Listed below are the decisions taken by the 2011 Trades Union Congress on the motions and amendments.
The numbers given to resolutions refer to their number in the Final Agenda, or to that of the Composite or Emergency Motion.
This document also includes the result of nominations and elections to the General Council and General Purposes Committee for the Congress Year 2011 - 2012.
10 Vulnerable and atypical workers
Congress notes the extremely valuable work already undertaken on vulnerable workers, including the by TUC Commission on Vulnerable Employment.
Noting the spread of atypical employment (including freelance, casual, short-term contract and self-employed workers), Congress wishes to further develop the TUC's strategic approach in this area, by encouraging campaigns for trade union recognition and by focusing on both private and public sector areas of organisation.
Congress therefore calls on the General Council to convene a meeting of unions interested in pursuing this work.
Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union
The following Amendment was ACCEPTED by the mover
Insert new paragraph 2:
'Congress welcomes the campaigning work by affiliates around agency workers. Congress recognises that the Agency Workers' Regulations will provide new rights for an important group of vulnerable workers providing opportunities for the trade union movement to organise agency workers to tackle the exploitation of vulnerable workers.'
In existing paragraph 2, line 2, after 'contract' insert:
Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers
11 Payroll companies
Congress notes that increasingly employers and employment agencies are attempting to flout laws on employment status by forcing workers to be paid via a payroll company. Workers are then forced onto a contract of self-employment and denied even the most basic employment rights. By making workers falsely self-employed, employers avoid paying national insurance contributions of 13.8 per cent, holiday pay, sick pay and pension contributions. This is costing the Exchequer millions of pounds in tax avoidance and amounts to a multi-million pound hidden subsidy for companies who enter into such arrangements.
Congress further notes that while this practice is most common in the construction industry it is already spreading into other sectors. Unless changes in the law are introduced and enforcement activity dramatically increased, unscrupulous employers and agencies are likely to force a greater number of workers into payroll companies in order to avoid complying with the Agency Worker Regulations and existing employment legislation.
Congress calls on the TUC General Council to campaign actively for a change in the law to prevent payroll companies being able to classify workers as self-employed and to increase its activities in order to eradicate false self-employment from the UK economy.
Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians
The following Amendment was ACCEPTED by the mover
In paragraph 2, line 2, insert new second sentence:
'As an example, in commercial aviation it is known that at least one employer is insisting that pilots not only become self-employed but must also base themselves for tax and social security purposes in a country other than their main residence.'
British Air Line Pilots' Association
12 Employment law
Congress agrees that the TUC campaign for a change in the law that currently allows an employee in the UK to be dismissed because an employer has grounds to believe that they may have committed a criminal offence, even though under criminal law they would be treated as innocent until proven guilty.
Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union
13 TUC support for smaller trade unions
Congress acknowledges and celebrates the development of the large unions that between them represent the vast majority of trade unionists in the country.
Congress also celebrates the smaller affiliates who represent specific crafts, skills and professions. Those affiliates are frequently not recognised by employers and can be overlooked when negotiations are taking place.
Congress notes, with regret, that some consultations and negotiations have led to the erosion of employment rights of those trade unionists represented by the smaller craft, skills and professional affiliates.
Congress calls on the General Council to alert all affiliates to be mindful of the important role played by smaller affiliates and the need for their inclusion in consultations affecting the interest of their members. There is a need to ensure that the employment rights of members in small affiliates are not eroded when larger affiliates reach agreements on behalf of their members.
Congress believes that this can best be achieved by affiliates working cooperatively together to secure the widest possible recognition in the workplace.
Association of Educational Psychologists
The following Amendment was ACCEPTED by the mover
Add new final paragraph:
'Congress notes the strong occupational identity, high membership density and reciprocal loyalty among members of specialist unions and acknowledges that such unions can lead industrial relations in certain sectors and calls on the General Council to ensure small affiliates are better represented within internal TUC structures.'
Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen
14 The impact of the cuts on the equality agenda
Congress is deeply concerned by evidence that the Tory-led coalition's cuts to welfare and public spending are disproportionately disadvantaging low-income working families, women, black and disabled workers.
Congress notes research highlighting that women are paying a heavy price for the changes to tax, benefits and tax credits with pregnant women, single parents and low-income families the hardest hit.
Already the impact of this government's economic strategy can be seen in rising unemployment amongst women. April 2011 saw the highest number of women claiming out-of-work benefits for 15 years.
Congress recognises that support for low-income families, disabled people and carers is crucial to the struggle for equality in the UK.
Congress welcomes the TUC-coordinated campaign to resist the cuts and notes with pleasure that half a million people took to the streets to March for the Alternative in March 2011.
Congress agrees that the TUC will:
i. continue to raise awareness of the disproportionate impact of cuts on low-income families, women, black and disabled workers.
ii. support trade union campaigns promoting an alternative to the coalition's welfare and public spending cuts
iii. support affiliates in their work to reach out to low-income working families, women, disabled and black workers to ensure their voice is heard in campaigns against the cuts.
Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers
The following amendment was ACCEPTED by the mover
Add a final sub-paragraph after iii.:
'iv. highlight the specific impact of cuts on child poverty and the risk of recent progress in this area being reversed, and continue to promote the TUC's own recommendations for addressing child poverty.'
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
15 No cutting back on women's equality: women united against the cuts
Congress is appalled at the government's spending cuts to jobs, services and the welfare state and the disproportionate way they affect women of all ages in public and private sectors and the most vulnerable in our society.
Congress believes that the coalition government's assertion that the Comprehensive Spending Review is based on fairness is a fallacy. Congress is also deeply concerned at increasing women's poverty, job insecurity, the impact on their families for decades to come, and the growing employer backlash against women's rights as workers and trade unionists.
It is predicted that at least half a million public sector workers will lose their jobs. Congress believes that these cuts in jobs, services, pay and pensions are driven by ideological dogma, evidenced by the government's refusal to consider the very real alternatives, including taxing banks and financial institutions that caused the credit crunch, a fairer tax system, and growing, not shrinking, our public services to provide jobs and boost the economy.
Services targeted include adult social care, children's services and mental health services. When services are run for private profit, quality of care and service falls, and it is inevitable that as services return to critical care rather than early intervention, women will bear the brunt of these cuts, as service providers and carers. The proposed privatisation of the health service beginning with the GP commissioning process will impact severely on women's health, welfare and work. This will lead to a reduction in qualified health staff including nurses and needs to be resisted and opposed. There is clear evidence that mortality and morbidity decreases as numbers of professionally qualified staff increase.
Women have felt the impact of redundancies and closures on top of pay freezes and recession. Women in the public sector have been hard hit and the unions have come together to say this is unfair and wrong.
Women generally make up a high number of public workers, and disabled women are targeted not only in this way but also by the benefit cuts such as the replacement of Disabled Living Allowance with new personal independence payments which will have far tighter eligibility criteria, by the access to work changes, by cuts to NHS services of particular value to disabled people, and reductions in funding to local authorities for supported employment.
Congress asserts that the coalition government's plans undermine the status of women as equal partners with men in the world of work, home and society as a whole.
Congress commends the TUC on the campaign All Together for Public Services and asks that the TUC recognises that it is not only employed women who are vulnerable, but the many women who work freelance and casual contracts. Congress highlights this and feels convinced that equality legislation aimed at protecting these and other women will be watered down if possible by the coalition government, whilst seeking to create 'The Big Society'.
Congress welcomes the growing mass opposition to the government's cuts programme, including the inspiring protests by students, young people, disabled groups and black communities. Women facing the multiple impacts of cuts have been at the forefront of these protests.
Congress calls on the TUC, with affiliates, to:
i. use all means possible to exert pressure on the government and politicians at local, regional and national level to withdraw from this attack on our communities, to look again at an alternative budget and to commit to properly funded, publicly provided services
ii. protect our achievements and gains through 'eternal vigilance'
iii. fight for the rights of women workers and expose their actual financial losses as part of our campaign against job and service cuts
iv. ensure women's equality is central to the trade union campaign for jobs, growth and justice - for an alternative to the cuts
v. advance the aims of a Women's Charter including mandatory equal pay audits; decent pensions for all women; family/children's rights; statutory rights for union equality reps and equality impact assessments
vi. organise and support working women for the TUC rally on 26 March 2011
vii. link up with TU Council of the Isles Women's Committees, community and women's organisations who share these aims
viii.work with women's organisations and campaigning groups involved in anti-cuts campaigns
ix. work with affiliates in delivering a campaign to raise awareness of this unfairness and supporting women workers to oppose detrimental changes to benefits and cuts to services
x. highlight the disproportionate impact on women of government cuts
xi. support women in communities fighting to defend public services
xii. build support for co-ordinated industrial action in defence of public service jobs and conditions in line with TUC policy.
TUC Women's Conference (this motion is exempt from the 250-word limit)
16 Race equality and the attack on public services
The government's policies will have devastating implications for black workers and their communities. It is predicted that at least half a million public sector workers will lose their jobs.
Congress notes that UNISON has more than a million members delivering essential services to the public. These services matter to the most vulnerable people in society.
Black unemployment has increased sharply and these figures are likely to worsen as cutbacks take effect.
Specialist services provided by the black voluntary sector are already under threat and it is likely that many will face extinction as a result of cuts to grant funding. Analysis by IPPR revealed that nearly half (48 per cent) of young black people are unemployed, compared to 20 per cent for young white people.
Congress believes that defending public services is a vital issue for black communities in the UK. It calls upon the TUC and TUC affiliates to ensure that:
i. race equality is a key part of the TUC and affiliates' anti-cuts campaigns both nationally and within local communities
ii. equality impact assessments are used to challenge cutbacks and highlight its discriminatory effect on service provision
iii. negotiating, bargaining and organising around race equality is increased, not decreased.
TUC Black Workers' Conference (this motion is exempt from the 250-word limit)
17 Mental health at work
Congress notes that one in four British workers experience conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress. Mental health problems are still taboo in the workplace. Workers are scared to discuss their impairment at work because of the negative reaction they will get from their employers and work colleagues. This concealment of mental distress impacts further on their health as employers challenge sickness absences or changes in performance. Many people work in a culture that allows intimidation, bullying or harassment, which will increase their reluctance to disclose mental health issues to their employer.
Congress opposes the cuts in the health services that support people with mental health conditions. The impact of public service cuts on workplace stress and mental health should become a factor in the TUC All Together for Public Services campaign with a briefing detailing the cumulative impact of cuts in public services on people with mental health conditions.
Trade unions need to protect and support the mental health of their members. We need to create workplaces where mental health issues are addressed and supported appropriately. Our members need to know their rights and new rights under the Equality Act 2010 and what this means in practical terms. Congress calls on the TUC General Council to:
i. ensure trade unions are aware of the legislative framework that can support mental health and well-being
ii. support trade unions in negotiating workplace policies that support mental health, including disability leave agreements
iii. encourage trade unions to tackle workplace cultures that inhibit disclosure of mental health as impairment.
TUC Disability Conference (this motion is exempt from the 250-word limit)
18 Defending LGBT rights while fighting the cuts
Congress is concerned that the Tory-led government is fostering a progressive image on LGBT equality while carrying out unprecedented attacks on the rights of LGBT workers and provision for LGBT service users.
Congress is deeply concerned about the effect of the comprehensive spending review cuts and other coalition government policies on the LGBT community. The devastating impact of the public sector cuts is well documented. The lack of data on LGBT people makes the impact on them less easy to quantify.
Congress knows that:
i. Workplace discrimination remains widespread. In the fear and uncertainty of cuts - homo/bi/trans phobia can run rampant. LGBT workers fear to complain while jobs are threatened.
ii. Services for LGBT people don't win popularity contests and are among the first to be cut.
iii. When times are hard, LGBT people need public services more than ever. Services change and save lives.
Of particular concern are the following:
a. The planned cuts of around 20 per cent in police funding over the next five years are likely to affect the recording and investigation of homophobic and transphobic hate crime.
b. The reduction or removal of central and local government funding for LGBT voluntary sector groups will have a serious impact on health and support services for the LGBT community.
c. The £20bn efficiency savings in the NHS as well as the move to GP commissioning of hospital services may result in prejudicial allocation of services to the LGBT community. Of particular concern is the likely impact on trans healthcare, and the potential for the denial of gender reassignment treatment. Already at least one Trust has announced its intention to halt gender reassignment surgery, and others have stated their intention to cut back 'non-essential' procedures. In addition, cuts to mental health services are likely to affect LGBT people disproportionately.
There has never been a greater need for unions to be publicly demanding LGBT equality. Congress calls on the TUC and affiliates to work with their LGBT groups to:
A. highlight attacks on LGBT workers and services
B. maintain a high profile commitment to LGBT equality in all negotiating, organising and campaigning
C. campaign against the erosion of the equalities agenda
D. continue to defend the vital importance of services that meet the needs of all.
The anti-cuts march on 26 March was also about the alternative to the proposed government cuts to jobs and services. Congress calls on the TUC and affiliates, in the continuing campaign against the cuts, to:
1. campaign for the implementation of the Robin Hood Tax
2. urge the government to take action on tax avoidance and evasion as part of the campaign, and to use the Single Equality Duty and Equality Impact Assessments to challenge the impact of financial decisions on LGBT and other communities.
TUC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Conference (this motion is exempt from the 250-word limit)
19 Public sector equality duty
Congress welcomes the strengthening and extending of the public sector equality duty by the 2010 Equality Act, but is concerned that the potential weakening of the specific equality duties could lead to a shift of focus away from key equality considerations. Congress also objects to the characterisation of equality impact assessments as meaningless bureaucracy. Public sector organisations are required to have due regard to equality in delivering all of their functions - as employer, service provider and in procurement.
This presents a powerful tool and negotiating lever for unions in protecting their members. Congress calls on the General Council to work with affiliated unions to ensure that all union representatives are equipped to understand and use the public sector equality duty in collective bargaining by the provision of training, sharing of good practice, and the development of briefing and training materials. Most important will be continuing to ensure equality considerations are mainstreamed into collective bargaining and for the benefit of all members, rather than being seen as the concern of a limited few.
Further, Congress calls on the General Council and affiliated unions to campaign for the continued need to assess properly the impacts of policies, to ensure that they genuinely pay due regard to equality and diversity and ensure that increasingly limited public funds are spent in way that truly benefits the whole of UK society.
20 Proposed reform of the Equality and Human Rights Commission
Congress is opposed to the attempts by the UK government to undermine the work of the EHRC through the proposals to amend The Equality Act 2006 that form part of its recent consultation exercise.
Congress is concerned, in particular, about the proposals which would (inter alia):
i. repeal the 'general duty' contained within Section 3 of the 2006 Act
ii. amend the equality duties contained in
iii. amend the requirements to monitor progress and to provide reports contained within Section 12
iv. change the core functions of the EHRC, which would not enhance its human rights remit
v. remove the EHRC's 'good relations duty'
vi. repeal the EHRC's power to make provision for conciliation services
vii. remove key elements of the EHRC's responsibility for providing information, advice and support.
Congress, therefore, calls on the General Council to continue to campaign publicly against these proposals and to oppose any changes to the 2006 Act which would undermine the important work of the Equality and Human Rights Commission across the UK.
The Educational Institute of Scotland
26 Independent Commission on Banking
Congress notes that the final report of the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) is due to be published on 12 September.
The Commission was asked by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consider structural and related non-structural reforms to the UK banking sector to promote financial stability and competition.
Congress believes that the terms of reference of the Commission were too narrow and calls upon the government, when considering the final report, to also consider how professional standards can be improved in banks in order to increase skills and help to rebuild consumer confidence.
Congress also notes the Finance Sales and Advice campaign strategy launched by UNI Europa, which seeks to remodel remuneration in banks on customer service and satisfaction levels rather than product sales.
Congress believes that the issues of professional standards and sales incentives are of central importance to the reputation and sustainability of the industry, and that there must be no return to the practice of mis-selling that resulted in huge financial settlements to customers and greatly damaged the image of institutions.
Congress also believes that the continuing job losses in the industry should be addressed by the government when it considers its response to the ICB's final report, as banks who have cut their staffing levels may not be well positioned to properly support the recovery in the UK economy in the future.
27 Sickness and absence policies
Congress notes that savings are being made by public sector employers to ensure that there is sufficient capacity to provide a service to patients and clients.
The austerity programmes across the public sector have afforded employers the opportunity to alter terms and conditions of employment to the detriment of the safety and the well-being of members.
In the NHS, employers are using efficiency savings to introduce amendments to sickness and absence policies that seek to punish staff who are judged to be failing to maintain attendance. Many of the new procedures that have been introduced pay lip service to an employee's well- being, are time-consuming to manage with no discernable financial or service benefit and threaten the most vulnerable in the workforce.
As a result of these changes to the negotiated policy, members feel threatened and intimidated and attend work when they may not be able to work effectively or are a danger to themselves and others in the workplace.
Congress calls on the TUC to work with employers to ensure they there is a more responsible attitude to any changes to agreed and negotiated policies, and not see sickness and absenteeism as 'soft targets' to save money.
Society of Radiographers
34 Working for free
Congress congratulates the ongoing work of the TUC's Rights for Interns campaign, which is working to ensure that no-one is expected to work for nothing and that a fair wage for a day's work is always the norm in every sector.
It is unfair for interns, who are often employed full-time, not to be paid the 'going' rate for the work they do, just as it is wrong that many performing artists are expected to work for nothing when they are engaged for charitable and fundraising events.
It is extremely unfair to put professional musicians into a situation where they are emotionally blackmailed into working for no fee and are asked to give their services to a good cause. This is particularly unjust when others associated with the event, such as venue staff, lawyers and caterers, are being paid.
Congress agrees that there is nothing wrong in asking a worker to donate to a good cause, but just as with any other member of the public it must always be a choice made freely by the individual and not a decision that they feel pressured into making.
35 Apprenticeships and the National Minimum Wage
The National Minimum Wage (NMW) remains an essential tool in tackling unscrupulous employers who might otherwise exploit workers of all ages. Unfortunately, since its inception, the differential structure of the NMW has discriminated against young workers.
Congress believes that all workers should be paid the 'rate for the job' and that there should be a significant monetary increase ensuring low-paid workers are not left behind once the expected resurgence in average earnings growth begins.
Future NMW rates should go beyond just keeping pace with average earnings and become a living wage for all. Such an increase can also help address the gender pay gap, as the TUC estimates that two-thirds of low-paid workers covered by the NMW are female.
Congress also finds it unacceptable that apprentices under the age of 19, as well as those over 19 whilst in their first 12 months of employment, are excluded from the NMW and could receive as little as £95 a week. By ensuring that all apprentices are entitled to an hourly minimum wage, the Low Pay Commission can prevent exploitation, improve quality in apprenticeships and encourage more people to complete their course. Congress also notes the existence of unpaid internships and feels that these are exploitative and exclusive in terms of access. It fully supports Interns Aware and other organisations' attempts to challenge existing practices.
Congress calls on the TUC and affiliates to campaign for the government to:
i. end the discrimination inherent in NMW age differentials
ii. end exemptions in apprenticeships and internships
iii. take significant steps towards closing the gender pay gap for low-paid workers
iv. introduce stringent financial penalties for employers who do not comply with the law on the payment of NMW
v. raise the NMW to £7 per hour minimum or to where it would constitute a living, as opposed to a minimum, wage (whichever is higher).
TUC Young Members' Conference (this motion is exempt from the 250-word limit)
42 Maritime safety
Congress notes with deep concern the way in which the government has been gambling with safety at sea by tabling proposals that radically reduce the support systems for shipping and seafarers in distress around the UK coast.
In particular, Congress is disturbed by the proposals to:
i. more than halve the number of Coastguard rescue stations
ii. remove the provision of emergency towing vessels
iii. scrap the Maritime Incident Response Group specialist service for fighting fires onboard ships
iv. privatise the search and rescue helicopter service
v. end the long-distance maritime search and rescue support provided by Nimrod surveillance aircraft.
Congress believes that the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) is chronically under-staffed and under-resourced and that this is having a severely detrimental impact on Britain's status as a major maritime nation - with consequences including the UK's failure to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 within the timeframe urged by the European Commission, and the Commission's decision to begin proceedings against the UK for its failure to implement the European Port State Control Directive.
Congress therefore calls upon the UK government to abandon the ill-advised proposals for dangerous cuts in the maritime safety net and to ensure the MCA has the staff and the resources it needs to match the marked rise in demand for its services.
Congress also urges the UK government to act urgently to discharge its national, regional and international responsibilities by ratifying the MLC 2006 and implementing the European Port State Control Directive.
43 Piracy/Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Congress notes with concern the continuing and worsening problem of piracy taking place in the Indian Ocean.
Congress also notes that the tactics used by pirates have changed leading to an increasing number of armed attacks on merchant ships and in some cases the murder of seafarers.
Congress demands that the UK government, working with all appropriate authorities, must ensure that seafarers have the best possible protection from attack and that sufficient naval resources must be deployed to ensure the safety of all seafarers in the area. Congress recognises and applauds the contribution made by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in protecting seafarers from around the world as part of the existing European Union Naval Force, which is currently patrolling the most dangerous area in the Gulf of Aden. Congress, however, recognises that more resources are needed in the area and therefore notes with the utmost concern the UK Government's decision to cut back the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, placing at risk potentially up to 150 officer jobs and a further 250 ratings jobs, possibly placing in jeopardy the very existence of the RFA.
Congress therefore calls on the UK government to reverse these job cuts and calls on the TUC vigorously to oppose cuts to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary that will inevitably weaken the response to piracy, thus placing more seafarers at risk.
50 Save the NHS
Congress recognises that the White Paper on health Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS poses a major threat to the NHS.
The current proposals, if passed, would:
i. transfer responsibility for the NHS from the Health Secretary to a new NHS Commissioning Board
ii. abolish SHAs
iii. abolish PCTs
iv. create 500-600 groups of GPs called Consortia
v. force all hospitals to become FTs
vi. encourage 'any willing provider'
vii. increase the powers of Monitor to oversee FTs
viii.reduce NHS management costs by 45 per cent over four years.
GPs are not trained to 'commission' and will have to use private organisations to manage this, as the government plans to open the doors of all our health services to profit-driven, unaccountable multi-national healthcare companies. This will destabilise our NHS and cost £3bn to implement at a time of £20bn in cuts.
Congress calls on the TUC to campaign and build anti-cuts unions to defend the NHS with health unions, patients' organisations, GP practices opposed to the changes and the public.
Congress calls for:
i. the end of privatisation in the NHS
ii. total opposition to FTs, which should be replaced by local health services with elected health workers, community representatives and elected representatives from local and national government
iii. nationalisation of the pharmaceutical companies.
TUC Trades Union Councils' Conference (this motion is exempt from the 250-word limit)
51 Southern Cross and the care sector
Congress notes with acute concern the crisis engulfing adult social care, with:
i. shocking revelations of abuse, as at Castlebeck's Winterbourne View care home, exposing serious regulatory failings
ii. 31,000 Southern Cross residents and their families, and 44,000 staff, enduring months of uncertainty about their futures.
The Southern Cross debacle demonstrates how handing over the care of vulnerable and defenceless people to the private sector opened social care up to financial exploitation. Those who require care are not packages to be bought and sold. Congress deplores the fact that recipients of care are paying the price for the failure of high finance. Despite the known risk of premature death associated with forced moves, residents have few rights to stay in their care homes.
Lessons must be learnt from Southern Cross and Winterbourne View.
Congress calls for:
a. government to end its procrastination and provide sufficient support to ensure that in the wake of Southern Cross's failure, homes don't close, and residents aren't turned or forced out
b. a public inquiry into the background to the Southern Cross crisis to establish who profited from the financial engineering; and landlord links to tax havens.
Congress further calls for:
1. robust regulation to protect the most vulnerable and defenceless members of our society
2. all care homes to be returned to public control, so that profit never again takes precedence over care
3. those who made a killing out of Southern Cross to take a 'hair cut' in the form of a levy.
The following Amendment was ACCEPTED by the movers
In the final paragraph, ('Congress further calls for') insert new sub-paragraph 2:
'2. the establishment of a new, independent and 'fit for purpose' public regulator sufficiently resourced, and with the necessary legal powers, to conduct financial checks and due diligence on care home operators and undertake a comprehensive inspection regime backed by statutory minimum standards and staffing levels'
Re-number existing sub-paragraphs 2. and 3. as 3. and 4.
Communication Workers' Union
Congress notes that with arthritis rates increasing, an ageing population, and rising obesity, foot experts warn that many people put themselves at risk by wearing poor footwear and are missing out on treatment due to arthritis in the feet being neglected. Add the cuts in NHS foot health services and the UK could face an arthritis crisis.
Osteoarthritis, which is the most common form, is caused by stress to the cartilage in the joints. Osteoarthritis is particularly common in feet as the many small joints bear the brunt of the stresses the body experiences.
A survey from the SCP revealed a significant proportion of the public could be putting themselves at risk by wearing inadequate sports shoes which do not provide the right mechanical assistance for the foot. Over three-quarters confess to not wearing sports shoes designed for the sport or fitness activity they participate in, running the risk of increased strains and ultimately of developing injury and arthritis. It is also considered that wearing high heeled shoes alters the body's posture and increases pressure on the foot. Worn frequently, these shoes can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
This lack of awareness means that people are not seeking treatment for arthritis in the foot. Congress believes this situation must be addressed and calls on the General Council to lobby the DoH to support the SCP campaign on this issue and ensure that an intensive awareness campaign is launched, encouraging the population to seek professional advice in response to their symptoms.
Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
53 Misuse of anti-psychotic drugs
Congress notes with alarm that 180,000 people with dementia are prescribed anti-psychotic drugs, that in two out of three cases their prescription is thought to be inappropriate, and that inappropriate use of anti-psychotics leads to 1,800 deaths each year and deprives many people with dementia of their quality of life.
Congress notes with dismay that in too many cases, these drugs are prescribed before non-drug interventions have been attempted, often as a way to deal with difficult and challenging behaviour.
Congress further notes that, while in some cases the use of anti-psychotic drugs is appropriate, they must always be used under careful supervision for limited periods, and then only when non-drug interventions have been attempted.
Congress calls for all people with dementia on anti-psychotics to have their treatment reviewed in line with best practice as a matter of urgency.
Congress further calls for people with dementia, carers and healthcare professionals to be provided with information and advice on the appropriate use of anti-psychotic drugs for people with dementia.
Society of Radiographers
54 Review of the use of psychotropic drugs with children
Congress considers that a national review into the use of psychotropic drugs, such as Ritalin, on school-aged children in the UK is urgently needed. This is in agreement with the views publicly expressed by individual educational psychologists, the British Psychological Society and the Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP).
Congress has significant concerns that the neurological impact of psychotropic drugs on the developing brains of children has not been fully researched. The potential damage that such drugs could cause needs further investigation.
Congress is further concerned about children being treated with psychotropic drugs ahead of new diagnostic criteria, DSM5, in 2013. These criteria will result in more inclusive definitions of mental health and could consequently lead to even more children and young people being referred for treatment by these medications.
Congress therefore calls on the government to establish an urgent review into the national intervention practices for children and young people considered to have issues with mental health, prior to the introduction of DSM5. Congress further calls for this review to consider seriously the potential long-term damage caused by psychotropic drugs compared with other therapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy.
Association of Educational Psychologists
58 The McCormac Review of Scottish teachers' pay and conditions of service
Congress expresses its concern regarding the decision of the Scottish government to establish a review of teacher employment chaired by Professor Gerry McCormac without any consultation with the recognised teacher trade unions in Scotland. Congress calls on the Scottish government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) to confirm that any recommendations which emanate from the McCormac Review that impinge on contractual elements of teachers' pay and conditions of service will be the subject of full and proper negotiation with the Scottish teaching unions through the existing national bargaining machinery, the Scottish Negotiation Committee for Teachers (SNCT).
Congress expresses its opposition to any attempt to impose contractual change on Scottish teachers and calls on the General Council to provide full support for affiliates representing school teachers in Scotland in the event of a dispute arising from any imposition of changes to terms and conditions of employment.
The Educational Institute of Scotland
59 Protecting local children and young people's services
Congress recalls the ambitious Every Child Matters (ECM) agenda initiated under the recent Labour government, based on a holistic approach to supporting children and young people and focused on better co-ordination of local education and children's services and the associated development of the children's workforce.
Congress therefore unreservedly condemns the deep cuts to the funding of these important local services now being made within many local authorities and voluntary organisations, under the impact of the coalition government's four-year Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), resulting in service contraction, redundancies, detrimental changes to staff pay and conditions of employment and widespread workforce demoralisation.
Congress nonetheless welcomes the continuing influence of the original ECM agenda, including ongoing, national-level initiatives to enhance graduate leadership of the early years curriculum, and to promote professional standards and supervision for social workers in the field, and the persistence at local level of multi-agency joint working in the interests of children and young people.
Congress therefore re-asserts its support for the adoption of effective national and local policies to protect children and young people's services, and the dedicated specialist staff who deliver these services, in order to secure job security and fair pay and conditions of employment for the children's workforce and appropriate quality assurance and democratic accountability mechanisms for all local children's services.
The following Amendment was ACCEPTED by the movers
In paragraph 2, line 2, after 'voluntary organisations,' insert:
'such as reductions in homecare, closure of residential care homes, closure of up to 400 libraries, connexions and youth services being decimated; leisure and culture, housing advice services reduced or closed and social workers laid off,'
Add at end of paragraph 2:
'Congress reasserts all these services contribute to an inclusive approach and should be defended.'
60 40-hour week prisoner working
Congress notes that within the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill that the emphasis is on prisoners working 40 hours per week using the expertise and innovation of the private, voluntary and community sectors to help develop working prisons. It is envisaged that prisoners will be paid a wage under the Prisoners Earning Act 1996 and part of that wage will go towards their upkeep and victim support.
Whilst Congress supports the ethos of constructive activity, with training and education as a part of the rehabilitation of offenders, it cannot support the exploitation of labour. Furthermore it cannot accept the fact that whilst public and private sector workers are losing their jobs, employers may use prisoners as a cheap alternative alongside making workers redundant.
Congress therefore calls upon the General Council to enter into dialogue with the coalition government to ensure that working prisons protect against unscrupulous and profiteering employers.
61 Privatising justice
The government's U-turn on its plans for a rehabilitation 'revolution' has resulted in a shift to a more punitive-based approach to sentencing in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. The intention to reduce entitlement to legal aid will impact most on the poorest and most vulnerable who appear in the family and criminal courts.
Furthermore, the MoJ's announcement in July that it will review the feasibility of tendering all probation work, including core services, demonstrates that it is interested only in the cost of interventions (and the profit to be made from them) whilst being ignorant of the value of the vital work undertaken by probation staff. Insult has been added to injury by the inclusion in the announcement of the possibility of imposing further cuts on top of the existing major cut in the service's budget, thus compromising its ability to protect the public and rehabilitate offenders.
Congress is appalled by this government's prioritising of a market approach over the safety of communities. Congress recognises that privatisation of core services such as court reports and supervision of high-risk offenders is a fundamental threat to probation, an internationally respected public service.
Congress calls on the General Council to provide every support to probation unions taking whatever action is necessary to prevent the wanton destruction of the service and the further loss of skilled and dedicated public sector staff.
The following amendment was ACCEPTED by the movers
Add new final paragraph:
'Congress condemns the proposed cuts of 23 per cent of MoJ total budget, the closure of 135 courts and the threat to 15,000 jobs. Congress reaffirms its opposition to the increasing privatisation of the justice system, including criminal enforcement and prisons, and resolves to campaign to keep justice public.'
Public and Commercial Services Union
62 Family Justice Review
The interim Family Justice Review (FJR) report published in March 2011 recommended that the government consider creating a Family Justice Service combining Cafcass, the Legal Services Commission and the Family Court Service. Its aim is to better coordinate family court service provision and improve work undertaken with children and families. This appears consistent with the recommendations contained in Eileen Munro's Review of Child Protection which reported in May 2011 and called for a reduced bureaucracy and target culture in social work organisations along with greater autonomy for practitioners.
Napo supports the work of the FJR having expressed concern for some time about the direction Cafcass has taken in its organisation of private and public family work. Cafcass' focus on performance management reinforced by repressive internal inspection processes has demoralised staff. This, combined with a significant increase in workloads, has further undermined the ability of staff to prioritise their work with children and families and has led to a national dispute between the organisation and its recognised trade unions.
Congress expresses support for the development of an improved child-centred service in the Family Courts. In line with this support Congress calls on the General Council to write to the Family Justice Review, ahead of its final report in October, supporting the creation of a Family Justice Service based on professional values and best practice in line with the principles set out in the Munro report.
66 Educating consumers about intellectual property rights
Congress notes the successful passage of the Digital Economy Act (DEA) in 2010. It is currently estimated that copyright theft, for example through illegal downloading, is depriving the creative businesses of up to a fifth of their revenues every year. In an industry that requires substantial levels of upfront investment, this level of infringement is a serious threat to jobs and the creation of new content such as films, TV programmes and new music.
The internet presents a great opportunity to reach out to new audiences. However, legislative measures such as the DEA are vital in order to allow the creative industries to continue to flourish. Without strong and effective measures to tackle illegal file-sharing, it will be impossible for performers and creators to continue to provide the content that will drive the digital economy.
Congress believes that the measures introduced through the DEA, starting with a process of sending letters to educate and alert consumers found to have acquired copyright material through illegal downloading, have a good chance of significantly reducing this problem.
Congress supports the efforts of the Federation of Entertainment Unions to highlight this issue and its work through the Creative Coalition Campaign to educate consumers about the importance of intellectual property rights as a vital source of funding that maintains and creates jobs and provides sustainable income for performers.
67 Media regulation
Congress is appalled at the culture of journalism fostered at News Corporation and condemns the use of illegal methods to intrude into the lives of members of the public in pursuit of profit rather than quality journalism.
Congress welcomes the inquiry into media ethics and believes that genuine investigative journalism, freedom of expression, diversity and plurality, limits on cross-media ownership and trade union recognition must be key principles underlying media regulation.
Congress agrees that the PCC be wound up and replaced with an independent body which can earn the respect of readers, the general public and journalists alike. It should have clear powers to order meaningful recompense and ensure that the right of reply is established.
Congress notes that the UK government has opened consultations on a new Communications Bill and opposes the Culture Secretary's stated aims that this legislation should further lift regulations across the media industries and weaken the institutions of public service broadcasting.
In the light of these developments, Congress calls on the General Council to work with affiliated media trades unions and the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom to:
i. organise a one-day conference by the end of February 2012 on media ownership and regulation with a view to developing TUC policy and influencing future Labour Party policy
ii. establish a working group to organise policy and public interventions around the new Communications Bill
iii. publicise this media policy widely amongst affiliates and the general public.
National Union of Journalists
68 BBC licence fee
Congress believes that the BBC is being subjected to death by a thousand cuts:
i. The present government has frozen the BBC licence fee for six years, at a time when RPI has risen to over 4 per cent.
ii. The previous government made the BBC responsible for funding the digital switchover and delivering a digital help scheme; all of which comes out of the licence fee.
iii. Congress notes the key value of the BBC's move to Salford but that it comes at a cost to programme-making.
iv. The government is trying to make the BBC responsible for S4C, which will not necessarily have the interests of Welsh-language programming as its primary focus and can only be detrimental to both parties; both financially and creatively.
All of this diverts precious money from programme making, which is the BBC's core function. Not only do shows suffer (and with that the incomes of writers, performers and production workers), but it reduces the BBC's future income from overseas sales, DVDs and downloads. There is only so much that can be loaded on to the BBC's back before it breaks.
Congress asks the government to unfreeze the licence fee and to give the BBC the respect and the freedom it needs to carry on with its primary purpose, which is to continue to make first-class British television and radio shows, the envy of countries everywhere.
Writers' Guild of Great Britain
The following amendment was ACCEPTED by the mover.
In paragraph 1, add additional point v.:
'v. BBC Radio 4 is suffering cuts to what are considered by them to be high-cost programmes - drama and, strangely, the short story - thus perversely throwing away spoken word product that is the envy of the world and historically provides vital opportunities to new and established writers and actors.'
69 Great Britain Football Team
Congress calls on the General Council to support a united Great Britain football team in the Olympic Games in London in 2012. The opportunity that the Olympics present in bringing together all four home nations to compete as one is a tremendously exciting prospect that has not been replicated in over half a century. In these days of political separation and movement towards the break up of the United Kingdom, football and the Olympics allows the people of Britain to focus on what unites us and serves as a reminder of the great achievements that have come about when we have pulled together in the national interest.
Devolution has played an important and progressive part in shaping modern Britain but these developments cannot and should not be allowed to fundamentally alter the great affinity that exists amongst British people as a whole. Of course there are those who are against such a union but Congress believes that on this special, once in a generation occasion, we put aside any differences and get behind our men and women whether they be English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish and ensure that we see Great Britain at its best.
Professional Footballers' Association
70 World Trade Organisation Mode 4 provisions and EU trade agreements
Congress notes the EU is negotiating a multi-billion pound free trade agreement with the Indian Government that includes World Trade Organisation Mode 4 provisions, which will allow transnational companies to bring in local labour to work temporarily inside the EU, including the UK.
Congress is alarmed Mode 4 will mean it will be almost impossible to enforce employment rights for Indian workers because they will be employed by 'companies of convenience' with their employment contracts registered in India, outside the jurisdiction of UK courts.
Congress is appalled Mode 4 also allows for the negation of other domestic legislation that protects workers, which will lead to the displacement of existing workers from their jobs, exploitation of migrant workers and the undercutting of those already resident in the labour market. This will also result in an attack on collective agreements and trade union organisation.
Congress condemns the fact that the free trade agreement is also about liberalisation of sections of the Indian economy, EU access to public procurement and the pharmaceutical industry, and strengthening the power of EU business in India.
Congress notes the agreement is to be concluded by December 2011 and requires ratification by member states.
Congress welcomes that TUC representations have been made and welcomes the support of Indian trade unions.
Congress calls for a campaign against this agreement, a raising of awareness with the public, media and politicians and, if the agreement is implemented, safeguards to prevent exploitation and protect jobs, conditions and employment rights.
National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers
The following amendment was ACCEPTED by the movers
In paragraph 4, line 2-3, delete 'and the pharmaceutical industry'
At the end of paragraph 4 add:
'without strengthening their obligations to provide decent work for Indian workers.'
Add new final paragraph:
'Congress notes the proliferation of FTAs benefiting multinationals in places where trade unionists are routinely tortured and killed, i.e. Colombia and Central America, and calls on the EU not to make agreements that undermine democratic accountability in host countries.'
71 Peace in the Middle East/South Asia
Congress notes that the 'war on terror' is still continuing and has failed, after ten years, to bring the promised peace and stability to either the Middle East or the wider world.
Congress believes it is time Britain disengaged from this conflict and in particular urges the rapid withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan. The occupation there has brought devastation to the country, cost the lives of thousands of civilians and hundreds of British soldiers and destabilised nuclear-armed Pakistan. The future of Afghanistan can only be determined through talks between the parties in the country itself.
Congress believes the attack against Libya has been misjudged and, while holding no brief for the Gadaffi regime, believes military action should be halted immediately and that international efforts should be focused on securing a peaceful political settlement to the conflict.
Since there can be no peace in the region without justice for the Palestinians, Congress endorses the call for the recognition of the State of Palestine and urges the British government to take all actions appropriate to help achieve this objective. Congress calls for immediate, unconditional negotiations between the Israeli government and the representatives of the Palestinian people to secure peace.
Congress reaffirms policy adopted in 2010, particularly the instruction to 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.'
The following Amendment was ACCEPTED by the movers
Insert new paragraph 5:
'Congress deplores the anti-democratic law passed by the Knesset banning individuals and organisations in Israel from calling for the boycott of Israel.'
Add at the end of the last paragraph:
'Congress calls on all unions on the basis of this policy to review their bi-lateral relations with all Israeli organisations, including Histradrut.'
Public and Commercial Services Union
Congress welcomes the overthrow of the repressive Mubarak regime in Egypt and salutes the role played by Egyptian workers in this fight for freedom and democracy.
Congress recognises the important role played by the Centre for Trade Union and Workers Services (CTUWS) in promoting independent trade unions in Egypt for more than two decades.
Congress welcomes the formation of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU) in March this year by representatives of independent unions across Egypt, including the CTUWS.
Congress urges affiliates to support the TUC and ITUC appeal for financial assistance for independent unions in Egypt.
Congress condemns threats by the interim Egyptian government to criminalise trade union activity, curb freedom of assembly and to deny the right to strike. It calls on the Egyptian government to respect the internationally recognised rights to join and form trade unions, including the right to strike.
Congress calls for the premises and documents of the old official labour front (ETUF) to be handed over to the new EFITU federation. It calls on the Egyptian government to recognise the EFITU as the legitimate representatives of Egyptian workers.
Congress calls on all global and regional labour federations and the ILO to recognise and support the new independent unions, and to cease links with the old labour front.
Congress calls on affiliates to make direct links with the EFITU, CTUWS and individual independent unions, in order to build solidarity and provide support.
Fire Brigades' Union
73 Playfair 2012
Congress notes that the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games present significant opportunities to mobilise trade union support for decent working conditions in Olympic and sportswear supply chains. 'Decent work' is recognised as a key route out of poverty and is included in the Millennium Development Goals.
Congress welcomes the work of Playfair 2012, which calls on the Olympic movement and sportswear industry to ensure that the rights of the mainly female workers making their products are respected, in line with internationally recognised standards and the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
Congress believes that trade unions need to build on their work undertaken in support of Playfair 2012 as the games approach, so that members are well informed about the issues and encouraged to take actions to promote decent work. Unions' expertise and relationships with key suppliers/sponsors can further this objective.
Congress therefore calls on the General Council to:
i. undertake to promote Playfair 2012 actively to trade union members
ii. encourage affiliates to take Playfair actions aimed at influencing decision-makers to ensure workers in global supply chains can enjoy decent work
iii. share best practice and lesson learning from Playfair with the Brazilian trade union movement through the international Play Fair Campaign, in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics
iv. continue to campaign on these issues as part of the international Playfair campaign after the end of the London Olympics.
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
79 Maximum working temperature (health and safety)
Congress agrees that the TUC increase the pressure on the government of the day to legislate for a maximum working temperature that covers all workplaces.
A maximum temperature of 30°C or 27°C should be pursued for those doing strenuous work, where once the temperature reaches the maximum limit, then control measures must be implemented to reduce the heat and/or the effect on the employee.
Congress would also ask that the TUC put pressure on the Labour Party to ensure that this long-standing campaign forms part of their manifesto pledge.
Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union
Composite 1 Trade union rights
Congress asserts that in the current globaleconomic context, trade union organisation has never been more important as a means of ensuring social and economic justice for all.
Congress rejects the vicious attacks on ordinary workers and families, on jobs, living standards and on workers' rights that has been in evidence inthe UK since 12 May 2010.
Congress believes that the coalition government's declaration that 'Britain is open for business' is an attempt to justify the attacks on workers in theUK and is symptomatic of the orchestrated assault on workers and unions around the world.
Congress condemns the actions of the coalition government in circumventing the statutory rights and protections for workers through the publication of the Employers' Charter and in
reviewing employment law in order to enable employers to sack workers with impunity.
By restricting the freedom of some employers,including those of new academy schools, to enter into binding collective agreements with trade
unions, Congress believes that the UK governmentis at risk of breaching the International Labour Organisation's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which guarantees the right to collective bargaining.
Congress is aware of the threats made to trade unions and the organisation of working people by this Conservative-led government.
Congress further notes that a number of affiliates have taken lawful industrial action in order to defend pensions, employment and public services.
Despite such actions being lawful, this government has sought to use them as a justification to furthererode employment rights and civil liberty.
The trade union movement will not be deterred by threats to make the laws on ballots even more restrictive if our members take lawful industrial action.
Congress condemns the hypocrisy of calls for increased turnouts and removal of simple majorities in industrial action ballots, which would mean many MPs would not have been elected if applied to them.
Congress calls on the General Council to campaign vigorously against the government's plans to tighten further already draconian antiunion legislation, using industrial, legal and political strategies.
Congress calls on the General Council strongly to oppose proposals to:
i. end facility time for trade unionists
ii. ban strikes in essential services
iii. remove collective bargaining rights in
education and health sectors
iv. place even greater requirements on industrial
action ballots and setting minimum levels of
participation in strike ballots
v. limit workers' rights at employment tribunal
and in cases of collective redundancy and
transfer of undertakings.
Congress believes a coherent response is required from the labour movement and calls on the TUC to develop an industrial strategy of resistance so that workers are not left to fight alone against draconian laws and exploitative bosses. The TUC should respond to any further attempts to shackle working people's rights with a co-ordinated campaign and supporting action.
Twenty-five years after the Wapping dispute, Congress remembers the shameful role News International played on behalf of the Thatcher government in weakening unions throughout the print media industry.
Congress notes the failure of recognition laws to protect unions in anti-union companies, leaving workers vulnerable to the pressures of unprincipled employers.
The in-house News International Staff Association (NISA), set up and funded by News International, failed to win a certificate of independence from the Certification Officer. Yet, under UK recognition laws, Murdoch was able to use NISA to block legitimate attempts of unions seeking recognition.
Congress therefore calls for the recognition laws to be amended to remove this barrier.
Congress also calls for the introduction of a conscience clause in law to ensure that journalists standing up on a principle of journalistic ethics have protection against dismissal, and for Congress to support the broadest dissemination of the NUJ Code of Conduct.
Congress applauds the magnificent efforts of the emergent student protest movement in defence of education as a fundable public good.
Congress deplores the severe attack on the right to peaceful protest and freedom of assembly, with increasingly aggressive police tactics including 'kettling' of protesters.
Congress calls on the General Council to:
a. reaffirm the right to peaceful protest as a basic democratic freedom, campaign to maintain that right and seek help from organisations in monitoring future demonstrations
b. call for full independent investigation into any allegations of police aggression or instances of 'kettling' being used during future demonstrations and protests.
Congress agrees that the right to strike is a core human right. Congress notes that the UK's antistrike legislation is in breach of international law and binding international treaties ratified by the United Kingdom and binding upon it, confirmed in judgments of the ILO, the Committees of the European Social Charter, and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights.
Britain has a raft of anti-union legislation, which makes it one of the most repressive countries in the EU for working people to organise and defend themselves. Congress believes that workers and their trade unions in the UK should have rights at work at least as good as the best of those enjoyed by fellow workers in other countries of the European Union.
In this vein, Congress celebrates the 50th anniversary of the signing of European Social Charter. Article 6(4) of the European Social Charter recognises that workers have a right to collective bargaining and a right to strike. However, Congress is concerned that for 2010 the European Committee of Social Rights concluded that the situation in the UK was not in conformity with Article 6(4) - particularly noting the complexity of the law when taking industrial action; the excessive procedure of giving notice to the employer; and the limited protection offered to those workers taking industrial action.
Congress reaffirms its commitment to the removal of anti-trade union laws and calls on the TUC to lobby government to implement fully Articles 2 and 4-6 of the European Social Charter, which set out the labour rights of European citizens.
Congress calls upon the General Council to:
1. prepare a dossier of evidence on how the coalition government has flouted internationallaw on the rights of workers
2. consider bringing a legal challenge to the current UK breaches of international labour law
3. campaign for MPs to pledge support for the UK to conform with Article 6 (4) and to press the UK Parliament to honour their obligations under the Social Charter, paying particular attention to Article 6 (4)
4. embark on a campaign to make the government action the Social Charter by removing the anti-trade union laws and allowing the citizens of the UK to enjoy the rights afforded them under Article 6 (4)
5. campaign with unions internationally for the right to strike to be protected.
Congress believes that workers' individual rights are best protected by a strong and free trade union movement.
Congress therefore resolves to work for a new framework of trade union law that will be compliant with international labour codes, which will promote:
A. the right to organise
B. the right to bargain collectively
C. the right to strike.
University and College Union
National Union of Journalists
National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers
Composite 2 The government's deregulation agenda
Congress notes with concern that the government has started to review employment legislation with a view to deregulation.
The government's recent consultation called 'resolving workplace disputes' was little more than a series of proposals designed to make it more difficult for employees to take cases to employment tribunals. The consultation exercise was launched at the same time as their Employer's Charter, which contained a number of crude suggestions as to how employers could legally sack people. The government appears only to be interested in responding the rhetoric from small firms' organisations about 'burdens'.
The government's rationale is that it would encourage employers to take on more employees. Congress rejects the government's assumptions that employment rights are creating an unnecessary burden on businesses. There is no reliable evidence to suggest that deregulation creates jobs. Research carried out by the OECD shows that this is not the case.
The UK is one of the most lightly regulated economies in the European Union. Deregulation will result in greater numbers of workers being badly treated at work, without creating any extra jobs.
Congress does not agree that there are too many groundless complaints being made by workers. Congress believes that most workers and their union representatives do everything possible to resolve complaints internally. Many of the proposals in the consultation document centre on early resolution of disputes in the workplace, and Congress believes that trade union organisation and representation is key to achieving this objective.
Congress is extremely concerned by the proposals for changes to employment tribunal procedures. Congress is firmly opposed to proposals for claims to be struck out without the claimant having the opportunity to present their case before the employment judge and to mandatory pre-claim conciliation with resulting increased complexities in the tribunal process. Congress also opposes an increase in the cap on un-assessed costs and the extension of cases that can be heard by a judge sitting alone and rejects any introduction of fees to initiate a claim.
Further, Congress strongly believes there should be no increase in the qualifying period for unfair dismissal and that such a move would disproportionately affect vulnerable workers, including women, black and minority ethnic workers, young workers and disabled workers, who are more likely to have a pattern of short-term employment.
Congress is aware that by increasing the unfair dismissal qualifying period, a greater number of workers in casualised industries such as construction will be sacked before the end of the qualifying period, as companies ensure that they are not liable for redundancy payments and other benefits.
Congress is further concerned that the government has also announced its intention to try to reduce the consultation period over redundancies and erode the rights to protection of terms and conditions in TUPE transfers.
Congress calls on the General Council to campaign against these proposals and to defend existing employment protection rights and the valuable role played by trade unions in resolving disputes in the local workplace.
Congress instructs the General Council to:
i. build a campaign to resist any measures that will make it harder for workers to enforce their rights
ii. campaign for an amendment to the forthcoming Agency Worker Regulations which properly enshrines the government's obligation under EU law to prevent misuse in the application of the principle of equal treatment
iii. continue to lobby for better enforcement mechanisms and to resist any further cuts in funding for enforcement and advisory bodies, such as the HSE, Acas, the GLA and the EHRC.
The coalition government has launched its Red Tape Challenge with the aim 'to leave office having reduced the overall burden of regulation'.
The Red Tape Challenge has opened up consultation on regulations covering many sectors and topics including employment law, road transport, retail, equalities and health and safety.
The Red Tape Challenge announcement finishes with the rallying call 'together we can fight back - and free up business and society from the burden of excessive regulation'.
Congress deplores the Red Tape website gimmick, which is intended to bypass normal policy making and consultation processes. Congress does not agree that regulations - and the inspections and administration that go with them - have grown to an unmanageable level. Congress does not believe that regulations have either hurt business or done real damage to the economy.
No one wants regulations that are irrelevant or counter-productive but the goal should be better regulation, not less regulation. Congress believes that good regulation and workers' rights protect consumers and employees, save lives and help build a fairer society.
Congress agrees that the TUC will:
a) encourage its affiliates and trade union members to respond to the Red Tape Challenge to make the case for regulations that protect workers
b) campaign to protect good regulation and ensure that the government's deregulation agenda will not succeed in weakening statutory rights and legal protections covering workers and workplaces.
Mover: Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers
Communication Workers' Union
Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
Composite 3 Defending Multiculturalism
Congress notes that the Prime Minster, David Cameron, in a speech at the Munich Security Council, stated that multiculturalism in Britain had 'failed'. He made a direct connection between this supposed failure and the growth of terrorism. Congress rejects this approach, which gives aid and encouragement to racism.
Congress condemns his Government's cynical cuts to English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) provision. These plans are a huge blow for community cohesion, hit women the hardest and fly in the face of David Cameron's call for immigrants to learn English.
Congress declares its continued support for an endorsement of multiculturalism in the promotion of social and economic policy. In a globalised economy the diverse nature of UK society allows the country to directly connect with the most dynamic parts of the world economy. The skills and connections of multicultural Britain should be used to open markets for British business in the developing economies.
Congress also believes that the specific needs of ethnic minorities must be addressed in our society. Trade unions are committed to ensuring that the diverse needs of all faith communities, and those of no faith, should be recognised by the provision of prayer rooms in workplaces, and by allowing leave to be utilised for religious holidays.
Congress is concerned that Coalition plans to subjectively limit the annual number of non-EU migrants allowed to work in the UK undermines the contribution they make to the UK economy and encourages the far right and others to blame migrants for economic problems that are nothing to do with them.
Congress supports continued, campaigning against the fascists of the BNP, and the violent Islamophobes of the EDL.
Congress welcomes the initiatives of such campaigns as Unite Against Fascism, Hope not Hate, and One Society Many Cultures. Congress calls upon the General Council to ensure their actions are promoted by the TUC.
Further, the General Council should:
a) Incorporate the campaign against the far right into campaigning to defend public services
b) Support the campaign to ban EDL/SDL/WDL from holding demonstrations and rallies
c) Produce publicity exposing the far right, and promoting an agenda for public services, social justice and growth.
Mover: Communications Workers' Union
Supporters: University and College Union
Transport Salaried Staff Association
Composite 4 Alternative economic strategy
Congress rejects the government's economic strategy and its failure to address the real interests of working people throughout Britain. Congress is concerned at the continued flat-lining of UK economic growth as a result of the austerity measures introduced by the Tory-led government. Congress notes the appalling impact on working people of the economic policies of the Westminster coalition. Their austerity measures have created the worst squeeze on living standards in recent history while weakening the prospects for recovery. This agenda will create a further shift in wealth and income from the majority to the profits of big business and the pockets of billionaires. This is being done by means of pay cuts and freezes, attacks on pensions and the decimation of public services.
Having footed the bill for the immediate banking crisis, people continue to pay dearly with their jobs and falling incomes and through attacks on occupational pensions, state benefits and public services. Congress reaffirms its belief that it is fundamentally wrong that the public have to pay disproportionately and repeatedly for the excesses of the wealthiest who grow richer even at times of economic restraint. Such widening inequality means that not only are our members' real living standards falling, as Mervyn King acknowledges, but the fall in demand affects the real economy, leading to the lack of growth and jobs that we are now experiencing. Pay freezes cannot be continued. Congress affirms that reducing employment rights and increasing labour market 'flexibility' is not a route to sustained economic growth and improved productivity.
Congress rejects the government's misguided economic policy that has, amongst other things, had a disproportionately adverse impact on certain groups in society like disabled people, women and young people. Congress believes economic policy should be geared towards creating full employment and investment in high quality public services. Congress also believes economic policy should be the foundation for delivering fairness in a way that benefits all parts of the country and all sections of society regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion or belief. Congress condemns the abolition of the Future Jobs Fund and EMA and calls for their reinstatement with the raising of the participation age to 18 by 2015. Congress believes that a strong and growing economy is vital to provide high quality, well-paid, secure employment and measures to reduce inequality throughout our society, and invest in the infrastructure and the preservation of the welfare state, should be developed.
Congress believes that institutions such as the OECD are right to condemn the policy of slash and burn in the public sector. Our policy is 'no cuts'. However, it is evident that the British people also expect and deserve a radical and plausible alternative economic strategy based on sustainable growth resolving the crisis while putting people's needs for jobs, homes, decent pensions and secure living standards first. The free market, neo-liberal model that has dominated for the past three decades has been exposed as a failure; a major change of direction is needed. Higher taxation on financial institutions and the wealthy, including tackling tax avoidance, should play a major part in this. Furthermore, Congress recognises that to rebalance the UK economy away from a dependence on financial services, active industrial policies are required. Congress also supports an economic strategy that explores the benefits of land value taxes, delivers a peace dividend through the scrapping of Trident replacement and takes key drivers of economic growth and wealth creation back into public ownership.
Congress believes that at the heart of such a strategy must be a profound rebalancing of the economy, with a far stronger manufacturing element. Congress further notes the recent government procurement decisions, such as in transport and energy that have failed to support UK manufacturing industry. Without the added value and growth that a stronger manufacturing sector can deliver, the economic recovery will spiral into a double-dip recession at worst or stagnation at best.
Congress therefore urges the government to build upon the steps towards such an industrial strategy eventually taken by the Labour government, focusing on green manufacturing, state procurement policies and control over takeovers, as well as using state-controlled banks to make strategic industrial investments. The chaos created by the major banks and financial institutions should be ended.
Congress calls on the TUC to continue to lobby both government and the Opposition to produce active industrial policies to stimulate economic growth and to safeguard and develop jobs and skills in UK manufacturing and, in particular, to:
i. ensure that effective government policies are implemented to improve UK manufacturing industry supply chains
ii. increase infrastructure investment to stimulate the economy
iii. produce procurement policies and guidelines that include social and community benefit clauses that support UK economic and social growth
iv. ensure that low-carbon economic objectives are underpinned by a fully-formed industrial policy
v. enable improved access for industry to capital and finance to continue investment in UK manufacturing including through the creation of a publicly owned banking service, democratically and accountably managed
vi. focus on promoting opportunities for young people, with universal access to meaningful education, training or employment.
Congress notes that ordinary people continue to suffer the consequences of the financial crisis created by the irresponsible activities of unscrupulous bankers and financial institutions. Congress believes that an alternative must also include stricter control of the financial sector. Congress notes that the crisis of the past four years highlights the failure of the banks to play a positive role in developing a modern economy. Despite taxpayers' subsidies, the banks continue to fail to provide adequate lending for investment funding in new technologies and sectors, mortgages for homes, etc. Congress calls on the General Council to continue campaigning for greater economic fairness, promoting greater use of responsible banks in providing services to the millions of members of TUC affiliates and the introduction of a rule that no board member or senior executive of a bank saved from failure by public funds would be allowed to hold a similar post unless they can prove to the regulator that they warned against the risk-taking that led to failure. Such a new form of banking could play a central role in building a sustainable economy in the long-term interests of the majority, investing in transport, in green industries, in housing, creating jobs and assisting a recovery in the interests of working people.
Supporters: Fire Brigades Union
Transport Salaried Staffs Association
Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers
National Union of Teachers
Composite 5 Pensions
Our pensions represent the most important condition of employment after pay itself, enabling workers to survive into old age without poverty. Workers' pension funds represent the single largest source of investment finance and are central to growing our economy from recession.
Congress congratulates unions for the successful industrial action on 30 June in defence of pensions which exposed the government's pensions plans to closer scrutiny, raised a public debate, and mobilised hundreds of thousands of people on pickets, rallies and marches.
Congress reaffirms its support for the existing public sector pension schemes, and its opposition to the government's attempts to impose unnecessary cuts on those schemes and present those cuts as an economic necessity rather than a political choice on its part.
Constant attacks on public and private sector pensions, fuelled by this coalition, threaten their viability, meaning that the rights of current and future pensioners to draw their pensions are under threat.
This includes the decision to change the uprating measure from RPI to CPI thus reducing the value of benefits by around 15 per cent, a government attack now being opportunistically replicated across the private sector.
Congress notes the Chancellor's statement in the 2010 CSR that 'from the perspective of filling the hole in the public finances, we will seek changes that deliver an additional £1.8bn of savings per year in the cost of public service pensions by 2014-15'. Congress condemns the government's continuing attempts to impose contributions increases, which are simply a tax on public sector pensions. The intention to increase contributions by 50 per cent plus will cause many members to reconsider their membership.
Congress condemns misleading statements by government ministers on the affordability of public sector pensions and notes that the Hutton report showed costs falling, and that the NAO report showed the reforms agreed in 2007/08 'reduces costs to taxpayers by 14 per cent'. Congress notes that the total cost of providing tax relief to higher rate taxpayers is more than five times the cost of public sector pensions. Congress believes that the so-called 'reform' of public sector pensions is about making them 'affordable' for privatisation.
Abolition of the Fair Deal arrangements will lead to a critical point in schemes where government will be liable for finding additional money to pay current pensioners because there are not enough people contributing to the schemes.
Provisions for Admitted Body Status must be preserved to ensure that workers who are TUPE'd in and out of local government do not have their pension entitlements eroded and that private companies are not given an unfair advantage when bidding for local government contracts.
Congress recognises that pensions are an important element of the reward package and are in fact deferred pay. As the government seeks to dramatically cut the value of pension provision for millions of public sector workers, it is vital that the impact on this total package is addressed.
Congress further recognises that many public sector workers, particularly those in more senior managerial and professional roles, are paid significantly below levels they could achieve in the private sector. The government's own evidence suggests that for the civil service, this results in rates of between 20 per cent and 50 per cent below private sector comparators for some of the more senior grades, even accounting for pension provision. This situation will only deteriorate as a result of the freeze on public sector pay increases and the disproportionate impact this has on the civil service where structural pay progression has already been abandoned.
Congress calls upon the government to recognise the value it gains from committed public servants and the need to ensure that they are rewarded fairly for the work they do for the public. Congress further calls upon the government, as an integral part of any pension reform, to commit to open and transparent pay arrangements for public servants that includes reference to external pay comparators as part of a process for pay determination.
Congress further recognises that occupational pension schemes must be designed around the demands of the occupation, including the physical demands of those occupations. Retirement age cannot simply be determined by general conclusions around life expectancy but should be based around the requirements of the relevant profession.
Congress notes the probability of another round of crisis in teacher recruitment and retention if the government imposes its proposals for public sector pension reform, in the forms of a large volume of premature retirement, difficulty in recruiting graduates who are deep in debt, and increased unattractiveness of headship. Congress notes also the threat to the teacher pension scheme from a high opt-out rate.
The government are putting public sector pensions at risk and have failed to act on the private pensions scandal. Further, with some 14 million workers in the private sector having no workplace pension provision, Government and employers should be encouraging people to save for their retirement, not attacking those workers who do.
Congress restates its commitment to fair pensions for all private and public sector workers and existing pensioners and to continuing to campaign, including with pensioner and other organisations. Congress reaffirms existing TUC pensions policy, including for increases in the state basic pension and for a requirement on all employers to contribute adequately to occupational pension schemes for their employees.
Congress asserts that attacks on pay and conditions of service, including pensions, should be challenged by all appropriate means, including legal action.
Congress therefore welcomes the coordinated action by TUC affiliates, securing a judicial review of the imposition of a stealth tax switch to CPI pension indexation.
Congress condemns the undemocratic, underhand and dishonest way in which the coalition government went about changing the index used for public service pension increases from RPI to CPI. Congress notes that this change also affected millions of members of private sector schemes.
Congress is particularly concerned about the retrospective nature of the change that has also resulted in on-going windfall savings for employers whose liabilities have been slashed as there is no obligation to use these savings to improve scheme funding levels. Congress calls on the General Council to work with affiliates in campaigning for the reversal of this government policy.
Congress welcomes the TUC's support for public sector workers in coordinating and leading talks with the government on public sector pensions. Congress calls on the General Council to ensure that the TUC continues to coordinate opposition to the government's proposals, including support for further coordinated negotiations and for further industrial action as necessary, coordinated as far as possible among the public sector unions.
Congress recognises that the TUC and public sector unions must continue to work together in order to secure fair outcomes for every scheme. Congress agrees that the government must not now be allowed to 'divide and rule' through individual scheme negotiations.
Congress calls on the government to respect the experience and knowledge brought to pensions negotiations by the trade unions, who have close to their hearts public service delivery as well as the interests of staff.
Congress expresses its concern at the unsatisfactory response of the Labour leadership and instructs the TUC General Council to press for support for future action in defence of the agreement signed with the last Labour government.
Congress calls on the General Council to:
i. robustly defend public sector pensions and campaign for affordable pensions for all workers on the basis that provision should be based on levelling up and making private companies face up to their responsibilities rather than cutting public sector pensions
ii. support and co-ordinate close collaboration between affiliates in defence of schemes
iii. mobilise, politicise and campaign with pension groups and civil society to prevent poverty in the future.
iv. give full support to industrial action against pensions cuts, including action planned for this autumn, and maximise its co-ordination
v. use the media to dispel the myths and falsifications around pensions
vi. campaign for Fair Pensions for All.
Seconder: Public and Commercial Services Union
Supporters: National Union of Teachers
Association of Teachers and Lecturers
Transport Salaried Staffs' Association
Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians
Fire Brigades' Union
Composite 6 Low-carbon economy
Congress notes with concern the record increase in greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 reported by the International Energy Agency, believes that this underlines the urgency of a concerted approach to tackle climate change and that this requires effective government action both nationally and internationally.
Congress recognises that decarbonising the economy will also be essential to promoting growth and high quality employment and to ensure the security of energy supply.
To this end, Congress endorses the challenging target to reduce emissions by 50 per cent by 2025, published in the UK's fourth carbon budget, and the need to cut emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. Action to meet these targets must be underpinned by a balanced energy policy and appropriate measures to ensure just transition for workers and citizens.
Congress does not believe that the changes needed will be delivered by the market alone. Government needs to intervene more actively both to incentivise investment in low-carbon generation, transmission and distribution networks and to ensure a stable and predictable policy framework. It is essential that the government's proposals for electricity market reform address these requirements. Simultaneously, a policy focus on low-carbon manufacturing is necessary as, to date, the low-carbon debate has been primarily focused on supporting power sector decarbonisation.
Congress welcomes the work undertaken by the TUC in partnership with the Energy-Intensive User Group (EIUG). However, as supported by the research with EIUG, Congress is concerned that the poor implementation of environmental and energy policies in the short term could jeopardise the long-term future of energy intensive industries and limit their ability to be part of the solution to climate change. This would, therefore, impact on jobs and skills in heavy industry, have a knock-on effect on the UK's industrial supply chain and increase 'carbon leakage'. Most notably, the carbon floor price, which was announced in the Chancellor's 2011 Budget, will impose an additional cost on energy-intensive industries over and above those set by the European Union and reduce UK competitiveness.
Congress notes that the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change has announced the development of a package of measures to mitigate the effect of government policy on energy-intensive industries but Congress is concerned about the lack of clarity on when the mitigation package will become available. Therefore, Congress calls on the government to ensure that effective mitigation policies for energy-intensive industries are developed and introduced before the carbon floor price is introduced. Furthermore, Congress commits to continuing its work to ensure that energy and environmental policies support a continuing and increasing role for UK industry in a lower carbon economy.
Congress requests that the General Council make it absolutely clear that although the government now recognises that the country's security of electricity supply is threatened by plant closures in the next decade that failure cannot be allowed to happen. Its current policy is insufficient to ensure replacement capacity from clean coal.
The consequences of not working to secure our own supply of electricity now will endanger the life and prosperity of us all. Safe secure forms of energy in the quantities required need to be secured without delay.
Congress recognises that fossil fuels and nuclear fission can sustain the electricity generation required as part of a balanced energy policy. Each form of energy has its own positives and negatives. Gas, coal and nuclear keep the lights on at the moment although indigenous gas is running out. The country needs the development of Clean Coal and Carbon Abatement Technology applied to all sources of fossil fuel power.
Congress welcomes the work of the General Council in preparing a response to the
Government Electricity Market Reform (EMR) White Paper 2011 and asks that the General
Council do what it can to obtain a secure, low-carbon, affordable and safe electricity supply for the UK to all generating capacity derived from hydrocarbons.
Congress calls on the General Council to campaign for:
i. a Green Economy Council that puts jobs, skills and growth at the heart of its mission
ii. a strengthened Green Investment Bank
iii. a pan-government strategy for science, engineering and technology (SET) and other
specialist skills, needed to develop and sustain a low carbon economy
iv. greater government support for low carbon R&D
v. government support in key industrial sectors for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and more comprehensive inclusion of industry in the UK CCS roadmap.
Supporters: National Union of Mineworkers
BACM - TEAM
Composite 7 Defending Public Transport
Congress believes public transport is essential to tackling social exclusion, linking communities, reducing carbon emissions and supporting sustainable growth.
As with other public services there is an all-out attack on public transport that will have disastrous consequences for users, workers and communities.
The reduction in bus subsidy and local authority funding mean bus services face cut after cut, which could tip services into a spiral of decline.
The Scottish Government's Ferries Review will lead to the fragmentation and privatisation of publicly owned ferry services, threatening lifeline support for communities, encouraging social dumping and further reducing UK seafarers.
In addition the EU Transport White Paper threatens the privatisation of all transport sectors.
Congress acknowledges that the UK railway has the potential to double its traffic by 2030 and notes that the government-commissioned Rail Value for Money study produced by Sir Roy McNulty identifies the separation of operations and infrastructure and wider industry fragmentation as the primary reason why the railway is so unsustainably expensive.
Congress therefore regrets that McNulty prescribes further fragmentation by proposing that the private companies who run train operations are given control of signalling and track maintenance in some regions. Congress regards these as the single most important elements of rail safety that should never be run for profit.
Congress is concerned by recommendations to 'downgrade' many rural lines to super tram or light rail status because they are too costly and believes this will undermine the role of such lines in the national rail network by cutting out the vital 'feeder effect' into mainline routes.
If implemented, the McNulty review will mean massive cuts in staffing on stations and trains and in rail infrastructure and operations, leaving a less safe railway for workers and passengers.
The railways will become more fragmented, privatised operators will become more powerful, regional services will be under threat and fares will become even less affordable. The devastation of rail jobs and capacity will be increased by the scandalous decision to award the Thameslink rolling stock contract to a company outside the UK.
Additionally Congress is alarmed by plans to make large cuts to industry staff, which will threaten safety and undermine the social fabric of the railway. Congress regrets that McNulty ignores that there is no correlation between public subsidy and increased labour costs but a close correlation between public subsidies and company profits. Congress further regrets that the report contains no recommendations for dealing with excessive executive reward.
Congress also has serious misgivings over proposals to increase off-peak train fares.
Congress restates its policy aspiration of a reintegrated railway and asserts that reintegrating track and train under a publicly owned and publicly accountable structure is the only way to deliver the efficiency and cost savings the rail industry must make to grow sustainably and calls on the General Council to campaign with the rail unions and community groups to this end.
Congress agrees to campaign for the protection of public transport, including renationalisation of our railways, defending UK train manufacturing and a fully integrated, publicly owned and accountable public transport system.
This campaign should include days of action with passengers and communities and the lobbying of Parliament and local authorities.
Mover: National Union of Rail Maritime and Transport Workers
Seconder: Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen
Supporters: Transport Salaried Staffs' Association
Composite 8 Thameslink Rolling Stock project
Congress deplores the decision of the DfT in June to award preferred bidder status for the Thameslink Rolling Stock project to Siemens in preference to Bombardier of Derby.
Congress regrets the attempts by the government to present the announcement as good news for British employment, when the vast majority of the jobs alleged to have been created were in maintenance, which would be undertaken by either bidder. In fact, the decision is disastrous for British train manufacturing, with 1,400 job losses already announced by Bombardier and serious fears existing amongst the workforce that the Derby factory may close altogether with a knock-on effect on its supply chain.
Congress believes that the British-designed Bombardier train was superior to that offered by Siemens, offering lighter weight, higher reliability and lower energy consumption. Congress also notes that Bombardier is a highly unionised company in contrast with Siemens which refuses to recognise trade unions in its UK rail business.
Congress calls upon the government to reverse its decision on preferred bidder status for Siemens, if necessary by conducting a completely new fast track procurement which fairly assesses the technical capability of the bidders, their record as good employers, their willingness to invest in training and other facilities in the UK, and the socio-economic impact of their proposals.
Congress reiterates its policy that the government should develop a strategy to encourage high-technology manufacturing in a low carbon economy, which requires on-going dialogue between government, industry and trade unions and which uses public procurement sensibly and creatively, including community benefit clauses, to ensure that wherever possible UK taxpayers' money is spent supporting the UK economy.
In support of this policy, Congress instructs the General Council to campaign to have the European procurement rules strengthened to clarify the use of social and economic factors as a legitimate part of public procurement contracts, including the implications for the local labour market and lifetime costs of the contract.
Mover: Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen
Composite 9 Public services and their importance to the economy
Congress condemns the cuts to public spending outlined in the 2010 Spending Review, which will take the share of national income spent on the public sector back to the levels of the late 1990s - since when the needs and costs associated with demographic and economic change have significantly increased. All services are already in danger, with the increasing threat of privatisation evidenced by the Open Public Services White Paper. This ideological assault threatens the efficiency, equity and democratic accountability of public services and puts in jeopardy the employment of hundreds of thousands of skilled and committed public servants.
Congress believes that cuts in jobs, public services, pay and pensions are not necessary to pay for the national deficit.
Congress notes that the combination of public services cuts, wage freezes, benefit cuts, growth in unemployment, changes to the calculation for pensions and other benefits from the Retail Price Index (RPI) to Consumer Price Index (CPI) and unchecked inflation, amount to the biggest attack upon living standards in this country since the 1920s. Congress condemns the attack on occupational pensions in public and private sectors including the ending of final salary provision; a move from RPI to CPI; increased contributions; and longer working age.
Congress condemns the continuing attempts by government to deepen inequality, and make workers and the poorest and most vulnerable in society bear the brunt of reducing the deficit. Congress condemns the government's onslaught against the welfare state, including measures to force more people off disability living allowance, and its attempts to hand swathes of the public sector over to its friends in business.
Underneath the rhetoric of 'fairness' employed by right-wing ministers seeking scapegoats, government policy is worsening the economic situation of millions of ordinary people in an attempt to protect the rich from the effects of recession.
Not only will these cuts add to unemployment and weaken growth when our economy is still recovering from the impact of the financial crisis, they will make it impossible to develop the services and infrastructure this country needs. The private sector is being directly affected too as government procurement accounts for one third of spending on goods and services across the rest of the economy. In the retail sector, businesses have closed and others are struggling due to the squeeze on consumer demand that has been in part fuelled by job losses and pay freezes in the public sector.
Congress rejects the idea that the UK public sector had in recent years become 'too big' or inflated with unproductive 'non-jobs', noting that:
i. most successful European economies have far larger levels of public spending and employment
ii. new jobs created are vital to meeting growing social and economic needs
iii. little-understood administrative and 'back-office' roles are in fact essential to the smooth running of key services and public functions, and make up a lower proportion of public sector jobs than equivalents in the private sector. These include such vital services as forensic science, climate research and public audit functions.
Congress believes that public investment and employment to deliver essential infrastructure and high quality services remains essential to a balanced, prosperous and sustainable economy. Congress calls on the General Council to continue campaigning for its alternative economic agenda of more not less investment in public services, strengthening manufacturing, creating green jobs, promoting progressive taxation including collection of the taxes avoided, evaded and uncollected from wealthy individuals and companies, which account for £120bn, a Financial Transaction Tax and guaranteeing fair pay and decent employment. Given the fact that an alternative is available, Congress agrees to oppose all cuts that adversely impact on public and community services, welfare, living standards, jobs and pensions as unnecessary, unjust and economically damaging.
Congress salutes those students, trade unionists and community activists who have been in the forefront of the resistance to cutbacks.
Congress applauds the work of the General Council in campaigning against the economic policy of the Conservative-led coalition government.
The March for the Alternative on 26 March 2011 represented a major step forward in co-ordinating both the response of the trade unions and of the wider opposition in the community to the government's policies.
In order to expand the campaign against the government's austerity agenda, both in the public and private sectors, Congress supports a national day of action with pensioners organisations, youth and student groups and other local community campaigns.
Congress believes that:
a) these attacks will have a disproportionate effect on women, disabled people, younger people and other groups
b) the organised labour movement must play a crucial role in organising resistance to the government's austerity programme through coordinated political campaigning and industrial action.
c) opposition to the cuts must be stepped up now and that action cannot wait until the next general election.
Congress instructs the General Council to:
1) support and co-ordinate campaigning and joint union industrial action against attacks on jobs, pensions, pay or public services
2) step up its promotion of the economic alternative to this government's destructive policy.
3) continue to work with all affiliates, other professional organisations, the NUS and student organisations, community groups, equality groups, pensioner groups (where appropriate) and campaign groups to build broad resistance to cutbacks and attacks on living standards at local and national level
4) co-ordinate industrial and other action across affiliates for either national, sectoral, or regional activity, either one-off or discontinuous, which will have the greatest impact in reversing the government's disastrous policies.
Seconder: Public and Commercial Services Union
Supporters: Communication Workers' Union
University and College Union
Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers
Fire Brigades' Union
Composite 10 All Together for the NHS
Congress deplores the government's Health and Social Care Bill that will break up the NHS and put profit ahead of patients. Congress believes the Bill and Any Qualified Provider policy take the NHS down the road of a fully blown market.
Congress notes that despite being forced into a 'listening exercise', the key elements of government plans remain: Monitor will have the power to enforce competition law; consortia can outsource commissioning; the private patient income cap will be abolished; the Any Qualified Provider policy remains; the NHS will operate increasingly at arm's length from the Health Secretary.
This will lead to fragmented services and a postcode lottery of care, hitting the vulnerable and poorest the hardest. Money intended for patients will be diverted to shareholder profits and increased bureaucracy.
Congress also notes the impact on staff, with the government intent on undermining national workforce structures for pay, bargaining, terms and conditions.
Furthermore, Congress notes that these changes are planned at a time when the NHS across the UK is suffering massive strain as it struggles to cope with huge 'efficiency' targets. The government's demand for £20bn savings in England alone is already leading to cuts to services and increased workloads for staff unable to provide the care their patients need. Congress is hugely concerned that healthcare rationing is already taking place for vital procedures.
Congress believes we should be proud of our NHS as a service free at the point of need delivered by highly skilled dedicated public servants. Patient satisfaction is at an all-time high. The NHS has been ranked world number 1 for quality, equity and safety, despite the UK spending less than other major developed countries.
This high performance is due to the whole healthcare team, including managers, working together to deliver safe and efficient care. Congress rejects the myth that managers are the problem rather than part of the solution.
The NHS is not perfect but it has a track record in excellence and innovation. Nurses, doctors, allied health professionals and other NHS staff want to continue adapting services to benefit patients. The government's costly reforms, by replacing collaboration with competition, will not.
Congress welcomes the work of the TUC-coordinated All Together for the NHS alliance to fight the Bill in England and cuts across the UK. Congress believes it is essential that unions strive to work with patients and charities to strengthen our case.
Congress calls on the General Council to:
i. step up its excellent campaigning and lobbying on the Bill and to put forward positive alternatives to meet future health challenges
ii. maintain the unity of the All Together for the NHS alliance
iii. continue campaigning inside and outside Parliament to stop the Bill and other damaging policies such as Any Qualified Provider
iv. build campaigning outside the union movement and affiliates to pass on the message to members, their families and communities what these changes will mean for them - and that they should join us in the campaign.
v. work to highlight and fight cuts to jobs and services across the NHS
vi. rebut the myth that you can cut backroom staff without harming frontline care
The NHS is at a crossroads. We can still change course, but we need to act now.
Seconder: Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
Composite 11 State education, free schools, academies and privatisation
Congress welcomes research by Ipsos Mori confirming that there is overwhelming public support for education provision to be democratically controlled and accountable.
Congress asserts that the British public wants and deserves high quality and universal public services that are accessible to all.
Congress further welcomes resistance to the privatisation of the NHS and believes there is an equally strong case to be made against the breakup of state education. Congress condemns the government for its clandestine policy of school privatisation by supporting transfer to chains and urges it to come clean.
Congress further condemns the government's attempts to divert public funding for higher education into the emerging for-profit sector. This untried experiment will force down quality as happened in the USA and do serious damage to the UK's proud international reputation for excellence. The equivalent privatisation policy for the NHS proved highly unpopular with its staff and the public, and Congress calls for a similar public debate on the privatisation of education, including the for-profit sector in higher education.
Congress recognises the importance of public services to supporting and enabling the most vulnerable in our society so that all children can access education and opportunity.
Congress recognises that all public service unions are taking a strong stand against privatisation including through industrial action when necessary.
Congress notes that while public services, including education, are being cut, the government is using public money and public servants to promote and fund free schools; almost 100 DfE staff are working on the free schools programme at a cost to the taxpayer of almost £4m a year.
Congress notes that free schools can be set up by any group of individuals, a company, or academy chain sponsor anywhere in England without regard to their impact on other local schools; are state funded but unaccountable to democratically elected local authorities; do not have to employ qualified teachers or abide by the national pay and conditions for school teachers; can determine their own admissions arrangements and their own curriculum.
Congress believes that free schools will undermine existing schools and cause schools to close by drawing away pupils and the funding attached to them; undermine and erode national pay and conditions for school teachers and trade union organisation in the education sector; reduce education standards by undermining the importance of pupils being taught by qualified teachers; undermine community cohesion.
Congress deplores the secrecy surrounding the government's free schools policy with its refusal to reveal expenditure on individual schools. Congress further deplores the waste of public money on free schools, which are being opened regardless of need, and the lack of public accountability for this money.
Congress notes the contrast between the government's language of autonomy for
academies, including free schools, and the reality of schools moving from local authority influence to academy chain or federation control, with the top-slicing by chains of a substantial percentage of academies' budgets.
Congress commits the General Council to support joint work by the education unions in
building a strong public coalition to:
i. mount a high profile campaign to advance the cause of state education and to oppose privatisation.
ii. ensure the right of every child to have equality of access to schooling
iii. ensure that all children and young people are taught by qualified teachers
iv. confirm the rights and entitlements of teachers and support staff to national pay and conditions of service frameworks and collective representation through their trade unions
v. urge trades councils and trade unionists locally to support and initiate campaigns against the establishment of free schools in their area
vi. ensure that state-funded schools and associated land and assets are publicly owned and managed in trust for the public.
Seconder: National Union of Teachers
Supporters: Association of Teachers and Lecturers
University and College Union
Society of Radiographers
Composite 12 Lost Arts and a decent work agenda for the creative industries
Congress notes the importance of the creative industries as a source of employment and economic growth in the UK, which has an unrivalled reputation for the quality of its arts, culture and heritage. This reputation has been earned over many years and is due in no small part to public funding from successive governments. This sector, which includes the performing arts and broadcasting, now accounts for economic output of at least £60bn per annum, 8 per cent of the UK's GDP and nearly 10 per cent of the UK's businesses. There are 2.3m UK workers in the creative sector.
Congress further notes the prevalence of irregular and insecure work in the creative sector. Performers, models and other creative workers, particularly young workers, commonly experience low pay, denial of the National Minimum Wage, long working hours and unscrupulous practices by entertainment agencies.
Now the arts in the UK are having to share the burden of an economic policy which has led to substantial cuts in public funding over the next three years, the reductions in public funding for core workplaces that are more likely to use union negotiated agreements also means that unemployment and exploitation in the sector is likely to increase. Training and development opportunities for young people entering the sector and small venues, which are vital for those starting out in the industry, are severely under threat.
Congress also notes with great concern the recent cuts in Arts Council England subsidies to writers' organisations and to companies which present writers' work. It notes in particular that despite the huge increase in, and success of, new writing over the last decade, new writing companies like Out of Joint and playwrights' development agencies like North West Playwrights and Theatre Writing Partnership have suffered disproportionate cuts in funding because companies in London are less dependent on local authority funding, companies outside London are more vulnerable to 'double-whammy' cuts from both the Arts Council and local authorities. Therefore, taken as a whole, national and local cuts in arts funding will widen the existing gap in provision between London and the rest of England. As happened in the 1980s, the brunt of the theatre cuts will be borne by freelance artists (including actors, directors and designers as well as writers) who are employed production by production, rather than by permanent staff.
Lost Arts has been set up by eight unions that represent the people who work in the arts in the UK. It will record and catalogue all of the projects, events, initiatives, performances, organisations and companies that will be lost due to the cuts in public funding.
This is not to suggest that the arts are more important than other sectors that are suffering similar cuts; but at the same time we want to make sure that the effects of these cuts are properly accounted and freely publicised. By keeping an account of the damage done, we hope to win the argument for public funding of arts and culture once and for all.
Congress calls upon the General Council with entertainment unions and other bodies to support the Lost Arts campaign and campaigning for a restoration of lost Arts Council and local authority subsidy to the arts, both during the course of this parliament and beyond.
Congress also resolves to fight for decent work in the entertainment and creative industries. Congress calls on the government to stop the attacks on public funding for the arts and culture, to introduce better regulation of entertainment agencies and stronger enforcement of employment rights.
Congress further supports the ongoing campaign to achieve an exemption from the Licensing Act for live entertainment and supports the work being done by unions in the sector to organise creative workers and extend the use of union-negotiated terms and conditions.
Seconder: Musicians' Union
Supporter: Writers' Guild of Great Britain
Composite 13 Health and safety
Congress notes that health and safety is a cornerstone of a civilised society.
Congress notes that any death or serious injury at work is one too many.
Since the Conservative-led government took power, ministers have targeted both safety legislation and the Health and Safety Executive, due to the government's ideological obsession with cutting 'red tape'.
Congress notes that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) faces spending cuts of at least 35 per cent over three years, leading to an estimated budget reduction of over £80m per year by 2014-2015; to possibly 700 redundancies; and to potential office closures when enforcement activities have already fallen to an all-time low. Government cuts will make it impossible for the HSE to ensure workplace safety.
Congress also notes that cuts in local government spending will impact on the role of environmental health officers.
Congress expresses concern that the consequential reduction in health and safety enforcement activity, with an anticipated 33 per cent reduction in proactive HSE inspections will lead to an increase in accidents and fatalities. Even in industries where unannounced inspections will continue, such as construction, the number of inspections is set to substantially diminish.
Congress recognises that construction fatalities rose by 22 per cent last year and management failings are a factor in 70 per cent of fatalities, yet just 30 per cent of companies are convicted following a construction worker's death. Construction companies are increasingly voluntarily entering administration to escape justice following the death of a worker.
Congress believes that the decision to close the HSE's Infoline will result in it becoming impossible for workers or the public to report dangerous working practices to the HSE.
Congress believes that there will be an inevitable link between the current government's deep cuts in public spending and a reduction in the policing of workplace health and safety by agencies like the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and the Highways Agency (HA). The proposed reduction in the government's contribution to the Health and Safety Executive will inevitably have an impact on the budgets of both agencies for their own health and safety work. Inevitably essential health and safety work between agencies and trade unions will be shelved as a result of the wide-reaching budgetary cuts. Given the very high level of work-related fatalities in the road transport sector, this is of grave concern. A coordinated approach by the relevant enforcement agencies must be adopted urgently so that the causes of work-related accidents on roads are fully investigated and preventive action can be taken.
Congress condemns the reckless implementation of Lord Young's proposals to dismantle much-needed protections for workers and the communities they serve. Abolition of the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority will create an insecure environment for school trips, with teachers reluctant to organise visits and parents fearful for the safety of their children.
Congress fears that the Lofstedt Review will result in the scrapping of important safety regulations in the name of cutting red tape. Congress rejects any assertion that regulation is anti-competitive or a constraint on business. Successful businesses don't fear regulation that is clear and properly enforced. It is a vital part of levelling the playing field and ensures that competition is not purely on the basis of cost minimisation and lower standards.
Congress requests that the General Council continue to be actively involved in campaigning with all affiliates affected by any watering down of health and safety imposed through the government's health and safety reform.
Congress calls on the TUC General Council to launch an active and broad-based campaign to reverse the government's cuts programme, to campaign to keep health and safety in the workplace unaffected by any proposed budgetary reductions and lobby for the introduction of legislation that guarantees the safety of all workers.
Congress also requests that the General Council help prepare the basis for a legal challenge for those affected by any imposed change that would have prevented harm prior to any such watering down.
Mover: Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians
Seconder: Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union
Supporters: United Road Transport Union
National Union of Mineworkers
National Union of Teachers
Composite 14 Work-related stress
Congress agrees that work-related stress has been a growing problem for many years and in the current climate of cuts and reform in the NHS will see more victims succumb to this serious illness. Within the podiatry profession the SCP has witnessed many of its members being placed under severe pressure by a combination of measures overseen by NHS employers in an attempt to make savings and conform to the reform agenda. Podiatry services have been redesigned resulting in job losses, and downgrading larger workloads. In addition, job vacancies have been frozen, which leads to patients not receiving timely care and literally tens of thousands of patients are discharged from podiatry patient lists, denying them access to NHS treatment, as a cost-saving exercise. This causes unnecessary anxiety to the clinician as it is they, not the senior executives whose decision it is, who have to explain to the elderly and, in some cases, vulnerable patients that they no longer qualify for care.
Congress believes this combination of issues for SCP members creates a downward spiral that can lead to stress and mental health issues. Sickness levels go up, other staff are under even more pressure and so the cycle continues.
Congress also recognises that job cuts and greater workloads will increase stress for all public servants and particularly for managers who are responsible for ensuring continuing delivery of key services whilst their own jobs and those of their staff remain under threat in this period of considerable change and upheaval.
Congress believes that this is an unseen side of the cuts agenda and calls on the General Council to highlight this matter in future campaigning material, publicity and in the media.
Mover: Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
Emergency 1 TUC response to the riots
Congress welcomes the TUC response to the riots that saw some of the worst rioting for over a decade in England towns and cities.
Congress recognises that criminality and violence cannot be condoned or excused, but simplifying the underlying causes can lead to the wrong solutions.
It is accepted that this is a complex area and does not need a knee-jerk reaction from the coalition government nor senior politicians giving soundbites and blaming certain sections of society or indeed the criminal justice system.
Congress recognises that government needs to reflect and a root and branch review involving the trade union movement can assist government in ensuring an outcome that is fair and balanced.
Congress also recognises the professionalism of public sector workers and indeed those in the private sector who did everything to protect the general public during the riots and aftermath: the emergency services such as prison officers and related grades, fire fighters, police officers, ambulance workers along with nurses and doctors. Without our frontline services putting the general public first, the riots could have been so much worse.
Congress places on record its condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives during the riots.
Congress instructs the General Council to further influence the coalition government in establishing the true underlying causes of the recent riots.
Seconder: Fire Brigades' Union
Emergency 2 : Pre-abortion counselling
Congress welcomes the overwhelming rejection of parliament to the amendment on abortion counselling to the Health and Social Care Bill. This would have stripped non-statutory abortion providers such as Marie Stopes and BPAS of their role in offering impartial advice and counselling to women considering abortion and enabled organisations opposed to abortion to be contracted to counsel women on their pregnancy options.
Congress notes that parliament debated and voted on abortion rights in May 2008 when MPs voted to maintain the upper limit of 24 weeks. The move to reduce the upper limit to 20 weeks was supported by Cameron. This time Cameron has supported and then not supported the amendment, flip-flopping on a crucial issue for women.
Congress notes that the government now intends to review abortion counselling services.
Congress believes in a woman's right to choose with balanced, professional support and care from regulated bodies. Congress believes that women's access to impartial, non-directive and clinical information on pregnancy choices must be maintained and unions must challenge any move that would result in women being offered pre-abortion counselling, where there is no such guarantee.
Congress instructs the General Council to:
?reaffirm Congress policy of a woman's right to choose as set out in motion agreed at 2008 TUC Congress
?encourage affiliates to do the same
?re-issue the TUC leaflet 'abortion - a trade union issue'
?continue to support the campaign against these detrimental changes to abortion counselling.
Mover: University and College Union
Emergency 3 English Defence League
Congress is appalled at the treatment of NUJ members in East London on Saturday 3 September 2011.
Journalists were carrying out their work, reporting the EDL event, taking photographs and recording eye witness accounts on behalf of a wide range of media outlets.
Journalists were subjected to harassment, threats and abuse including physical assaults, racist abuse and bottles and fireworks being thrown at the press. One journalist was subjected to a sexual assault and another suffered burns after an EDL protestor set the journalist on fire.
Congress publically condemns the actions of the EDL and the ways in which they target media workers and Congress will continue to support all trade unionists that are targeted by the far-right.
Far-right attacks on media workers are aimed at deterring them from carrying out their work and are designed to intimidate trade union members and stop the media reporting on far-right activity.
Such attacks are a violation of press freedom and an attack on our democracy.
Congress expresses solidarity with NUJ members and calls on the General Council to campaign publically against far-right groups.
Congress urges the General Council to:
i. call on the police to take action to identify and prosecute EDL supporters who attack trade unionists
ii. support and assist affiliate unions when far-right groups threaten the health and safety of their members.
Mover: National Union of Journalists
Seconder: National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers
Emergency 4 Agency workers
Congress notes with concern the report of 5 September 2011 that the government plans to reduce the rights that the Agency Worker Regulations introduced on 1 October this year. Congress, however, believes that the existing regulations already fall short of the legal and moral requirements that the Agency Workers Directive imposes on EU states.
The subsequently issued statements by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) on 6 and 10 September supported the review of so- called 'gold-plated' provisions. The REC has produced a specific briefing document on the 'Swedish Derogation' advising agencies how to use this to best advantage.
Congress notes with concern in recent weeks the increasing numbers of employers, including the major supermarkets' meat supply chain, seeking to avoid the application of equal rights for agency workers by applying 'the Swedish Derogation'. This will allow employers, in conjunction with agency businesses, to avoid equal pay by directly employing the agency workers on contracts that may offer as little as one hour's work per week.
Congress therefore instructs the General Council to explore grounds for a legal challenge against the UK government in respect of its failure to properly implement the spirit and the legal requirements of the Agency Workers Directive.
Emergency 5 Save Bombardier jobs
Congress notes at the Transport Committee hearing on 7 September 2011 the Secretary of State for Transport and European Commission representative said it would be legally possible to reverse the decision not to make Bombardier preferred bidder for the Thameslink rolling stock contract.
Congress welcomes the leader of the opposition's call on 8 September for a parliamentary debate in support of the campaign to save Bombardier jobs.
Congress condemns the government's betrayal of rail workers and their abject failure to protect jobs and act in the national interest.
Congress welcomes the campaign of the TUC and affiliates to date and requests the General Council convene an urgent meeting of affected affiliates to consider all possible steps to stop the closure of the Bombardier Derby Litchurch Lane works and to consider supporting the parliamentary rally for Bombardier called for 12 October.
Congress agrees to continue to campaign to save Bombardier for as long as it takes. Noting existing Congress policy to re-nationalise the railways and that train manufacturing was previously undertaken by British Railways Engineering, Congress believes in the event of Bombardier withdrawing from the UK, consideration should be given to nationalisation to save UK train manufacturing and prevent devastation of jobs and communities.
Congress recognises that a reversal of the decision is likely to impact on the expectation of other workers employed by Siemens and would assure its members that the principle of supporting British manufacturing and protection of jobs is the overriding issue.
Mover: National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers
General Council and General Purposes Committee Nominations and election results
(Unions with more than 200,000 members)
Unite (eight members)
UNISON (seven members)
GMB (four members)
Communication Workers Union (two members)
NASUWT (two members)
National Union of Teachers (two members)
Public and Commercial Services Union (two members)
Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (two members)
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 George Guy
Unions with fewer than 100,000 members
(eleven to be elected - those elected are shown in bold)
Robert F Monks
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
Alice Robinson - Association of Teachers and Lecturers
Member representing black workers from unions with more than 200,000 members
Mohammad Taj - Unite
Member representing black workers from unions with fewer than 200,000 members
Leslie Manasseh - Prospect
Member representing black women
Gloria Mills -UNISON
Member representing disabled workers
Sean McGovern - Unite
Member representing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Workers
Maria Exall - Communication Workers Union
Member representing young workers
Fern McCaffrey - GMB
General Purposes Committee
(Five to be elected - no contest)
Mike Clancy Prospect
Phil Davies GMB
Peter Hall RMT
Chris Tansley UNISON
Linda McCulloch Unite
Issued: 22 September, 2011