression. This costs the economy over £35bn. Last year alone around 1,180 people were fatally injured at work or in work-related road incidents, and agriculture remains one of the most dangerous industries in which to work.

Congress is appalled that the coalition Government intends to put profit before the health and safety of workers and the public and is deeply dismayed by suggestions that health and safety legislation might be disapplied from some groups of workers, thereby creating a two-tier approach to health and safety in which the lives of some groups of workers are more expendable than others. Congress rejects the argument that the safety of the public is compromised by health and safety provision for emergency service workers. The safety of the public is best protected in relation to emergency incidents by ensuring that emergency services are fully resourced in relation to training, equipment and staffing levels and opposes the exclusion of the emergency services from health and safety.

Congress opposes deregulation in the health and safety sector. Indeed there is a strong case for tighter regulation and more resources in this area, with more inspectors carrying out more inspections. Congress is particularly concerned that cuts implemented as part of the forthcoming spending review will further diminish already stretched HSE resources. It is essential to ensure a firm and consistent approach to enforcement, supported by adequate resourcing for HSE and related inspectorates.

Congress asserts that an unequivocal priority of the Government and employers must be protecting all workers from accidents, assaults and abuse and is alarmed and deeply opposed to the Conservative Party policy of introducing self-regulation into safety, where companies could purchase a private safety audit, barring Health and Safety Executive inspectors from a company's sites, unless an emergency occurred.

Congress notes the Government's review of health and safety and alleged compensation culture, led by Lord Young of Graffham. Congress is concerned that the review is predicated on ill-informed perceptions of health and safety regulation and is being pursued with unnecessary haste and insufficient transparency and, in Lord Young's hands, millions more workers, children and adults would be condemned to serial exploitation and abuse. Congress is concerned that Lord Young's review of health and safety legislation could result in a weakening of the laws protecting people at work in the name of reducing 'red tape' and burdens on business and is also concerned that the review's 'independence' is politically driven by right-wing interest groups. Congress condemns the deeply insulting comments by Lord Young to the Times that 'people occasionally get killed, it's unfortunate but it's part of life'. Congress asserts that the antiquated and demeaning views expressed by Lord Young are a throwback to the past and are unacceptable for the Government's chief health and safety advisor.

Congress is also concerned that the Task Force on Farming Regulation could have adverse implications for workers' health and safety.

The Government has also proposed limiting the application of the Working Time Directive despite the UK's long working hours already causing stress, injuries and other illnesses.

Congress notes that prompt access to NHS services such as physiotherapy helps prevent long-term problems developing, allowing workers to return to work more quickly and reducing numbers forced to claim benefit support. Occupational health services also have a vital role to play in preventing health risks and supporting workers affected, but are becoming easy targets for cutbacks despite Dame Carol Black's report Working for a Healthier Tomorrow, which called on employers to play a more pro-active role.

Congress rejects the claim of a compensation culture in health and safety. Furthermore Congress agrees that employers who are guilty of infringements of health and safety legislation should also pay the full cost of NHS treatment and rehabilitation.

Congress believes it is essential to ensure professionalism of health and safety professionals, including minimum standards to practise and advise on health and safety.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

campaign to ensure that workers' protection is not compromised by the Young review

ensure proper consultation with unions and other stakeholders before any changes are implemented

co-ordinate opposition to any watering-down of and deregulation in the health and safety sector and to campaign vigorously against any attack on health and safety standards

highlight the benefits to the economy of safe working practices that promote good health for employees, underpinned by decent legal standards and rapid access to treatment where needed

campaign to ensure that working hours of all workers are reduced to a safe level.

Congress calls on the coalition Government to:

subject Lord Young's review of health and safety and compensation to evidential evaluation

work with the TUC, HSE and businesses to ensure that existing health and safety law is implemented and enforced appropriately

confirm its commitment to Workers' Memorial Day on 28 April 2011

implement all European health and safety directives in full.

Mover: NASUWT

Seconder: Prospect

Supporters: The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union

Community

National Union of Teachers

Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians

Fire Brigades' Union

Transport Salaried Staffs' Association

Composite 17 International asbestos ban

Congress notes that while asbestos has been banned in many developed countries, it is still commonly used in the developing world and in many of these countries its use is increasing.

Congress further notes that Russia and Canada remain two of the largest exporters of asbestos; however, in recent years the asbestos industry has transferred much of its production from fully developed nations to countries such as Brazil, India, Indonesia and Pakistan. There has also been a growth in asbestos products being exported to developing countries including Angola, Argentina, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Thailand and Uruguay.

Congress welcomes the demonstration that took place outside Canada House on 1 July 2010 (Canada Day) in protest at that country's leading role in the asbestos trade.

Workers in developing nations are at particular risk of death after being exposed to asbestos due to a lack of regulation, with workers remaining untrained, not warned about the dangers of asbestos, and not provided with protective equipment.

Congress calls on the General Council to campaign for a complete and total global ban on asbestos; this campaign to include lobbying of national and international institutions and the consideration of calling for international and bilateral trade penalties to be imposed on countries that continue to export asbestos or that are involved in its production.

Mover: Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians

Seconder: Association of Teachers and Lecturers

Composite 18 Palestine

Congress condemns the Israeli blockades of the Palestinian territories, particularly the Gaza strip where there is a severe and ongoing deterioration in the living conditions of those living there.

The actions of the Israeli military, under the orders of their Government, in mounting a deadly assault on activists on the Mavi Marmara and other ships seeking to take humanitarian aid to Gaza, is particularly condemned.

Congress furthermore condemns the Histadrut statement of 31 May which sought to justify the Israeli action and the failure of the Histadrut to condemn settlement construction. Congress endorses the 3 June 2010 statement of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions, criticising the Histadrut and calling for an immediate end to the military blockade on Gaza and for a full independent inquiry into the attack on the Mavi Marmara.

Congress believes that the effective annexation of massive swathes of land by Israel in defiance of international law, using walls and checkpoints and destroying Palestinian homes in the process, is a deliberate strategy to undermine the viability of the West Bank and thereby the potential for an independent Palestinian state.

Congress calls on the UK Government and the EU to take much stronger political steps to ensure Israel abides by UN resolutions.

Congress instructs the General Council to work closely with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to actively encourage affiliates, employers and pension funds to disinvest from, and boycott the goods of, companies who profit from illegal settlements, the Occupation and the construction of the Wall.

Congress instructs the General Council to bring to Congress a report on the impact of the boycott and investment withdrawal strategy, together with the outcome of the PGFTU/Histadrut discussions recently facilitated by the ITUC and TUC. Congress agrees to join unions around the world for maximum coordination internationally for active solidarity to end the siege of Gaza and for a free Palestine.

Mover: Transport Salaried Staffs' Association

Seconder: GMB

Supporters: UNISON

Public and Commercial Services Union

Fire Brigades' Union

Emergency 1 Trapped Chilean miners

Congress expresses solidarity with the 33 workers trapped underground in the San José mine, Chile, since 5 August 2010 and hopes for a safe return to the surface to be re-united with their families and friends.

Congress congratulates the humanity and solidarity shown by wanting to rescue the miners. They have not spared any efforts to bring them out alive and are doing everything they can to try to rescue them as quickly as possible, which is not always the case.

Congress supports the calls for the Chilean government to ratify the International Labour Organisation Convention 176, on Safety and Health in Mines, and reiterates the call for the UK to do the same.

Mover: National Union of Mineworkers

Emergency 2 Royal Mail

On Friday 10 September, the Government published an updated report by Richard Hooper on the Postal Services Sector. This report argues for the privatisation and break-up of Royal Mail in line with the previously stated policy of the coalition Government.

Congress therefore agrees:

that the report is neither independent of Government policy, nor representative of the needs of Royal Mail customers and staff

that the modernisation of Royal Mail is most efficiently carried through as a wholly publicly-owned service

to support the Keep the Post Public Campaign initiated by the CWU.

Mover: Communication Workers' Union

Seconder: Unite

Emergency 3 Industrial action against cuts on London Underground

Congress salutes the brave action of members of RMT and TSSA in striking on 6 and 7 September 2010 in defence of jobs and safety against a politically driven, cost-cutting exercise that threatens 800 jobs on London Underground.

Congress welcomes the prompt support for the industrial action by the TUC and agrees the cuts will mean a more hostile environment for passengers travelling on the Underground as well as impacting adversely on the safety of passengers and staff and discriminating against those who have a disability.

Congress condemns the cynical opportunism of London Mayor Boris Johnson who, having been elected in 2008 on a platform opposing cuts in booking office opening hours on the Tube, is now proposing even deeper cuts.

Congress welcomes the broad opposition to the cuts including cross-party opposition from London MPs, the majority of London Assembly Members, the former Mayor of London and passenger groups.

Congress condemns the walk out by Tory members of the London Assembly on 8 September rendering the Assembly inquorate and preventing a motion opposing the cuts being passed.

Congress sees the London Underground cuts as another forerunner for additional cuts to come in October when the coalition government delivers its spending review. Congress therefore requests that the General Council assists in leading a broad coalition of unions, community groups and service users in the campaign against such cuts and resolves to continue supporting the rail unions in their dispute with London Underground.

Mover: Transport Salaried Staffs' Association

Seconder: National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers

Emergency 4 Bangladeshi garment workers

Congress gives its full support for the 3.5 million Bangladeshi garment workers struggle for a 5,000 Taka minimum wage. The Bangladeshi garment workers are the lowest paid workers in the global economy. Eighty per cent of these workers are young women.

Congress calls for the immediate release from prison of the Garment Workers Trade Union leaders in Bangladesh.

Congress recognises the plight of governments against powerful global companies that can threaten both their economy and political stability. However, these governments must make harsh choices and recognise that the correct alliance is with their workers, their trade unions and the global trade union movement to reign in the power of the global companies. Congress condemns the use of state forces to break the struggle and to harass, beat and threaten workers and their union leaders.

Congress reiterates its demands for genuine democratic trade unions throughout the world to collectively bargain with employers.

Congress calls on affiliates to raise the struggle of the garment workers with their members and where they have collective bargaining arrangements with employers that produce and retail goods from Bangladesh. In conjunction with our international partners, maximum leverage must be applied to EU and North American companies like WalMart, ASDA, Tesco, H&M and Marks and Spencer to demand their suppliers pay the 5,000 Taka minimum wage.

Congress will work with affiliates and global partners to raise the rights of the Bangladeshi garment workers with political leaders in the UK, the EU, North America and Bangladesh.

Mover: Unite

Seconder: GMB

Emergency 5 Connaught

Congress is extremely concerned by the 8 September 2010 announcement that Connaught and its subsidiary Connaught Partnerships have been placed into administration.

Congress notes the appointment of KPMG as administrators, and further notes this is the biggest corporate failure since Woolworth went into administration.

Congress is alarmed that Connaught workers have been left without information about their future, while others have been dismissed by conference call or text.

Congress believes that reasons for the collapse of Connaught include the immediate impact of the ConDem cuts in public sector budgets, that the stipulations of Best Value were ignored and that Connaught often secured contracts by undercutting rival bids.

Congress recognises that Connaught workers are suffering severe insecurity but also recognises the wider impact of the collapse of Connaught, as many companies in the Connaught supply chain will start to cut jobs.

Congress agrees that the public sector should be the preferred option for the provision of public services and that as an initial priority all Connaught contracts should be brought in-house to ensure consistency of employment and delivery of quality services.

Congress instructs the General Council to:

offer support to all Connaught workers

engage with the Government to secure the long-term employment of Connaught workers

oppose the practice of awarding contracts based purely on price

oppose future outsourcing in public services

campaign to bring back in-house the service provision from any future failures of private sector contractors in the provision of local government services.

Mover: Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians

Seconder: GMB

Supporters: UNISON

Unite

Emergency 6 26,000 redundancy notices at Birmingham City Council

Congress is disgusted by the statement by Stephen Hughes, leader of the Conservative-Lib Dem Birmingham City Council, in the Birmingham Post on 13 September 2010, that the council has issued 26,000 redundancy notices to its staff.

The redundancy notices are to force staff to accept detrimental changes to their contracts of employment and if they do not they will, according to Mr Hughes, be 'fired with three months' pay' and 'without compensation'.

Mr Hughes, on a £220,000 salary, shows that he holds his employees in complete contempt. He is not fit to serve the people of Birmingham and should withdraw all redundancy threats against our members immediately or resign.

Mover: GMB

Seconder: UNISON

Supporters: UCATT

Unite

Motion remitted

61 Reforming Ofsted

Congress supports the widespread criticism of Ofsted by some unions representing staff in the family courts and education. The effect of its inspection regime has been to diminish the quality of work with children. By concentrating on specific aspects of this work, it has had the effect of shifting the focus away from a holistic approach to children's care and education. Furthermore, a disproportionate amount of time is spent on records, data and plans so that Ofsted may more easily inspect them.

Congress rejects Ofsted's claims that criticism of its work comes from 'vested interests' such as trade unions, acknowledging that it is the best interests of children which is central to the concerns expressed.

The coalition Government has expressed concern about the inspection services provided by Ofsted. The Children's Minister, Tim Loughton, has said that a radical reform of Ofsted would lead to a very significant reduction in bureaucracy in work with children. This point has also been highlighted in recent reports published by Lord Laming and the Social Work Taskforce.

In Cafcass (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service), as in teaching, Ofsted inspections have fostered an oppressive culture in some workplaces. As a result many staff have felt demoralised and de-skilled.

Congress calls on the Government to set up an urgent review of Ofsted with a view to radically reforming the inspection framework. Such a reorganisation should ensure that staff are supported and encouraged in their professional development, thus improving services to children.

napo

General Council Statement

The economy, public spending and public services

The UK's economy and society is in great danger. The new Government's reckless policy of rapid deficit reduction through unprecedented cuts to public services, procurement and investment not only poses a grave risk to the recovery but will irreparably damage our social fabric.

Ministers tell us that there is no alternative. But expert economists both here and abroad warn that government policies could well make the deficit worse by limiting growth or even causing a double-dip recession. The cuts are not a fiscal necessity, but a highly political and economically dangerous project to fundamentally reshape our country by permanently reducing the scale and scope of government.

In this statement the TUC General Council:

? sets out why we think these policies will risk the recovery, increase inequality and threaten social cohesion

? argues for an alternative approach to deficit reduction that will safeguard services, jobs and growth and make the UK a fairer and more sustainable society

? calls for a great national campaign against the cuts that will galvanise opposition through both community organising at grass-roots level and well-planned national initiatives including a rally and lobby of parliament in October and national demonstration next March.

The economy and jobs

In the wake of the financial crisis caused by greed and irresponsible speculation in the financial system, the prospects for the UK economy are still deeply worrying. While the UK pulled out of recession at some speed, the latest indicators suggest that this may prove a short-lived respite. With mounting concern that growth in the Eurozone could be slowing and growing worries about the US economy, the UK economy will be under real pressure in 2011.

The severe public spending cuts in the Emergency Budget will inevitably constrain growth, and some think could even push us back into recession. Confidence among business and consumers is already low, driven by the fear of prolonged austerity.

But there is worse to come. October's Comprehensive Spending Review and a probable Autumn Statement pose further threats to recovery. The Government will start to withdraw £32bn from the economy in tax rises and spending cuts from April 2011, on top of the £8.9bn already taken out this financial year. These cuts will not only directly affect economic activity, but further undermine confidence.

The great danger is higher unemployment. In recent months unemployment has levelled out. Although it rose sharply in the first half of 2009, it never reached the peak hit in previous recessions. Action taken by the previous government helped. Crucially, employers and unions worked to avoid job losses and keep skilled workforces together through the downturn.

Firms have not started to hire again in any significant numbers. Unemployment is stuck at around two and a half million, with young people particularly badly hit. Previous recessions show that it can take a very long time for joblessness to fall even when recovery is secure.

There is therefore scant prospect that the private sector will now create the new jobs needed. Falling confidence suggests a stagnant labour market and at best a jobless recovery. But the prospect of further deep public spending cuts makes even this look like an optimistic scenario, as both public sector staff and employees in the many companies that depend on the public sector for orders lose their jobs.

We cannot yet know exactly how many public servants or private sector employees will lose their jobs as a direct result of cuts but the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that 490,000 jobs could be lost while leaked Treasury documents suggest the figure could rise as high as 600,000 with as many as a further 700,000 job losses in the private sector.

In turn this will have knock-on effects across the private sector as the newly unemployed stop spending, and even those still in work - but who fear they soon won't be - save for an uncertain future.

The Office for Budget Responsibility claim that a growing private sector will be able to absorb these job losses over the next five years. But TUC research shows that even under conditions of high growth and confidence it has taken much longer to generate the two million jobs needed after past recessions1. And of course we can expect neither high levels of growth or confidence as the cuts bite.

Making hundreds of thousands of public servants redundant at any time would cause great distress and inevitably harm services. To do so with severely reduced redundancy terms for many and at a time when there is little or no chance of finding private sector employment is callous. It will not only exact a high price from those workers and their families but is likely to do serious long-term damage to the social and economic fabric of many communities in the UK as did the economic policies of the 1980s. It is particularly unjust that the damage done to the public finances by the banking system will now be paid for by hundreds of thousands of public servants and private sector workers who bear no blame for the crisis despite the Government's attempts to shift responsibility away from the City.

Deficit reduction, fairness and public services

The Government claim that the cuts will reduce inefficiency and protect the vulnerable, rather than reduce service quality and make society more unequal.

We recognise that any new government will inevitably want to change its priorities, and unions do not oppose negotiated change or genuine efficiency savings. We welcome the decision to scrap ID cards, fewer top-down targets and greater scrutiny of the use of consultants. Plans to replace Trident should also be publicly reassessed as part of the defence review, taking into account the cost of replacement and the knock on effects of that spending on jobs in other parts of the public sector, its utility as a defensive weapon, and also the employment and skill needs of the shipbuilding, engineering and other affected industries and staff in the MoD itself.

There should be a continuous process of improvement across the public sector - including a search for economies and better efficiency - that draws on the knowledge and experience of staff. But this process is made harder when cuts and service reductions are spun as efficiency savings, rather than accurately described as cuts. And it is dishonest to suggest that such savings can plug more than a small proportion of the deficit on the timetable the government has set.

Nor are unions opposed to reform of public services. But the aim should be to make them better serve the public. The TUC will continue to press government to put public sector workers, unions and service users at the heart of public service reform. The government's top down and ideologically motivated approach to reform and spending cuts risks not just demoralising and de-motivating staff, but fundamentally reducing the quality and coverage of public service.

Major spending cuts cannot be delivered in a fair or 'progressive' fashion. The simple fact is that public services, benefits and tax credits are used far more extensively by those on middle and low incomes than those higher up the income scale.

Market economies deliver economic growth, but left to themselves drive inequality and fail to secure long-term conditions for growth such as a skilled healthy workforce, proper infrastructure and a sustainable environment. This is why public investment, regulation, public services, wealth redistribution and a welfare state have all developed in successful economies.

Deep cuts to public services, benefits and tax credits are bound to have more impact on those with low incomes. Two separate analyses of the Emergency Budget by the Institute for Fiscal Studies confirm this2.

Women, disabled people and those from black and minority ethnic communities are likely to be among the biggest victims of the cuts and the greater inequality they will bring. We are deeply concerned at suggestions that ministers are failing to fulfil their legal duties to carry out full equality impact assessments. These must be prepared in advance of, and published alongside, the Comprehensive Spending Review, where appropriate using the protocol drawn up by the Public Services Forum, which brings together unions, employers, government officials and is chaired by a government minister3.

Unlike cuts, tax increases need not bear down on those least able to afford them, and can reduce inequality across society as a whole. But the Government will use tax increases to fund just 20 per cent of their measures to close the deficit and has chosen the UK's most regressive tax, VAT, to do most of this work. A fair tax system that asks those that gained the most from the boom years to pay a proper part in mending the damage the crash has done to the public finances has not figured on the new Government's agenda.

For these reasons, a group of charities and the TUC are calling on the coalition Government to commit to a Fairness Test on any tax rises or spending cuts they introduce. The Fairness Test would be developed by the Treasury, and would ensure that decisions taken to reduce the deficit do not unfairly impact on the poorest in society.

Ministers say that the private sector can deliver better public services for less money. This is not borne out by experience. Many studies show that private sector firms have no better record in delivering services than the public sector4. Our experience is that outsourcing often leads to a poorer service delivered by badly paid, poorly trained and low morale staff. The danger is that we rerun the 1980s when compulsory competitive tendering caused a very significant decline in service quality.

Major redundancies, a public sector pay freeze at a time of rising prices and large-scale reorganisations in many services, particularly the National Health Service, will seriously damage morale amongst public sector workers. At least one survey5 has already found managers reporting declining morale at the prospect of cuts and the Audit Commission6 has concluded that redundancies will lead to a loss of skills and knowledge that will damage service delivery.

Moreover the Hutton review of public service pensions has called into question the new Government's commitment to the pensions promises made to millions of public servants. The unilateral Government announcement of the change from RPI to CPI indexing of pensions, potentially significantly cutting pensions entitlements going forward, was a further major blow.

Real terms pay cuts, privatisation and restructuring, job cuts and threats to pensions all add up to a volatile cocktail that could give rise to difficult and damaging disputes, and the TUC stands ready to support and co-ordinate union action where members decide that industrial action is necessary to defend services and those who deliver them, and we condemn those calling for Government to limit trade union rights guaranteed by the ILO and in every human rights declaration.

Rethinking deficit reduction

The new Government has adopted a deficit reduction programme that is both deeply unfair and economically dangerous - unfair because it makes those who can least afford it bear the pain, and dangerous because it may well choke off recovery. This is morally and economically wrong.

It is also likely to do little to address the problems facing the public finances. The Government claims that countries such as Sweden and Canada were able to implement major austerity packages and enjoy a falling deficit and a growing economy simultaneously. However, a recent study7 of twenty-six separate austerity packages over the last thirty years concluded that:

'When countries cut in a slump, it often results in lower growth and/or higher debt-to-GDP ratios. In very few circumstances are countries able to successfully cut during a slump.'

Ireland, which embarked on deep austerity measures a year and a half ago, has continued to suffer from a sluggish economy. Its credit rating has been subsequently downgraded by all three major agencies with the latest downgrade occurring as recently as August 2010.

This does not mean the UK deficit can be ignored. Even though the UK's debt is among the most long-dated among major economies it still costs money to service. It is right to reduce the deficit or longer-term debt when the economy is doing well as that provides room for much more manoeuvre when the next downturn occurs.

The country does not face a simple choice between ignoring the deficit and adopting the Government's approach. There is an alternative based on a more sensible time scale, much more flexibility and a much greater emphasis on closing the fiscal gap with fairer taxes and the proceeds of growth. We would urge the Government to adopt an approach based on the following:

A timely and steady reduction

The deficit can and should be reduced over a longer time frame. Plans to completely eliminate the current budget deficit by April 2016 imply spending reductions of £99bn and tax rises of £29bn. Such levels are not only entirely unprecedented, but extremely optimistic as the austerity will inevitably depress the economy and lead to a lower tax take.

A longer time scale allows a greater opportunity for economic growth to play a much more significant role in shrinking the deficit, as growth will increase tax income and reduce spending on unemployment and the social effects of the downturn. A slower timetable is a more certain timetable, as it avoids the dangers of so depressing the economy that the deficit gets worse.

The speculative bubble that crashed with such damaging effects was created over decades. It is both wrong and unrealistic to expect the effects of such a damaging episode to have been reversed on the Government's rapid time scale.

It is far from clear how much of the deficit is cyclical - simply due to the economic downturn - and how much is structural: that part that would remain even when the economy has fully recovered and is growing again. It is premature to assume that growth cannot make a bigger contribution especially if a more pro-active industrial policy is implemented as described below.

A more flexible approach

We believe that greater flexibility needs to be built into the Government's plans. With the economy so uncertain and the labour market still depressed, such a major retrenchment is very dangerous. Ministers should be clear that if their economic programme fails to deliver jobs and growth, they retain the option of reviving stimulus measures or, at least, halting the spending consolidation, especially if the economy tips back into recession.

A bigger role for tax

Tax must play a much bigger role in the consolidation than it currently does. If progressive tax measures are employed - such as further reducing the tax relief offered to higher rate pensions, increasing the bank levy, introducing a Robin Hood financial transactions tax, or extending the 50 per cent tax rate to all those earning over £100,000 - then the consolidation has a better chance of achieving the fairness the Government claims it wants to see.

In addition, since the TUC first revealed the £25bn lost to tax avoidance in The Missing Billions in early 2008, government measures have only reduced this amount by approximately £1bn8. Further analysis has estimated that illegal tax evasion costs the Treasury around £70bn9 and approximately £26bn10 of tax goes uncollected. We believe these are vital sources of revenue that the Government is failing to tap.

Yet the government is reducing resources for HMRC and sacking HMRC workers. As each HMRC worker can generate many times their employment costs in tax revenues11, this raises strong suspicions that this is a political project to shrink the state, rather than economic necessity.

Given these very large amounts of untapped revenue, it is disingenuous of the Government to claim that cracking down on benefit fraud (which currently costs the Treasury £1.5bn12) and welfare claimants more generally must be a leading priority in reducing the deficit.

In addition, there are worrying signs that the new Government, while sometimes talking tough, is fighting shy of curbing tax avoidance. We are concerned at indications of retreat on cracking down on bogus self-employment in construction, revising statutory residence rules as well as reports that HMRC will now take a softer line in tax avoidance disputes.

Of course the public sector should be run as efficiently as possible. Over time its priorities will change, especially when a new government is formed. But change in the public sector - just as in the private sector - should be conducted through established channels of negotiation with trade unions. Unilateral announcements by the Government of changes to pay, pensions or conditions will only exacerbate tensions with public servants and lower morale thus damaging service delivery.

In particular, efforts to justify the deficit reduction programme by perpetuating myths about the feather-bedding of public servants through high pay, generous pensions or wasteful practices is unacceptable. The TUC General Council reminds the Government that public sector workers have already experienced constrained pay rises in recent years, reductions in headcount and a major efficiency drive by the previous government as well as having renegotiated pensions in order to share costs and risks more evenly between employers and employees.

Co-ordinating international action

Without higher global growth and employment, the UK will find it difficult to use exports as a route to recovery, and increased global poverty will create further tensions and economic problems. The EU, OECD and the G20 need to co-ordinate more effectively to promote growth and create jobs, along the lines of the ILO Global Jobs Pact.

The recent decisions by a number of governments, enthusiastically encouraged by the UK Treasury, to introduce austerity packages simultaneously is precisely the wrong strategy when the global economy remains so precarious.

It is particularly important that international efforts are made to address the major trade imbalances in Europe and across the world which fuelled the banking and fiscal crises. Unless multilateral bodies resolve this underlying problem then the opportunities for ending the current crisis are far more limited and more likely to lead to protectionist solutions while the chances of future crises of a similar nature are almost a certainty.

Encouraging the right kind of growth

The Government is making a major error by moving away from the more pro-active industrial policy very belatedly adopted by the last government. The faith that reducing corporation tax, holding interest rates low and improving workforce skills are enough to generate sufficient investment and consumer confidence to address unemployment and limit the damage done by spending cuts is unlikely to be borne out, especially when the government's capital spending is to be cut by half.

The cross party commitment to unregulated free markets brought us the biggest economic crash in nearly a century. We cannot go back to business as usual. Instead, if we are to generate the growth, jobs and companies of the future in an ever more competitive global market, the state needs a new role in setting the conditions for economic success. Ending support for Sheffield Forgemasters and other manufacturing companies is exactly the opposite of what is needed. Apparent plans to downgrade, or even end the commitment, to a green investment bank is equally flawed. Without such policies we will neither reverse the UK's long-term low investment in the real economy nor build the low carbon companies that will be able to compete in this emerging global market.

To replace the failed consensus that deregulated markets and non-intervention can deliver sustained growth, we need a new approach that recognises that public investment, public procurement and regulation can drive up growth, make the UK less unequal and secure the imperative of a low carbon economy.

Campaigning for jobs, a fair economy and public services

The Government's economic policies are morally wrong, socially divisive and may even fail on their own terms.

Pledges that cuts could be achieved through efficiency savings alone, would not increase inequality and protect services have been broken even before ministers announce the full depth of their cuts programme.

Yet the new Government can claim a fresh electoral mandate. The majority of voters are worried about the effect of the cuts and are beginning to be concerned that they are both too rapid and too deep. But they do not yet share our critique or back our alternative approach.

But history shows that governments can change direction. The previous government adopted an active industrial policy as the full effects of the crash became clear. Conservative governments abandoned the poll tax in the 1990s and similarly harsh economic policies in the 1970s.

Winning such a change in direction is no easy challenge. Much of the media reinforces the Government's message that the nation's finances are like a household's. Public sector staff have seen sustained attacks on their pay, pensions and conditions.

Yet where evidence of the cuts has hit home, such as those areas hit by scrapping Building Schools for the Future, communities have begun to mobilise.

Hardly a day goes past without evidence of different sectors speaking out against the effects of cuts. Science, the arts, environmental groups have all made strong cases against the cuts likely to hit their sectors.

New research continues to undermine ministerial claims that the cuts are progressive or fair. The impact of the cuts on the poorest and most vulnerable is already making voluntary groups speak out.

Distinguished economic commentators - including many not normally sympathetic to the trade union movement - challenge austerity. Business organisations seek to insulate their member companies from cuts in procurement but are already failing.

Government plans to fragment and marketise education and health services will lead to increased costs and poorer services. The TUC General Council reaffirms its opposition to the extension of the Academy Schools programme and introduction of so-called 'free schools', and expresses concern at the proposals contained within the NHS White Paper, which will undoubtedly lead to more bureaucracy, increased private sector involvement in the delivery of health services, service fragmentation and reduced accountability to the public.

Our case is that the Government's programme of cuts, marketisation and privatisation is a political project, not an economic necessity. The deficit is being skilfully used as an excuse to bring in a programme that if put to voters at an election would be overwhelmingly rejected.

Unions and public sector workers are unlikely to achieve a fundamental change in direction on our own. But the potential to win allies and work with others is clear.

Our challenge therefore is to build a great campaign against the cuts - rooted in every community and with a clear national voice -that can win the argument for the alternative.

We invite service users, those whose livelihoods depend on public sector investment and procurement and all those who recognise that public spending and public services are an essential thread running through any good society to join with us in calling for a fundamental change in direction.

While we are confident that the economic arguments are on our side, we recognise that most are likely to be brought into the campaign through their own experience of the cuts, either in their community or the sector in which they work, study or volunteer.

The priority for union campaigning is therefore to build the broadest possible alliance that can put the greatest possible pressure on coalition MPs both in their constituencies and at the national level to win the argument for change. Crucial to this will be involving community groups and other representatives of service users and those directly hit by the cuts.

This will require a careful combination of local work, community organisation, political engagement and national mobilisation. In each we should look for every opportunity to widen the campaign and involve new people and organisations.

Our aim is not to build a top-down national organisation where everyone agrees, but a strong and diverse movement rooted in communities and united in opposition to this savage programme of cuts. It will succeed by involving not just established campaigners but people entirely new to political engagement. The poll tax was defeated when government MPs realised that their seats were in danger. The campaign against the cuts must deliver the same message to every vulnerable coalition MP.

The TUC and unions will support genuine new initiatives designed to help build this movement, and recognises that this will require embracing new forms of campaigning and involvement.

In particular we look to support new online campaigning tools that can help connect local campaigners up and down the country, allow cuts victims to tell their stories, build local campaigns and bypass the media with the arguments for the economic alternative.

The campaign will need careful planning and the correct balance between local, sectoral and national campaigning, all with the aim of putting maximum pressure on coalition MPs. TUC regional councils and the Wales TUC will be asked to support and co-ordinate campaigning activity across England and Wales, and the TUC will work closely with both the STUC and NICTU as we develop our campaign. The General Council sets out the following timetable for action, to which they will add further initiatives throughout the year, while continuing to emphasise the importance of working locally and in partnership with local groups.

September

? launch of the campaign at the TUC Congress

? lobby of delegates and fringe meetings at the Liberal Democrat and Conservative conferences

? support for the ETUC action against austerity with TUC participation in the demonstration in Brussels.

October

? a week of action against the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), which will include:

? a rally in Central Hall Westminster on 19 October on the eve of the CSR. A highly targeted lobby of coalition MPs concentrating on those with small majorities or who stood on a platform of resisting cuts until the recovery was secured. This will take place both on 19 October and in constituency surgeries later that week. Lobbying should involve service providers, service users and others who will lose out from the cuts

? local and regional activity - including lobbying at constituency surgeries on 22 and 23 October

? support for the STUC demonstration on 23 October.

November onwards

? continuing analysis of the effects of the CSR on different sectors and localities with local and sectoral action to follow

? already planned are:

UCU/NUS action on cuts 10 November

FBU lobby of parliament 17 November

special Wales TUC conference 26 November

The General Council encourages unions to use the impact of the CSR to build local campaign groups to maintain pressure on MPs - particularly coalition MPs that we have targeted - and to work with other unions and others on a sectoral basis to build awareness and opposition to the cuts announced in the CSR.

March

? a major national demonstration in March 2011 on a date to be confirmed as soon as possible.

Notes

1 Office for Budget Responsibility: Are the Jobs Forecasts Credible? www.touchstoneblog.org.uk, 2 July 2010

2 James Browne, Personal Taxes and Distributional Impact of Budget Measures, IFS, June 2010; and James Browne and Peter Levell, The Distributional Effect of Tax and Benefit Reforms to be Introduced Between June 2010 and April 2014: a revised assessment, IFS, August 2010

3 The Public Services Forum, which is made up of unions, employers, government officials and is chaired by a government minister, recently agreed a protocol on the implementation of equality impact assessments.

4 For a review of this evidence see: TUC, Rethinking Public Service Reform, 2008

5 'Sweeping Cuts Will Cripple Public Services, Warn Worried Managers', 19 February 2010, Institute of Leadership and Management

6 Audit Commission Surviving the Crunch: Local Finances in the Recession and Beyond London: Audit Commission (2010)

7 Arjun Jayadev and Mike Konczal, The Boom not the Slump: The Right Time for Austerity, The Roosevelt Institute, August 2010

8 TUC, Stemming the Flood, December 2009

9 Tax Research, Tax Justice and Jobs, 2010

10 HMRC, 2009-10 Accounts

11 An answer to a parliamentary question revealed that HMRC compliance staff generate £658,000 in tax revenues each while a recent study found that members of the Association of Revenue and Customs could generate between 30 and 180 times their salary in tax revenues.

12 National Audit Office, report by the Comptroller and Auditor General on the DWP, July 2010

General Council and General Purposes Committee Nominations and election results

General Council

Section A

(Unions with more than 200,000 members)

Unite

(eight members)

Tony Burke

Gail Cartmail

Len McCluskey

Dougie Rooney

Derek Simpson

Pat Stuart

Tony Woodhouse

Tony Woodley

UNISON

(seven members)

Bob Abberley

Jane Carolan

Angela Lynes

Dave Prentis

Alison Shepherd

Eleanor Smith

Liz Snape

GMB

(four members)

Sheila Bearcroft

Allan Garley

Paul Kenny

Malcolm Sage

Communication Workers Union

(two members)

Billy Hayes

Tony Kearns

NASUWT

(two members)

Chris Keates

Brian Cookson

National Union of Teachers

(two members)

Christine Blower

Dave Harvey

Public and Commercial Services Union

(two members)

Janice Godrich

Mark Serwotka

Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers

(two members)

John Hannett

Fiona Wilson

Section B

Unions with between 100,000 and 200,000 members

Association of Teachers and Lecturers

Mary Bousted

Prospect

Paul Noon

University and College Union

Sally Hunt

Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians

Alan Ritchie

Section C

Unions with fewer than 100,000 members

(eleven to be elected - those elected are shown in bold)

Name

Union

Votes

Jonathan Baume

FDA

422,000

Bob Crow

RMT

341,000

Jeremy Dear

NUJ

440,000

Mark Dickinson

Nautilus International

481,000

Gerry Doherty

TSSA

534,000

Steve Gillan

POA

385,000

Michael Leahy

Community

432,000

Jonathan Ledger

Napo

318,000

Joe Marino

BFAWU

327,000

Robert F Monks

URTU

202,000

Ged Nichols

Accord

449,000

Christine Payne

Equity

329,000

Tim Poil

NGSU

468,000

John Smith

Musicians Union

492,000

Simon Weller

ASLEF

130,000

Matt Wrack

FBU

387,000

Section D

Women from unions with fewer than 200,000 members

(four to be elected - no contest)

Joanna Brown - Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists

Sue Ferns -Prospect

Lesley Mercer - Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Julia Neal- Association of Teachers and Lecturers

Section E

Member representing black workers from unions with more than 200,000 members

Mohammed Taj - Unite

Section F

Member representing black workers from unions with fewer than 200,000 members

Leslie Manasseh - Prospect

Section G

Member representing black women

Gloria Mills -UNISON

Section H

Member representing disabled workers

Mark Fysh - UNISON

Section I

Member representing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Workers

Maria Exall - Communication Workers Union

Section J

Member representing young workers

John Walsh -Unite

General Purposes Committee

(Five to be elected - no contest)

Mike Clancy Prospect

Phil Davies GMB

Peter Hall RMT

Dilys Jouvent UNISON

Linda McCulloch Unite

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