Congress Report 2007

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Congress Report 2007

The 139th annual Trades Union Congress 10-13 September, Brighton

Contents

Page

General Council members 2007 - 2008.......................................... 4

Section one - Congress decisions...................................................... 7

Part 1

Resolutions carried.. ......................................................8

Part 2

Motions lost.............................................................. 29

Part 3

General Council statements..................................................................30

Section two - Verbatim report of Congress proceedings.............. 35

Day 1

Monday 10 September................ 36

Day 2

Tuesday 11 September................................................. 76

Day 3

Wednesday 12 September.............. 119

Day 4

Thursday 13 September.............. 159

Section three - unions and their delegates.............. 183

Section four - details of past Congresses.............. 195

Section five - General Council 1921 - 2007.... 198

Index of speakers................ 204

General Council Members 2007 - 2008

Bob Abberley

UNISON

Lesley Auger

National Union of Teachers

Jonathan Baume

FDA

Sheila Bearcroft

GMB

Mary Bousted

Association of Teachers and Lecturers

Jane Carolan

UNISON

Gail Cartmail

Amicus

Brian Caton

Prison Officers' Association

Jeremy Dear

National Union of Journalists

Gerry Doherty

Transport Salaried Staffs Association

Jeannie Drake OBE

Communication Workers Union

Tony Dubbins

Unite

Maria Exall

Communication Workers Union

Sue Ferns

Prospect

Mark Fysh

UNISON

Allan Garley

GMB

Gerry Gallagher

UNISON

Janice Godrich

Public and Commercial Services Union

Anita Halpin

National Union of Journalists

John Hannett

Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers

Billy Hayes

Communication Workers Union

Sally Hunt

University and College Union

Chris Keates

National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers

Paul Kenny

GMB

Michael Leahy OBE

Community

Leslie Manasseh MBE

Connect

Martin Mayer

Unite

Len McCluskey

Unite

Judy McKnight OBE

napo

Lesley Mercer

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Gloria Mills CBE

UNISON

Ged Nichols

Accord

Paul Noon

Prospect

Brian Orrell OBE

Nautilus UK

Tim Poil

Nationwide Group Staff Union

Dave Prentis (Chair)

UNISON

Alan Ritchie

Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians

Sue Rogers

National Association of Schoolmasters Union of

Women Teachers

Dougie Rooney

Unite

Brenda Sanders

Unite

Mark Serwotka

Public and Commercial Services Union

Alison Shepherd

UNISON

Derek Simpson

Unite

Steve Sinnott

National Union of Teachers

Eleanor Smith

UNISON

John Smith

Musicians' Union

Liz Snape MBE

UNISON

Patricia Stuart

Unite

Mohammed Taj

Unite

Paul Talbot

Unite

John Walsh

Unite

Fiona Wilson

Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers

Tony Woodley

Unite

Matt Wrack

Fire Brigades Union

Brendan Barber General Secretary

Section 1

Congress Decisions

Listed below are the decisions taken by the 2007 Trades Union Congress on the motions and amendments submitted by unions. The numbers given to resolutions and motions refer to their number in the Final Agenda, or to that of the Composite or Emergency Motion.

Part1

Resolutions Carried

1 Migrant workers

Congress recognises the benefits to the economy, public services and local communities of the presence of migrant workers but believes that more must be done to tackle exploitation and abuse by unscrupulous employers, to encourage recruitment of migrant workers to the trade union movement and to improve and enhance support services provided to migrant workers and their families.

Congress, therefore, calls on the General Council to:

i) continue to campaign against the exploitation and abuse of migrant workers and to publicise examples of this as widely as possible; and

ii) share best practice amongst affiliates in relation to recruitment, organisation and support structures for migrant workers covering: membership, language provision, branch structures, befriending schemes and health and safety advice.

Congress also calls on the UK Government and the devolved administrations to:

a) ensure the availability of a full range of support services for all migrant workers and their families, particularly in relation to education and language provision; and

b) ensure that sufficient resources are available to education authorities and other providers so that appropriate additional support is available to the children of migrant workers for whom English is not their first language.

The Educational Institute of Scotland

2 Managed migration: impact on performers

Congress believes that migrant workers make a major contribution to Britain's economic and cultural life. However, it understands the need for an objective system for determining whether people are allowed to enter the UK to work, in the interests of migrant workers and the wider community.

In addition, Congress supports the enforcement of decent working conditions and employment rights to protect vulnerable workers from undercutting, excessive hours and inferior working conditions.

Therefore, Congress is alarmed by changes proposed under Tier 5 of the Government's points-based system, whereby temporary workers in the arts and entertainment sector will lose current safeguards protecting vulnerable workers in the UK and supporting work opportunities for British talent overseas.

In particular, the new system must include a test against the impact on the resident labour market and levels of pay against industry norms, as operates currently in consultation between Work Permits UK and the entertainment unions. It is not sufficient for an employer with no track record simply to vouch for the migrant worker with no additional protection being in place.

The lack of consultation will also prevent the operation of Equity's bilateral agreements with performers' unions overseas, which currently ensures that the displacement of work opportunities in the UK is balanced by an exchange of work opportunities for British performers (particularly on Broadway).

Congress, therefore, calls upon the Government to work with the entertainment unions to ensure that safeguards are included in the new points-based system, protecting vulnerable workers and supporting work opportunities for British talent overseas.

Equity

The following amendment was ACCEPTED

Paragraph 4, line 5, after 'entertainment unions.' insert new sentence:

'This should be accompanied by rapid and effective sanctions for employers failing to comply.'

Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union

4 Gangmasters and the construction industry

Congress notes the introduction of the Gangmasters Licensing Act 2004 which required the licensing of employment agencies in agriculture, food processing and shellfish collection.

Congress welcomes the introduction of Jim Sheridan's 10 Minute Rule Bill on 13 June 2007, which sought to extend the Act to include the construction industry - a sector where unlicensed gangmasters have become increasingly active since the introduction of the Gangmasters Act.

The increased activity of unlicensed gangmasters in construction has dramatically increased exploitation of many vulnerable workers, especially migrant workers - exploitation that includes poverty pay, illegal deductions, dangerous working conditions, intimidation and physical violence.

Congress notes with regret the 25 per cent increase in construction deaths in 2006/7, many of whom were migrant workers, and is deeply concerned that there may be a correlation between increased gangmaster activity and industry fatalities.

Congress further notes the commitment of former Prime Minister Tony Blair to 'consider carefully' Mr Sheridan's Bill and that 'it is important to keep the matter under review'.

Congress therefore calls on the General Council to mount an effective and vigorous campaign in support of extending the terms of reference for the Gangmasters Licensing Authority to include the construction industry, that will:

i) protect vulnerable workers from exploitation and abuse;

ii) drive rogue labour providers out of business;

iii) safeguard the future of the decent, law-abiding agencies; and

iv) ensure that the Treasury is not cheated and defrauded of millions of pounds of tax and VAT by criminal gangmasters.

Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians

5 Work experience

Congress welcomes the campaigns waged by media unions and others against the exploitation of those on bogus work experience schemes.

Congress believes well-organised, structured work experience is of great value to potential new entrants to the media industry and other professions.

However, Congress expresses its grave concern at evidence submitted to HMRC that demonstrates many such young workers are being exploited through working for weeks and months for no pay and with no rights, in breach of the National Minimum Wage laws, Working Time Regulations and employment laws.

Congress is further concerned at the failure of HMRC to act on such evidence.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

i) support calls for action to be taken by HMRC to end such exploitation through more rigorous enforcement of the NMW and WTR;

ii) work with media unions to name and shame persistent offenders; and

iii) lobby government, both for more resources for enforcement of employment rights and to promote collective enforcement mechanisms.

National Union of Journalists

8 Collective bargaining rights for freelances

Congress welcomes the growth in union recognition agreements since the introduction of the statutory recognition procedure in June 2000.

Such recognition agreements provide the basis for improved rights at work for millions of employees.

However, Congress is concerned that many companies are avoiding their obligations to freelance, casual and atypical workers under Fairness at Work through the loophole in the law that means freelances - often doing the very same work as staff and who often were previously staff for the same companies - have no legal right to collective bargaining. Congress believes this has led to the increasing casualisation and the development of a two-tier workforce.

As a result millions of working people are being denied basic employment, representation and bargaining rights. Congress believes such a situation is unacceptable.

Congress calls on the TUC to make campaigning for such rights for all and access to statutory recognition procedures for all a priority. Congress urges the TUC to help co-ordinate the lobbying and campaigning activities of those unions with members affected by such exploitation.

National Union of Journalists

9 Dispute resolution and employment rights

Congress notes the proposal to repeal the current workplace dispute resolution procedures and agrees the objectives of any replacement procedures must be to:

i) protect and/or enhance existing employment rights;

ii) ensure that workers can easily enforce them;

iii) promote the internal resolution of disputes via trade union representation and collective bargaining; and

iv) extend best practice across all sectors and workplaces.

Congress calls on the General Council to press for new procedures that:

a) actively promote the constructive role of trade unions in dispute resolution;

b) provide a stronger advisory role and increased resources for ACAS, together with a statutory code of practice;

c) simplify Employment Tribunal applications and procedures; and

d) strengthen the right of individuals to be represented at grievance and disciplinary hearings.

In addition, it is essential that there is a more robust, better co-ordinated and effectively resourced approach to enforcement to ensure, at the very least, employer compliance with minimum standards.

Connect

The following AMENDMENT was accepted

In sub-paragraph a) after 'dispute resolution' add 'and prevention'.

In sub-paragraph b) delete 'for ACAS' and insert 'to ensure that ACAS is adequately funded to provide a free early dispute resolution service and proactive pre-tribunal conciliation service in line with the recommendations of the Gibbons Report'

Insert new sub-paragraph c) and re-number subsequent paragraphs:

'c) ensure ACAS is funded to expand its dispute prevention activity, especially in the area of business support to SMEs;'

FDA

10 Trade union democracy

Congress notes the ASLEF-United Kingdom decision concerning s174 of the TULRCA.

Congress calls on the UK Government to recognise fully the decision of the European Court of Human Rights and to amend TULRCA to recognise the autonomy of trade unions and their right to determine their own rules as to membership, drawing upon the decisions of the ILO and international human rights instruments.

Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union

The following AMENDMENT was accepted.

Paragraph 1, line 1, replace 'notes' with 'welcomes' and after 'TULRCA' add ', which denies to British trade unions the basic right to freedom of association.'

Paragraph 2, line 3, delete 'amend TULRCA to recognise' and replace with 'repeal all legislative provisions which restrict'.

Paragraph 2, line 5, delete 'as to' and replace with "and".

Paragraph 2, line 3, delete 'drawing upon' and replace with 'to conform with'.

Community

11 Disregarding time limits in disciplinary procedures

Congress notes with increasing concern the abuse by some employers of the time limits set out in disciplinary procedures, in particular in relation to the suspension of employees. Congress fully accepts that all disciplinary matters should be properly investigated; however, where an employee is suspended every effort must be made to stick to the time limits agreed. Suspension is a supposed to be a neutral act but for the individual concerned it is an anxious and stressful time. Congress calls on the General Council to make every effort through all channels to highlight these concerns and promote best practice in this area of industrial relations.

Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists

12 Exclusion of seafarers from legal protections

Congress notes with concern the continuing routine exclusion of seafarers from key elements of labour and social regulation - both within the UK and in Europe. Congress also notes the stated opposition of shipowners to signs that the European Commission may be moving to end such systematic exclusions. Noting that there are no sustainable arguments in favour of the automatic exemption of seafarers from regulations affecting shore-based workers, Congress calls upon the General Council to lobby both the UK Government and the European Commission on this issue, and to give full support to the maritime trade unions in their efforts to ensure that seafarers enjoy the same protection as all other groups of workers.

Nautilus UK

13 The governance of Britain

Congress welcomes the Green Paper The Governance of Britain and subsequent consultation documents. Congress believes that the proposals as a whole will enhance the quality of democracy in the UK, and build trust in governance amongst citizens. It particularly welcomes the Government's commitment to place the civil service on a statutory footing which will include measures enshrining its core principles and values in law, which is Congress policy.

Congress notes in the Green Paper:

i) a reaffirmation of human rights, including the right of assembly and association;

ii) proposals for re-invigorating democracy at all levels, including in local communities;

iii) mechanisms for making the executive more accountable; and

iv) a new duty on public bodies to involve local people in major decisions.

The Government also intends to initiate an inclusive process of national debate to develop a British statement of values, which might include a Bill of Rights and Duties and the creation of a framework of civic responsibilities.

Congress welcomes this debate and urges the General Council to encourage the widest possible participation amongst unions.

FDA

The following AMENDMENT was accepted.

Insert new penultimate paragraph:

'Congress recognises that this national debate must acknowledge the multi-cultural character of British society, and that the diversity of our communities is also the basis of our unity.'

Communication Workers' Union

18 Trade union rights for prison officers

Congress supports the POA and its officials for the stance taken in accordance with the union's policies for fair pay and full staffing in all penal establishments.

Further, Congress notes with concern the continued attacks made by the Prison Service and Government against the union, its members and officials, particularly by the use of court action and the threat of imprisonment against POA officials.

Congress reaffirms its policy to insist that prison officers have returned to them full trade union rights, including the right to restrict and withdraw their Labour - these rights being no different from those enjoyed by other public and emergency service representative bodies.

Congress calls upon the Government to return human rights to POA members and to ensure that they do not seek to place these draconian restrictions against any other public sector trade union.

POA (UK)

20 Shrewsbury pickets

Congress notes the renewed campaign to seek justice for 24 building workers convicted in 1973 under the 1875 Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act.

Congress recognises the arrest, prosecution and conviction of the Shrewsbury pickets was politically motivated and biased, and that the 24 building workers were victims of a miscarriage of justice.

It is further recognised that Dennis Warren, Eric Tomlinson, John McKinsie Jones, Arthur Murray, Mike Pierce and Brian Williams, who all received custodial sentences, were political prisoners; as were 18 others who were charged and received varying degrees of suspended sentences.

Congress further acknowledges that at the 1976 Congress there was a call for a parliamentary inquiry into the jailing of the Shrewsbury pickets.

Congress, therefore, calls on the General Council to renew the call for a parliamentary inquiry. The inquiry should:

i) encompass all dates following and including 6 September 1972 up until the release of Dennis Warren and Eric Tomlinson;

ii) include an immediate Freedom of Information request for the release of all government and police papers relating to the 'Shrewsbury' trials;

iii) examine any link between Central Government and the North Wales and West Mercia Police Divisions investigations;

iv) examine any link between UK building employers and the Conservative Government and specifically the Home Secretary Robert Carr; and

v) investigate the systematic intimidation and abuse suffered in prison by Eric Tomlinson and the late Dennis Warren.

Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians

21 Organising and independent trade unionism

Congress agrees that the independence of our trade union movement and the independence of every affiliate is one of our guiding principles.

Congress will oppose any move to incorporate affiliated unions into any form of government or employer-based structure that would limit our ability to act independently, properly represent our members and develop the organising agenda to which the TUC is committed. Congress will oppose any attempted isolation of unions refusing such incorporation. Congress urges all unions seeking to recruit the same body of workers to explore ways to establish new, united and independent organisations, using the good offices of the TUC in this direction.

National Union of Teachers

24 Single Equality Act

Congress notes the Discrimination Law Review is due to consult on the Single Equality Act in 2007.

Congress is concerned that any delay in publishing the Green Paper would jeopardise the introduction of the Act in this Parliament.

If disabled workers are to achieve equality at work we need a single, coherent and comprehensive Single Equality Act that strengthens existing discrimination legislation and gives support for trade unions to address inequality through collective bargaining.

Congress calls on the General Council to strengthen its campaign for a Single Equality Act to include:

i) the duty on all employers in all sectors to promote equality and eliminate discrimination for all strands of equality;

ii) a right for trade unions to take class actions;

iii) statutory rights for trade union equality representatives;

iv) the right to disability leave;

v) compulsory equality audits for all employers in all sectors and that action should be taken as a result of audits and published in organisations' annual reports;

vi) statutory codes of practice, enforceable in tribunals, should be introduced for all strands of equality;

vii) consistency of protection, standards and time limits; and

viii) public procurement to require organisations to be compliant with discrimination law and promoting equality.

TUC Disability Conference

27 Supporting working carers

Congress notes that a growing proportion of the UK population are carers and warmly welcomes the Government's extension of the right to request flexible working to carers of adults. This will make it easier for carers to enter, and remain in, paid work. We need to make it easier for carers to juggle work with caring. One in five carers has had to give up work because of their caring responsibilities.

However, more needs to be done. The recent Carer's UK report Real Change highlighted the financial hardship many carers face. Many carers struggle to pay household bills and use most of their income to meet the rising costs of caring.

Congress believes there is an urgent case for more government, employer and union action on carers to help carers stay in work and to better support them financially. Carers need:

i) the right to paid time off work for family/caring emergencies; and

ii) removal of the earnings rule from Carers Allowance enabling many more carers to access this benefit.

Congress resolves to:

a) support the work being done by affiliates to negotiate paid time off for family/caring emergencies;

b) help affiliates make the case for more support for carers to Government;

c) circulate examples of how unions and employers working together have made a difference to carers; and

d) continue in its work on the gender pay gap to highlight the high price women in particular pay for having to take unpaid time out of the labour market to care.

Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers

The following AMENDMENT was WITHDRAWN

Insert new sub-paragraph iii):

'iii) an entitlement to flexible working, for those parents who currently have a right to apply.'

National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers

28 Slavery

In 2007 we are commemorating the bicentennial of the legislation that led to the eventual abolition of the European trade in African people. This was the worst crime against humanity. Britain and its society profited from slave labour, and the descendents of slaves continue to make a positive contribution to life in Britain. This deserves to be fully acknowledged.

Black people still suffer in many aspects of British society especially in education, health, employment and the criminal justice system. Despite many initiatives, our progression is slow and for many there are no discernable improvements at all.

The bicentenary is about both commemoration and liberation. Congress believes that the TUC and its affiliates should take this opportunity to raise awareness of both historical and contemporary forms of slavery.

Congress calls on the General Council to encourage affiliates to undertake activities during 2007 to mark both the bicentenary and the achievements and positive contribution of black people.

Congress demands that the TUC lobby the appropriate government departments to review the inequalities in black British life and commit to:

i) having a true and positive black history perspective reflected in the National Curriculum and in further/higher education;

ii) driving agenda for change within the public sector to address inequalities in service provision; and

iii) full implementation of the RRA Act to ensure that there are no barriers to black employment and progression in the public/private sector.

There will be a positive legacy for black people in 21st century multicultural Britain.

TUC Black Workers' Conference

The following AMENDMENT was CARRIED

In sub-paragraph ii) after 'address' insert:

'the stereotyping of young black people in British society and'

POA (UK)

29 Strengthening the framework for fairness

Congress salutes the hard work of unions and activists that achieved the GB Sexual Orientation regulations banning discrimination in goods and services, and resisting attempts to give wide-ranging exemptions to faith organisations. While this was a significant achievement, the regulations contain limitations and omissions on accommodation, harassment and teaching. Further, protection for trans service users is delayed to the end of the 2007.

Congress expresses particular concern about government guidance for schools on the sexual orientation regulations which - while positive in parts - specifically advises that it is lawful to teach 'that same-sex sexual activity is a sin'.

Congress notes there is an opportunity to win vital improvements in the proposed single equality bill. Improvements already in the Government's proposals must be welcomed and reinforced. Others currently missing require strong and co-ordinated lobbying.

Congress welcomes the work of the TUC and education unions in tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in education. What is being taught in schools affects every one of us. Congress urges affiliates to lobby for:

i) the sexual orientation schools' guidance to be amended to remove reference to same sex relationships as 'sinful'; and

ii) the strongest and most comprehensive single equality bill, including duties to promote LGBT equality.

TUC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Conference

The following AMENDMENT was CARRIED

Insert new paragraph 3:

'Congress is dismayed by the Government's lack of recognition of the crucial role of education in promoting greater equality and social justice beyond the legislative framework.'

Insert new sub-paragraph ii) and re-number the subsequent sub-paragraph:

'ii) well-resourced, systematic and wide-ranging support of teachers to create a positive understanding of same-sex relationships and to effectively tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia;'

Association of Teachers and Lecturers

30 Securing a UN resolution to protect human rights of LGBT people internationally

Congress acknowledges the UK achievements made in respect of LGBT equality in recent years.

However, in over 70 countries around the world, LGBT people still continue to suffer the most severe oppression and discrimination. Many are tortured and killed simply because of their sexual orientation. This is a fundamental breach of Article 1 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights that 'All human beings are born equal in dignity and rights.'

In view of the increasingly global world economy, equal human rights for LGBT people remain a trade union issue.

Congress calls upon the TUC and its affiliates to:

i) work closely with Amnesty International, human rights organisations and appropriate NGOs to address the UN to secure an international resolution protecting the human rights of all LGBT people;

ii) work with the British Government, particularly the Foreign and Home Office, to increase their awareness of the serious discrimination and persecution taking place against LGBT people in many countries; and

iii) encourage the British Government to challenge international abuses of LGBT people through the UN and work towards securing a resolution to protect the human rights of LGBT people everywhere.

Nationwide Group Staff Union

31 Remploy

Congress condemns the proposal to close 43 Remploy factory sites with the loss of 2,300 disabled jobs and up to 700 non-disabled jobs; supposedly aimed at getting more disabled people into open employment but actually planned since June 2005.

Congress recognises that at the heart of this dispute is a policy muddle and agrees that offering disabled people the opportunity to participate in mainstream employment and maintaining Remploy factories are not mutually exclusive. Congress supports both aims.

Congress will not be complicit in the privatisation of our public services and rejects the Remploy strategy as part of a wider campaign to privatise Jobcentre Plus. Remploy's Interwork function should be returned to JobCentre Plus which has the expertise to do the job.

Congress calls on the Government to:

i) place a moratorium on factory closures;

ii) hold an independent enquiry into the Remploy Board's stewardship and its strategy since June 2005;

iii) examine the methods used to persuade MPs and charities that factory closures are the only answer to the issue of disabled people's employment; and

iv) use the EU Procurement Directive to encourage public bodies to place orders with Remploy to create a steady stream of work out of the billions paid annually for goods and services.

Congress further calls on affiliates to support the Remploy trade unions' campaign to stop these factory closures and support their alternative business proposals which can substantially improve the company's financial position without the need for factory closures or job losses.

GMB

The following AMENDMENT was accepted

Insert at end of sub-paragraph i):

'and ensure that the views of disabled people themselves are taken into account before making further changes;'

Add new sub-paragraph v):

'v) take the opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to joined-up government by recognising the value of work in relation to addressing health inequalities, managing long-term health conditions, and as a fundamental component of well-being.'

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

32 Genetic testing

In 2011 the current moratorium and concordat on genetic testing for the insurance industry will cease to exist.

A review of this concordat and progress on the production of a policy framework to ensure that the use of genetic testing is transparent and fair is due to take place in 2008.

The rapid progress of technology has brought down the cost of screening and access to genetic testing and as a result there is an urgent need to have clear policy and regulation on the use and storage of sensitive and personal data.

Without realistic and enforceable control of genetic testing, employers and insurers will rely on self-regulation. This is unacceptable and has the potential for misuse and discrimination in the workplace and the wider community.

Congress is concerned that there has been little, if any, debate with unions on the use of genetic testing in employment or in health care.

Congress calls on the General Council to open the debate with the public and affiliates on the use and control of genetic testing in employment with the intention of raising awareness and to develop public policy on this very important issue.

Congress further calls on the General Council to engage with government about how best to implement robust mechanisms for the regulation and management of genetic testing in the workplace.

Society of Radiographers

33 Manufacturing and globalisation

Congress recognises that the future ability of trade unions in the UK to sustain collective influence in a global economy requires a global response. As the global marketplace takes ever greater control with less accountability, trade unions need to work more closely with international trade union partners.

As an increasing proportion of UK manufacturing is owned by global corporations so the ability to influence business strategies and security of employment is undermined. As labour markets are exploited by trans-national employers where costs are cheapest and regulation non-existent, it falls upon the trade union movement to act in a concerted manner to challenge the absence of ethical and labour standards wherever they occur. Congress believes that the politics of the global market reflects a one-party system concerned with the interests only of its own corporate class. In the absence of collective nation states being able or willing to challenge this authority, the collective trade union movement remains the only credible alternative.

Congress calls upon the General Council to press the Government to:

i) use procurement to underpin UK manufacturing wherever possible,

ii) apply or introduce legislation to remove the disadvantage suffered by UK workers when compared to other developed manufacturing members of the EU;

iii) lift training support to a minimum of NVQ level 3; and

iv) remove legal barriers to cross-border trade union co-operation and merger.

Unite

34 Manufacturing in the United Kingdom

Congress is profoundly concerned about the decline of employment in manufacturing in Britain from four million in 2000 to below three million in 2006. Despite ten years of financial stability and economic growth the loss of manufacturing jobs in Britain has been much faster and productivity improvement much slower than in any other European Union country. In the European Union, Britain also has the largest trade deficit and British energy prices remain the highest. For years, investment in British manufacturing has been inadequate to maintain competitiveness despite deregulation, tax incentives, and other employer-friendly policies and the close attention the Government has paid to CBI advice.

Congress is convinced that economic growth cannot be maintained indefinitely in the absence of a thriving industrial base and that without the contribution to growth of technical advance in manufacturing, it will be increasingly difficult for the United Kingdom to maintain rising levels of public expenditure. Congress calls on the Government to reassess the impact on manufacturing of the instability and over-valuation of Sterling in relation to the Euro and the systemic conflict between the narrow remit of the Monetary Policy Committee and the needs of manufacturing.

Congress in addition calls on the Government to work in close co-operation with the TUC to establish a fair trading environment for British manufacturing by addressing, in particular, the excessive costs of energy; inappropriate trade and public procurement policies; and the failure to utilise available EU resources to promote British manufacturing advance.

Community

The following AMENDMENT was accepted

Paragraph 2, after first sentence ending 'expenditure' insert:

'For example, Congress is concerned that although the defence industrial base will be boosted by the Carrier contracts, it is likely that only one shipyard will be needed after 2016. As a result there is a challenge of retaining technical expertise and training apprentices without the prospect of secure employment.'

After this insertion, make existing 'Congress calls on...' into new paragraph 3.

Prospect

36 Climate change

Congress notes with concern the recent reports of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, which highlight the global scale and severity of the impact of climate change. It welcomes the publication of the draft Climate Change Bill as an important part of the UK's response to these challenges. Congress:

i) supports the principle of statutory targets for reducing carbon emissions, but believes that the UK's target of 60 per cent reduction by 2050 may be insufficiently ambitious;

ii) agrees that the proposed legally binding five-year 'carbon budgets' will help provide clarity on the UK's pathway towards its key targets, but considers that these will need to be buttressed by other measures to provide the long-term policy certainty needed to encourage the necessary investment in low-carbon generating capacity; and

iii) welcomes the proposed formation of a Committee on Climate Change to provide independent expert advice and guidance to Government, but considers that to ensure that it commands public confidence this Committee must include a voice for key stakeholder groups.

Congress also believes that the proposed Commission for Employment and Skills should be tasked with undertaking a cross-cutting review of the employment and skills required to sustain a low-carbon economy, bring forward environmental markets, enhance economic performance, and develop skills for sustainable production and consumption.

The General Council is instructed to pursue these objectives urgently and to press for greater policy cohesion across government departments.

Prospect

39 Freight on rail

Congress notes the recent success of the TUC one-day conference on climate change. The conference recognised that a major shift in the transportation of goods from road to rail would make a significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions, Government costs and congestion and improving safety. It was stated that we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions globally by 60 per cent by 2050 if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.

The movement from road to rail can significantly reduce carbon emissions, as rail produces between five and ten times less emissions per tonne carried than road transport and an average freight train can remove 50 heavy goods vehicle journeys from our roads.

Furthermore, rail freight could save significant amounts on road repairs, as HGV lorries can cause substantial and costly damage to road surfaces.

To this end, Congress welcomes the Government's aim to secure a significant shift to rail freight and the announcement in June 2006 by the Rail Minister to award £44 million in new rail freight grants, which will lead to the equivalent of more than 2.1 million lorry journeys and 631 million lorry kilometers being removed from Britain's roads over the next three years.

Congress calls on the General Council in tandem with all the transport unions to lobby the Government to honour its commitments to the rail freight industry and increase the rate of freight carried by rail and, therefore, we continue to call for a balanced and integrated transport policy that embraces road, rail and air.

Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen

40 The environmental benefits of shipping

Congress expresses concern that the UK is still not harnessing the environmental benefits to be gained by increasing the proportion of freight carried at sea. The UK lags behind many other EU member states in the volumes being moved by waterborne transport, and has failed to take advantage of the EU 'motorways of the sea' proposals.

Congress also notes with concern that the public and political debate over 'food miles' fails to reflect the fact that the vast majority of food from abroad comes by sea and, as such, can have less of a carbon footprint than produce grown in the UK.

Congress calls for the General Council to support lobbying for incentives to encourage the expanded use of waterborne transport, and for measures to overcome actual and mythical obstacles to the use of short sea shipping. Congress also urges the General Council to press the Government to seek to enter fully into the European 'motorways of the sea' programme, identifying routes, ports and suitable new technologies to encourage a modal shift of freight to shipping.

Nautilus UK

41 Transport

Congress recognises the importance of all forms of transport to the United Kingdom and globally, both economically and environmentally.

In regard to the movement of goods, Congress recognises that the increased use of lean manufacturing and retailing has had a particular detrimental effect on terms and conditions of employment and family-friendly working patterns of logistics workers here in the UK and the rest of the world and calls for a national and international campaign, involving the relevant global union federations, to work to improve working conditions.

Congress recognises the importance that all forms of public transport have in moving people safely and securely for work and leisure. Privatisation and deregulation of have resulted in a lowering of safety and security standards as firms try to reduce costs to improve their balance sheets. The safety and security of the travelling public or those working in these industries should not be put at risk to improve the profitability of companies, which are increasingly becoming global transport companies. The transport of goods and people also clearly contributes to the effects of climate change and the sector needs to reduce its impact on the environment as part of a wider approach.

Therefore, Congress rejects the failed free market approach to public transport and calls for the General Council to campaign for the benefits of a fully integrated public transport policy, including a positive role for aviation, which also encompasses public ownership of rail and bus travel.

Unite

The following AMENDMENT was accepted

Paragraph 2, add at end:

'The impact of the Working Time Regulations, as they apply to mobile transport workers in the UK, has had little or no effect on the long working hours of professional drivers. Any review of the legislation must incorporate a change in how 'Periods of Availability' are defined in law.'

United Road Transport Union

44 Affordable housing

Congress welcomes the determined efforts of trade unionists, tenants and communities to ensure that the issue of affordable housing has been lifted up the political agenda.

Congress notes that the number of new households continues to outstrip the number of new homes being built every year, and that the shortfall of affordable homes carries significant social and human costs, including homelessness and significant deprivation.

Congress also notes the unresolved dispute around the 'fourth option', agreed by the Labour Party conference, which would allow local authorities to retain their own stock and enjoy a level playing field on debt write-offs and decent homes investment.

Congress welcomes the Government's commitment to making affordable housing a priority. However, with ordinary working people priced out of the market in most towns across the UK, house price inflation massively outstripping wages growth and ever-higher levels of indebtedness, there is a danger that the government response won't match the scale of the problem.

Congress also supports the crucial role of a democratic process in ensuring a viable and sustainable planning strategy.

Congress demands that the General Council lead a campaign for:

i) affordable, social wage solutions to the current housing shortage, including a significant increase in the number of new homes for social rent;

ii) an expansion of options for real low cost home ownership;

iii) local authorities having the ability to bring their housing up to standard and build new council homes; and

iv) the involvement of tenants and communities in the housing programme.

UNISON

The following AMENDMENT was accepted

At end of paragraph 2 insert new sentence:

'This situation has also detrimentally affected public services, with large numbers of public service workers unable to live in the communities they serve.'

Insert new sub-paragraph iv) and re-number subsequent sub-paragraph:

'iv) until public consultation on the Green Paper Homes for the Future: More Affordable, More Sustainable is completed, a moratorium be implemented on further transfers or privatisations;'

Fire Brigades' Union

45 Child poverty

Congress applauds the Government's commitment to halve child poverty between 1999 and 2010, on the way to its elimination by 2020, and welcomes the reduction of 17 per cent by 2005. However, Congress notes with dismay the slowdown in progress towards this target, which in 2007 leaves one in three children in poverty, and believes the target is unattainable with current policies.

Trade unionists working in education understand how poverty creates major barriers to educational success and suffer frustration that 3.8 million children in the UK cannot concentrate on learning because of the inadequate diet, poor health, and disrupted family lives which result from poverty. Under such circumstances, Congress believes that education staff are not to blame for these children's lack of achievement. Congress recognises that a reduction in child poverty would have a large positive effect on overall educational performance, unlike policies for a diversity of school types, choice or frequent testing which further reduces the motivation of low achievers.

Congress invites the General Council to display continuing commitment to the End Child Poverty coalition, and to press the Government to allocate the £4 billion necessary to raise one million children from poverty by 2010. Congress calls on the General Council to continue to lobby the Government to accept that its aspiration to close the social class gap in educational performance cannot be met without stronger anti-child poverty policies.

Association of Teachers and Lecturers

The following AMENDMENT was accepted

Insert new second paragraph:

'Congress welcomes the Prime Minister's commitment to raising education spending to £8,000 per pupil and urges that a date be set to achieve this goal. Congress believes that schools in socially deprived areas should benefit from this commitment so that children in poverty can receive the additional support they need.'

National Union of Teachers

50 The health of the public sector workforce

Congress notes with concern the negative effect that constant organisational change, the threat of redundancy, vacancy freezes and working in a target-driven environment is having on the health and welfare of NHS employees.

Congress notes that stress, bullying, violence and musculoskeletal disorders are rife in the NHS which, unsurprisingly, correspond with high levels of sickness amongst NHS employees.

Congress recognises that the health and wellbeing of the public sector workforce is central to the effective delivery of public service reforms.

Congress notes the Department of Work and Pensions' strategy Health and Wellbeing - Caring for our Future, which aims to reduce sickness absence and give all employees access to competent occupational health advice and support.

Congress believes that the NHS should have exemplar occupational health services that set the benchmark for other services.

Congress calls on the General Council to campaign for pro-active, accessible, well-staffed and holistic occupational health services that promote preventative strategies and effective rehabilitation in order to best serve the health needs of public sector workers.

Society of Radiographers

51 Civil service/NDPB dispute and welfare reform

Congress fully supports civil and public servants campaigning and taking industrial action against massive job cuts. Congress notes that the cuts are accompanied by increased use of consultants and contracting out as government departments struggle to deliver vital services.

Congress notes that HMRC is seeking to save £105 million by cutting staff, but spending £106 million on management consultants who often do the same work as staff.

Congress opposes the Freud report proposals for contracting out Jobcentre Plus employment services and the proposed transfer of core welfare state functions to private companies, charities and faith groups. There is no evidence that the 'third sector' is able to deliver better public services. Congress also opposes any increased reliance on sanctions to get lone parents, those receiving incapacity benefit, and the long-term unemployed into the labour market.

Congress also notes with concern the DWP press release, issued to coincide with the TUC Disability Conference, announcing that trade unions would be asked to bid for contracts to carry out DWP work. Congress calls on affiliated unions not to cooperate with this divisive attack on civil servants' jobs.

Congress resolves to call on the General Council and Executive committee to:

i) mobilise full support for the civil service unions in their opposition to job cuts and privatisation and in seeking national pay bargaining rights;

ii) call a national demonstration in support of all public services and against further privatisations; and

iii) increase the public profile of its campaigning to defend the welfare state.

Public and Commercial Services Union

52 The relocation of ONS and HSE from London

Congress notes that the Civil Service provides services to citizens throughout the UK and appreciates the value of situating civil service work at appropriate locations around the country. However, Congress views with concern the proposals to relocate from London the head office of the Health and Safety Executive and to close the London office of the Office for National Statistics. Congress recognises that these particular relocations will not only cause considerable hardship to individual civil servants, but also threaten to undermine the ability of both organisations to undertake effectively their key roles as a consequence of the inevitable loss of key staff unwilling to uproot themselves and families from London.

In the case of the ONS, Congress notes that the closure of the London office:

i) is expected to lead to compulsory redundancies;

ii) will potentially lessen the influence of official statistics within national government;

iii) will cause a fall in the quality of UK official statistics as few ONS staff are able or willing to move from London and there is no evidence that sufficient trained and skilled staff can currently be recruited outside of London;

iv) will potentially diminish the role of official statistics in the London-based policy process; and

v) will lead to a consequential damage to the reputation of UK official statistics.

It is anticipated that similar issues will emerge for the HSE.

Congress offers its support to the civil service unions in their campaigns to reverse these decisions, and urges the Government to reconsider urgently.

FDA

The following AMENDMENT was accepted

Delete penultimate paragraph and replace with:

'Relocating the HSE's headquarters would weaken policy-making by isolating it from the practical expertise of operational staff as well as marginalising its influence with ministers.

Congress does not believe that the HSE has made a convincing business case for these proposals, which follow funding cuts that have already caused significant job losses.'

Prospect

53 The future of the Post Office

Congress is alarmed by the proposal to close 2,500 post offices and the negative impact this will have on service provision across the UK and especially on vulnerable communities.

To address these concerns and ensure a sustainable future for the Post Office that includes a significant network of crown offices with a long-term future it is essential that the following improvements are made to government policy:

i) increased funding for the entire network, with a commitment by government to support the Post Office financially beyond 2011;

ii) a commitment to limit closure based on a social evaluation of the impact on local communities;

iii) establishment of a more functional replacement for the Post Office Card Account based on the concept of a 'Universal People's Bank' to be operated by and through the Post Office;

iv) extension of the consultation period and procedures dealing with post office closures to 12 weeks and expanding the role of regional/local authorities in strategic decisions on the Post Office network;

v) improved access criteria that ensure that 99 per cent of those living in an 'urban deprived area' are within 0.5 miles of a post office and that consideration be given to other major factors such as transport links, travel times and post office opening times; and

vi) a commitment by local, regional and national government fully to utilise the post office network to provide access to services, thus ensuring it is the shop front for government services.

Communication Workers' Union

54 Fires in high-rise dwellings

Congress notes the findings of the coroner's inquest into the fatal fire at Harrow Court, Stevenage on 2nd February 2005 that claimed the lives of a resident and two firefighters.

Congress notes the successes of the fire and rescue service in increasing public awareness of the dangers of fire and the need for home safety measures. However, this tragedy also highlights the particular danger, to both residents and to firefighters, of fires occurring in high-rise buildings even where smoke detection systems are installed. Despite the progress in preventative community safety initiatives, Congress recognises that fires and other emergencies will continue to occur. When they do, the public and firefighters deserve the most effective emergency response possible. Therefore, community safety activities must be developed alongside the maintenance of an effective emergency intervention strategy and the training and equipment that support it.

Congress calls for fire services and other public authorities to work together with trade unions and tenants and residents groups to ensure:

i) public awareness of the risks of using tea lights without appropriate holders;

ii) firefighters are provided with adequate opportunities for familiarisation visits to all high-rise buildings;

iii) firefighters are provided with suitable realistic training for incidents in such premises;

iv) systems to allow the rapid reporting of, and repair to, damaged dry rising mains;

v) hard-wired smoke alarm systems are provided wherever possible; and

vi) planning to ensure that adequate numbers of firefighters and fire engines are mobilized to fires in high-rise buildings.

Fire Brigades' Union

55 NHS Together campaign

Congress congratulates the TUC, affiliated unions and the non-affiliated health trade unions for their support for the NHS Together campaign, aimed at celebrating the achievements of the NHS but also raising awareness of developments that have the potential to unravel these achievements. We pay tribute to the leadership shown by the TUC and the historic collaboration between all the trade unions in our collective desire to influence the modernisation of the NHS.

Congress notes that the campaign has been successful in a number of areas, including promoting a better dialogue with both staff and unions within the NHS over future changes. Congress calls on the TUC and affiliates to maintain support for the campaign to ensure that these successes can be built on. In particular, maximum support for the next planned national campaigning event on Saturday 3 November would send a powerful message about the commitment of the trade union movement to our national health service in the run-up to its 60th anniversary and our desire to see it delivering the highest possible levels of service to NHS patients and their families.

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

56 2006 NHS survey

Congress notes the publication of the 2006 NHS survey. Its key findings show little or no improvement, and in some areas show a worsening working environment for NHS staff. Congress notes that the response rate nationally to the survey was lower than in the previous year. Congress also notes that:

i) 70 per cent of respondents indicated that they were working more than their contracted hours;

ii) only a third of staff had a well-structured appraisal;

iii) 32 per cent of staff had experienced work-related stress;

iv) levels of violence, bullying, and harassment remain high; and

v) 32 per cent of NHS staff indicated an intention to leave the NHS.

Congress notes the great efforts being made by the NHS trade unions through the Social Partnership Forum to address this matter and calls on the General Council to offer whatever support is necessary to improve the situation in time for the 2007 survey.

Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists

57 Local government pay and conditions negotiations

Congress believes that unity is strength and that the combination of those who work for the same employers creates benefits for all through the unity of their approach. Congress also believes that there are, within the workforces of larger employers, for example local government, small distinct groups of employees whose specific needs are not always met by generalist approaches. Congress notes that the interests of those workers are often best met by smaller discrete unions specifically organised for that purpose. However, Congress further notes that the aspirations of the members of smaller unions sometimes can only be achieved by working in combination with larger groups.

Congress applauds the work of the 11 affiliates that successfully combined to represent and fight for the interests of the entire local government workforce in the 2006 pensions dispute. It commends that action as a process to all affiliates and requests the General Council to use its influence to ensure that the voice of smaller affiliates is heard in any future negotiations over local government pay. The General Council should, in particular, work with affiliates to ensure that discrete mechanisms, in whatever form, for the negotiation of pay and conditions continue to exist to represent the interests of minority groups with specific interests.

Association of Educational Psychologists

58 Comprehensive education

Congress reaffirms its support for the principle of high quality comprehensive schools available to all young people within their local communities.

Congress welcomes the Government commitment to increase per capita investment in publicly funded schools to the level of that spent on each pupil in the private sector.

Congress also recognises the key role played by local authorities in the provision of a democratically accountable and fully comprehensive education service for all our communities.

While welcoming genuinely altruistic and philanthropic inputs to state schools, Congress opposes initiatives such as skills academies and city academies that:

i) give undue influence or control over state schools to unaccountable individuals or businesses;

ii) fragment coherent and harmonised provision of comprehensive schools for all; and

iii) act as a vehicle for the marketisation and privatisation of the public education service.

Congress, therefore, calls on the General Council to campaign for the advancement of comprehensive education and to ensure that both the UK government and the devolved administrations continue to improve funding for state education to at least the level of that in the private sector.

The Educational Institute of Scotland

The following AMENDMENT was accepted

Insert new penultimate paragraph 5:

'Congress welcomes the TUC's report, A New Direction, calling for a review of academies. Congress urges the TUC to intensify its campaign against academy status and to work with organisations, such as the Anti-Academies Alliance, in order to persuade government to return academies to the local authority family of schools.'

National Union of Teachers

59 Regional collaboration for school improvement

Congress congratulates the workforce in the schools and local authorities which have collaborated in the 'London Challenge' initiative, led by Professor Tim Brighouse as Chief Adviser for London Schools, on their impressive achievements in supporting local schools facing challenging circumstances assisted by dedicated central government funding to the value of £40 million per annum. Congress notes that the attainment gaps for students from more deprived families, and from ethnic minority communities which tend to underachieve, have consequently narrowed faster in London than elsewhere.

Congress therefore broadly welcomes the Government's recent City Challenge announcement to the effect that similar programmes, centred on regional collaboration for school improvement, are to be introduced for Black Country and for Greater Manchester schools, supported by an additional £75 million of central government funding. Congress believes that such regional and sub-regional initiatives can help to improve education outcomes for local children, and calls for:

i) the relevant school-based and local authority workforce to be properly involved and their professional associations fully consulted as these programmes are designed and implemented; and

ii) these initiatives to be based on identifiable best practice in school improvement activity, and based on the promotion of local schools and education services as genuine professional learning communities, and not driven by pressures for further savings in local authority budgets and the erosion of education support service provision.

Association of Professionals in Education and Children's Trusts

63 Criminal justice policy

Congress believes that it is the failure of increasingly punitive government policies and the 54 Criminal Justice Acts since 1997 that have led to the current crisis in the criminal justice system, whereby prisons are overcrowded, and the Probation Service, despite never performing better against all targets, is under attack, under-funded and facing an uncertain future.

Congress calls on the Government to act as a matter of urgency to:

i) address sentencing policy to restore the use of custody for only the most serious offenders, promoting instead a more extensive and appropriate use of community sentences, fines and discharges;

ii) restore confidence in community penalties by halting the current Offender Management Bill that will result in the dismantling and fragmentation of the Probation Service; and

iii) ensure that the Probation Service is properly resourced to play its full part in the reduction of re-offending.

napo

66 Extension of the term of protection for performers' rights

In December 2006 the Treasury published the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property prepared by a team led by Andrew Gowers, former Editor of the Financial Times. The report recommended the rejection of the music industry campaign to extend the period of protection for performers' rights and for sound recordings.

While performers currently receive a period of protection of 50 years, authors and composers enjoy a period of protection of life plus 70 years. Performance has been recognised by international treaties and conventions as a creative act in itself, therefore Congress believes that performers should receive due recognition as creators. In addition, advances in health and social care that have resulted in a greater life span for all citizens, including most performers, have produced a situation that Congress does not believe was anticipated by either the drafters of the international conventions on copyright or by UK legislators: performers' rights are now beginning to expire during the lifetime of the performer. Congress regards this as being morally wrong and in the interests of fair treatment seeks a realignment of the balance between performers and their 'cousins' the authors.

Congress asks the General Council to add its voice to the lobby to extend the period of protection for performer rights and for the copyright in sound recordings so as to ensure that performers are treated with fairness and receive just reward for their creations and performances.

Musicians' Union

67 Licensing Act 2003

Successive government ministers promised that the Licensing Act 2003 would encourage the growth of live entertainment and be particularly good for live music. However, Congress notes that extensive research has shown that, while many established large and medium venues have benefited from the Act, smaller venues often regard themselves as being burdened with red tape and consequently think carefully about whether to put on live entertainment, as recorded music and big screen sport is not licensable. This means that the Act has had a broadly neutral effect on the provision of live entertainment across England and Wales.

To ensure that the Act is indeed live music- and entertainment-friendly, and actively encourages it, Congress urges the Government to take the following action:

i) introduce an inexpensive, fast track method of varying a licence to include regulated entertainment;

ii) explore tangible benefits such as tax breaks, etc. for venues that demonstrate a clear commitment to the provision of live entertainment;

iii) introduce an exemption from the 'regulated entertainment' provisions of the Act for venues with a capacity of 100 members of the public or less;

iv) where residents complain of excessive noise, in new dwellings that have been built next to existing established live entertainment venues, ensure that the 'agent of change' is responsible for the venue being made compliant with any conditions that might be added to the Premises Licence; and

v) take appropriate action to ensure that the provisions of the Act and the accompanying statutory guidance are uniformly adhered to.

Musicians' Union

68 Multilateralism and the ILO

Congress affirms that achieving peace and security at home and abroad depends on the achievement of social justice and development internationally and calls attention to the crucial role which the International Labour Organisation should be enabled to play in a period of rapid globalisation and interdependence in combating peacefully poverty, discrimination and exploitation and in promoting the free exercise of inalienable human rights. Congress considers that the tripartite structure of the ILO equips it uniquely to help build civil society and to establish a rule-based international system with independent and authoritative means of supervision.

In the light of the pressing need for new international instruments to guide the development of migration policies and to tackle the flouting of elementary justice in respect of the employment of women and children, Congress regrets deeply the failure of the British Government to join with other European Union governments in increasing the resources available to the ILO as well as the inadequate response of the Government to fulfilling its own obligations under ratified Conventions.

Congress calls on the Government to:

i) bring British law and practice into conformity with the requirements of ratified Conventions;

ii) ratify Convention 26 on minimum wage-fixing machinery; and

iii) channel additional resources to the ILO through the regular budget, particularly for programmes to promote employment, to combat discrimination and end forced and child labour, and to encourage international co-operation in bringing justice and compassion to handling the international migration of working people.

Community

The following AMENDMENT was accepted

In paragraph 1, add new final sentence at end:

'The ILO's unique tripartism and workplace focus must be defended in the context of UN reform.'

Paragraph 2, line 7, delete 'increasing the' and replace with 'supporting increased'

Replace existing sub-paragraph ii) with:

'ii) re-ratify Conventions 26 - minimum wage-fixing machinery, 94 - labour clauses in public contracts, 95 - on the protection of wages; and ratify Conventions, particularly Maritime, adopted since 1997.'

Sub-paragraph iii), line 1, after 'budget,' add 'following the tripartite Governing Body priorities,'

Nautilus UK

69 Workers' rights

Congress welcomes the new International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) unifying the previously separate ICFTU and WCL; reaffirms its commitment to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, with particular reference to Article 23; and congratulates those responsible for the launch of Your Company in August 2006, as part of the TUC's website www.worksmart.org.uk.

Congress notes the constitution of the ITUC, which pledges to struggle for 'the emancipation of working people and a world in which the dignity and rights of all human beings is assured...'; and which recognises 'the urgent need to transform social, economic and political structures and relations which stand as obstacles to that vision...' and the need for 'democratic governance in the interests of labour, which it holds superior to those of capital'. Congress further notes the implications of the content of the worksmart.org.uk website, which reveals the considerable discrepancy between average profit created by, and average wages received by, the average UK worker.

Congress therefore instructs the General Council to sponsor and participate in a national and international campaign for universal fundamental reform of fiscal policy and of book-keeping and accountancy practice, as an inseparable part of the consolidation of the above developments into a Universal Declaration of Workers' Rights.

Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union

70 Child labour

Congress asserts that children must be protected against work that is harmful, economically exploitative, hazardous, and likely to undermine their education, their health and their physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.

Congress deplores the fact that there are increasing numbers of children in the UK who are forced to work as a result of poverty and deprivation.

Congress believes that the opportunities arising from the 2012 Olympics could, if unchecked, further exacerbate the problem of exploitative child labour.

Congress believes that continuing action is needed to ensure that:

i) the human rights of every child are respected;

ii) children are protected from harmful labour; and

iii) effective action is taken to eradicate all forms of forced labour, prostitution and child trafficking.

Congress urges the Government to take action to:

a) introduce effective legislative measures to combat harmful child labour;

b) tackle those factors that cause children to undertake harmful work;

c) provide effective alternatives to exploitative child labour;

d) develop a school curriculum framework that helps raise awareness of the nature and effects of harmful work;

e) support the efforts of trade unions in protecting the interests of child workers;

f) ensure that no child is exploited in the UK's preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games; and

g) press the International Olympic Committee to set and enforce agreed labour standards to protect all workers.

National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers

The following AMENDMENT was accepted

Paragraph 1, line 5, after 'development' insert:
'; and for which they have not reached the minimum age, in accordance with ILO Conventions 138 and 182.'

In sub-paragraph ii) delete 'harmful labour' and replace with 'child labour as defined by ILO conventions'.

In sub-paragraph iii) delete 'all forms of' and replace with 'child', and after 'prostitution and' delete 'child'.

In sub-paragraph a) delete 'harmful'.

In sub-paragraph b) delete 'harmful work' and replace with 'child labour'.

In sub-paragraph c) delete 'exploitative'.

In sub-paragraph d) delete 'harmful work' and replace with 'child labour, and the knowledge of occupational health and safety'.

In sub-paragraph e) after 'in' insert 'ensuring free, compulsory, formal education for all and". After 'child workers' insert 'performing work permitted by ILO Conventions.'

Association of Teachers and Lecturers

71 EU Reform Treaty

Congress notes that:

i) the work to give effect to the June 2007 agreement on the EU Reform Treaty has begun with the aim of new draft legislation agreed by the Council of Ministers in December 2007;

ii) the target for ratification is before June 2009;

iii) there will be a referendum in Ireland following the Irish Taoiseach's statement that 90 per cent of the previous Constitution is included in the new Reform Treaty;

iv) the Labour Party Election manifesto pledged that the UK electorate would be given the final say, in a referendum, on the ratification of the Constitution; and

v) the ETUC position prior to June 2007 was 'no legally binding Charter of Fundamental Rights - no Treaty' and this demand has been satisfied for 26 EU Member States.

Congress considers that:

a) the Labour Party should honour this pledge and hold a referendum on the ratification of this new Reform Treaty; and

b) the pledge was right at the time of the election and is right now - Europe can only be developed with the wholehearted support of its citizens.

Congress is also concerned that the competition protocol in the Reform Treaty could be a Trojan horse to promote unfettered privatisation throughout the EU.

Congress is bitterly disappointed that the Charter of Fundamental Rights will not apply to British workers and their trade unions and calls on the Government to show commitment to Europe's social dimension as this is necessary for British trade unions' support for the future development of Europe.

GMB

73 Solidarity with Zimbabwean trade unionists

Congress notes the appalling situation facing Zimbabwean workers:

i) inflation rocketing so that prices are out of reach of ordinary workers;

ii) declining life expectancy, with women likely to live no longer than 34 years;

iii) high rates of HIV/AIDS, with treatment restricted to supporters of the Government; and

iv) violent repression and harassment of trade unionists.

Congress expresses its solidarity with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and their affiliated unions, and welcomes the widespread international support that they have received, especially from the South African trade union movement. Congress welcomes the action taken by French trade unions to prevent Robert Mugabe attending the Franco-African summit, and by Portuguese trade unions to oppose his participation in the forthcoming
EU-Africa summit.

Congress rejects Robert Mugabe's claim that the problems facing Zimbabwe are the result of imperialist intervention, which is a smokescreen to obscure the responsibility of his destructive and corrupt regime and to deter opposition domestically and regionally. Congress shares the South African trade union movement's concern not only for Zimbabwe, but also for Swaziland, where the longest state of emergency has resulted in similar repression of free and independent trade unions: accordingly, Congress sends its solidarity to the Swaziland trade union movement too.

Congress calls on the General Council and unions to continue to express solidarity with Zimbabwean trade unionists, and encourages unions to affiliate to Action on Southern Africa and join the ACTSA/TUC solidarity committee.

Accord

The following AMENDMENT was accepted

Insert new penultimate paragraph:

'Congress also condemns the growing government attacks on the Zimbabwean student movement, including the mass expulsion of students at the University of Zimbabwe in July. Congress expresses its solidarity with the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) in its mission to champion and protect education as a fundamental human right.'

University and College Union

76 Venezuela

Congress congratulates the Venezuelan government on their achievements in using the country's resources for the benefit of the majority of its people.

The massive improvements which have been achieved, particularly in the fields of education, health care and land reform have the overwhelming support of the Venezuelan people.

Congress particularly welcomes the advances for workers and trade unionists including:

i) the announcement of the re-nationalisation of all privatised utilities;

ii) the increase in the level of the minimum wage;

iii) the announcement of a progressive reduction of the working week; and

iv) the setting up of Workers' Councils in factories and workplaces.

Congress deplores the attempts of the US administration to meddle in the internal affairs of the Venezuelan people and to attempt to undermine these initiatives. Congress notes and supports the decision of the Venezuelan government not to renew the licence for private TV station RCTV which supported the military coup against the democratically elected government.

Congress resolves to:

a) ensure information on the positive work of the Venezuelan government and the achievements it has made for the people of Venezuela is circulated widely;

b) encourage affiliates to deliver support and assistance to independent trade union organisations in Venezuela; and

c) encourage affiliates to consider twinning arrangements and other methods for promoting solidarity with Venezuelan trade unions.

Fire Brigades' Union

The following AMENDMENT was accepted

Paragraph 1, line 1, after 'Congress' insert: 'reaffirms its 2005 motion on Venezuela and'

In sub-paragraph b), after 'Venezuela' insert: ', namely those organised under the umbrella of the UNT'

National Union of Mineworkers

79 Abuse of technology

Congress acknowledges that developments in technology have made significant improvements to supporting workers and working practices.

Congress recognises, however, that there is significant and growing evidence of the abuse of technology, particularly through mobile phones, emails and internet sites, which is not only contributing to increasing working hours and workload but is also providing a vehicle for bullying and harassing workers and for false allegations to be made publicly against them.

Congress is concerned that such abuse is in many cases having a devastatingly adverse effect on workers' health, wellbeing, confidence, self-esteem, and, in some cases, their career progression.

Congress, therefore, calls upon the General Council to:

i) campaign for a review of regulatory and legislative provisions to secure more accessible avenues of redress for those who are named or exposed to public ridicule and subject to false allegations on websites;

ii) produce appropriate guidance, including a model workplace protocol, to encourage employers to take action to address such abuse and misuse; and

iii) press the HSE to include reference to technology, its use and abuse, in health and safety good practice guidance and in all workplace health and safety audits, including risk assessments.

National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers

Composite1 National Minimum Wage enforcement

Congress believes that effective enforcement is essential for the success of the National Minimum Wage and is alarmed at the scale of underpayment that is being uncovered by the Minimum Wage Compliance Officers, with over £3 million in arrears being uncovered last year. Congress also believes that any regional variation in the minimum wage will undermine and complicate effective enforcement.

Congress is further concerned that this situation will get worse as the number of migrant workers continues to increase and that these vulnerable workers are often unaware of their employment rights, including those relating to the Minimum Wage, or fearful of taking any action to enforce them.

Congress welcomes the recent consultation process on improving the enforcement mechanism of the Minimum Wage through a more effective penalty regime and a fairer way of dealing with arrears owed to workers.

However, Congress notes the failure by HMRC management to deliver on Gordon Brown's commitment made in December 2006 to increase resources by 50 per cent and believes further action is needed and calls upon the Government to take action to address the situation through:

i) further substantially increasing the National Minimum Wage enforcement budget to allow for more Compliance Officers and more targeted and pro-active enforcement, especially in those sectors employing larger numbers of migrant workers;

ii) greater publicity about the right to a minimum wage in every workplace and the enforcement process;

iii) introducing stiffer financial penalties for employers found underpaying the Minimum Wage or those who dismiss or victimise workers because they have sought legal redress relating to the NMW, and ensuring that workers receive interest on the money that has been withheld from them; and not expanding existing exemptions from current minimum wage coverage e.g. through the National Framework for Volunteers;

iv) allowing trade unions to take representative and group cases to Employment Tribunals, rather than every single underpaid worker having to submit a separate application; and

v) enabling Compliance Officers to enforce the NMW in respect of holiday pay.

Mover: Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers

Seconder: UNISON

Supporter: Public and Commercial Services Union

Composite 2 Agency workers

Congress notes the overwhelming evidence that agency workers receive worse terms and conditions than directly employed workers, particularly in relation to pay, holiday entitlement and sick pay. This legalised discrimination denies essential protections to workers and leads to increasing casualisation and insecurity across the economy.

Congress recognises the excellent work done by the trade union movement in bringing the issue of unfair treatment of agency workers to the forefront of the political agenda. Congress congratulates Paul Farrelly MP for taking forward his Private Members Bill on agency workers and expresses its thanks to the 108 Labour MPs who attended the second reading of the Bill on 2 March. Congress condemns the Government opposition to this Bill, despite its landmark level of parliamentary support. Although the Bill was given insufficient time to proceed, it served to raise awareness of the issue among key interest groups.

Congress records that the Government has repeatedly stated that it supports the underlying principles of the EU Agency Workers Directive that would provide for equal treatment rights for agency workers, and notes the Government commitment made at Warwick to introduce domestic legislation if there was no progress on the EU Directive. Congress also notes that progress on European legislation has been stalled for over five years and is unlikely to be progressed in the near future.

Congress recognises that there is still much work to be done to end the exploitation of agency workers in the UK who are afforded some of the lowest levels of protection in Europe with no right to equal pay or conditions or right to legal employment status.

Congress believes that the introduction of equal treatment rights for agency workers is the only effective way to tackle exploitation and undercutting whilst also recognising the need for better regulation, enforcement and licensing in the agency sector.

Congress regrets that many public authorities and their contractors have over-used agency workers, undermining collective agreements, team working, services and abusing migrant workers. Such workers are outside the two-tier workforce prevention agreements and Congress resolves to tackle this loophole in 2007 and 2008 alongside other implementation problems.

Changes to regulations governing employment agencies must also provide greater protection for vulnerable workers in the entertainment industry. The TUC will therefore actively support the Equity/BECTU campaign to prevent rogue agents exploiting performers by charging up-front fees and commission, which can leave workers with less than the minimum wage.

Congress calls on the General Council to campaign for the introduction of a time limit within which workers in the entertainment industry must be paid by employers/hirers.

Congress calls on the TUC to continue to mount a high profile campaign for UK legislation in this parliament to outlaw discrimination against agency workers in basic terms and conditions, from day one of employment; campaign to end the exploitation of agency workers; and calls on the Government to honour its commitments and urgently introduce a legal framework giving agency workers equal treatment compared to their directly employed counterparts.

Mover: Unite

Seconder: Communication Workers' Union

Supporters: UNISON

Equity

Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union

Composite 3 Employment and trade union rights

Congress welcomes legislation enacted since 1997 that has improved the rights of millions of workers.

Congress notes that many of these measures were introduced against a background of opposition from employers and others on the grounds that they would damage jobs and the economy. Congress notes that such predictions proved to be groundless with the economy remaining strong and levels of employment growing. Whilst understanding the challenges of the global market for workers in the 21st century, Congress believes that these cannot be overcome by driving down terms, conditions and other hard-won employment rights.

Whilst welcoming progress made so far, Congress considers that much more needs to be done to improve matters further and, in particular, calls on the General Council to campaign for:

i) an end to National Minimum Wage exemptions;

ii) an end to current balloting arrangements for union political funds;

iii) full employment rights for all workers from day one of employment;

iv) full compensation for workers who lost their occupational pensions before the Pension Protection Fund was established;

v) protection against outsourcing and off-shoring jobs, especially where public finances are involved;

vi) fast-track action on equal pay to address the problems associated with pay inequality that still adversely affect women workers;

vii) the Trade Union Freedom Bill, including provisions in line with this year's request to the UK Government by the ILO Committee of Experts to amend legislation to allow workers 'to participate in sympathy strikes, provided the initial strike they are supporting is lawful';

viii) better, more enforceable rights to time off for trade union activity and training;

ix) an end to the opt-out from the European Charter of Fundamental Rights; and

x) a renewed campaign, in collaboration with the National Pensioners Convention, to increase the state pension above the official poverty level, to mark the 2008 centenary of the first old age pension.

Mover: Transport Salaried Staffs' Association

Seconder: Unite

Supporter: Communication Workers' Union

Composite 4 Trade union rights and freedoms

Congress reiterates its support for repeal of the anti-trade union laws. Congress welcomes the Green Paper The Governance of Britain, which will begin a national debate on a new constitutional settlement, including a Bill of Rights. Congress urges the Government to ensure the incorporation of all International Labour Organisation conventions into any new Bill of Rights and for the General Council to vigorously campaign for this objective. Congress re-affirms its support for the Trade Union Freedom Bill, which is to be placed before Parliament for a second reading on 19 October 2007.

Congress notes the 2005 and 2006 Congress decisions endorsing a lobby of parliament in support of the Bill and the unanimous support for a lobby from all the Regional TUCs, the Wales TUC and STUC. Congress agrees that the lack of progress made to date on the repealing of the anti-trade union laws introduced by the Tory government is totally unacceptable. Action must be taken without further delay to restore the rights of the worker in the workplace.

Congress therefore agrees to step up the campaign for the repeal of all anti-trade union laws and urges the General Council to organise a lobby of parliament in support of the Trade Union Rights and Freedoms Bill, tabled by John McDonnell MP.

Congress welcomes the growing support for the Trade Union Freedom Bill, including from Harriet Harman MP, the successful candidate in the Labour Deputy Leadership contest.

The Bill is scheduled for its second reading on 19 October 2007 and Congress urges the Government to allow sufficient parliamentary time for the Bill to be debated and voted upon.

In support of the above campaigns Congress urges the General Council to:

i) examine whether the TUC can replicate the highly successful aspects of the Your Rights at Work campaign organised by the Australian Council of Trade Unions; and

ii) support the establishment of a Trade Union Week in Parliament along the lines of the successful STUC event in the Scottish Parliament.

Congress notes the need for the TUC and its affiliated unions fully to support TUC policies, once democratically adopted by Congress. Congress agrees that whilst it wishes to work constructively with the Government, it should be made clear that TUC policies that are contrary to the Government's policies will be fully acted upon.

Mover: National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers

Seconder: POA (UK)

Supporter: National Union of Mineworkers

Composite 5 Union and professional standards

Congress recognises the important role that trade unions, and especially the smaller specialist unions such as the Professional Footballers' Association, play in upholding professional standards and promoting the welfare of the industries in which they work, as well as defending and advancing members' terms and conditions. The work of these unions ensures that they are able to retain a strong identity and speak with authority on behalf of their profession. This helps to create a real sense of pride amongst union members and offers a distinctive way of attracting, organising and recruiting these members.

This important work, in the case of the PFA built up over the century since its formation, gives the union a status and a responsibility to its members and its industry.

Congress believes that in a fast changing world it is important for the unions to continue and, where appropriate, develop this aspect of their work and to that end asks the General Council to bring together, biannually, through the TUC senior managerial and professional unions group, those unions with an interest in promoting professional standards within their own sector to see what lessons can be drawn from respective experiences.

Mover: Professional Footballers' Association

Seconder: Equity

Supporters: Society of Radiographers

Association for College Management

Composite 6 Single Equality Act

Congress welcomes the publication of the Consultation Paper A Framework for Fairness: Proposals for a Single Equality Bill, but is deeply disappointed at the contents. The proposed Bill represents an opportunity to bring discrimination legislation into the 21st century and ensure that working people are treated equally regardless of sex, race, disability, sexuality, age, religion or belief.

Congress condemns the failure of the Green Paper on the Discrimination Law Review to seize the opportunity provided by the much-needed Single Equalities Bill to promote the equalities agenda in all areas, including the private sector. Congress believes that some of the proposals laid out in the Consultation Paper would actually have the effect of weakening our current discrimination law.

Women working full time still suffer a 17 per cent pay gap - rising to 40 per cent for part time women workers - with no sign of this gap closing. Under the proposals employers will not be legally obliged to carry out equal pay audits or to monitor and report on their equality practices. The public sector will have no statutory requirement to consider equality in contracts with the private sector. The Green Paper has missed a vital opportunity to make fundamental changes to the law to ensure that discriminatory practices are prevented through proactive action, rather than being addressed after they have occurred.

Congress believes equality is brought about by levelling up, not by suppressing or reducing the pay and conditions of all workers. This comes at a cost which government and employers must be prepared to meet and ensure adequate funding.

Congress notes the prompt action of the TUC in organising a meeting of affiliates to discuss and co-ordinate responses to the Green Paper. Congress calls on the General Council to ensure that:

i) lobbying and campaigning for improvements to the proposals are a high priority both during and beyond the consultation period; and

ii) the campaign focuses on the need for statutory rather than voluntary measures to be introduced if real change is to be achieved.

Congress urges the Government to extend the scope of the subsequent Bill to include:

a) much tougher enforcement of the law;

b) a duty on all employers to eliminate discrimination in their workplaces;

c) an obligation on employers to monitor their workforce on grounds of gender, race, disability, age and sexuality and to publish this information;

d) an obligation to include in their monitoring information relating to pay and working conditions, and introduce a right for trade unions to take class action;

e) rights to paid carers' leave; and

f) recognition and statutory rights to time off and training for union equality reps.

In particular, Congress calls on the Government to:

1) extend the public sector equality duty to all areas and reject the notion that it should be weakened as the price for its extension to cover age, sexuality and religion/belief;

2) provide for public procurement to be used as a means of promoting compliance with equality duties;

3) strengthen equal pay legislation in ways that address the gender pay gap and provide for equal pay for work of equal value and include the introduction of mandatory equal pay audits, the right for unions to bring representative actions, legal acceptance of 'hypothetical comparators'; and

4) maintain rights for individuals and unions to take judicial review action against public authorities if necessary, in order to ensure effective enforcement and remedy.

With these inclusions, the Government would take a giant step towards finally eradicating discrimination in our workplaces.

Congress calls on the Government, at the time of the creation of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, to ensure that all its policies and practices are based on maintaining an impetus on driving the equalities agenda forward in all areas.

Congress notes with concern that proposed government funding for the Commission will be inadequate to meet the demands of the role it is expected to fulfil and calls on the Government to provide sufficient resources for the Commission to use its enforcement powers effectively.

Congress calls on the General Council to mount a major campaign in pursuit of these objectives through parliamentary and other means, and to encourage affiliates to recognise and use the strength of trade union organisation and collectivism to secure equality in the workplace.

Mover: napo

Seconder: Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Supporters: Nationwide Group Staff Union

Unite

UNISON

Public and Commercial Services Union

Connect

GMB

Composite 7 Violence against women

Congress recalls the resolutions adopted in 2004 and 2006 and applauds the work so far undertaken by trade unions to promote workplace policies that address violence against women, especially domestic violence, and believes that further action can be taken through workplace bargaining, as well as by mobilising international solidarity. Congress, in particular, welcomes the partnership conference in July 2007 between the TUC, Amnesty International UK and the End Violence Against Women coalition to address 'working together to end violence against women.'

An important outcome of this conference was recognition by the delegates of the need to condemn so-called 'honour killings'. Congress reiterates the position that there are no such things as 'honour killings', and that they need to be recognised for what they are - murder and domestic violence.

Congress reiterates its call for the UK Government to develop a national strategy to address all aspects of violence against women in the UK.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

i) develop and disseminate occupational safety and bargaining materials and best practice aimed at harnessing the fullest potential for workplace action and employer policies to address and mitigate the effects of violence against women;

ii) offer strategic solidarity for women experiencing violence both at home and abroad, including by the promotion of action within the ITUC and Global Union Federations and at the ILO; and

iii) condemn honour-based violence and build a broad alliance to oppose the treatment of women in this way. So-called honour killings represent the extreme expression of a patriarchal belief in women as commodities. Like domestic and workplace violence there is no space for cultural sensitivity on such issues.

Congress calls on affiliated trade unions to support lobbying, policy, organising and workplace strategies for tackling violence against women and girls, including through membership education.

Congress calls on the General Council and affiliated trade unions to continue to work in partnership with Amnesty International to advance these objectives.

Mover: Accord

Seconder: Musicians' Union

Supporter: Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen

Composite 8 Private equity

Congress notes with concern the accelerating trend in the global economy towards an increasingly short-term outlook among financial investors. In particular, private equity, hedge funds, and others treat enterprises primarily as vehicles for speculation rather than investing in new products and services, high productivity and sustainable technologies.

Private equity firms, described as locusts by the German Minister, Franz Münterfering, typically borrow enormous sums of money to buy up companies, load them with the debt, hide behind a lack of transparency and independent data, demand excessive rates of return, strip assets, destroy quality jobs and significantly reduce corporation tax despite high operating profits. Congress believes that self regulation by the private equity sector will be wholly inadequate.

Congress also notes that wherever private equity takes an interest in communications companies, such as Deutsche Telekom or Airwave, there is an immediate attempt to slash hard-won conditions of employment.

Congress recognises the importance of raising public and political awareness on the issues posed by private equity, in particular how short-termism in business can lead to asset-stripping and job losses. The absence of accountability and transparency in private equity companies also needs to be highlighted and addressed.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

i) continue to support affiliates' campaigns exposing the failings of private equity;

ii) maintain pressure on the UK Government to ensure that PE partners are subject to a fair and progressive tax arrangement;

iii) campaign for the strengthening of information and consultation rights where companies are taken over by private equity, plus the extension of TUPE to cover circumstances where a change in ownership arises through share purchase;

iv) ensure a review of the impact on pensions in terms of transparency of information provided by the PE industry so trustees have sufficient powers to call in the Pensions Regulator when PE firms are planning to invest in their company; and

v) establish a database to monitor the activities of private equity funds in the UK and overseas.

Mover: Connect

Seconder: GMB

Supporters: Unite

Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers

Composite 9 Coal industry

Congress shares the Government's objectives set out in the energy White Paper, Meeting the Energy Challenge, published in May 2007, of securing diverse and sustainable energy supplies at acceptable cost and in an environmentally benign way.

However the White Paper contains insufficient measures to ensure that these objectives are met. There is no doubt that a substantial energy gap is opening up by 2015 that requires the urgent commissioning of new coal power stations that are carbon-capture ready. More fiscal and other incentives are necessary to incentivise the investment in new capacity, such as carbon pricing or a clean carbon obligation comparable to the renewables obligation.

Congress further notes that the need to burn coal at increased levels is undisputed and to meet our emission reduction targets there is a critical need to utilise clean coal technologies currently available such as Supercritical Pulverised Fuel Technology and Pressurised Fluidised Bed Combustion Technology and to develop further new clean coal technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

Although welcome, the current competition for a commercial scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) plant needs to be extended to prove the different CCS technologies. The Coal Forum established under the energy review has confirmed the urgency of the need to take action now to avoid depending on gas. Congress calls on the Government to accelerate the pace and scale of its CCS ambitions and come forward with further measures to achieve its energy objectives.

Congress agrees that the May 2007 White Paper refused to recognise the need for UK deep-mined coal within a balanced indigenous energy supply.

Congress notes that the Government has accepted that fossil fuels will continue to be the predominant source of energy and should accept that UK-produced coal plays a major role in our energy supply and that reliance on imported coal to meet future energy requirements should be treated with caution, as the industrialisation of Asia has increased greatly and will continue to increase demand for more of the world's coal.

Last year the UK imported 50 million tonnes of coal and burned 68 million tonnes, generating nearly 37 per cent of our electricity requirement.

Congress therefore agrees that representatives of the TUC and affiliated energy unions seek urgent discussions with Government to secure the extraction and exploitation of the nation's massive coal reserves in the best interests of security of supply for the British people, recognising that almost every other coal producing nation is expanding its coal industry whilst Britain continues to close its mines as a result of adherence to the free-market philosophy.

Mover: National Union of Mineworkers

Seconder: British Association of Colliery Management - Technical, Energy and Administrative Management

Composite 10 Railway industry

Congress considers that privatisation in the transport industry continues to work against the public interest. This relates not only to rail services directly: it also restricts developing optimal national responses, consistent across government departments, to the needs of British industries for an efficient transport infrastructure and to the challenges of fulfilling international obligations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Congress, therefore, again calls for a publicly owned and accountable railway industry that is electorally popular, economically justified and achievable at minimal cost by initially absorbing franchises as they expire.

Congress condemns the massive rises in unregulated fares by some train operators, particularly on routes where they operate as a monopoly. Congress calls for an immediate end to this practice and for those concerned to be better policed by the government. Congress also condemns the closure and reduced opening times of booking offices. As well as the increased risk of crime and vandalism it also diminishes the level of service to passengers who lose out on the availability of cheap, off-peak fares that are not available from ticket machines. Furthermore, Congress condemns the over zealous use of penalty fares, simply to boost company profits, that revenue staff are being forced to impose without discretion.

Congress is gravely concerned that the UK already has the highest rail fares in Europe and considers urgent action is needed to redress this problem in order to promote the use of rail travel that will deliver greater social inclusion and essential environmental benefits.

The disadvantages of privatisation are not restricted to passenger operations. Because only a small percentage of the potential freight load possible is carried by rail, and the Government will not take action to improve matters, freight operating companies are competing for the same contracts, which makes freight jobs vulnerable.

Congress considers the continuing debacle of maintenance undertaken by Metronet on the London Underground under the public-private partnership must be addressed urgently and calls for all the work to be taken back in-house as a priority.

Metronet's collapse could jeopardise Tube services and London's preparations for the Olympic Games. Congress urges the Government to support the Mayor's desire for infrastructure work to be taken under direct London Underground control and urges the General Council to support an early conference to campaign for this position.

Mover: Transport Salaried Staffs' Association

Seconder: National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers

Supporters: Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen

Community

Composite 11 Housing

Congress notes with concern the current housing crisis brought about in part by average UK house prices in excess of £200,000 and house price inflation running at 11.3 per cent, which is predicted to continue at high levels for the foreseeable future. Congress further notes that the rises in interest rates over the last 12 months have worsened buyer affordability.

Congress further recognises that the most vulnerable in our society are likely to be the most adversely affected by the current housing shortage. We need a major programme of investment and reform, based on a partnership between public and non-profit bodies, to build the houses that the UK so urgently needs. Congress further notes the poor safety record of the house building sector and its failure to train adequate apprentices for the industry.

Congress therefore calls upon the General Council to campaign for:

i) government to enable local authorities to improve all existing council homes and estates;

ii) government to allow local authorities to start a new house building programme;

iii) adequate revenue for council homes to be maintained now and in the future;

iv) Britain's new housing developments to be built on a plural model, so that tenants and owner-occupiers live side by side, and our schools in particular are able to draw on a much wider social mix;

v) the Government's affordable house-building programme to be subject to contract compliance processes that deliver access to training, skills and trade unions; and

vi) an extension of the scope of the 'key workers' scheme to cover more low-paid essential workers in the transport industry, for example, to improve access to affordable, good quality accommodation within reasonable reach of workplaces and other facilities.

Mover: Unite

Seconder: Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians

Supporter: Transport Salaried Staffs' Association

Composite 12 Public services

Congress believes that the Brown government must move on from the mistaken policies of marketisation, 'efficiency savings' and crude targets that have led only to privatisation, cuts and the demoralisation of public service staff, and set a course based on high quality, accountable services through co-operation with users and staff. Congress believes that only such a change will restore public confidence.

Congress recognises that in recent years there has been significant investment in key parts of the public sector. However, it is not convinced that the most effective use has been made of this investment or that all the staff who provide public services are properly valued.

Under-funding, despite rising operational demands, is leading to an over-reliance on the private sector, but there is no evidence to support assertions that this will reduce costs, increase efficiency and/or provide better value for money.

There is a real danger that such a short-term and short-sighted approach will lead to an irreversible loss of skills and capacity from the public sector.

The Government's intention to limit public sector pay settlements throughout the CSR07 period compounds these policy failures, and Congress opposes it.

We reject the transformation of local government in the recent Bill, from service provider to commissioner, believing it leads to fragmentation and marketisation. This is at odds with the integration of services through LAAs and LSPs and the priority of community involvement and scrutiny. Congress believes that trade unions should have a right of representation on LSPs.

Congress urges the Government to:

i) review urgently the new local commissioning role in local government;

ii) commit to a transparent, evidence-based approach to reform, with staff and user involvement;

iii) provide quality employment, an end to the two-tier workforce and unfair public pay ceilings; and

iv) apply these principles throughout the public sector.

Congress is deeply concerned that the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review will lead to further cuts and privatisations across the public sector. Key public services are at risk, including defence support, lorry and bus road-worthiness testing, health and safety enforcement, and forensic science.

We note the review of the NHS and fully support the NHS Together national demonstration in defence of NHS values and principles.

Congress welcomes the Speak Up for Public Services lobby organised by the TUC in January and it commits the General Council to take forward campaigning in response to CSR07 to achieve:

a) public services which are properly accountable to users, staff and local communities;

b) public services which are accessible to all, unrestricted by 'choice', 'competition' and 'contestability';

c) reform based on sound arguments not waves of initiatives;

d) a moratorium on further privatisation;

e) a commitment to provide adequate core funding for quality public services;

f) increased investment in the skills of public sector workers;

g) fair pay for all public servants, including respect for the recommendations of public sector pay review bodies; and

h) re-engagement by government with the public sector workforce in order to restore the damage to morale caused by the combination of cuts, untested reform and endless re-organisations.

In addition, Congress urges the General Council to:

1) support the EPSU framework on public services and resist European Union attacks;

2) develop talks on strategic direction with the STUC, WTUC and ICTU on developing national differences; and

3) build broad community and user alliances to maximise political and bargaining strength on our key issues.

Congress is concerned at the privatisation emanating from EU regulations such as the tendering of Caledonian MacBrayne Lifeline ferry services. Congress urges the UK Government to challenge these regulations and requests the General Council convene a conference of affiliates to discuss a campaign to oppose EU privatisation directives.

Mover: UNISON

Seconder: Prospect

Supporters: Unite

National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Composite13 Public sector pay

Congress reaffirms its support for properly funded, high quality public services and welcomes the substantial additional investment in the public services made in recent years by the Government.

Congress, however, rejects any suggestion or proposals from whatever source that high quality public services can be assisted or improved on the basis of unfair, discriminatory or de-motivating public sector pay policies which reduce the real or relative levels of pay of the staff concerned.

Congress deplores the Government's 2 per cent pay limit on public sector pay increases and rejects the argument that it will help combat inflation.

Congress believes that there is no evidence that public sector pay is fuelling inflation and believes that public sector workers are the victims not the cause of inflation.

Congress believes that all public sector workers are entitled to levels of pay and working conditions that:

i) appropriately recognise the demands upon them;

ii) reflect their valuable contribution to the country and society as a whole; and

iii) compare fairly with the pay and rewards available in other comparable employments.

Congress notes that millions of public servants are already struggling to live on low pay. In some civil service departments there are full-time staff who are paid less than £11,000 per year.

Congress condemns the obscene bonuses paid to executives in the City and notes that the current tax system allows many wealthy people and companies to pay little or no tax.

Congress also confirms its opposition to regional pay as nothing short of a cynical attack on all public sector pay.

Congress believes that the lesson of the successful 2005 joint union campaign to defend existing public sector members' pension age is that we are stronger when we take action together.

Congress believes that the sector-wide pay freeze has created the conditions for another co-ordinated campaign including industrial action if necessary. We note that affiliates have been holding discussions on such a campaign since the Spring.

Congress, therefore, instructs the General Council to give full support to affiliated unions' efforts to protect their members' real and relative pay levels, to oppose the Government's two per cent pay target for public sector workers, and to co-ordinate a joint campaign of opposition at national and local levels to the Government's unfair public sector pay limit, including co-ordinated joint industrial action.

Congress calls on the General Council and Executive Committee to:

a) convene an immediate meeting of interested unions to discuss coordinated industrial action;

b) give full support to any such action;

c) develop local and regional campaigns of public sector unions; and

d) step up campaigning for a fairer, more redistributive tax system.

Mover: Public and Commercial Services Union

Seconder: National Union of Teachers

Supporter: POA (UK)

Composite 14 Raising the participation age in education and training

Congress welcomes the policy of raising the age for participation in education and training to 18. The 14-19 White Paper committed the system to reaching a participation level of 90 per cent at 17 by 2015. Even so, that leaves behind the most vulnerable: these are the people with few or no qualifications at 16 who are seven times less likely to stay on in education although they would gain considerably from doing so.

Congress is pleased that the options available to young people will include participation at school, in college, in work-based learning, or in accredited training provided by an employer, especially through bona fide workplace apprenticeships.

The new policy raises a range of issues, the most challenging of which is how to secure proper employer commitment. Employers have a largely unimpressive record for educating their young employees. The policy must not, by default, result in raising the school leaving age as a consequence of the failure by employers to provide training opportunities. It will be critical to establish processes that ensure that the young people in employment are placed on training that is valuable to them and their future.

Successful education enables, not coerces, learners. Coercive 'education' undermines educators' professional support, and development of reluctant young learners risks creating 'last resort' providers and needs firm duties on employers.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

i) lobby Government to make arrangements that ensure that employed young people receive their training entitlement and that the provision is of a high standard, which delivers recognised industry qualifications that provide meaningful skills for life;

ii) oppose criminalisation for non-attendance; and

iii) lobby for statutory time off to study for young people.

Mover: Association for College Management

Seconder: National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers

Supporters: Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians

University and College Union

Composite15 Privatisation and job losses in further and higher education

Congress notes that under the guise of ideas of 'contestability', linking skills provision to 'employer-demand', and 'widening the provider base' in post-compulsory education, core education functions are being passed into the control of the private sector.

Congress is concerned that entire departments will be contracted out to private providers, putting commercial interests before those of learners.

Congress further notes that these developments put jobs at risk, and threaten to create a two-tier system in staff pay and terms and conditions; increase workloads; damage the quality of provision and the reputation of UK further and higher education; and increase financial instability across both sectors.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

i) continue to campaign to ensure that further and higher education remain public services that are built around adding public value to post-compulsory learning;

ii) campaign for long term stability in FHE, particularly in terms of public funding and staff pay and conditions; and oppose the use of 'brokers' through Train To Gain;

iii) facilitate greater campaigning and research links between public sector unions to develop a research base on private providers and build up best practice of combating privatisation, to enable unions to pool knowledge and resources, and to report back within the year on progress;

iv) lobby the Government to extend the end of the two-tier workforce in local government to FHE, including all staff who currently work for private contractors;

v) instigate TUC research into the record of both contestability and PFI in FHE and to assess its record in providing value for money; and

vi) lobby for a moratorium on further initiatives to subject the education system to the short-term imperatives of 'employer-demand', contestability, private control and public-private partnerships until the impact of such initiatives both in the UK and abroad are fully evaluated.

Congress is also concerned that job losses and insecurity because of frequent college reorganisations and mergers remain a big problem in further education. Congress believes this is detrimental not just to the staff affected but to the overall reputation of the sector as a provider of quality learning.

Accordingly, Congress calls on the Government, and Welsh and Scottish executives to:

a) recognise the extent of this problem and, in consultation with trade unions and other stakeholders, take appropriate action to bring stability to employment in FE colleges; and

b) ensure that any future reviews and/or consultations on any aspect of further education take meaningful account of the impact of any change on staff job security.

Mover: University and College Union

Seconder: Association for College Management

Composite 16 Arts funding and the Olympics

Trade unionists across the UK shared the surprise and excitement of the rest of the country when it was announced that London would host the 2012 Olympics. Congress supports the vision of the games and the desire to deliver a positive legacy of regeneration and reconstruction. The games will also provide a unique opportunity to showcase the extraordinary talent and creativity of the UK's creative and cultural industries.

However, Congress expresses grave concerns about the prospect of a reduction in arts funding for 2008-11 arising from the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review and its disappointment at the decision to divert £112m of lottery money from the Arts Council to the Olympics and that activities that are part of the proposed Cultural Olympiad will not receive any public or Lottery funding.

Congress notes the serious implications which will result for the arts in general and theatre in particular, including:

i) a return to the disastrous 'stop-start' funding approach of Conservative Governments;

ii) a reduction in the benefits to the public of accessible and original theatre combined with outreach work aimed at building a more diverse audience;

iii) a quick and adverse impact on employment and pay levels in this labour intensive sector, jeopardising trade union initiatives on low pay, training and equal opportunities; and

iv) a self-defeating reduction in the enormous economic spin off benefits of theatre (calculated at £2.6b from just £121m of public subsidy in 2004).

Congress further notes the tight financial constraints on the British Film Institute arising from reductions in arts funding and that the Government may divert funding from museums, libraries and archives, which are a unique and treasured national asset.

Congress calls on the TUC to seek assurances from Government that future funding for the performing arts - either directly from the public purse or from the Lottery - will be ring-fenced and protected at least in line with inflation, and that the funding of the UK's cultural institutions is protected to maximise the great opportunity in 2012 to publicise the heritage of the UK and wider world and not made a casualty of increasing Olympic costs.

Mover: Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union

Seconder: Equity

Supporter: FDA

Composite 17 Colombia

Congress notes the deteriorating situation in Colombia and deplores that it remains the most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist. Justice for Colombia (JFC) reported to its affiliates in March 2007 that 84 trade unionists were assassinated in Colombia in 2006, the vast majority by the armed forces and their paramilitary allies - a 20 per cent increase on the numbers killed in 2005.

Congress condemns the continuing abuses against trade unionists and other members of civil society in Colombia and the Colombian Government's anti-union policies, links with paramilitary death squads and use of violence to silence political opponents. The TUC and JFC have condemned the Colombian Government for allowing targeted murders of trade unionists by the paramilitaries to continue with complete impunity; and Congress notes the latest political scandal involving high-level politicians aligned to the present Uribe regime who were forced to resign because of their links to the paramilitaries that perpetrate such vile crimes.

Congress congratulates Justice for Colombia for raising awareness and in providing solidarity to Colombian trade unions and for organising the protest demonstration outside the Colombian Embassy in March of this year, in which senior trade union officials made representation to the ambassador on behalf of the Colombian trade unions seeking an end to the assassinations and an acceptance by the Colombian Government of the UN human rights report that stated that there had been an increase in civilians murdered by the armed forces.

Congress notes the widespread opposition to UK military assistance to Colombia including from the Colombian trade union movement and the majority of Labour MPs and Labour NEC members. Congress notes with concern the growing use of torture of trade unionists and their children by the army, police and paramilitaries. Congress, therefore, commits to raise these issues with the Colombian Embassy in the UK, the Colombian Government and the UK Government as a matter of urgency.

Congress endorses the calls from Colombian civil society, supported by the EU, for a humanitarian prisoner exchange as a first step towards peace in Colombia. Congress also puts on record its support for the ILO Permanent Representation in Colombia and deplores the ILO Employers' Group attempt to silence debate of the situation in Colombia at the ILO Conference.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

i) press the UK and Colombian governments to work to strengthen rather than weaken collective bargaining in Colombia, including support and adequate funding for a truly independent ILO mission in Colombia;

ii) ensure that Colombia remains a TUC international priority;

iii) continue supporting, both politically and financially, the activities of Justice for Colombia;

iv) make urgent representations to the Government to withdraw military assistance to Colombia; and

v) support a humanitarian exchange of prisoners and a negotiated political settlement to the conflict.

Mover: Association of Teachers and Lecturers

Seconder: Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen

Supporters: TSSA

Accord

Composite 18 Leitch review of skills and ESOL

Congress notes the Government's intention to implement the recommendations of the Leitch Report. Congress calls on the General Council to campaign for:

i) a return to the principles of lifelong learning rather than the narrow employer and economic focus of the Leitch Report;

ii) a reversing of the cuts to adult learning funding and an end to the system of funding only those adult learning programmes that meet the narrow range of government targets;

iii) long-term public funding to provide rich and varied learning opportunities for everyone, irrespective of age or employment status; to guarantee equal status for accredited and non-accredited courses, including skills, leisure, social and cultural; and to prioritise adults benefiting least from school and a return to a fair fee policy for all;

iv) learning in the workplace to be 'employment'-led rather than just employer-led so the needs and aspirations of workers are taken into account and are met alongside those of the employer and particular attention is paid to the need to ensure equality of access to learning in the workplace;

v) a right to paid educational leave for all employed young people and adults up to Level 2 within the current Skills Pledge initiative, and within legislation after 2010 if there is insufficient take-up by employers of the Skills Pledge;

vi) all employers to support lifelong learning through the provision of paid time and resources for lifelong learning; and to set an example by requiring this to be mandatory in the public sector by 2012; and

vii) the Government to establish statutory workplace training agreements so that workplace and Lifelong Learning Committees become part of collective bargaining procedures.

Congress expresses alarm over government funding proposals for ESOL.

The ESOL programme has been a major success and has embedded in many training programmes run by affiliates in cooperation with employers. ESOL has been the first step for many home-based migrant workers on the learning and education path and is invaluable given the entry of the new accession states. Congress believes that ending universal entitlement to ESOL is contrary to the Government's stated intention of promoting social inclusion and that it will have a detrimental effect on low paid workers in particular.

Congress calls on the Government to recognise this essential work being carried out in this area and to protect the funding for this work. Specifically Congress agrees to work with other interested partners in order to secure restoration of the right to universal free ESOL training up to Level 2 and the right of asylum seekers to free learning from when they arrive in this country.

Unions are vital in ensuring this campaign remains high profile. We urgently need evidence of the damaging effect withdrawal of funding has had or could have on members' lives and union organisation. Congress urges unions to gather and share evidence and to use this to further the campaign. The extension of ESOL, which we welcome, should be through extra resources from the Government, not through a switch of resources from successful programmes.

Mover: University and College Union

Seconder: Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union

Supporters: Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers

Connect

Society of Radiographers

Emergency 1 Defence of public services

Congress registers its disgust and dismay at the treatment by the Government of the POA, following its decision to call a 24-hour stoppage of work on 29 August 2007.

Congress fully supports the full implementation of the Pay Review Body recommendations for the POA's members and all other Independent Pay Review Body recommendations for their individual remit groups.

Congress expresses its concern at the failure of the Government to engage the POA in meaningful negotiations, as had been promised by the Secretary of State for Justice, and the consistent resort by the Government to the use of court orders, threats of imprisonment, sequestration and fines.

Congress calls upon the Government to recognise the POA as a free and independent professional trade union; to recognise the union's strong case for urgent action on pay; and to act together with the POA to improve prison conditions for staff and inmates and, through rehabilitation, the general public.

Mover: POA (UK)

Seconder: GMB

Part 2

Motions lost

72 EU Constitution/Reform Treaty

Congress notes the proposals in the new EU Reform Treaty are substantially the same as the EU Constitution rejected by the French and Dutch electorates in 2005. Indeed the French architect of the Constitution, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, stated the new EU treaty would be 'very, very near to the original'.

The Treaty includes:

i) changing the European Union from an intergovernmental arrangement into a state with a single legal personality and corporate existence;

ii) forming a centralised government including an EU President, a Foreign Minister called a High Representative, a diplomatic service and an EU Public Prosecutor;

iii) giving further powers to EU institutions, including the European Court of Justice and European Central Bank;

iv) reducing significantly the democratic power of member states to block neo-liberal EU legislation;

v) giving the EU the power to change itself without further treaties or referendums;

vi) consolidating the single market and the drive to privatise public services;

vii) further militarising the EU; and

viii) abolishing Britain's veto over transport and many other areas.

At the 2005 General Election all three main political parties promised a referendum on such changes. Congress therefore calls on the Government to hold an urgent referendum on the EU Reform Treaty and for the General Council to also vigorously campaign for a referendum.

Congress also urges the General Council to campaign for a 'No' vote in line with the Congress policy decided in 2005.

Finally the General Council is also urged to campaign for this position within the ETUC.

National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers

80 Childcare

Congress deplores the decision of the General Council, reported to the Women's Committee on 16 January, not to expand upon current childcare provisions for 'in session' hours only childcare, for conferences and events run by the TUC. This decision has been taken regardless of the overwhelming endorsement of TUC Women's Conference 2005 to support such a move.

The TUC Women's Committee have repeatedly made it clear that inadequate, inappropriate or unaffordable childcare is a huge barrier to parents and carers and, in particular, to women's involvement in the trade union and labour movement.

Congress believes that childcare provision solely for conference hours is certainly not adequate for delegates wishing to expand their knowledge and experience at any conference, e.g. fringe events or organised social events such as the International Women's Day rally this year, or simply to network and debate outside of session times.

Congress deplores the TUC's decision to base any recommendations or conclusion upon outcomes of the latest consultation with affiliates, citing their lack of commitment or response as a reason not to expand childcare provision. Congress believes that the TUC should be a 'leader' of best practice, not solely the provider of the 'average' of its affiliates.

TUC Women's Conference

Part 3

General Council statements

Congress adopted the following statements:

General Council Statement on public sector pay

The Public Service unions, and the TUC care deeply about delivering high quality public services.

Public services reform and particularly public services pay, have been major General Council concerns throughout the year. Public servants have continued to demonstrate their dedication and commitment in responding to national emergencies, tackling floods and their aftermath, preventing the spread of foot and mouth, tackling terrorism and crime and delivering health, education, justice and welfare services to the country. Yet below inflation pay rises mean pay cuts in real terms for public sector workers who deserve better treatment.

Recent years have seen a sustained commitment to increased investment in many areas of the public sector and an expansion in public service employment after years of under-investment. This should give public service workers and users cause for celebration. But instead there is increasing concern - shared by the General Council - that the benefits which should flow from this welcome investment in public services are being jeopardised by job cuts, below inflation pay rises and the increasing use of outsourcing and privatisation in public services.

Government policy on public sector pay settlements for 2007/08 is based on a two per cent target, with the scope to go even lower. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury stated in May 2006 that 'within this overall envelope there will be justification for lower awards for those workforce groups for whom the current level of pay is already generous.' He also stated that public sector pay restraint was necessary in the context of a tight spending round in the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).

The last time large numbers of public sector employees received such low increases was in 1993, when the then Conservative government imposed increases of 1.5 per cent on all groups. That was at a time when the economy was only just coming out of recession. The economic picture today is much healthier with the government recently claiming the longest run of quarterly increases in economic growth since comparable records began. The ostensible justification for pay restraint is the danger of fuelling public sector pay inflation yet this has not been cited by the Bank of England in their report to government on the factors linked to inflation.

It is surely wrong that public servants should be made to bear the brunt of government cost cutting. And it is doubly wrong that in the fourth richest economy in the world, while some of the UK's lowest paid workers should be expected to take what is in effect a pay cut, company directors received last year a 37percent rise in their rewards package, worth £14 billion paid out in bonuses.

This situation risks a return to the boom and bust years of the 1980s and 1990s of public sector pay which did so much to damage public services. Recent progress made within some sectors of the public service in modernising pay structures risks being undermined by under-funding and pay squeezes. The growing gap between private sector and public sector earnings will result in recruitment shortfalls, failure to retain staff, and poor staff morale.

There is also grave concern at the damage done to established mechanisms for pay determination by some recent government actions. The staging of the NHS pay review body recommendations can only undermine the credibility of their awards, particularly when they were paid in full within Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In teaching, during the current settlement period, there are clear signs that pay has not kept up with inflation, risking damaging faith in those multi-year deals which can do so much to promote stability. This must be addressed by the Pay Review Body and the Government. In addition, the use of the CPI, rather than the RPI as a reference point for pay rises is an unwarranted departure from accepted norms within pay bargaining, which take the RPI as the key indicator as it reflects changes in the real cost of living more accurately than the narrower CPI. . The framework of public sector pay determination rests upon a foundation of fairness, equity and respect - as set out in the public sector pay and reward principles, negotiated with and agreed by government through the Public Services Forum. Urgent action is needed by government to restore belief in governmental support for those principles.

The General Council is also deeply concerned over the use of local and regional pay in public services. The threat has loomed heavily for the past few years and developments in the Ministry of Justice have put this threat into sharp relief. The Civil Service remit guidance requires departments to consider local pay as part of the business case they submit to the Treasury every year and all groups covered by the review bodies have an obligation to consider local pay in their terms of reference . The Ministry's review of pay structures has introduced five separate geographically based scales with three extra variations for specialist staff. The General Council is opposed to this development and similar developments in public services, which would exacerbate existing regional inequalities, particularly where the public sector is a dominant local employer. The General Council remains opposed to the use of regional pay which threatens to undermine national pay and bargaining frameworks which promote stability, fairness and equal pay.

In addition to these major pay issues there is also deep concern over the programme of job cuts and relocation being driven through in the wake of the Gershon and Lyons revie ws. Targets appear to have been set for job cuts with little concern for the quality of service to users, often among the most disadvantaged in society, nor the added stress imposed on remaining public service staff that are under pressure to provide the same level of service. All too often there has been little real consultation with the recognised unions nor sufficient efforts to avoid job losses, particularly compulsory redundancies, through the agreed procedures for relocation, retraining and transfer elsewhere within government.

Added to these twin pressures on pay and jobs are the pressures of increasing workloads arising from continual change in the organisation, funding and delivery of public services. The programme of privatisation, outsourcing, commissioning and marketisation across the range of public services, in Health, Education, Local Government, National Government, the Justice System, Emergency Services and elsewhere continues to cause major disruption both to users of public services and staff. Services are being fragmented by handing them over to private providers instead of investing in public capacity, while mounting evidence shows that real service improvement is being undermined by the imposition of market models.

The General Council expresses its solidarity with unions faced with these pressures and challenges and in particular gives full support to unions taking action to defend jobs and services and to win fair pay. Through the regular meetings of the Public Services Liaison Group the TUC will continue to bring all public service unions together for campaigning on a united basis to coordinate union action and campaigning, including where appropriate industrial action.

The General Council calls for a fresh start from government in their approach to public service reform. Work is underway to take forward a compact which would, in line with the Warwick agreement, ensure that all workers delivering public services, whether directly employed or contracted, had access to basic skills, advice and unions. The Public Services Forum has helped encourage all government departments, the NHS and many local authorities to sign up to the Skills Pledge and to develop a skills strategy across the public services. Further work is also needed to ensure delivery of the two-tier workforce agreement across the public sector.

Those moves are welcome and steps in the right direction but much more is needed. Government should act with energy to restore faith in - and adhere to - the proper functioning of the pay determination machinery; honour Pay Review Body awards and demonstrate adherence to the agreed public sector pay and reward principles - including in particular the need for fairness and equity for the lowest paid, and the vital need to deliver on equal pay; take urgent steps to end the current disputes across government; rebuild constructive relations with the public services trade unions and ensure that there is genuine consultation on proposed changes in the organisation of public services. The public services trade unions, and the General Council, are certainly not opposed to change and care deeply about delivering high quality public services, but this will not be achieved at the expense of hard working staff, nor at the risk of jeopardising the public service ethos which is so important to their work.

adopted 10 September 2007.

Childcare at TUC events

This statement explains the General Council policy on childcare at TUC events and has been prepared in response to the criticisms of the General Council made in the motion selected by delegates at the 2007 TUC Women's Conference as the Conference's motion to Congress.

The General Council emphasises that all trade unionists, including those with childcare responsibilities, need to be able to make a full contribution to trade union events and also recognises the fact that lack of provision by the trade union movement, along with many other organisations in society, has meant that parents have been denied the opportunity to participate fully in our events.

The General Council also recognises that women still shoulder the bulk of caring responsibilities in society and that single parents face particular pressures. Therefore the provision of childcare facilities is an integral part of the commitment to promote equality which now forms part of the TUC constitution and which unions are obliged to adopt themselves as part of their affiliation to the TUC.

As was made clear by the Women's Committee and others during the consultation on structures and services carried out in 2005-6, participation in an event such as Congress involves more than being present during the formal sessions. Some of the most important and rewarding work takes place outside the normal hours and therefore if delegates with childcare responsibility are to play a full part in such events childcare facilities need to be available outside the core hours.

The General Council is also committed to ensuring that childcare provision, whether provided directly or indirectly, is of top quality to ensure a positive experience for children; and that childcare workers' hours, treatment and rewards meet high standards too.

However the General Council also recognises that childcare facilities in the evening, and even early in the morning cannot be provided simply by extending crèche hours. The most sensitive times of a young child's day are when they are getting ready for bed or waking up and childcare facilities provided at such times need to be done on an individual basis in a way that meets the needs of the child, the parent and the workers providing the childcare facilities.

It was on this basis that the TUC has introduced a new service for delegates attending this year's Congress, in addition to the usual crèche facilities near to the conference centre provided whilst Congress is in session. Under this arrangement the TUC office made extensive enquiries about the range of facilities that could be provided to meet delegates childcare needs outside of conference hours and informed unions about the availability of this service in all the materials sent to unions concerning Congress. It was for unions to inform their delegates of these arrangements and for the delegates themselves to make arrangements that best suited their own needs and the needs of their child(ren).

The major point of difference between the TUC and the Women's Conference concerns the cost of such out-of-hours provision. The survey of union childcare facilities conducted last year produced a very limited number of responses, but it was clear from those that were received that very few unions provided evening childcare for delegates attending their own events.

It was not the intention of the General Council, as some delegates to the Women's Conference concluded, that the TUC should only match the facilities provided by unions, but in a recognition of the importance of such service sought to give a lead by facilitating an extended service.

The General Council believes that in terms of the respective obligations and roles of the different parties, the proper balance is for the TUC itself to provide and meet the cost of crèche facilities during Congress hours. It also accepts an obligation to provide information about the widest possible range of facilities to meet the needs of delegates for evening (and even early morning) childcare. It believes that it must be for the parent to make arrangements that meet their needs and those of the child and that the union itself should play some part, both in recognising the need for such a service and seeking to raise awareness within unions, by providing appropriate financial support for this out of hours service. This is something which some, but not all unions do at present.

In terms of overall take up of childcare facilities at Congress, this remains very limited with only five children registered for the crèche this year and, to date, even fewer delegates requesting advice regarding evening arrangements via the new service. But for the reasons stated above the TUC is committed to continuing to provide and develop such a service and encouraging unions to review and improve their own services - with the guiding principles being as set out above: to provide a facility that meets the needs of the child, the delegate and the childcare worker, with the costs and responsibilities shared in such a way that the delegate is comfortable with the facilities; that the TUC makes the arrangements and meets the costs of the core crèche but for the arrangements geared specifically to the individual needs of the child and delegate out of hours appropriate financial support should be the responsibility of the union.

To take this policy forward the General Council is committed to working with the Women's Committee to maximise the involvement of trade unionists with childcare responsibilities in TUC and union events.

Adopted 10 September 2007.

Section 2

Verbatim report of congress proceedings

The following pages give a full verbatim report of the proceedings of the 139th annual Trades Union Congress, which met in Brighton from Monday 10 September to Thursday 13 September with Alison Shepherd presiding.

Congress decisions are marked with a *

FIRST DAY: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10

MORNING SESSION

(Congress assembled at 10.00 a.m.)

The President (Alison Shepherd): Good morning, Conference. I call Congress to order and to welcome you to the start of the 2007 TUC Congress. My name is Alison Shepherd and I am the current TUC President and I am the Chair of this year's Congress.

I would like to thank the musicians who started us off so well this week. (Applause) Music for Youth is something that has become a very good tradition. It shows that the trade union movement invests in the cultural aspect of our life and it is something we should be proud of.

It is my great pleasure to open the TUC's 139th Congress. I welcome all delegates and visitors to Brighton this week. I hope that we have a successful week with good debates and that we show the world what the trade union movement can contribute because we represent the very best in this country. I am sure we will have a very good week.

Appointment of tellers and scrutineers

The President: Our first piece of business is to approve the tellers and scrutineers. They are set out on page 10 of the General Purposes Committee Report booklet, if you have that. Are the tellers and scrutineers agreed? (Agreed) Thank you.

There are a few matters of housekeeping I would like to mention. We all quite used to mobile phones now, but they do have 'off' and 'silent' switches! when there are loop procedures they often cause difficulties, so would you please observe the mobile phones protocols?

You will also find copies of the emergency procedures placed on your seats. Please note where they are and familiarise yourselves with them. If there is an emergency during the Congress sessions, I will give you further instructions.

If any delegate requires first aid, the first aid station is situated behind the food servery in the east bar. Those are the doors on my left.

Welcome to Sororal and Fraternal Delegates
The President: Congress, my next duty is the very pleasant one of introducing our sororal and fraternal delegates and visitors who are seated behind me on my right. As you know, we have a very good tradition in our British trade union movement regarding internationalism. We have with us a number of trade unionists from abroad this week participating in some of our Congress sessions. Some will be addressing conference; some will be taking part in fringe events; some will be here to network and some will be here to meet old friends. It is a very important part of our business and our tradition and it is great to have so many of our friends here.

I am going to introduce them. When I do so, could you stand up and wave to conference because that means we can get you on the screen as well? First and foremost is someone who has been here once or twice before in a different capacity, but is here now as the European Trade Union Confederation General Secretary - John Monks. We are very pleased to have you here, John. (Applause) John will be joined tomorrow by his new President, Wanja Lundby-Wedin. Wanja will be addressing us on Wednesday.

Next we have Akiko Okubo from the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, Rengo. (Applause) You are very welcome and you are a very good friend of the TUC. We welcome Thorben Albrecht from the German DGB. (Applause) He may not be here yet, but he is arriving later. We also welcome Leo Gerard. Leo is our fraternal delegate from the AFL-CIO. Leo will be speaking tomorrow morning. Welcome, Leo. (Applause) We have two familiar friends from the AFL-CIO, Jerry Fernandez and Penny Schantz. (Applause) You are both very welcome.

From the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions we have Sithokozile Siwela. (Applause) Sitho will be speaking in place of Lovemore Matombo. You are very welcome. We know what a really difficult time you have been having. We will have many opportunities to say so, but the British trade union movement is really with you. You have been very inspirational, so thank you very much and all the very best. (Applause)

Other international guests will be joining us later in the week, including Sharan Burrow, who is the President of the International Trade Union Confederation; John Evans from the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD; David Begg, Peter Bunting and Patricia McKeown from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and Stephen Pursey and Bill Brett from the ILO. You are all very welcome at the TUC and I look forward to meeting you during the course of the week.

We will have a number of other guests as well from the representatives of the Global Union Federations, the 'GUFs', individual union representatives and other foreign visitors. They are all very welcome. We will be looking forward to meeting you all as well. I hope all delegates will take the opportunity of learning and offering solidarity, which is a mutual exchange, during the course of the week.

This year's fraternal delegate from the Trades Union Councils Conference is Dave Chapple. Dave, you are very welcome. The Trades Union Councils are a very important part of our movement and do excellent work in the community. It was one of the conferences I was unable to attend this year as TUC President and I was sorry about that because I have always enjoyed it.

We have many other guests arriving during the course of the week and we will introduce them when they arrive. That concludes our welcome as a TUC.

Obituary
The President: In leading in on Chapter 11 of the General Council's Report, she said: We now move on to the General Council's Report, Chapter 11 on obituaries. I will refer to a number of friends and trade union people who have sadly died this year. It has been a tradition that at the start of the annual Congress we remember all those colleagues who have died since we last met. We have a number listed in the report, which I will read out to you now. The first name I have is Larry Cairns, TUC Education Officer in Scotland from 1976 to his retirement in 2004; Ken Cure, former Executive Council member of the Amalgamated Engineering Union and General Purposes Committee from 1982 to 1989; Len Edmondson, former Executive Council member of the Amalgamated Engineering Union; Tudor Gates, former President of BECTU; Ada Maddocks, OBE, former National Health Officer in NALGO, General Council member from 1977 to 1991 and Congress President in 1990 and very fondly remembered as such; Moira Mooney who was a member of the TUC staff in Congress House who died far too young earlier this year; Gina Morgan, who was a former President of the Amalgamated Engineering Union and General Council member from 1981 to 1990; James Murray, former General Secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Boilermakers and General Council member from 1980 to 1983; and Frank Woodbridge, former Regional Education Officer in the northern region from 1964 to 1985.

Those are our listed obituaries, though you will know of many colleagues and friends who have been important in our trade union movement in your locality and in your unions, so we will include those in our remembrances.

We want to take the opportunity to remember the fact that, as we are all aware, this year has seen the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade by the Slave Trade Act. Many unions, as well as the TUC itself, have taken part in the numerous events to mark the occasion and to explain a little about our history. It has been an opportunity for us to learn about the things that went on, the anti-slavery movement, its abolition and all the roles that people played in that. There have been some excellent contributions and I think I have learned an awful lot about that.

As part of our remembrances this morning, we would like to remember the millions who suffered and died in the slave trade. We will have a debate on the subject later on in our agenda. For all those people I have mentioned and all those people who we want to think about, let us recommit ourselves to the cause of world peace. Let us now take a moment to have a minute's silence. (Congress stood in silent tribute).

Report of the General Purposes Committee

The President: I would like to call on Annette Mansell-Green, the Chair of the General Purposes Committee, to report on the progress of business and other Congress arrangements. Welcome, Annette, and thank you for all the work which you have done so far this week.

Annette Mansell-Green (General Purposes Committee): Good morning, Congress. It only feels like yesterday that I was standing here at the last Congress giving my first report. The General Purposes Committee has approved Composite Motions 1 to 18, which are set out in the GPC Report and Composite Motions booklet which you have all received. In addition, the General Council this morning agreed a statement on childcare as well as a statement on public sector pay. These will be distributed around delegates' seats during the lunch break. The President has advised me that she, therefore, intends to move the childcare debate from this afternoon to tomorrow afternoon. This will give delegates more time to consider the statement on childcare.

You will see the printed GPC Report indicates where the movers of motions have agreed to accept amendments to their motions, but please note that amendment to Motion 27 has now been withdrawn.

Congress, I can report that in the elections to section D of the General Council for women from unions with fewer than 200,000 members, Christine Payne of Equity has withdrawn her nomination. As a result of that, the remaining candidates in section D are elected unopposed.

In order to ensure that we do not fall behind with Congress business, could I remind delegates to be ready to come to the rostrum quickly if you are scheduled to speak? Reserved seats for those waiting to speak are at the front of the hall, just in front of the rostrum. It is very important also that you respect speaking times which, unless reduced, are five minutes for moving a motion and three minutes for seconding and all other supporting speakers.

Delegates, you will need your Congress credentials and other photo ID with you at all times. I will further report to you on progress of business and GPC decisions as necessary throughout business. Thank you.

The President: Thank you very much, Annette. As you can see, we are singing from the same hymn sheet with respect to mobile phones. I would like to support Annette in her announcement about speaking times. My trusted assistant, Gloria, is going to be looking after the length of speaking times. It is really quite important that people adhere to speaking times because always at these Congresses there are probably more people who want to make contributions than we have time for.

Can I ask you formally to receive the GPC Report? Is that agreed? (Agreed) Thank you very much.

As you know, we have a couple of speakers this morning and we have an address by a senior Government Minister, which, as you all know, is code for the Prime Minister. We cannot always finely judge when they are going to arrive -- and that goes for other speakers during the course of the week -- and so it is quite possible that we might need some flexibility. I would ask that delegates be prepared for the fact that we might possibly take the motion on child poverty after the housing debate and, if time permits, we might also take Motion 32 on genetic testing. I think the unions primarily involved in that have been advised, but it is your Congress as well, so you need to know what we are planning so that you are prepared for the agenda.

TUC Organisation

The President: We now move on to the General Council Report, chapter 10, on TUC organisation. We now move to hear our first guest speaker or guest address this morning. That is from our General Secretary. We have changed the order around a little bit this morning. I am really pleased that Brendan is speaking first and making the major contribution. We have had a very busy year in the TUC, as I am sure everybody else has in their unions. There have been lots of things to deal with, lots of events to look after, lots of challenges and lots of achievements too. Brendan has been great to work with all year. I am really pleased to invite him now to make his opening address to Congress. Brendan, you are very welcome. (Applause)

The General Secretary's Address

Brendan Barber (General Secretary): Thanks very much indeed, Alison. Congress, I rise to report another year of solid progress for our Movement; a year when the TUC had its third consecutive woman President, and what a tremendous job Alison has done all year; a year when, once again, we led the battle against the Far Right, so that on 3rd May the vast majority of our communities remained free from the poison of the BNP.

Let us salute ASLEF for the courageous legal action that it took in the European Court of Human Rights with the support of 17 other unions. At long last it means we have the basic right to expel racists and fascists from our ranks. (Applause)

It has been a year when two great unions came together to form our newest and our largest affiliate, Unite. I pay tribute to Derek and Tony's determined leadership in shaping this breakthrough. Unite has an absolutely crucial part to play in leading the resurgence of the whole trade union movement. We should all wish the new union well. (Applause)

This year I am proud that the TUC has been able to support unions locked in difficult disputes; proud that we are working with the CWU in its battle to deliver justice for postal workers and today let us offer them our solidarity. (Applause) I am proud that we are working with the POA in its fight to secure fair pay for prison officers and the respect that they are so long overdue. (Applause) Above all, I am proud that we are working with the GMB, Unite and Community to defend their members whose jobs are at risk at Remploy. To those 6,000 disabled workers who are battling to save their livelihoods from a savage programme of cuts, let us say, "Your struggle is our struggle and none of us will rest until justice is done". (Applause)
Congress, you know our movement has been right at the forefront of debates of national importance in the past year. This time last year, next to no-one had heard of private equity. They thought it was maybe a section of the actors' union! Well, today, thanks to trade union campaigning led by the GMB, it is absolutely at the top of the political and economic agenda. This time last year, NHS reform meant privatisation and contestability. Today, thanks to unions speaking with one voice through NHS Together, the Government is at long last showing signs of rethinking its plans for Health Service modernisation.

This time last year, housing barely registered as a political issue, but, today, thanks to the hard work of trade unionists up and down the country, social housing, rightly, is once again a priority for this Labour Government.

So, Congress, never underestimate our voice. Never sell short our campaigns. We have set the agenda on pensions in both the private and the public sectors. We have led the way on skills with over 150,000 workers now accessing learning through their union every year. We have shown them that the battle against climate change can only be won if ordinary people are engaged at home and at work. By advancing progressive causes, we have shown that by working together Britain can rise to the great challenges it faces.

Let us pause for a moment just to think about the victories for union campaigning that never make the headlines. In the past year alone, the only drug proven to ease the suffering of asbestos victims is now available to those who need it, thanks to work by UCATT and the other construction unions; the loophole that allowed scrooge employers to count bank holidays towards the 20 days' statutory minimum now slammed shut and the discrimination against gay men and lesbians in the provision of goods and services now outlawed.

So, for once, just for a moment, let us celebrate together what we have achieved. To those people who say unions are a relic of a bygone age, stuck in the past, somehow irrelevant to the concerns and aspirations of the 21st century workforce, let us say, "You are wrong; you are wrong on every count." Try telling that to the workers at Vodafone who have just voted for union recognition for Connect. That is proof that trade unionism cannot only survive but thrive in the private service sector economy.

However, to celebrate our achievements is not to rest on our laurels. I stand before you, not just at a critical time for British workers, but at a crucial point in the political cycle.

Later this morning we will welcome Gordon Brown, our new Prime Minister. Of course, he is an old friend and a good friend, but this will be his first speech here as Prime Minister. You know, it is not easy being a Labour Prime Minister addressing the TUC. Throughout the years, it is not only Tony Blair who has discovered that. Some in the media have their stories already written. When we disagree, it is: 'Unions on collision course with Labour'. When we agree, it is: 'Labour caves in to the unions'. There is not much room for subtlety there, is there? There is no recognition that running the country and speaking for people at work are two different jobs; that even though we share many values it is right that we need to make our case, to campaign for wide support and to persuade. The Ministers we welcome this week will do the same. That is what democracy is all about.

So, to the Prime Minister, I say that we welcome you warmly today and welcome much of what you and your new Government have done since June. Indeed, we welcome so much of what Labour has achieved in the past decade. None of us should ever take for granted the economic stability, the millions of new jobs and the better employment rights that this Government has delivered, nor should we forget just how difficult and different it was under the Tories.

You know, I had almost forgotten John Redwood! (Laughter) Then he surfaced again just the other week -- did you see him -- to give us a grim reminder of what we have been missing! I am told that the BBC are looking for a new Doctor Who! (Laughter) With such an effortless ability to time travel from the 1980s and commute from Vulcan, perhaps John Redwood should be top of their list!

However, the gains that have been made do not mean that we will ever stop arguing for a fairer Britain or speaking up for people at work. Let me set out the challenges facing the nation on which I hope we can work together. Let us begin with our public services. What a paradox we face there. No-one can deny the massive investment in public services under Labour. No sensible observer can deny that genuine improvements have resulted from this extra money. No reasonable person can deny that public services must always be ready to change, to be in tune with changing times and to use resources as efficiently as possible. But, equally, nobody can deny that many public servants have come to feel battered, bruised and simply unappreciated. Too much top down change, too many targets, too much faith that the private sector has all the answers compounded by the mystery of why fighting inflation requires pay cuts for hard working public servants while greed in the boardroom is allowed to flourish. Let us be clear. This year's centralised attempt to railroad through below inflation pay rises across the public sector has been plainly wrong and must never be repeated. (Applause)

We all want to see the delivery of real improvements across our public services. We need to work together on the way forward; not a retreat to the policies of the past, but a new way of doing things that delivers for service users, taxpayers and workers alike, where the unique public service ethos once again takes centre stage. That is how best to nail the lies that the investment has been wasted. That is how best to secure further improvements in services. So, to the Prime Minister, I simply say, "Listen to us; consult us; involve us in shaping the world-class services our country needs."

The public services are just one dimension of the challenge we face together because the wider task we face is to get to grips with globalisation, the biggest driver of change for a generation. We know you cannot stop the world and get off. We know globalisation is here to stay, but not everyone is a winner as those damaged by our shrinking manufacturing base can testify.

Trade unions and progressive political parties came into being to campaign for a fairer distribution of the wealth generated by the first industrial revolution. Our forebears were told that you could not have both economic progress and fairness. We are told the same today. Well, we proved them wrong before and we will do so again. We have the same fundamental choice to make today as the world has faced with each wave of economic change.

Take the recovery after the Second World War. Western Europe, ironically with American help through the Marshall Plan, went a very different way from the United States, balancing the undoubted gains of post-war growth with strong welfare states, social protection and redistribution of wealth. Once again, we have to choose. That is why yesterday I launched a campaign to put the fight against inequality right at the top of our political agenda.

Congress, we may have enjoyed 50 quarters of consecutive growth, broken the damaging cycle of boom and bust, slain the spectre of mass unemployment, but not everybody has shared in this new prosperity.

Today, just one percent of the population owns one-fifth of all the wealth. The children of the poor are more likely to face poverty in later life than 30 years ago. That is a terrible mark of the damage done by Thatcherism. It goes without saying that we welcome everything Labour has done for the worst-off. Child and pensioner poverty have been tackled, thanks to the tax credits and benefits most associated with our new Prime Minister. Investment in SureStart and childcare is making a real difference to families in need. The pledge first to halve and then eliminate child poverty is the most radical policy in progressive politics for a generation, but the fact is that much more needs to be done to meet and deliver that pledge.

So what action is needed? These are problems that are not easy, nor can they be solved overnight. It is not simply a matter of reeling off some simple policy demands. It is going to take a generation-long commitment. It is going to take a new national consensus.

There are few areas of public policy that will not have to be reshaped, from the ways schools, health and other public services tackle inequality, to new housing policies. That is why I think we need a new commission to look at the distribution of wealth and income. We have to deal with the immediate policy challenges. To meet those child poverty targets, we need to spend more on tax credits and benefits. We spell this out in the report that I launched yesterday.

We know this will have to be paid for. In the past, this is where these policies fell down. Hard-working families, neither rich nor poor, but still running hard to stand still, feared that they would have to foot the bill, but the truth today is that ordinary people are still paying a heavy price too for the growing wealth gap. House prices that follow top pay, not that of first-time buyers; mortgage rates that go up to quell the impact of city bonuses on housing; the higher crime, greater health care costs and economic underperformance caused by enduring poverty; the threat to social cohesion through the growing group of super-rich who float free from the rest of society.

However, what is also new is that if the new super-rich pay their fair share, not by raising tax rates, but simply by closing loopholes, we can pay the bill for halving child poverty by 2010. They simply have to learn that tax is not just for the little people and they are not the new untouchables. (Applause)

We have an historic opportunity to play a part in building a new progressive consensus, not the politics of envy, but the politics of equity; building a stronger society and a more productive economy through fairness. Building that consensus is just as much a challenge to us, to charities and to pressure groups as it is to government. Governments deliver radical policies when voters want them, indeed, when they no longer seem radical but plain common sense. So, yes, we need our politicians to be brave, but we have to make sure that they get the support they need to take the courageous steps we urge today.
More equal societies do not get that way simply through more generous benefits. What really guarantees limits to inequality is a fair labour market, not just jobs but quality jobs for all.
Congress, since we launched the Commission on Vulnerable Employment I have met so many victims of the unfair systematic exploitation that disfigures the world of work. I met Anita, a home worker, expected to work on demand at only a few hours' notice. Once she was even asked to work on the day of a family funeral. She had no right to sick leave, holiday pay or redundancy protection. She is paid 60 pence for every pair of trousers she sews and with the nimblest of fingers it is impossible to do more than four pairs an hour. I met Gregor from Poland, working in a pizza shop, paid as little as £2 an hour for a 70-hour week, allowed no breaks, and -- after asking for holiday that he thought he had been entitled to but had been denied for two years -- he was sacked on the spot. I met Teresa, a domestic worker, kept prisoner in effect in the house where she was working, her passport confiscated and, threatened with the vilest sexual abuse.

We know there are so many issues to tackle in this dark under belly of British life, but two have stood out so sharply. The first is that right at the heart of so many of these abuses are disreputable employment agencies. There is nothing wrong with matching employers with short-term needs with workers with short-term availability, there will always be a role for that, but the good agencies are being brought down by the bad, giving the whole sector a tarnished reputation. I am disappointed to see the CBI opposing any idea of proper European regulation of employment agencies. The CBI used to oppose the minimum wage too but after a while they realised this was just actually standing up for Britain's worst employers. I say this to them in all seriousness: now is the time to think again about the way that agencies operate; it is time for another minimum wage moment.
But, even more importantly, I urge the Government, as strongly as I possibly can, to let us see action to deliver the promised European Directive to give agency workers justice and dignity, and if that cannot be achieved quickly let us get on with the necessary measures here in the UK.
My second point is this though, that whatever rights we win and put on the statute book, they are utterly useless if bad employers and dodgy agencies are able to ignore them with impunity. Of course, we need stronger unions built through new organising efforts, the best possible guarantee of justice in the workplace. We also need a new joined-up approach to enforcement in place of the current hotchpotch. It is ridiculous that an agency that loses its gangmaster's licence when it is caught out abusing staff can simply set up business somewhere else and switch to a sector like construction.
It is absurd that a Minimum Wage Inspector cannot tell the Health and Safety Executive when they discover a dangerous workplace and, by the way, the last thing we need is cuts in HSE Inspectors.
Congress, fair workplaces, respect for the public sector workforce, ending child poverty, building stronger unions, making globalisation work for all are all huge challenges. We know we cannot solve them alone, but we know too that they cannot be solved without us, because it is unions that make the difference. Throughout our history we have always been there, fighting for great progressive causes and now is no different. It is up to us to show that Britain can be fairer, more equal, more just. The arguments are on our side; I think they command the support of the British people. Together let us make this country better. (Applause).

The President. Thank you very much for that excellent address and an overview of what we have been doing and what needs to be done. There are some very important messages there. Thanks for getting the conference off to a really good start.
Let us move on with our agenda. We are on General Council Report Chapter 4, Economic and Industrial Affairs, and we are looking at housing on page 75 of the Report and we are now in a position of starting our debates. First of all, I would like to call Composite 11 on housing, and the position of the General Council is to support the composite motion.

Housing
Derek Simpson
(Unite) moved Composite 11. He said: It is not surprising that in a period where there is downward pressure on wages, whether that is through the ascendancy of agency and temporary agency work that undercuts wages or whether it is from below inflation increases imposed on the public sector, or the difficulty in the private sector given the condition of our economy, that in that situation, with house prices doubling in the last ten years, housing becomes a crisis both in terms of supply and affordability. I think that this is going to be one of the most important questions on the political agenda.

I spoke to a union conference a short while ago, early this year, and I made a comment about the number of people in the audience who might be stuck with kids at home because they cannot get shot of them. A third of the audience laughed and put their hand up when I asked 'Are you in that situation?' I made the same comment yesterday in our news conference and most of the reporters laughed and acknowledged the point. I daresay if I say it to you there will be a few of you out there within the situation where young people have to stay at home simply because they cannot afford to get into the housing market in terms of buying houses and there is not the supply of affordable housing through council stocks or even the private market.
It is an outrage, and it is a very serious question,. If you take the two things together -- the inability to raise funds through lack of income or even the lack of jobs in this economy and the price of housing -- it shows a crisis and unless we solve that crisis it will be a major downer for the labour movement. Indeed, I take the view that if we can solve the problem of agency and temporary workers, do something about public sector pay, solve affordable housing and perhaps toss in a little bit about pensions there would not be a danger because whenever the election is called Labour will win it.

The situation is this, Unite -- and I think I speak for the whole of Unite -- are absolutely delighted that the words 'council houses' are back, acceptable as a term in the vocabulary of labour. For a long long time that has not been the case. Colleagues, that is thanks to your efforts and the efforts of people like Jon Cruddas, and I want to mention his name because when Unite supported Jon Cruddas for the deputy leadership -- and by gum he did really well -- he changed the agenda of that debate by advancing affordable housing as an issue. That work wants continuing; we need to continue that work and so does Labour because without it we are in crisis; with it we will win the next election and do justice by our society.

The President: It is appropriate to have a new union making the first contribution in the debate and showing a very good example about keeping to time.

John Thompson (Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians) seconded Composite 11. He said: UCATT welcomes the extension of a comprehensive government housing programme. Included in this programme is the commitment to increase the provision of social housing to 50,000 housing units for rent per year, but this falls short of what is required. Currently the UK has one of the largest number of new workers entering the country, bringing further demands for accommodation and other social demand like schools and hospitals, added to the already 60, 000 people housed in temporary accommodation.

The new approach to housing delivery, presented in the Homes for the Future Green Paper, should reflect increased job opportunities within the construction industry. Many private sector companies are well advanced in negotiating and tendering for local authority and housing association contracts. UCATT will be seeking through government, the client, that contract compliance is written into all tender specification documents and that national agreements are recognised as the minimum standard agreement regarding pay and employment rights.

The construction industry needs desperately to change its culture. Right to direct employment, entitlement to holiday pay and sick pay, access to pension provision and an end to the long hours culture damaging people's health need to be addressed.
Over half the workforce within the industry do not receive these benefits; many work on short-term contracts with no long-term future. Sub-contracting and agencies are the biggest employers, adding to - as Brendan outlined in his contribution - the new gangmaster, and that certainly needs addressing inside the construction industry.
Many of these employers in sub-contracting and agencies avoid paying national insurance payments because workers are employed on the notorious bogus self-employment. This method of engagement is destroying the industry's framework for training and employment rights.

Given the current economic climate in construction it is a sad reflection that so few apprentices have been recruited. We will seek through government that a quota of apprenticeships are built into these housing projects, giving local people an opportunity to complete their trade and develop sustainable skills that will increase employability and social mobility in many deprived communities. Despite construction skills training grants allowances, offering employees 9,400 over a period of employment apprenticeship, the construction industry missed out on thousands of keen and eager recruits due to the shortage of opportunities provided by employers. These are the same employers who are turning over billions of pounds per year and employ many migrant workers below the rate of pay for the industry.

Finally, UCATT will strive to make this a reality and prevent private sector sharks from using this as a cash cow for profits without delivering sustainable opportunities for jobs in the construction industry.

We second the motion and urge all unions do support us to ensure that construction opportunities in the housing programme are not missed.

Pauline McArdle (Transport Salaried Staffs' Association) supported Composite 11. She said: Housing is a basic necessity of life. It provides safety and security. Government have never been a universal provider of housing, and although politicians say that housing is the single biggest issue they face at constituency level where does it rank in the highest stratosphere fear of politics? Not high enough. Housing has an effect on the wellbeing of the wider population and it is the most vulnerable in our society who are the most affected by the housing crisis. Poor quality housing causes ill health, just as good quality housing promotes a healthier population.

There are three areas in particular which are interconnected with housing -- health, education and crime. Efficient housing production requires a degree of social and collective decision-making, major investment and partnership with non-profit making bodies. This decision-making should also take into account the location of housing projects. In the U.K. the government have a target of building 60 per cent of new housing on brown field land. Brownfield land can be anything from previously used land to derelict land to definitely contaminated land. In Ashford, Kent, there is a building development on a place that is known locally as Frog Island -- the clue is in the name!

In April 2000 the first comprehensive review of housing was published, Quality and Choice. Its aim? Achieving a decent home for every family at a price within their means. The review emphasised the proposals to support sustainable home ownership, new approaches to improve the quality of social housing, an aim to ensure that all social housing is of a decent standard within ten years and improvements in the delivery of affordable housing so that it is provided where it is needed and in a form that is sustainable. We need to see better links between the supply and demand at local level and higher standards of quality. These proposals were all very welcome and we have made some progress but we are still in crisis and it needs to be addressed.

We commend the Government on the key workers scheme but this needs to be extended to cover more low-paid essential workers, for example in the transport industry, so that access to affordable good quality accommodation is within reasonable reach of the workplace. We need affordable housing and I urge you to support the composite.

Keith Crane (Public and Commercial Services Union) supported Composite 11. He said: The importance of this issue cannot be over-emphasised. In Barking and Dagenham, where the fascist British National Party made disturbing inroads into the Council Chamber, provision of council housing was the key issue. We cannot afford to compromise on this issue. The trade union movement has been at the forefront of the campaign to defend and extend council house provision. My own union, the PCS, fully supports the Defend Council Housing Campaign for the fourth option and is against the relentless privatisation agenda pursued by this government and previous governments. The majority of PCS members earn less than £20,000 per year. In some civil service departments there are full-time staff who are paid less than £11,000 a year. Even without Gordon Brown's below inflation pay curbs, there is just no way the majority of our members can get on to the housing market.

Housing has become a racketeer's business and consequently private rents are sky high. Defending Council housing has been identified as a key issue by the PCS Young Members Network. House price increases have outstripped wages for ten years pricing young workers out of the housing market. Gordon Brown and his Ministers have made a point of talking up the need to build more houses, and they talk about social housing and affordability. More houses are desperately needed, but we need council houses. That means ending the privatisation agenda, allowing councils to improve existing council housing; it means maintenance of security of tenure for council tenants, something that is apparently under threat from this Government. Social housing has to mean housing stock owned by an elected and accountable local authority or it means nothing. Affordable housing has to be affordable, and that has to mean council houses at affordable rents, not just luxury flats for fat cats.
Let us not have more rhetoric from Brown's Government; let us have the fourth option as policy.
There are millions of council house tenants who support council housing. There are millions of people on the waiting lists. There are millions of low paid and young workers desperate to get a house. Support the fourth option.

Gary Doolan (GMB) supported Composite 11. He said: At long last the Government have recognised the need for a massive increase in housing and we welcome the Government's Green Paper and commitment to rectify many of the problems left over from the Tory Government. For too long housing has been a Cinderella service. Education and health have received the lion's share of the Government's attention over the last ten years. We all know that if you grow up in good quality housing and in a good environment your health is better, your chances of succeeding at school are greatly improved. We know that only 277 new council houses were built last year. That is down from 74,000 in 1980. Where I live in London there are over 800,000 people living in over-crowded conditions.

There are a number of issues that I would like to raise and that I believe need to be addressed in the Green Paper. Firstly, we need to find a formula so that councils can build a new generation of first-class council homes with secure tenancies, lower rents and democratically elected landlords. Secondly, there are signs that the Government are looking to make funding and other opportunities conditional on councils forming separate companies. There is absolutely no justification for this arm's length separation. Finally, we need to ensure that the new build programme helps to deliver on long-term employment prospects, helping to redress the skills and labour shortages in the building industry.
We are in a situation now where young people cannot find affordable rented accommodation and have no alternative other than looking to buy. Then they have one of two options: those who can get assistance from their parents do; those who cannot sit glued to the tele to see if their Lottery numbers come up. This situation cannot continue. Support Composite 11.

The President: That concludes my list of speakers. I do not think there is anything to reply to, so can we move to the vote and we are voting on Composite 11.
* Composite 11 was CARRIED

Affordable Housing

The President: I am now calling Motion 44 on Affordable Housing. The General Council's position is to support.

Dave Prentis (UNISON) moved Motion 44. He said: I would like to make it clear right at the very outset that it is not rocket science, access to decent homes demands access to decent pay, and that is why it is so wrong, so very wrong, that hard-working public servants should be made to bear the brunt of the Government's cost-cutting policies. That is why UNISON, together with all other public service unions, will stand up and fight for the right of our members to decent pay awards, this year, next year and the year after that.
Decent homes for all, affordable housing, social housing, are campaigns fundamental to our belief in a fairer and better society. We know the difference decent housing can make. Our housing members see it first hand. Our social workers, our home officers, witness the problems, pickup the pieces when housing goes wrong. That is why Unison welcomes the Government's Green Paper on housing -- the target of 3 million new homes by 2020, guarantees of quality and sustainability, with Housing Minister, Yvette Cooper, hopefully rejecting the dead hand policies of Tories and, sad to say, Labour politicians who went before.

We cannot wait; we need to start now. The facts, the figures, are a start. So many of our members and their families are priced out of the market; the bottom rung of the ladder is rising higher than ever before as house prices rise, as public service workers see their pay eroded. Council waiting lists are now topping 1. 6 million; half of our housing stock has been sold off or transferred; low paid workers, our people, who should be protected by our government, are facing the intolerable pressure of debt insecurity and family breakdown as more and more drown in a rising wave of mortgage cost. Re-possessions are up, private rents are soaring and the real boom -- fuelled by city slickers and their obscene record bonuses stoking the turmoil - means people snapping up second homes, snatching homes from struggling rural communities, investors/speculators grabbing flats, properties soaring through the roof or, worse still, simply left empty, left for the market to work its magic, to make a million.

Against that wealth, against that affluence, there are a million children living in squalor, appalling conditions in temporary accommodation -- a market failure at its worst. Only one per cent of our towns are now affordable to nurses; only 2 per cent of 22 percent of towns are now affordable to teachers. If nurses and teachers cannot afford it how on earth will our cleaners, our teaching assistants, our porters, survive and lead decent lives in decent homes?

So we have to do more to reverse the record where the national spend is the second lowest of the developed word, much more to honour the commitment to spend money on social housing, to end once and for all the bigotry that prevents tenants from having that fourth option, denied the choice to stay with their council. Conference, what is so wrong with councils building council houses? What is so wrong with councils renewing their housing stocks, councils doing what they do best, offering local communities the housing they want, the homes they need, respecting tenants' choice? It is far more than about housing; it is about giving hope and giving help to those of our members who feel forgotten, left behind; it is about denying the BNP the sickening opportunity to use housing as an electoral winner using sink estates and depravation as their magnet; it is about starving the BNP of its favourite electoral issue, putting paid once and for all to their destructive lies and deceits.

Gordon Brown rightly says housing will be the great cause of our time, and who could disagree? It takes far more than rhetoric. Rhetoric has to be turned into action.
We need to turn those promises into more and better homes, affordable homes for our members, and what we need more than anything is for our government to dump its opposition to social housing. It defies common sense, it has no champion, it is a policy built on prejudice. I say to Gordon, turn your back on the failed policies of the past, make investment in council housing a key part of your mission to solve our housing crisis. Decent homes and decent pay for our members -- they deserve nothing less and we will accept nothing less.

Matt Wrack (Fire Brigades' Union) seconded Motion 44. He said: Fire fighters are one of the groups of public sector workers adversely affected by the dramatic surge in house prices in many parts of the country. Our members are among those groups of essential public servants now unable to live in the communities they serve.
Our members like many public servants, when forced to move away from the communities where they work, also face the added burden of commuting costs -- ever increasing travel costs. This is clearly a major problem in many of our major towns and cities, but it affects whole communities; it affects our rural communities.
I will give one example of that. In rural areas the Fire Service relies on retained fire fighters, people who have other jobs, other commitments, but who respond to pagers, but we now see in many of those communities an inability to recruit retained fire fighters again because of housing problems and shortage of affordable social housing.
This was highlighted recently in the tragic fire in Newquay where we identified that within Cornwall there is a huge shortage of retained fire fighters because there is an inability for people to live in those communities and therefore to offer to work for the Fire Service on that basis. Across the United Kingdom, in 40 per cent of all towns buying a property is now unaffordable for fire fighters according to a recent Halifax survey. In Scotland that rises to 50 per cent. Our younger members are particularly worse hit by this. But fire fighters are just one example; fire fighters are not the lowest paid public servants, there are many in worse positions and if our members are affected by that crisis then other people are affected ten times more so.

Housing clearly has become a national crisis, a crisis for families, for youngsters and for the aged seeking a decent roof over their heads.

I think there is a growing acknowledgment that government policy over many years has got it wrong on housing, that there is a huge consensus within this movement and that there is an opportunity now for the Government to acknowledge that there is an opportunity now for the Government to change tack. I think the message from this Congress to the Prime Minister, and to the Government, has to be to listen to the trade union movement, listen to people in the communities, change direction on housing and let us see affordable, decent, good quality social housing to solve the housing crisis.
* Motion 44 was CARRIED

The President: I think it was a good start with those two motions and I know a lot of people have carried on campaigning when it was not a popular issue and it is appropriate that it has now reached a prime position in our business this week.

I would like to call paragraph 4.3 on housing if there are any contributions. I did have one indication from the GMB but we have already taken that in the previous debate.
We will now move on to the next motion. We have time to take Motion 45 on Child Poverty as I indicated earlier, and that is on Chapter 4 of the General Council's Report. The General Council's position is to support.

Child Poverty

Julia Neal (Association of Teachers and Lecturers) moved Motion 45.

She said: Child poverty is a scar on the nation's soul. Who said that? Well, it was Gordon Brown, back in 1988.
Congress, here are some shocking statistics. In the UK presently there are 1.3 million children living in severe poverty, with their families living on about £19 a week after housing costs. Over all, there are one in three children living in poverty in the UK today. It is actually twice as difficult for children to move out of poverty than it was 30 years ago. These figures are some of the worst to be found in the industrialised world. Given the wealth of our nation this is a national disgrace.
Since 1999 some 600,000 children have been lifted out of poverty. We know that recently Gordon Brown has brought the targets on child poverty to the fore once again, but whilst Congress should applaud the Government's commitment to halve child poverty by 2010, it must note with dismay the slowdown in progress towards this target that in 2007 leaves 3.8 million children still living in poverty. The Government's target of elimination by 2020 is unobtainable within its current policies.
The fact is that millions of bright children face multiple deprivations in childhood simply because of the circumstances of their birth. In Britain class outnumbers any other factor by a multiple of ten in attaining educational achievement. Low achievement is strongly connected with poverty and disadvantage. A young child in a professional home will hear every day more than three times the number of words heard by a child with poor parents.

Poor children start school less ready to learn, less able to understand the importance of learning, and less able to benefit from the teaching they receive in school.
A secondary teacher told us, 'I taught sisters sharing a pair of shoes. They could only come to school on alternate days.' In a primary school a teacher recounted, ' I had a boy in my class who was poorly and often inadequately dressed, no coat in winter, seldom given breakfast and he was six and had to get up and feed his baby brother at night.'

Not only do children have poverty of wealth, they also have poverty of aspiration with low self-esteem believing there is little point in making the effort to improve their education. In many homes there is nowhere quiet to study as the only warm room is housing the TV. There is no table on which to write, no books, very few toys and certainly no computers. In fact, 22 per cent of children cannot afford to go on school trips.
This is dreadful. We must work together to highlight the plight of our 3.8 million children in poverty. Aside from educational achievement the school experience for children, especially teenagers, can lead to resentment and hostility when their peers can enjoy the cool trainers, the trendy haircut and the latest mobile phone. Education staff bear the brunt of this resentment and hostility. Their professionalism, their commitment and stamina overcome the challenges, but they are undermined by league tables that fail to demonstrate the real life successes of schools with a disadvantaged intake. They are not to blame for these children's lack of achievements.
Teachers in these schools deserve greater recognition for their work and we must value their dedication. They can be the most stable influence in a child's life
and their work is invaluable.

A reduction in child poverty will have a large, positive effect on over-all education performance. While the Government insist on pushing policies for a diversity of school types choice or frequent testing, it is only going to reduce the motivation of low achievers. Poor and disadvantaged children need a curriculum that engages their interest and enthusiasm. We do not have this at the present. Schools with poor pupils do not need critical reports from OFSTED who would not themselves be able to survive for half an hour in the classrooms that they inspect.
What can we do? We must invite the General Council to continue to support the End Child Poverty coalition and the Government must allocate the £4 billion needed to raise one million children from poverty by 2010. The General Council must continue to lobby the Government to accept that its aspirations to close the social class gap in educational performance cannot be met without a stronger policy against child poverty. Thank you.

Christine Blower (National Union of Teachers) seconded Motion 45.

She said: The NUT has been a founding member of the campaign to end child poverty since November 2006 and we are pleased that there has been published this week Child Poverty in Education: A Briefing. It sets out, amongst other things, that by the time they start school many poor children already lag behind their peers, often setting the stage for a downward spiral of unequal chances and diminishing returns that will play out for the rest of their lives.

Poverty, it goes on to say, predicts educational outcomes in the UK more strongly than any other OECD country. This means that poor children have an unequal chance from the start; by the age of three poor students can lag behind by as much as nine months compared with their better off peers and the gap grows over time with many poor children falling behind by two years at the age of 14.

Not surprisingly, then, this briefing says that what we need to do is aim to close the gap between the funding levels of the state schools and the private schools. Gordon Brown's pledge to raise funding for state educated children to £8,000 per year as opposed to where it is now at £5,000. Gordon Brown made this pledge as Chancellor but as yet that has not been met.

What we are saying, delegates, is that those of us in education are well aware of the force of targets so we set a target today to say that that must absolutely be met by 2014, but earlier would be better. However, the NUT is saying that the focus of this additional spending promised by Gordon Brown also needs to be identified and we believe that the bulk of the increases should be used to support schools with a very high incidence of child poverty and social disadvantage, those children indeed from the toughest backgrounds.

William Atkinson, a headteacher in Hammersmith and Fulham, agrees with us and in an interesting echo of what the General Secretary said this morning, he said: 'I am advocating that for a selective group of schools the funding regime should be not dissimilar to that enjoyed by students in the private sector. It should be a modern day Marshall Plan.'

The ending of child poverty, colleagues, is a political, moral, and social justice imperative. Please support this motion. Thank you very much.

John Toomey (GMB) supported the motion.

He said: I have come to the rostrum to speak on child poverty. If anyone knows poverty I do. I was born in the mid-1930s to the 1940s, but I am not here to talk about that. I am both amazed and disgusted that in the year 2007 we still have child poverty not only in this country but throughout the world. A child in a cage puts all heaven in a rage and the children that are in poverty are in a cage. You have the key to unlock it. All you have to do is get your sponsored MPs and tell them that Brown has to alleviate poverty and make sure it is never be on an agenda again. If we can fight a war in Iraq we can fight a war on poverty here. (Applause)

We gave money, millions, to overseas and rightfully so but it is about time now that millions were given to the families that are trapped in poverty, and the children, so they are not susceptible to loan sharks and the rest of it. Remember this, the trade unions have done more for mankind than any other organisation so from today you can start on child poverty and eradicate it. (Applause)

Sasha Callaghan (University and College Union) spoke in support of the motion.

She said: Congress, last week a survey was published about debt and one of the findings was that one in five people think about money problems every single day. I want to talk about one group of people who think about money problems all the time, that is, the families of children who have disabilities and impairments, and who live in poverty. We know that 60 percent of children who are disabled and who live in families on the margins of society live under the shadow of poverty, ill health and educational attainment that does not match their full potential.

Why is this happening? The resources are not there to support those families and those disabled children. The government has asked us to be patient and wait until 2025 for those disabled children and their families to rise out of poverty and achieve full civil rights. Well, 2025 is another generation of disabled children condemned to poor life chances and to being completely excluded from society and from the mainstream.

It is not surprising that in families where there is a constant fear that heart-stopping moment when the washing machine breaks down and you cannot get it fixed, that time building up to Christmas that should be a pleasure, should be fun, is actually something to dread, something to be terrified about because you cannot afford to buy presents, you cannot afford to do the things that other families do. That is the terrible thing to have to talk about in a country that is the fourth richest in the world. That absolutely terrible feeling when you cannot buy a pair of shoes for your children, that awful moment when someone comes home from school and says that they have lost their bag and you think, 'I can't afford to buy a new gym kit.' Why should we wait until 2025? 2010 is too long to wait. Three years another three years, for families living in the shadow, the blight, of poverty is too long. It is unacceptable. To think that tax credits and putting £8,000 per child into the education system is going to eradicate poverty is misguided. It will not do that. We need a fundamental radical change within society to ensure that no child, no family, has to live like this.

There are some government ministers who have lived on the margins. There are others for whom poverty has never been an experience but I have to say, think about what you are condemning other people to do and the way that they live, and if you cannot challenge and eradicate child poverty so that we live in a country where not one child lives like this, then this Government is condemned as a failure. Thank you, Congress. Please support.

The President: That concludes the debate on Motion 45, Child Poverty.

* Motion 45 was CARRIED

The President: Later on, as you know, we are to be addressed by the Prime Minister. I am advised that the Prime Minister has arrived so I think he is about to join us on the platform. (The Prime Ministered entered the hall)

Prime Minister, you are very welcome to join us at the TUC Congress this week and we are really pleased that you have arrived during our first session and we hope that indicates the importance you attribute to it. We have had some really good debates on child poverty and housing so if you have not had the transcripts I suggest that you read them; there were some excellent contributions. I think your first duty is to help us with the presentation of the awards but you have a bit of time to settle.

Lay Rep Awards

The President: We have come to the part of the agenda where we recognise the contribution made by our lay activists, of which I am one but I am not an award-winner. (Heckling from the floor) Oh, well, there is a bit of heckling up here. We have a whole number of people in different categories. We have a number of representatives and we know they are only representatives because they just represent an example of what we do. We are really pleased that the Prime Minister has agreed to present the awards and we are going to meet the representatives but, first of all, we are going to show you a video, which tells you something about them and their achievements. (Video shown to Congress)

The President: I thought that was an excellent taster of what they get up to when they are not sitting in this conference hall. Anyway, it is time to meet our award winners. I think we have the Prime Minister and Brendan, the trusty assistant, to look after the awards. We will introduce our awards one by one. I am sure we have our representatives over there with Raj looking after them.

The first person we have is Lorene Fabian. Lorene chairs the National Women's Committee within the Amicus section of UNITE. She sits on the TUC Women's Committee. She works as a trade union studies tutor at Dunstable College. I used to go to Dunstable College when I was a student and Jack Straw was in another job, doing printing on a Friday afternoon. It was quite interesting. Anyway, Lorene began her working life in the Electrolux factory in Luton, who were big employers there, becoming active in campaigns to achieve equal pay in manufacturing. Lorene, we all know you did a smashing job over the years and we are absolutely delighted with your award. (Presentation made amid applause)

We now come to the organising awards section and this year it is being presented jointly to two unions. Organising is a 'newish' award that we are giving, so it gives us a chance to look at the excellent work being done. First up I would like to call Irene Stacey. Irene Stacey is from UNISON, which is my own union, and she has recruited 258 new members to the union over a 12-month period. Most of these were women from ethnic minorities. (Presentation made amid applause). Do not run away, Irene, because there is more to say yet. You have recruited people often from ethnic minorities working part-time and nearly 40 members have gone on to become reps or contacts in the union workplace. We know that Irene has an outstanding record and we know that people do not say no to Irene. We are really pleased to welcome you and to give you that award jointly with the others. Thank you.

Lisa Burns is a branch organiser and Lynda Stephenson is a workplace rep for PCS. During a two-year period they both led the recognition campaign at the British Cattle Movement Service within a workforce of nearly 600, mainly young agency workers and they received a 100 percent vote in favour of recognition on a 64 percent turnout. So that is another area of work which has been absolutely fantastic. (Presentation made amidst applause) So well done to both of you.

We now have the Safety Rep award, which goes to Peter Eggleston. Peter is a CWU safety rep at BT where he has secured protective equipment for engineers in cold weather conditions and lighter mobile generators for pay phone engineers. I am sure they are all very grateful for your efforts. (Presentation made amidst applause) Well done, Peter.

We now have the Congress Award for Youth, which goes to Russell Fraser. Russell is a GMB activist in the London Borough of Brent and a workplace rep. Russell recruited young members and helped to mobilise them during the Pensions Day of Action. He has also represented members in disciplinaries, saving them from dismissal. So he is a good example of a young member doing good trade union work. So well done, Russell. (Presentation made amidst applause and cheers)

Our Union Learning Rep is Patrick McIlvogue Patrick is a Unite Amicus learning rep at Rolls Royce where he works as a setter operator. As a result of his efforts, about a quarter of the workforce, some 300 people, have signed up for courses in basic IT, the European Computer Driving Licence and language training. So that is excellent work being done by our union learning reps, of which Patrick is a splendid example. There are many more inspirational learning reps. I am very pleased. Well done. (Presentation made amidst applause)

Thank you very much to our award winners. I hope that inspires many other people to redouble their efforts. What they are doing is really important and we do recognise what they have done. Thank you very much to Gordon and Brendan for presenting those awards for us. That completes the Congress Awards, paragraph 10.3 of the General Council Report.

Address by Rt Hon Gordon Brown, MP , Prime Minister

The President: Congress, having done a bit of work, I now welcome the Prime Minister to give his Address. Gordon Brown, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, presided over what was, I think, the longest period of economic growth since records began. Gordon was also the architect and driving force behind many of the policies which are very important to us in our trade union movement, such as full employment, the National Minimum Wage and leading the cause of eradicating child poverty around the world. Our last debate was very relevant about that. The Prime Minister is also involved in many other important themes, such as challenging exploitation and tackling poverty. We were very pleased to see you become Prime Minister. We welcome your comments on the need to support vulnerable workers. We are very pleased to welcome you to the TUC. We very much look forward to your contribution. (Applause)

Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown MP: Can I, first of all, at this the 139th Congress of the TUC, thank you, Alison, as President of the Congress, and Brendan and the General Council for your leadership week in and week out of the trade union movement of this country. I will never forget that the trade union movement of this country was built over two centuries by hard work and by the struggles and sacrifices of men and women who had a vision of a better and fairer future, free of poverty and free of injustice. Today the work of the trades unions of this country is possible only because of men and women who year in, year out, give their energy, devotion and commitment to sustain and in every generation to revitalise the trade union movement.

As they step down from service to the General Council this year, let me this morning on your behalf and on behalf of unions around the country thank all those who have served the General Council and who are now stepping down: Paul Mackney, Sofi Taylor, Pauline Foulkes, Barry Camfield and Jimmy Kelly. Thank you for the work you have done not just for the trade union movement but for our country. (Applause)

Let me thank Ed Sweeney, who is also stepping down from the General Council, and congratulate him on his appointment, which I believe will be warmly welcomed around the movement and across industry when it is announced today, as the new Chair of ACAS. I know you will want to wish Ed the best in his new role. (Applause)

Before I had this job and actually before I was a Member of Parliament, I worked in education. I was for some time part-time as a Workers Education Association tutor, and with the Open University and as a tutor in trade union learning. When I and others taught trades union education at Loader College in Scotland and when, as a result of numbers signing up, the Department of Employment under Norman Tebbit cut back the trade union learning budget, I do not think he had any idea of the unstoppable momentum of trade union learning in Britain which has grown from strength to strength. So you will understand why I am pleased to offer my personal congratulations to all those TUC award winners today for their work in trade union learning and in trade union organisation -- Lorene, Patrick, Irene, Lisa, Linda, Peter and Russell -- and the struggles that they have had and their aspirations and commitment show how graphically we in Britain can respond and are responding to all the new challenges of the restructuring of today's global economy. Thousands of people are now obtaining new skills needed to succeed in the future.

For all its two centuries, the trade union Movement of this country has been about enhancing the dignity and the work of labour. Today we are finding a new role which makes the task we undertake more relevant, more urgent and more demanding than ever. To enhance the dignity and value of labour in the 21st Century it is undeniable that we need to enhance the skills of every worker in this country.

So the new role for trade unions is to bargain for skills, to campaign for skills, to invest for skills and for the fair rewards of skills. It is this challenge: how all of us in Britain raise our game, to meet and master the new forces of globalisation in the interests of working people in this country, and that is what I want to speak about this morning: the task of the future.

As I have believed all my life, from part-time trades union tutor to MP, by enhancing the dignity and value of labour we will make Britain the best educated, best trained and best skilled country in the world and the most prosperous as a result.

This is my central message today. All of us must prepare and equip ourselves for this global era. We must maximise its opportunities for working people and seek to minimise its insecurities. Nothing should stand in the way of us building jobs and prosperity not just for some but for all British working people. If we do so and mobilise the talents of all our people, then I believe that Great Britain can be the great success story of this new global age.

When the Leader of the Labour Party comes to the TUC he always brings with him the greetings of the Labour Party and of Labour Members of Parliament. This year I have a particularly joyous task additional to that, which is to offer not just the good wishes of Labour MPs but to pass on to you the words of the man whose statute I had the privilege of unveiling a few days ago in Parliament Square - Nelson Mandela. He asked to send his heartfelt thanks to the labour Movement in Britain as a whole, for the ceaseless commitment and the shared support sustained over many years in the struggle that defeated the evil of apartheid. (Applause) I hope from here that we can send him our best wishes as he prepares for his 90th birthday next year.

I said at that ceremony in Parliament Square, and I know many of you here were there that day, that Nelson Mandela's statue is not a monument to the past but a beacon of hope for the future. It sends a signal that no injustice can last for ever, that suffering in the cause of liberty is never in vain, that there is nothing that those in the cause of justice cannot achieve if they stand together and work for common purposes. I say to you today, from the Make Poverty History Campaign internationally to campaigning for justice as you have been talking about in the last debate on child poverty at home, that as long as there is poverty and unfairness, wherever discrimination and injustice exists, there we must be also working for change.

Of the great struggles of the last century, against the dark night of fascism, nazi-ism and anti-semitism, against the shame of apartheid and for the victory of democracy and equal rights at home and abroad, British working people have always played a decisive role. In this century, the 21st Century, we have injustice to fight, too. I promise you that our voice as a Labour Government will be heard, demanding an end to the denial of democracy and human rights in Burma, supporting a ceasefire with justice for the two million displaced in Darfur and supporting peace with justice in the Middle East. (Applause)

We have terrorist extremism to fight whether in Afghanistan or in the 20 countries, including Iraq, in which Al Qaeda have bombed and maimed innocent people. It is important to say today that we will do our duty and keep our promises and honour and discharge our obligations to the international community and to the new democracy of peoples in Iraq.

Also we have to build in Africa, so just as we stood side by side with Nelson Mandela to defeat apartheid, I now join Nelson Mandela in asking you to be part of the Education for All Campaign so that the day will dawn soon when 80 million children who do not go to school today because there are no schools for them to go to, will have the basic human right of education. (Applause) Like people here, I have been in Africa. I have met children who, if given the chance, could be the next Mandela, or the doctor who saves lives, or a teacher who inspires children or a public service worker who cares for people in need. Let us by raising international development aid and by mobilising the world's resources work together not only to eradicate illiteracy in the coming decade but use the medical knowledge and science that we have to eradicate the killer diseases.

And even as we together face the forces of globalisation, let us make it our mission to ensure that in rich and poor countries alike, all children and all families are not the victims but the beneficiaries of globalisation, not the losers but the winners from global change.

In the last 20 years with a trebling of world trade, with two billion workers joining the industrial economy in Asia, this global economy has been transformed as everybody here knows at a speed and on a scale which has not been seen since the industrial revolution.

Let us face the facts: soon 25 percent of the world's output could come from just two countries - China and India. Europe is now exporting less manufactured goods than Asia. In Britain famous household names from GEC to BTR have virtually disappeared. Already an Indian company has bought British Steel, an Egyptian company has taken over the third largest Italian telecommunications firm and a Brazilian company is now the second largest mining enterprise in the world.

We cannot dismiss these changes, as it is sometimes said as China and India take over the low tech industries, as a race to the bottom where the answer is simply protecting home industries, shutting foreign goods out and sheltering from change. Already India's biggest export earnings are not tea or clothing but computer software and management services. China is today producing half the world's textiles, half the world's computers, 60percent of all mobile phones, 60percent of digital cameras and 80percent of some of the most sophisticated electronic goods that we use every day. Already China and India are turning out more engineers, more computer scientists and more university graduates than the whole of Europe and America combined.

When it comes to our members' jobs, the most important fact is that the world has seen a 400 percent rise in the numbers of unskilled workers. Just think about what that means about our need for our workers to acquire skills. In Asia a worker is doing a week's unskilled work for £20 a week rather than the average £300 here. So the answer is clear. It is a new role for trade unionism in Britain and in the world - our workers given the power to acquire the skills that give us the bargaining power, the higher wages and then the prosperity.

It is a point of principle for me as it will be for you: the answer is not to compete on low skills with ever lowering standards but to compete on ever higher skills - most of all ensuring that our children and our young people have the training, the skills and the qualifications to get secure, well paid, high quality jobs in Britain in the future.

So the sheer scale, scope and size of the global change is a wake-up call to all of us. We all must rise to the challenges of global change: businesses, teachers, politicians, trade unionists, all of us. We will only meet the new challenges ahead which are to finance education for all our children, provide the best work life balance with more child care for all, ensuring dignity and security for all in retirement, creating the best of standards for people in the workplace, if we can meet and master the huge global challenges ahead.

Some people think that the 21st Century will be China's century. But I think that if we show the skills, the inventiveness, the creativity and the spirit of enterprise, we can make it a British century. Some people argue that in this fast moving world of change we have to sacrifice our enduring values and give up on full employment and universal public services. But when people ask me about this world of fast moving change, of greater opportunity and yet greater unsecurity, and they ask: can we, the British people, in this generation, meet and master the new challenges and still achieve our goals of full employment, defending and strengthening public services, ensuring hard working people in Britain are better off in living standards, in pensions and in services, my answer is that if we work together and raise our game, if we do not resist change but embrace it as a force for progress and if we equip ourselves with investment, science, enterprise and flexibility, and most of all if we upgrade our education and skills, then we can not only meet and master these realities of global change but also ensure more British jobs, higher standards of living, and better public services, including an NHS that improves every year, free at the point of need.

That means to achieve it we must embrace a new mission for this generation: to unlock all the talent of all the people of this country of Britain.

In the next few days as a Government we will announce plans to make us world class in science, in innovation and in the creative industries, and we want to make sure that inventions created here are developed here, produced and manufactured here and provide jobs to men and women in Britain.

In the next two weeks, too, we will show with our announcements in the Spending Review that we will invest in the infrastructure, the transport of the future, and we will show how the issue for the British economy moving forward is not manufacturing giving way to services, but building modern manufacturing strength and service strength in all regions of our country.

I tell all those who, like me, have faith in the future of British manufacturing from aerospace and vehicles, to IT and pharmaceuticals, that Britain can and we will lead in the high technology, high value, high quality, manufacturing and services of the future.

And while demanding a level playing field in Europe and demanding also right through the negotiations on the amended European Treaty that the red lines that we have set are guaranteed, we will at all times continue to stand up for British interests in Europe.

In the next few days we will also show how as we prepare for a low carbon future for our environment thousands of jobs will come for investing in energy efficiency and in environmental technology products and processes, from carbon capture to innovative low-carbon fuels, where Britain can be a world leader creating new jobs for the future, and with the conclusion of our spending review in the autumn we will show British people how we will expand the National Health Service, free when you need it, access founded not on wealth but on need, and with the same ethic of public services that is important to all of us, we will also build more houses to buy and to let with a 50 percent increase in social housing.

Now today I want to show you how we can respond to globalisation by creating more jobs for British men and women and young people throughout our economy. After I took over this job a few months ago I asked for a study to be done on where the jobs are going to come from in future years. I found that while in the next decade we will need less unskilled jobs, we will need 5 million more skilled jobs.

I want us to be ready and prepared for what is the biggest economic transformation in employment our country will have seen for a 100 years.

Even now today there are greater opportunities. In addition to 29 million jobs in our economy, which is already the highest level of employment in our history, there are even today two-thirds of a million vacancies waiting to be filled, 654,000 in all.

Because the vacancies go right across the board in manufacturing, finance, hospitality, healthcare, because the vacancies exist in every region and nation of the country, and because they range across all our skills, our task in the coming months and years is to rapidly match workers needing jobs to the jobs that need workers.

One of the benefits of globalisation is, of course, the benefits we receive in many industries from the skills of workers from around the world, but it is absolutely essential also that British workers receive all the support, the training and the skills, so that they can share in the benefits of globalisation too.

The new jobs that are coming and the vacancies that exist represent a great new opportunity for not just British adults but for British young people as never before. It is a huge opportunity for British trades unions to recruit, to expand union membership, expand union learning and grow your numbers in the years to come.

Now, I want to thank all of you because I was there with you as you campaigned in the 1980s and the 1990s for jobs, when you lobbied for jobs, demonstrated for jobs, petitioned for jobs on these marches for jobs, and as a result of what was achieved by your campaigns the number of jobs in our economy has risen by almost 3 million in the last 10 years, that is 3 million men and women who otherwise would have been without work, who thanks to the campaigns that have been mounted are in work today.

We are now ready to take the next big step forward as a country. There are jobs available today for in total 30 million men and women for the first time in our history. If we make the right decisions, we can advance even further and faster to full employment than ever before, with a British job on offer for every British worker.

Today I am proposing, and I have written to Brendan, the General Secretary, about this, that we work together to fast-track British workers into jobs we know exist and we work together to implement radically five practical changes that between them will yield half a million jobs.

The first is for decades, as you know, the barrier to work was the lack of jobs. Today with two-thirds of a million vacancies the biggest barrier is not lack of jobs but lack of skills and lack of links between employers who need workers and workers who need jobs.

I want you to work with us as we talk to the 200 largest companies in Britain and 64 of the best known - from Sainsburys in retail, HBOS and RBS in banking and finance, Travelodge, Compass in hospitality, Corillian, Mowlem, Diageo in manufacturing and construction - have already committed to take on, train up, and offer jobs opportunity to men and women who today are inactive or unemployed. Between now and 2010 by this measure alone a total of 250,000 extra job opportunities will come to British workers.

Just take one big national project, as we build the Olympic facilities we should train up local young people in our construction industry. Our plan is to start by helping 5,000 young people into jobs in London and ensure that jobs in the Olympics should and can go to local young men and women.

Let me say also that we can only create thousands more jobs and move faster to full employment if having defeated inflation in the last ten years we continue to defeat inflation in the next ten.

This week will see the 15th anniversary of the most humiliating day for British economic policy in modern history, the Black Wednesday, of 15percent interest rates, the exit from the ERM, the mortgage misery, the record repossessions, the negative equity, the 3 million unemployed, all the disasters that befell us 15 years ago.

The current Conservative leader was the principal economic adviser to the Chancellor of Black Wednesday and he stood alongside Norman Lamont as he announced the shame of the ERM exit and 15 percent interest rates.

If we were again to allow, as they did, inflation to get out of control by repeating as some would the same mistakes of 15 years ago, we would be back to Britain's same old familiar Conservative pattern of spiralling prices, high unemployment, a mortgage crisis and public spending cuts.

It is because we must never return again to those days when reckless promises that you could simultaneously cut taxes, raise spending, cut borrowing, were made and then inflation was allowed to get out of control causing 3 million unemployed, £16 billion public spending cuts, half a million repossessions, that we the Labour Government will always put stability first; no loss of discipline, no resort to the easy options, no unaffordable promises, no taking risks with inflation.

So let me be straightforward with you, pay discipline is essential to prevent inflation, to maintain growth and to create more jobs, so that we never return to the Conservative pattern of boom and bust ever again, and because this Government will take no risk with the economy we will only make promises we can afford.

For me it will be stability first, now and into the future, and that is stability not just yesterday but today and tomorrow, and in my view that will bring us more jobs.

I can also announce further measures to fast-track thousands more into jobs that are vacant, to guarantee for the first time in our country's history a job interview for every lone parent who is looking for work and ready for work, a new deal whereby prospective employees are invited into the workplace for onsite discussions, a new financial offer guaranteeing up to six weeks benefits during a work trial for lone parents, where training is required a training allowance of up to £400, for the lone parent taking a job for the first year £40 a week extra, £60 a week in London, ensuring that work always pays.

Let me add for those who come to Britain to do skilled work we will first require you to learn English, a requirement we are prepared to extend to lower skilled workers as well.

Fast-track means more jobs by offering better routes for young people. There are 85,000 more young people in college than in 1997, there are 340,000 more young people in work, but we know there are still too many teenagers after 16 who are not in education, training, or work at all.

Let me also announce a fast-track for out-of-work teenagers: all this summer's school leavers guaranteed a place on a pre-apprenticeship course or at college, a pathway to jobs for hundreds and thousands of young men and women who too often in the past would have fallen through the net. Let all of us work together to improve what are the keys we know to our future, the apprenticeships.

I am announcing today also that we will create a new all round the country service that is to match the apprentices who need training to the companies and the organisations who want young people to train.

I say to our trades unions in the public sector, we are ready to work with you now to expand apprenticeships into local government, the NHS, the Civil Service itself, as well as into all sectors of the youth labour market.

Our target is to move apprenticeships in this country from today's 250,000, which is more than three times the 70,000 it was in 1997, to expand from 250,000 to 500,000 over the next ten years to 2020.

This is why your work in trade union learning becomes central. It is central to the future not just of your unions but to the country. You understand that to build for the future we must enhance the value of labour and skills.

Fifty unions are now engaged in what I believe is the biggest transformation since the growth of the shop steward movement, a total of 18,000 trades union learning representatives in workplaces all round the country. Today your learning representatives, and I have congratulated some of them here today, are working in 700 separate workplaces, and they are helping 100,000 of our colleagues at work.

To expand union learning in the workplace and to meet our ambition, which is one million adults in learning, we are going to raise the money available from the Union Learning Fund from £12.5 million this year to £15.5 million next, and I call on all employers to join you in signing up to our skills pledge that every employee should have the right to gain basic skills, every employee the right, and I repeat, if we do not make sufficient progress over the next three years we will consider for employees in England who lack a good vocational qualification a legal entitlement to workplace training.

We want to stand with you not just to create jobs but to create good jobs, decent jobs, where employees are at all times fairly treated. I am today also talking to the General Secretary about how we work effectively to make sure that today's vulnerable workers are tomorrow's secure workers.

Let us be clear, no employer anywhere should be allowed to avoid the minimum wage. No employer should be allowed to impose unsafe or unacceptable conditions. (Applause) I will stand with you to enforce all the conditions of the minimum wage.

Let me say also, it is wrong that in any place, at any time, pizza staff or farm workers could ever take home less than £5 a week because of deductions for their transport, or for loans, practices which I know anger the overwhelming and vast majority of the British people, and the price of a job should never be a substandard wage or a dangerous workplace. (Applause)

We are taking new enforcement powers against people traffickers who buy and sell illegal migrant labour. We remember the tragedy of the cockle-pickers of Morecambe Bay and we have responded to your calls for controls on gangmasters. Let me say we are not only introducing the Gangmaster Licensing Authority, but this winter we will legislate to tighten agency regulation. (Applause)

I applaud also the work that unions here have done to help migrant workers and to combat racism and any bigotry against those who are here perfectly legally but who live in fear from unscrupulous employers who profit from fear, and we will at all times stand up to and expose and seek to eliminate from every council hall in Britain the bigotry of the BNP. (Applause)

We will also continue to support the Portuguese presidency of the European Union as they are pushing this month for an Agency Workers Directive in Europe. At the same time we in Britain will ensure four weeks annual holiday as of a right.

Thanks to your campaigning and the Warwick Agreement this will be in addition to bank holidays.

For parents of young children and carers there are new rights to seek flexible working hours and, of course, not only the right in law to be represented by your union but after years of campaigning and the dialogue, and after laying the foundation and tackling pensioner poverty, introducing the Pension Protection Fund, there is a new pensions settlement for the future where employers will now contribute by law to the pension of their employee and Britain is now on track to again link the basic pension to earnings.

We also want to work with you in every area where workers are vulnerable. We want to reach out to those who are too unaware or too intimidated to complain, we want to increase awareness of their rights among school leavers, and we will now examine with you how by bringing the power of all the enforcement agencies together they can be more effective in advancing basic rights.

Let me announce today that we will now increase the maximum penalties for violation of the minimum wage, we will raise the amount of compensation paid to workers who are owed arrears, and we will in future target resources to projects aimed at the safety and security of vulnerable workers who are at risk. (Applause)

Congress, today I am issuing to you an invitation to work side-by-side in a national effort to raise our skills and raise the standards so that together we can meet and master the forces of globalisation.

Britain can succeed and lead in the new global economy and achieve full employment. I will settle for nothing less, neither will you, and neither will the British people.

Let us in conclusion remember what we can achieve by working together. Two hundred years ago it was the British people who came together and with the biggest mass petition that had ever been mounted in the history of our country the British people brought the trade in slavery to an end. Now in this century working internationally and at home this generation can record proud achievements too.

Following the leadership of Nelson Mandela, I strongly believe that we could be the first generation to ensure that every single child in every country in every continent has the basic right to go to school.

Let us also be the generation that ensures another fundamental right, that every mother and every child is protected and we eliminate the scourges of tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, malaria, and then HIV/AIDS from this world.

Here at home let us also be the first generation able to show the world that instead of a globalisation which benefits just a few our country is a beacon for justice and fairness to all, the first country that can genuinely say that because of our efforts together we liberate not just some of the talents of some of the people but we liberate all of the talents of all of the people and so together we ensure the objective we all seek, dignity, security, and prosperity for all.

Thank you very much. (Applause)

The President: Gordon, thank you very much for that excellent address; a contribution which ranged over many of the issues which we hold dear. I am pleased that you mentioned about working together because one of the points I noted down was that it is important to have a working relationship with the Government. We know there are many things perhaps on which we will not always agree, but there are a lot of things on which we do agree. We have much to contribute as a TUC and as the trade union movement. We were very pleased to meet you in Downing Street soon after you achieved your new position. We wish you all the very best with that and look forward to a working relationship.

I was very pleased to hear the announcement about the new Chair of ACAS, who is Ed Sweeney. Ed was my neighbour on the General Council for very many years. He is a man whom I hold in the highest regard. I think it is a great appointment to take over from my other friend, Rita Donaghy; so I think that is excellent news, Gordon. I am pleased that you were able to give us that news. Thank you very much for coming. We wish you all the best and look forward to that relationship. Thank you. (Applause)

Genetic Testing

Gill Dolbear (Society of Radiographers) moved Motion 32.

She said: I am a first-time delegate. (Applause) Thank you. The Society of Radiographers has put forward this motion to open the debate on the use and control of personal information gained as a result of genetic testing. As a professional body, we are not opposed to genetic testing for medical research as this technology has clear advantages for all of us. For example, individuals may choose to have a genetic test in order to determine whether they carry the gene for a particular cancer or hereditary disease. Others may, indeed, choose to bury their heads in the sand and get on with their lives.

The emotional ramifications of the results will be significant in many cases and this is something those individuals will have to deal with. It will prove quite difficult for most people to accept the fact that they are predisposed to developing cancer. It will also be difficult to accept that you carry the gene of a hereditary disease, that your life may be shortened and that you should consider not passing this on to the next generation by having children.

The eugenic undertones of people seeking out potential partners with clear profiles and the creation of a genetic underclass definitely exist, but that is another debate entirely.

In terms of medical imaging, genetic testing is very likely to increase the demand for screening procedures. For example, those with the gene predisposing them to colorectal cancer or breast cancer will almost certainly choose to undergo early and regular screening in order to detect the presence of disease as early as possible. This will apply to a range of different cancers and hereditary diseases and is likely to have a major impact on the type of work undertaken by radiographers. This, in turn, may also lead to a gradual shift in the type of work carried out by the NHS as a whole as there should be far fewer patients presenting with advanced disease requiring expensive long-term invasive treatment. In other words, there will be more people potentially requiring the services of the NHS, but for shorter and far simpler episodes of care. The main advantage of genetic testing for the individual is, therefore, that their disease can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible, thereby offering them a chance of a cure and a longer life.

You can see that the implications for genetic testing are huge. That is why we call upon the TUC to open the debate with the public and affiliates on the use and control of information gained as a result of genetic testing. Imagine for a moment having a positive genetic test that shows you are predisposed to develop a certain cancer. Coming to terms with the reality of this information will be hard enough, but imagine being forced to declare your genetic profile to a prospective employer. They will almost certainly see you as a bad risk in terms of sick leave and reliability and are more likely to appoint someone with a clean profile who can potentially give them years of uninterrupted service. Even worse, employers may insist upon you having a test before considering your application, thereby forcing you to acknowledge genetic information about yourself that you did not wish to know.

So, if you have to declare a positive profile, you cannot get work; you cannot get life insurance and you cannot get a mortgage. The list goes on. The impact on society and the lives of each and every one of us is huge. It is vital that this personal information remains just that, personal and private to the individual, not out in the public domain.

It is, therefore, imperative that a clear policy on the use and storage of sensitive and personal genetic information is created and that robust mechanisms for the regulation and management of genetic testing in the workplace are implemented. We cannot allow employers and insurers to self-regulate on this issue. The potential for misuse of information and discrimination in the workplace, thereby worsening the inequality in Britain, is too vast. We, therefore, urge you to support this motion. Thank you. (Applause)

The President: Thank you very much for that interesting contribution. You had a difficult slot in following the Prime Minister and there were mutterings and conversations in the hall. It really is disrespectful to speakers, especially first-time speakers. (Applause) I would be very grateful if you could bear that in mind.

Pauline Betteridge (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy) seconded Motion 32.

She said: The UK has fallen behind other countries in protecting employees from unfair discrimination in employment on the basis of their genetic make-up. The US, France, Sweden, Finland and Denmark have already introduced legislation prohibiting genetic discrimination. In 2002, the Human Genetics Commission reported that there was no evidence that employers in the UK were systematically using genetic test results to recruit. That perhaps explains why legislation in this area is not high on the Government's agenda, but this situation is likely to change.

There are already signs that genetic information is being used by employers outside the UK in making recruitment decisions. The International Labour Organisation published a report in May 2007 noting concerns about the increasing use of genetic information by employers citing instances of its use by employers in Germany, the US and Hong Kong.

There is no doubt that the use of genetic information by employers will become increasingly likely as genetic testing becomes cheaper, more accurate and able to test for a broader range of conditions. So the UK needs specific legislation to regulate the use of genetic information by employers. Whilst the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 provides some protection for employees and job applicants, it does not protect those who have a genetic predisposition to certain conditions. But, is there a good reason for this? Experience shows that people can be subject to unfair treatment for conditions they may develop even if they have no symptoms because of misunderstanding or prejudice. HIV is a case in point. That is not to say that employers should not be able to use genetic information in some circumstances. However, legislation that simply restricts the use of genetic information may not be enough.

Persuasive arguments exist for protecting an employee's right not to know certain genetic information, regardless of how that information is used. Employees may have a very good reason for not wanting to know what genes they carry and what diseases they may suffer in later life. A young woman may not want to know if she carries a gene that predisposes her to breast cancer. She should not have to choose between that right and a job without very good reason. To decide otherwise could have serious consequences for the protection of civil liberties. Please support. (Applause)

* Motion 32 was CARRIED

Slavery

The President: We now move on to General Council Report, chapter 3 on Equal Rights.

We are moving on to the debate on slavery. The substantive motion, Motion 28, is from the Black Workers' Conference. As you know, Equality Conferences do not accept amendments to motions; so I will just explain what we are going to do. We are going to take the mover and seconder of Motion 28. Then I will take the mover and seconder of the amendment. Then we will have a general debate and receive contributions. Then we will take a right of reply to the mover of Motion 28, if he or she needs to take that. The General Council supports the motion.

Michael Nicholas (Fire Brigades' Union) moved Motion 28.

He said: I am speaking on behalf of the TUC Race Relations Committee. First of all, on behalf of that Committee, I appreciate that Congress stood for a moment's silence in commemoration of the Bicentennial of the Slave Trade Abolition Act and paid its respects to all those enslaved Africans who struggled, rebelled and sacrificed and to those who paid the ultimate price during their enslavement. During the course of 400 years, more than 25 million people were enslaved, leading to the colonisation of Africa and the problems that that continent still has today.

Congress, the enslavement of millions of human beings wrenched from the African continent was the most odious and reprehensible crime against humanity within modern history; that the English ruling classes then managed to rewrite history and perpetuate many myths whilst congratulating themselves on slavery's gradual and eventual abolition is, in itself, also almost a crime.

The abolitionists in the UK indeed played an important part, but they were not dragged from their homes, deprived of their history and culture, degraded and killed. Never ever forget who were at the forefront against the enslavement of African people - the enslaved themselves.

The struggle that was enacted in this country was the first modern historical act of working class and poverty-stricken people campaigning and organising against an issue that they saw as having a worthwhile cause. Their initial gripe may well have been about their own exploitation, but the reality of having no rights and no representation left them sympathetic and understanding of their direct link to slavery. The subsequent campaign was a template for the development of trade unionism some 40 years before the Tolpuddle uprising.

So what has been the trade union movement's response to the bicentennial commemoration, the commemoration of an Act of Parliament that working people campaigned for and finally won? In a trade union movement that has a disproportionate representation of descendants of enslaved Africans, there is so much more we can and should be doing. There are some polite suggestions within the motion that I sincerely hope all affiliates will act upon.

Congress, the descendants of the enslaved deserve an annual Remembrance Day. They deserve a permanent monument commending the struggle for freedom. They deserve a process of reparation to atone for the enslavement and its sad and negative consequences.

The Remembrance Day has widespread support and we need to campaign to bring that to fruition next year. A space has been acquired in Hyde Park and a permanent memorial has been commissioned. Our movement now needs to support and contribute towards that cost.

The vexed and complex issue of reparation now needs to be fully discussed, debated and decided upon. The Black Workers' Conference made a statement on the very issue. I would like to thank the members, the Black Members Committee of the RMT, and their NEC for so far being the only affiliate to convene a conference on this issue. I sincerely hope that more will follow.

Reparation can take place in many forms as a personal, societal and, of course, a financial reparation. Trade unions, the representatives of many descendants of the enslaved, need to be at the forefront of these discussions. It is time to educate and inform our movement about the link between slavery and racism; about the link between lost culture and the disengagement we see in some of our black youths, about the link between self-worth and a lost history, African and British.

With the Abolition Act and the Slavery Amendment Act came an order to pay reparation and compensation to the slave industry. After the Second World War, there was reparation for the Holocaust. American institutions have started reparation and atonement programmes for Afro-Americans. Congress, if it was good enough for those people, then it is surely good enough for the Bank of England, Lloyd's of London, the Church of England, Barclays Bank and many other existing institutions and industries who profited and built their very foundations on the whipped backs of enslaved Africans.

Finally, let us never forget those whose courage ensured freedom for those who followed. In the words of an anonymous enslaved African: "They will remember that we were sold, but they will not remember that were we were strong. They will remember that we were bought but not that we were brave." Congress, support the motion and let us start doing a great deal more than we have done so far. (Applause)


Zita Holbourne (Public and Commercial Services Union) seconded Motion 28.

She said: I am a member of the TUC Race Relations Committee. There have been many events this year marking the bicentenary of the Act abolishing the trading of African people as slaves. Much undeserved credit has been given to William Wilberforce for putting the Act before Parliament. I vowed until now not to mention him myself, but it has angered and it has offended me that, in comparison, little acknowledgement has been given to the bravery and determination of African people in ending slavery. We have just listened to the Prime Minister commend British people only for ending the slave trade. Wilberforce was no friend of trade unionists. He supported the slave trade for much of his life, but he also backed the Pitt Acts which made trade unions illegal and he viewed unions as a general disease in society.

So, please, mark the bicentenary by acknowledging the African slaves and abolitionists, such as Harriet Tubman, Olaudah Equiano, the Maroons and Toussaint L'Overture, who risked or lost their lives to fight for their and future generations' emancipation. Remember that slavery continued after the Act and exists in other forms today. Please also support the TUC campaign launched at this year's Black Workers' Conference for an annual Day of Remembrance.

Congress, here we are, 200 years later, and black people are still suffering, facing discrimination at work, in service provision and wider society and, despite a commitment from the Government for black history to be part of the national curriculum, there is little evidence of it happening in practice. During my son's two years at secondary school, only one topic of black history during one term was touched on. At his previous primary school, I had to provide the school with reference material information on black history. I have heard reports that children have been informed at school that black people's history began with slavery. Can you imagine what that will do to the morale of a black child being told, "Your people began their existence as slaves" with no mention of the great African Empire, such as the Nubians and the ancient Egyptians who have existed since the beginning of time and the great achievements of black people throughout history, and to be teased by other children because of this misinformation? How can we expect young people to grow up feeling valued and achieving, and how can we prevent a future generation of racists growing up if we do not educate young people with the truth? The time has come for the lip service given to black history in the curriculum to end and for the truth to be told in the school history books.

In the Civil Service, our employers refuse to carry out statutory race impact assessments, disregarding any negative impact on black people of their policies, yet the law that is in place that is supposed to prevent race discrimination is not working in practice and that the programme of job cuts and relocation in the Civil Service has caused detriment, not only to black workers, but to service users as well. With a public sector race duty, we should not need to lodge collective employment tribunal claims and judicial review action, but that is my reality as a CPS rep, representing PCS black members.

Finally, Congress, the legacy of slavery is still with black people today in all aspects of our lives. So, in addition to acknowledging this legacy and Britain's role in the slave trade, we have to stand up and fight for a society where all citizens are valued, where they have equal access, equal opportunities and equal rights. Please give this motion your whole-hearted support, Congress. (Applause)

Colin Moses (POA UK) moved the amendment to Motion 28.

He said: Madam President, I beg your indulgence to say to Congress on behalf of my union that I would like to thank everyone for the support that was given to us last Wednesday, and the fight will go on. (Applause) We submitted this amendment, not to deflect from the main motion, as the speakers have already said, because there is something we must remember when we look at the history. History impacts on today. History impacts on the very stereotyping of young black people in Britain, in British society. Every night we switch on the television and the media will bring forth a stereotyping of what is happening in our society, often putting forward a view that is totally wrong.

We must have role models. The speakers who went before me have spoken about the true history of the terrible happenings of slavery, yet on a nightly basis, on a daily basis, we see black people stereotyped as gangsters and drug dealers and involved in street crime, and not the great achievements that black people have brought to this society, that Africans have brought to this society. The purpose of this amendment is to say, yes, let us look at the history, but let us look at today. Let us look at a society that is still divided and divided against people of colour.

I have been coming to this Conference now for the best part of ten years and have heard debate after debate. Unfortunately, I have to say most of these debates take place after a Prime Minister or a minister has spoken when people are leaving the hall. I would like to have had this debate when the Prime Minister was here because when he talks about Africa today, he should talk about Britain today. (Applause)

The Prime Minister made much of Nelson Mandela, and quite rightly so, and referred to the statue of him that has been erected. If we are going to talk about role models, there is no greater role model than Nelson Mandela. However, we must remember that every time the media portrays the idea that the only crime that seems to be committed in this country is black on black crime, it does not portray the work being done in our communities. It does not portray the way our young people have to force their way into the mainstream. That includes the mainstream of this organisation; the mainstream of the TUC; the mainstream of political life and the mainstream of education. It is a disgrace that more black men are in prison than on our university campuses. That situation has been brought about with 10 years of New Labour. (Applause)

When we talk about slavery, let us not encapsulate it in men in long coats wearing wigs and saying nice words. Let us encapsulate it in chains and whips. Let us also encapsulate it in those same chains and whips which exist today driving down people in educational terms, in forms of prison and in forms of the media portrayal. If everything you see every day portrays you as the lowest, then that is how you will be regarded. Let us stop this now and portray the people of this country correctly. If Gordon Brown wants to take us forward, let us take everyone forward. Please just take us forward. Thank you. (Applause)

Mike McClelland (napo) seconded the amendment to Motion 28.

He said: Great damage has been done to young black people through the lack or denial of education that fosters cultural consciousness and academic excellence. In terms of employment, it was somewhat disappointing not to hear the Prime Minister announce any specific initiatives for enhancing the employment prospects of young BME nationals in this country, those countering the stereotyping of young black people.

However, I would support his words of support for union learning representatives. There are two reasons here. Firstly, the evidence suggests that this job attracts members into active union involvement from minority groups who previously, perhaps, would not have played such an active role in their union and, secondly, because they provide the means whereby we can promote the essential life-long learning skills within the workplace and perhaps explore and overcome the barriers facing such young black people who may be particularly reluctant or reticent about further learning.

The Government's agenda on Skills for Life with its focus on 16 to 19 year-olds is a positive initiative, but we should ensure that the Learning and Skills Council action plan includes specific requirements for young black men. Within our own sector, the community and criminal justice sector, we should promote life skills training through local education centres and community groups ensuring that the Skills for Life assessments are undertaken and, more importantly, that provision is made.

Our goal should be to ensure that access to facilities and education for young black people is made available by positive action and, beyond education within probation, we should be working with local partnership agencies to provide a service provision that is tailored to the needs of young black people and is based on informed cultural understanding and programmes within probation and within the prisons, such as for drug misuse and anger management. I would ask you to support this amendment. (Applause)

Bev Miller (UNISON) supported the motion.
She said: Congress, I am standing before you today as a descendant of an enslaved African in the year that Britain marked the 200th anniversary of the Act tabled by William Wilberforce calling for an end to the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The celebrations of Wilberforce's contribution to the Abolition movement often creates a blind-spot to the role played by black Africans like Wano, Clarkson, Mary Prince and Equiano, among countless others, who, when exploited, organised themselves and physically resisted those who enslaved them. It was their actions that made the slave trade unsustainable and brought about the passing of the 1807 Act and their own emancipation.

Congress, the abolition of slavery did not eradicate the idea of racial purity and hierarchy. The Race Relations Act 1976 and the statutory amendments to that Act have failed to eliminate institutional racism.

Black women and men are still more likely to be unemployed, work in junior positions and earn less than their white counterparts. They are often concentrated in particular sectors and occupations while virtually excluded from others, irrespective of their qualifications or work experience.

Black members within UNISON have been campaigning hard to force public services to take seriously their duty to combat racial discrimination, to promote training for black workers and to adopt measures to tackle the exploitation of black women workers.

Labour has recently decided to include the teaching of slavery and the slave trade within the national curriculum. I believe our education system should play its part in promoting a more inclusive society that is anti-racist and acknowledges the achievements and contributions made by black people.

Black workers' history and involvement in trade unions reflects the lessons learned from our role in the abolition of our enslavement and those who supported us. Unity is strength - people working together to take a stand against injustice. This is a positive legacy which we need to carry forward in 2007 and beyond.

Congress, an injury to one is an injury to all. Please support the Motion. (Applause)

Roger King (National Union of Teachers) supported the motion.

He said: Earlier this year, I had the privilege of chairing the TUC Black Workers' Conference. At that Conference there were a number of excellent debates and many heart-felt and impassioned speeches, but none more so than the debate on slavery; so it is fitting that this motion was put forward for further debate in the wider trade union Movement.

The enslavement of people in whatever circumstances is an abomination. The trans-Atlantic slave trade was a crime against humanity itself. As we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Act of British Parliament to abolish the slave trade, we should not forget that Britain played by far the largest part in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Neither should we forget that after the legislation of 1807, slavery continued to exist in the British colonies for another quarter of a century. Even then, the majority of slaves continued to live a miserable and impoverished existence whilst former slave-holders were compensated to the tune of £20 million, which is billions of pounds at today's value.

As we commemorate the bicentenary, who could deny that much of the racism that we see today is a legacy of the slave trade? This year should not be so much a commemoration of an Act of Parliament, but more a celebration of the contribution that black people have made, not only during those 200 years, but indeed to history itself and the shaping of the world, but also the contribution we continue to make to today's society. This includes the often-forgotten and rarely mentioned contribution that our forebears made to the abolition. It is not the gift of some religious philanthropists, but the resistance against overwhelming odds of the slaves themselves that ended slavery in the 1830s.

Let us honour their resistance, their names in most cases unknown, and celebrate their courage. I believe, as teachers, we have a responsibility to make each succeeding generation of pupils aware of the injustice and inhumanity of the slave trade, but also, and more importantly, to the historical and contemporary contribution made to the world by black people. Our history did not begin with a benevolent Act of Parliament 200 years ago. We also have a duty to ensure that each succeeding generation of pupils, regardless of their ethnicity and background, are given the best possible opportunity to fulfil their potential. All too often, this is not the experience that black parents take from our school system, but, as teachers, we also have an entitlement, denied by successive governments, to be freed from a restrictive unicentral curriculum, to be innovative and creative, to be freed from a test-driven regime and to have the ability and wherewithal to provide an education system that meets the needs of all our pupils and the aspirations of their parents.

To this end, my union, the National Union of Teachers, launched a charter this year on promoting the achievement of black pupils, 'born to be great', which brought together black students, parents and teachers. It is intended to empower all those within the school community and to challenge and articulate their entitlements as well as their responsibilities. The lessons, the truth and the legacy of the slave trade and the pain, suffering and resistance of those who endured it must be used to eradicate contemporary forms of slavery and ensure that such a crime is never repeated. Please support the motion. (Applause)

* The Amendment to Motion 28 was CARRIED
* Motion 28, as amended, was CARRIED


Congress adjourned until 2.15 pm

MONDAY AFTERNOON SESSION

(Congress re-assembled at 2.15 p.m.)

The President: Delegates, thank you very much for coming back to start this afternoon's session. Once again I would like to thank Norton's Hot Eight who have been playing for us again. An absolutely splendid session. Thank you very much everybody. (Applause)
Just a few announcements before we get going. I think we made pretty good progress this morning so we are currently, I think well on schedule. So nice pace, thank you everyone for your contributions in moving this morning's business along well and being disciplined in your contribution. I think we had some excellent contributions from the microphone this morning.

As was mentioned in the General Purposes Committee Report, the General Council felt that it would be helpful to have a statement on childcare. This has been put round the Hall at lunchtime and it should be on your chair or your table right at this minute. Clearly you will want time to have a look at it. It is an important topic and I know it has been debated very well in delegations, so you want to consider that properly. What we are proposing is that the debate on Motion 80, which is childcare, will be taken tomorrow afternoon and not this afternoon. The people involved in that obviously know about that, but you will all need to know about that to plan your contributions and how you want to consider it.

In its place I am going to take Motion 53 on the Future of the Post Office and Motion 54 on Fires in High Rise dwellings. Again the people involved know about that, but it is important for you to know so that you can plan your afternoon.

The one bit I did hold over at the end of this morning's session was paragraph 3.10 on race equality because I had an indication that there would be a question or an intervention on that one. I will be calling it this afternoon during the Equal Rights debate.
Before we get going, can I make a point about giving some space and respect and support to those at the rostrum. There were a few conversations going on around the hall. I know we all do it and it is a bit tempting but it is difficult if there is a background of noise. That goes for the people at the back, the people at the front whatever it is; if you want to have a conversation you might be disrupting someone who is trying to speak or someone perhaps towards the back of the hall who wants to listen to the debate. If we can bear those things in mind please I will be grateful.

This afternoon we start by turning to Chapter 2 of the General Council's Report, which is Organising and Rights at Work and it is on page 18. I am calling Motion 8, which is on Collective Bargaining Rights for Freelances. The General Council supports.

Collective bargaining rights for freelances

Tom Davies (National Union of Journalists) moved Composite 8. He said: I am a first-time delegate, speaking on the rights of casual and freelance workers, of which I am one. We need to strengthen the law that at the moment gives us in effect a two-tier workforce in too many areas. I will give some examples.

A few years ago the NUJ submitted a recognition claim at Telegraph Newspapers. There was a long and lengthy disagreement about the bargaining agreement. Management wanted it defined very narrowly, just staff; we wanted it to include more than 100 people who are defined as casuals, who are basically writers, sub-editors, photographers, designers, doing quite often basically the same job as staff members but denied their full employment rights. In this case a messy compromise was agreed by the CAC: those who work more than 10 days a month were included; those who did not were out, no vote in the recognition ballot, no negotiated terms. A few years on you can see what has happened. There has been a swathe of redundancies at the Telegraph and at many other places. Often those people who were made redundant have come back on worse terms to do casual work, and we have an increasingly casualised workforce - one with limited or no holiday or pension rights and other rights.

Elsewhere at News International we have an NUJ member, working ten shifts a month, over eighteen months, suddenly given less than a day's notice that he was no longer required; he was out. Over at The Guardian they have a system whereby someone who has been working there for ten months as a regular casual worker is forced into a six-week unpaid break before they are taken on again, and so do not acquire the protections that come with working continuously for a year.

This much-vaunted flexibility in this case is in reality enforced exploitation of a growing section of the workforce. The law as it stands contains loopholes that need effectively to be closed. Under UK employment law at the moment the rights are based on the nature of the employment relationship. Some rights, on health and safety for example, cover everyone; others, such as on recognition, cover people defined as workers; but others, for example against unfair dismissal, apply only to those deemed employees and exclude casuals, freelances and other atypical workers. This needs to change, and we need an extended definition of 'worker' to give us a more effective, more fair and more accurate concept of what the employment relationship actually is.

This two-tier workforce affects everyone. It enables unscrupulous employers to undercut the pay and conditions of existing staff by the use and abuse of casual staff who, in their turn, are left vulnerable and insecure, liable to lose work sometimes at literally a moment's notice. They are left without any means of collective redress and representation in these circumstances.
Fairness at work should mean fairness for all workers -- staff workers, freelance workers, casual workers and other atypical workers from day one. We need to start campaigning on this now. Please support the motion.

Martin Spence (Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union) seconded Motion 8. He said: I am delighted to be seconding this motion from our friends in the NUJ.
I want to make two points to support the argument you have already heard from Tom - two practical points that I believe will help us achieve the aims here, which is to give freelance workers the effective rights that they some times enjoy on paper but are unable to enjoy in practice. Firstly, as Tom said, we need to get hold of this new legal concept of a 'worker' which is distinct in law from an 'employee', and whose rights are weaker than an employee's, but workers have rights and they have the rights to collective representation. It is a right that all too often is denied in fact, so the legal status of worker needs to be tightened up, defined and made clear, fair and equitable.

Just to give you an example. When we were pursuing our successful campaign at the BBC Natural History Unit for freelance cameramen and camerawomen we had to go to the High Court and back to establish that these members of ours were workers. The BBC denied it. I do not know what they thought they were; I do not know what they thought they were doing when they went and shot programmes all over the world that win international plaudits for the BBC but they did not seem to think they were workers. We established that they were but it should not have been as difficult as it had to be to establish that clear legal point. That is number one.

Secondly, we need to address the question of the bargaining unit when we are going through statutory recognition claims. The bargaining unit and the concept of the bargaining unit has been drafted with permanent employment in mind and it works perfectly well in that context, but when you have a constantly shifting population of freelance or casual workers on daily contracts, on weekly contracts, on fixed term contracts, on rolling contracts, frankly it is like trying to nail jelly to the wall to establish what the bargaining unit is and who belongs to it. We need a definition of the bargaining unit, which gives freelance workers the right to be collectively represented and to win their ballots and to establish their bargaining units like other workers when the need arises.

Those are two practical points to give this motion a bit more shape. I commend it to you and ask you to give support.

* Motion 8 was CARRIED

Dispute Resolution and Employment Rights

The President: I now call Motion 9 on Dispute Resolution and Employment Rights. The motion is supported by the General Council.

Leslie Manasseh (Connect) moved Motion 9. He said: This is an issue that goes right to the heart of how our members are treated at work. How disputes between individual workers and their employers are handled in the future will largely depend on the outcome of the current government review of dispute resolution and procedures. This motion is how we respond to that review.

We all welcomed the 2002 Employment Act that put in place a statutory minimum procedure to resolve disputes in the workplace. It introduced new standards and safeguards for employees and ensured that all employers had to adopt a three-stage procedure in relation to grievance and disciplinary cases. By extension, it strengthened the right for union members to be accompanied by a union rep whether or not that union was organised.
However, there were some unwelcome and unintended consequences. In particular there was a tendency to legalise and formalise any dispute far too early in the process. This was exacerbated by employers far too often failing to deal speedily with their own internal procedures. In turn, that made early amicable resolution more difficult and made the ET process much more complicated.
The Government earlier this year issued a consultation document based upon the review conducted by Michael Gibbons. Its central proposal is to repeal that statutory procedure and its principal aim is to encourage internal resolution of disputes without recourse to litigation. This is an aim that we can support but as with all these cases the devil can be in the small print and we need to ensure that the overarching principle and the detailed proposals of any new system both protect and enhance existing employment rights and the ability of workers to enforce them.

Whilst there are some problems at present we clearly do not want to lose the advances that have been made. For example, the Act currently obliges employers to establish basic dispute procedures. If that legal obligation is to disappear it must be replaced by a number of mechanisms and incentives to encourage and promote good practice. Non-prescriptive guidelines are insufficient in themselves. We all know the weaknesses of a voluntarist approach. There must, therefore, be real penalties for employers who ignore them. In terms of encouraging and assisting employers to adopt good practices, the review envisages an enhanced role for ACAS, but this will come to nothing unless ACAS has more resources than at present and the ACAS code has statutory force.

Ultimately, of course, we know that the best way of setting disputes in the workplace is via trade unions, both in terms of representing individuals and negotiating collective agreements that avoid disputes in the first place. The review must therefore highlight the positive role of trade unions in dispute prevention and resolution and it must strengthen the right of individual union members to be represented even in unorganised workplaces.

Alongside the new dispute resolution procedures we must also consider the problem of enforcement that is rightfully becoming a clear theme this week. While unions offer the best way to resolve disputes at work we have to recognise that collective bargaining covers less than 40 per cent of workplaces and it is clear that many workers in unorganised work places find it difficult to enforce their legal rights. The early findings of the TUC Commission on Vulnerable Employment gives some idea of the extent of this problem in relation to the minimum wage, health and safety, working hours, holiday entitlement, and so on. Bad employers find it all too easy to avoid their legal obligations. Simplifying ET procedures will go some way to addressing this problem but not far enough. We need to look at how the enforcement regime works and I welcome the commitments given by the Prime Minister this morning because the current system is fragmented, under-resourced, confusing and difficult to access. That has to change if employment rights for millions of workers are to mean anything at all.

Of course, better enforcement is not a substitute for our primary objective of extending union organisation and bargaining, but it is a vital underpinning and it will help get rid of the scandal of vulnerable workers, far too many of whose lives are being scarred by unprincipled and exploitative employers who fear neither the prospects nor the penalties of being caught.

David Amos (FDA) seconded Motion 9. He said: Conference, my first TUC Congress and I am proud to be speaking for employment rights and practice, such a crucial matter for better working lives and for how well organisations perform.
It is a key campaign for one of the FDA's fastest growing branches, our ACAS branch, growing because of the challenges it faces given financial pressures and rising expectations, and growing because of the passion staff feel about how important it is that ACAS develops in order to handle and prevent difficulties and disputes at work.

Safeguarding employment rights and dealing fairly with disputes is also close to the hearts of the members of Managers in Partnership, the new national organisation for healthcare managers which I chair. Now two years old -- created thanks to UNISON and the FDA - it now has over 5,500 members, giving us a voice on policy as well as protection. Avoiding disputes, early resolution of differences and improving the work of Employment Tribunals is prime time practice that managers want to influence.
This motion praises the great work that ACAS staff do, and for their potential. Progressive employers, employees and trade unions are dependent upon them in the future.

This motion supports the ACAS core values of openness, conciliation, avoiding disputes, and whilst allowing healthy and legitimate disagreement these are critical components of successful modern employee relations. These need more money, not budget reductions, as well as reform. This motion calls for much needed help, especially for those working for smaller private sector employers. We do not have to invent good practice, just make sure it spreads. The NHS Hospital Foundation Trust, where I am the Director of Work Force, has had a no-redundancy deal agreed with the local trades unions for nearly three years. This has been delivered at the same time as we face the challenge of opening England's newest teaching hospital, affecting thousands of healthcare workers, and all of this has massively improved patient services.

However, we still need ACAS with whom we are currently working, together with UNISON and other parties, in order to see how best to end the two-tier workforce. FDA members and hospital managers welcome the analysis of the Gibbons Report. This will vastly improve current arrangements and resources that sometimes frustrate staff, their representatives and employers, and change the need to make processes swifter and better, at the same time making sure that established and hard won improved employment rights are fully protected, clearer, simpler, more creative and better value for money.

I hope you can support this motion. We can then go on to campaign for proper funding for ACAS and for staff to be valued as they deserve. Finally, we need to influence these reforms especially after the Prime Minister's announcement of the new Chair of ACAS, Ed Sweeney, and we need to ensure that A.C.A.S. can contribute to improve our working lives and enhance the services and businesses that we all provide.
* Motion 9 was CARRIED

Trade Union Democracy

The President: I now call Motion 10, Trade Union Democracy. The General Council supports the motion.

Joe Marino (Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union) moved Motion 10. He said: Brendan this morning made the point that we should congratulate ASLEF on what they have done and I am sure that Congress does that. ASLEF have taken the case, which has been of great importance to the Movement, and we should congratulate them for that.

However, it really is only a first step and we need to move on from the ASLEF victory on the issue of trade union democracy. I have to say that the response from the DTi to that Judgment is pretty restrictive. I should not be surprised about that because it is the normal response that we seem to get from the Government these days. Just look, for example, at other EU Directives that are there to assist working people, and the UK Government's position always seems to be how can we restrict that and how can we minimise its impact in the UK? That really should not be a surprise to us, should it, because again when the Government brings on board in Gordon's big tents people like Digby Jones -- and we all know what his views are about trade union unionism and workers' rights -- we should not be surprised at that kind of response.

As I say, the ASLEF case was just a first step and that is why we need support for things like John McDonnell's Trade Union Freedom Bill. We would hope the General Council would put pressure on the Government to implement fully the decision in the European Court as far as the ASLEF case is concerned and to give trade unions back not just the freedoms we should have but also to give us the right to protect our members in a positive way.

Gordon this morning issued an invitation for us to work side by side, an invitation I am sure that we will take up, but this maybe is a benchmark of what Gordon means by working side by side. I hope we can work side by side and say to them, give us back that independence, implement fully the decision that was made in the ASLEF case and respect international conventions as far as workers' rights are concerned.

Tracey Clarke (Community) seconded Motion 10. She said: On behalf of Community I would like to take this opportunity to speak in favour of the motion. The European Court of Human Rights has spoken out clearly about the great injustice and the abrogation by the British state of the basic human right of freedom of association. Nowhere else in Europe does the state take upon itself, through the law, to claim to dictate to independent trade unions that they should or should not have a say as members. Indeed, looking through the ILO's surveys of the application of the Freedom of Association Conventions, hardly anywhere else in the world does national law make such a preserved claim to that authority. Of course, the legislation in question stems from the Thatcher regime, but Labour governments tolerated it for more than ten years until the full effrontery of the law was exposed by telling ASLEF that it could not expel a BNP member. Community was very pleased to be among the organisations that gave financial support in the case, and now we ask Congress to demand the complete repeal of all parts of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act which denies our members control over the internal decisions of their unions. The Government, which have spoken so eloquently about the need to establish a rule-based international system, should give an example of its sincerity by taking this opportunity to give effect to the decisions of the ILO, in responding to the decision of the European Court.

There is one further aspect to this issue. The 1992 Act was the principal cause of the demise of the Bridlington principles, the British trade union movement's own choice of a means to regulate relations between affiliates, so that law seriously undermined the TUC as well as the unions. The least the Government should now do is to allow us to reinstate our own system. Let us press for complete repeal and the free exercise of basic human rights.

Mark Benjamin (Public and Commercial Services Union) supported Motion 10. He said: First time at the TUC rostrum, a bit like Gordon earlier on but I think he was more nervous than I am.

My union believes that it is our members who decide our rules and what goes into our rule book. Being a union member should mean that you believe in equality for all and we should be able to admit or expel people in accordance with our beliefs and our own rules.

As trades unionists the threat of infiltration by far right organisations, including the BNP, has escalated. We cannot underestimate the BNP, which has increased its vote more than 75 fold in just six years from just over 3,000 votes in the year 2000 to over 238,000 votes in the year 2006. The BNP even has the cheek to have its own union now called Solidarity, the British Workers Union, another platform to peddle their message of hate. It was such a racist attitude and behaviour that led to the racist murder of one of our former PCS members, Jay Abitan, in 1999. My union has campaigned for justice so that his killers can be brought to trial.

PCS, with Unite Against Fascism, is also campaigning to remove the fascist BNP pages from global websites. In the year that the BNP targeted Barking and Dagenham in Essex, spreading racist lies about the African community in the area, racist attacks increased by 30 per cent. In Europe, the enlargement of the European Union has led to the formation of an ultra far right fascist group of MEPs in the EU funded by EU taxpayers - yours and my money - and able to influence EU policy and legislative decisions. Racists and fascists have no place in our movement. The European Court have told the European Governments that they have got it wrong and we demand our freedom and our right to determine and uphold our values and our rules, and we demand that the government acts now.

Please support this motion.

Clare Williams (UNISON) supported Motion 10. She said: I am very proud to be speaking in this debate. I would like to start by thanking our brothers and sisters in ASLEF who secured this win at the European Court of Human Rights, which allows us as trades unions to kick out BNP members. At the same time I would like to thank the three UNISON MEP members from my own union who expelled a BNP member recently, despite threats from Nick Griffin turning up at the hearing to take photographs and to intimidate them. I thank them for their integrity, courage and conviction, which is something we should all have.

No one in this hall needs reminding why the BNP have to be fought at every opportunity. The BNP, as the previous speaker has mentioned, has established its own so-called union -- Solidarity. What a cheek. Mind you, if you read the current edition of Searchlight you will see that they are riven with divisions and warring factions.
However, I have to say, in county Durham, in the North East where I come from, Solidarity has been getting wide publicity. They are supporting a teacher who has been suspended by his school for accessing BNP material on a school website. They have organised a demonstration outside of school gates at his disciplinary hearing and we have to take their threat seriously.

The BNP is still active in our communities and our workplaces. They are peddling their messages of hate and of fear and of violence and of racial attacks so they can get more councillors elected on the back of Islamophobia, on the back of attacking migrant workers and on the back of attacking vulnerable groups that we as as a trade union movement should stand up and fight for.

In the Northern Region, under the umbrella of the Northern TUC, I am proud that this year, despite the BNP standing the largest number of candidates ever, we mobilised and we still have not got a single BNP councillor elected in our region. However, we cannot be complacent. The BNP are establishing new branches. In one ward in County Durham they have 40 per cent of the vote. In the recent Sedgefield by-election they kept their deposit and they got their highest number of votes in a by-election.
They have already announced their intention to stand in even more seats in the North East and around the country, including the upcoming London Assembly elections. We have to mobilise. The Northern TUC on 13 October is going to launch an anti-fascist fortnight. We will work with Show Racism the Red Card to promote an anti-racist message in schools. We are going to work with Searchlight, Unite Against Fascism and other organisations to fight them in the ballot boxes. We are organising club nights and cultural events aimed at young people. We are organising Banner Theatre productions aimed at tackling the myths around asylum, and we are going to engage our members in our workplaces.

Let us please send a strong message from this conference. We are united against fascism; we will stand against it and, where necessary, will kick out BNP members. They have no place in our Movement.

* Motion 10 was CARRIED

Disregarding Time Limits In Disciplinary Procedures

The President: I now call Motion 11, Disregarding time limits in disciplinary procedures. The General Council supports the motion.

Joanna Brown (Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists) moved Motion 11. She said: Suspensions for staff who are going through disciplinary procedure are a sad fact of life in the Health Service and in other parts of the public sector. Suspension is supposed to be a neutral act that does not pre-judge the outcome, but that is not the way it feels. Suspension is an incredibly stressful experience that can lead to reduced self-esteem and even feelings of suicide. Sometimes people who have been suspended never return to work in the NHS even if they have been exonerated.

Staff who have been suspended can quickly become de-skilled and lose access to training and continuing professional development. This poses a particular risk for health professionals who are required to have CPD to remain on the statutory register. It is not just the people who have been suspended who are affected; their family members often suffer severe distress and trauma as well. So it is really stating the obvious that when suspensions cannot be avoided the length of suspension should be kept to an absolute minimum, but all too often this is not the case. In a recent case, dealt with by the FCP, a podiatrist who was suspended for 13 months ended up with just a written warning. In another instance a podiatrist was suspended for 18 weeks before being told she had no case to answer.

It is amazing that this is still happening. Four years ago the Auditor General published a highly critical report about the management of suspensions of clinical staff in the NHS. In the year looked at by the Auditor General over 1,000 clinical staff were excluded from the NHS in England. Exclusions averaged 47 weeks for doctors and 19 weeks for other health professionals. The report estimated that the annual cost to the NHS of providing staff cover, management time to deal with suspensions and legal costs to be £29 million. That is a terrible waste of taxpayers' money, which of course is our money, and this simply would not happen in industry where the true cost of suspensions to productivity is recognised.

The Department of Health issued guidance on dealing with doctors' suspensions in 2003. The guidance set a six-month limit for suspensions and the Chief Medical Officer established a review process for cases exceeding six months. This led to two-thirds of the outstanding cases being resolved. Sadly, no such steps have been taken for other clinicians. This is despite a statement by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee in 2004 that it was unacceptable that these arrangements had not been extended to all clinical staff.

There is still no real pressure, therefore, on NHS employers to get discipline cases completed in a reasonable period of time, and every opportunity for suspensions to drag on. All that employers have to do is to churn out a standard letter every four weeks saying that the suspension is continuing. In the case of the podiatrist who was suspended for thirteen months, all sorts of reasons were given by the employer for the delay: they needed time to deal with the complaint thoroughly; they needed time to talk to witnesses; they had further issues to clarify; and they needed time to compile the report. Why did they need time to compile the report when 90 per cent of it consisted of photocopying patient record cards? I think some of the wasted £29 million could be spent on buying the Trust a decent photocopier. Quite obviously these are not reasons, they are excuses.

The enormous economic cost of suspensions should concern us, but the human cost is far worse. Suspension is a lonely and humiliating experience and the longer it goes on the lonelier and the more humiliating it becomes. We are calling on the TUC to support unions in highlighting these concerns and in promoting best practice. Please support the motion.

Mary Jenkin (Association of Educational Psychologists) seconded Motion 11. She said: My Association is delighted to second this motion and will use this opportunity to highlight to you one instance in particular where a member, our local rep, has been disgracefully treated by her employer, Liverpool City Council. She has been suspended for over one year, and has now been dismissed as a direct result of carrying out her trade union responsibilities. Events began in June 2006; she was not suspended until July. Only after our official had formally requested that the investigation begin did that process start in August.

The first investigative interview was held on 18 August, the second on 18 September. The outcome was promised by 25 September, but none was forthcoming and again our official had to remind the Investigating Officer to complete the process. We are now three months into this period of suspension. On 3 October a new investigation started as a result of a different allegation and Liverpool insisted on combining the two investigations. On 11 November, some five months later, the Investigating Officer wrote to say he was unable to give a date when his inquiries would be complete. It took almost twelve months for our member to be invited to a disciplinary hearing. We can only imagine the stress and anxiety she suffered during this lengthy period of suspension.

We in the association can only assume that these actions on the part of Liverpool City Council were a deliberate act of punishment on our member for her trade union activities. You will hear more of this when our General Secretary addresses Congress on Wednesday on this matter. We acknowledge that processes must be thorough; we would not wish to see justice compromised by undue haste. But we can only surmise that this employer and others who deliberately prolong the process are hoping by so doing to cause such distress in workers that they resign. This is disgraceful behaviour by any reckoning; it contravenes all interpretations of natural justice; it is, in our view, bullying behaviour and should not be tolerated.

I second the motion.

* Motion 11 was CARRIED

Exclusion of Seafarers from Legal Protections

The President: I now call Motion 12, Exclusion of seafarers from legal protections.
The General Council supports the motion.


Andrew Cowie (Nautilus UK) moved Motion 12. He said: When is a worker's right not a right? When are workers' social and workplace standards not applicable? The answer? When the worker is a seafarer. Seafarers are also an invisible labour force.
What goes on at sea is mostly out of sight of regulators so shipowners can, and often do, get away with abusing seafarers' rights without detection.

Seafarers have long been used to the vagaries of globalisation. Shipping is the world's most globalised industry. They are often exposed to unique competitive pressure. Many crews on flag of convenience ships are often denied basic human and trade union rights because the flag states have no mechanisms for, and often no interest in, enforcement of minimum social standards. As a result, the industry continues to be plagued by poverty pay, substandard living and working conditions, inadequate food and clean drinking water, and excessive working hours. The inherent dangers of working at sea, aggravated by poor safety standards, combine to make seafaring one of the most dangerous of all occupations with workplace death and injuries rates many times higher than such risky jobs as mining and fire fighting.

Maritime unions face a major battle in seeking to protect seafarers in such a globalised sector, with complex company structures and conflicting international jurisdictions making it difficult to identify the true responsibility for a ship and its crew, and even in many of the traditional maritime countries, purporting to have the highest standards of crew welfare, seafarers are excluded from key elements of hard won social and labour legislation that covers workers ashore. In the UK this has meant that seafarers have long been denied the protection of section 9 of the Race Relations Act outlawing pay discrimination on grounds of nationality. Only now, after Nautilus requested the European Commission to take infraction proceedings against the Government, has it begun to consult on removing this exemption. But exclusions go much further than that -- hours of work, health and safety law, minimum wage, rights of employment tribunals, just about every piece of protective legislation contains some sort of loophole to limit or deny seafarers' rights.

We see this process in Europe too. The European Commission systematically excludes seafarers from key social and employment directives. Following sustained pressure from maritime unions, Brussels has begun consultations on the possibility of ending such exclusions. It wants to re-assess whether the seafarer exemptions in such directives as those dealing with collective redundancies or the Transfer of Undertakings are still justified. Shipowners have already signalled their opposition to such a move to their usual refrain of 'international competition' and their threats to switch the flags of their ships if they do not like the reduction in employment flexibility caused by changes to domestic or regional regulation.

The maritime unions need your support to fight for the rights of some of the most marginalised workers in society. We need the backing of the TUC in the battle within the UK and at Brussels to give seafarers the same sorts of basic rights that workers ashore enjoy.

If a principle is worth applying on land it is worth applying at sea. In the 21st century there can be no excuse for denying rights to certain categories of workers. Indeed, given the inherent dangers and problems afflicting the shipping industry, there is a strong case for seafarers to have even higher standards than shore workers. The battle does not end in Westminster or Brussels either. Our ultimate goal has to be a system that seeks to standardise working conditions in our globalised industry to prevent owners playing off sets of seafarers in different countries.

To this end, we also appeal to the TUC to maintain pressure on the UK Government to ratify and implement the International Labour Organisation's Bill of Rights for the world's seafarers. This crucial Convention is of critical importance to ending the exploitation that has blighted world shipping and it is vital that our Government takes a lead in promoting its adoption.

Congress, I urge you to support this motion.

David Pelly (Prospect) seconded Motion 12.
He said: Congress, Britain is a seafaring nation and we shall continue to be one. We are a country surrounded by water and shipping remains the main way goods are transported to and from our shores. Not only is shipping an incredibly cost-effective way of moving goods and services around the world, it is also less environmentally damaging in carbon terms than many other means of transport.

The UK relies on ships and seafarers for our economic and strategic well-being. Every year some 150,000 ships arrive in UK ports and the Government is seeking actively to increase this. However, as this motion highlights, behind these statistics lies a high level of exploitation and abuse of seafarers who crew these ships. This is a particular problem with ships flying flags of convenience which amount to some 70 percent of the ships visiting UK ports.

Prospect represents staff in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, one of whose functions is to carry out inspections of ships in British ports. We share the concern of Nautilus about the situation of seafarers and believe the situation is getting worse. At least one ship in every 20 inspected in British and European ports is found to be unseaworthy. Last year saw an increase of 18 percent in the number of substandard ships having to be detained in ports after failing checks, and also a 3 percent increase in the number of deficiencies connected with crews' living and working conditions.

In fact, the reality may well be much worse than this because the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is not sufficiently resourced to be able fully to carry out its role in enforcing proper standards in the shipping sector and in protecting crews. Due to financial constraints, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency cannot recruit and retain enough suitably experienced staff to carry out inspections and enforce the laws. This year, our members have had to take industrial action to protect their pay and conditions in the agency.
Congress, there is no point in having laws, regulations and statutes if resources are not put into enforcing them, whether it is in relation to shipping, working time, health and safety, minimum wage, and so on. I was very heartened by commitments that the Prime Minister made in his speech this morning, and I quote in this regard: "We want to stand with you not just to create jobs but to create good jobs, decent jobs, where employees are at all times fairly treated. I am today also talking to your General Secretary about how we work effectively to make sure that today's vulnerable workers are tomorrow's secure workers." He goes on to say that no employer anywhere should be allowed to impose unsafe or unacceptable conditions, and so on. We welcome those commitments.

However, although we welcome those commitments, we would also seek that the Government put sufficient resources into regulatory agencies and other bodies which are expected to provide protection for workers.

To sum up, we ask you, firstly, to support this motion and the work of Nautilus to ensure seafarers have proper legal rights and, secondly, to support Prospect, other unions and the TUC to ensure that the Government puts money where its mouth is and puts sufficient resources into the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and other agencies to enforce these rights. Thank you, Congress. (Applause)

Richard Crease (Unite) supported Motion 12.

He said: President, Congress, I work in the ship towage sector of the industry towing these large vessels in and out of UK ports and, along with dockers and linesmen, we assist in 90 percent of the goods brought into the UK. In my sector, we are seeing companies setting up low-cost operations in competition with their mainstream fleet on lesser terms and conditions which are pressurising well-organised workforces into accepting lower terms and conditions. Once being classed as a seafarer was a privilege, but today it allows employers to exploit workers with a working time regime which just does not work. Worse still, the Government are supporting a watering down of the qualifications our members have worked so hard to achieve. This race to the bottom must stop. Please support Motion 12. Thank you. (Applause)

* Motion 12 was CARRIED

The Governance of Britain

Jonathan Baume (FDA) moved Motion 13.

He said: President, delegates, Congress will share the widespread concern about the lack of trust and engagement across the political system. For example, in the last two general elections, two out of every five voters chose to play no part in the crucial decision of electing a national government. There is usually an even worse turn-out in local government elections. Only 23 percent of the public trust ministers to tell the truth. Only 29 percent actually trust MPs as a whole. Unions should take this very seriously.

The right to vote and the creation of national and local democratic institutions are the outcome of centuries of struggle by working people. Trade unions have a proud history of campaigning to extend the franchise. Remember the Chartists in the 1840s when the earliest trade unions fought hard to give working people a say in how the country was governed. Remember also that it was only in 1928 that all women in the UK finally got the right to vote; the conclusion of the Suffragette struggle. The distrust, the cynicism, the sheer boredom of too many of our fellow citizens with how this country is run should be a concern to all of us. The disengagement and the powerlessness that too many people feel plays some part in the breakdown of communities which, in turn, exacerbate the yobbery and the criminality that has dominated headlines in recent weeks. Congress should, therefore, welcome and take seriously the recent Green Paper, The Governance of Britain.

It was actually a brave step for the Prime Minister to issue such an early statement of intent on issues that are too often seen as the preserve of anoraks. At the core of the Green Paper is the nature of the relationship between government and citizens, the credibility of our national political institutions and how the rights and responsibilities of all citizens help to determine the health of our democracy.

The Green Paper does not seek to be a final blueprint for a constitutional settlement, but it does open up a serious debate to make proposals that could have an important impact in improving the quality of political life in Britain.

The FDA certainly welcomes the commitment after a long campaign to place the Civil Service on a legislative footing, to all intents and purposes, through the Civil Service Act. This was first proposed in 1854. So after 153 years it does feel like something of a victory.

The Government also commits itself to surrendering or at least limiting powers previously exercised by ministers alone and giving these to Parliament as a whole. Some of the proposals are, frankly, arcane. I suspect Congress is likely to have little or limited interest in how we appoint the Poet Laureate or, for that matter, suffragan bishops, but included are many more significant powers, including, for example, the right to deploy troops abroad. Taken as a whole, this does appear to be a genuine transfer of power from what is probably the most powerful executive in any democratic system.

Crucial to the Green Paper is the Government's attempt to open up a serious dialogue about issues that have always been of concern to trade unions, including the re-affirmation of human rights, which include the right of assembly and association. The Green Paper also offers proposals to help reinvigorate decisions taken within local communities. On this subject, for example, there will be many different views, I am sure, on how local people are best involved in local decisions. However, the significance lies in the fact that this debate has even been fostered, and very actively fostered, by the government of the day. Congress will certainly want to play a part in the debate about a statement of values, possibly including a Bill of Rights and Duties.

These issues are important. As UK citizens, we have rights that are the envy of people in the majority of countries around the globe. If we allow these rights to atrophy, we are undermining the legacy that trade unions have played such a proud part in achieving. The debate the Government has launched is about reinvigorating the quality of political life in Britain and about helping to find ways of bringing together the diverse communities that now make up modern Britain.

So the FDA urges all unions and the General Council to take the Green Paper seriously and to play a full role in the process of consultation and dialogue. We are in a real sense debating the shape of the nation that we will bequeath to our children and grandchildren. Thank you. (Applause)

Pat Clouder (Communication Workers Union) seconded Motion 13.

She said: President, Congress, we welcome the Government's Green Paper on the governance of Britain. However, a great deal of the machinery of government in Britain is archaic and requires an overhaul.

Alongside the Prime Minister's commitment to this reform programme is his suggestion that there should be a debate about 'Britishness'. Our concern is that this debate could narrow down our appreciation of our diverse modern society. There has never been a single culture in Britain. For example, the written languages of Wales and Scotland precede the creation of the English language by several centuries. Despite attempts to suppress them, these languages remain alive today. Equally, the Northern Ireland Assembly has obtained a commitment from the Government for legislation to protect the Irish language and the language defined as 'Ulster Scots'. This demonstrates that language policy cannot be reduced to English only.

In London more than 300 languages are spoken. In some schools more than 50 languages are spoken in the playground. Is such diversity a problem? Congress, we think not. The different languages, cultures and experiences of people in the UK are a great productive force in today's international markets.

We must ensure that such diversity is treated with respect. The same holds true for religion. We must accept equality amongst faiths and with people of no faith. Jews and Muslims have lived in Britain since feudal times along with Catholics. These communities have often suffered terrible discrimination and attacks. Today we must accept the needs of all the various communities that make up our society.

In the workplace, unions are having to address the difference and the changing needs of a multicultural workforce. This involves us in developing services and policies which adapt to members' specific needs. It may be a convenience for a local and national government to treat citizens as though they were identical and it may also be cheaper to deliver, but bureaucratic conveniences do not bring coherence to our society. A defence and celebration of multiculturalism is essential.

As we commemorate 200 years since the criminalisation of the slave trade, let us remember we are a nation descended also from slave owners and slaves. Honouring our history and addressing today's society is a complex problem that requires serious policy answers. Conference, please support. (Applause)


Neil License (Public and Commercial Services Union) supported motion 13.

He said: The PCS welcomes the Prime Minister's innovation of pre-announcing forthcoming legislation but the PCS believes that consultation is only really meaningful when it takes place before decisions are actually made, and as negotiators we have all been consulted about decisions that have been taken and are not going to be changed. Consultations about decisions already made are not only a waste of everybody's time but they are fundamentally dishonest and we do not want to waste our members' money and our members' time and resources on a dishonest process so we would like to see some evidence of how its honesty can be assured. The PCS believes that we need a robust framework of standards and methods to ensure that proper consultation takes place backed up with the highest level of integrity and we look forward to agreeing how that can be achieved.

The PCS particularly welcomes the Government's commitment to put the civil service on a statutory footing. This will ensure that its values and its ethos are underpinned by law, and the highest standards of efficiency, integrity, impartiality, and intellectual rigour will be enshrined in law and will continue to characterise the civil service in general and PCS members in particular. But it is not enough to pay lip service to the public service ethos or to take it for granted as something that will survive whatever is thrown at it.

We believe that ministers collectively and the Prime Minister in particular have the fundamental responsibility to affirm the value of the public service ethos. Many PCS members, and we know because they tell us, join the civil and public services because they want to make a difference, to make the UK and the world a better place. Public service ethos is part of PCS DNA, it gives us an essential moral purpose, that is why PCS supports enshrining those values in law. However, and there is always an 'however', a constitutional process should not be imposed. PCS argues strongly that the Government must foster genuine debate and genuine social engagement with the trades union movement and with the multicultural Britain that we inhabit. The role of the civil service is so important that both ethos and morale must be monitored carefully and properly and maintained and improved where possible.

The civil service is a pivotal member of the public sector family and has a crucial role to play in the public sector, therefore PCS, and our brother and sister trade unions in the public sector, must be at the heart of any discussion on reform and we wait to see how that will be achieved. Congress, support the motion.

* Motion 13, as amended, was CARRIED

Employment and Trade Union Rights

The President: We are now moving on to Composite 3, Employment and Trade Union Rights.

Andy Bain (Transport Salaried Staffs' Association) moved Composite Motion 3.

He said: Composite 3 recognises that there has been some progress in reversing Thatcher's anti-trade union laws over the last ten years. It is far too little and it is far too slow. We also welcome today's friendly sounding Mr Brown and his commitment to properly policing the minimum wage, the least we should expect bearing in mind the widespread flouting of this legislation.

I am going to talk briefly through the first eight sub-clauses on the composite and then look at why a government that should be on our side is not, and then comment on the issues of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, an issue very closely related to the popular demand for a referendum on the European Constitution now being called the European Reform Treaty.

A common thread links several of these sub-clauses. The existing legislation is a resource burden on the trade unions. It costs us time and money and makes basic activities difficult to carry out, and consequently often saves money and time for the employers. The first is not an example of this but why should we accept discrimination against under-18 and under-16 year olds? They may well get paid more when they gain experience and skills but it is not a reason to have a different absolute minimum.

Point 2, last time round the Political Fund ballot cost the fairly small TSSA £19,000 in postal charges alone. It took up significant staff and activists' time and in the 20 years there has never been a No vote. It is a deliberate tax on the trade unions, a tax that employers are free from.

Point 3, an employee of 364 days faces discrimination that one of 366 days does not. Some employers take advantage by legally sacking staff before the year is up. Rights on day one would help workers and their unions and this security is more likely to be a benefit to the good employer than a hindrance.

Point 4, directors do not worry about collapsing pension funds but employees who saved the whole of their lives have had their money stolen from them when funds have closed and this has happened before the PPF was introduced. The amounts due can easily be calculated and they should be compensated.

Point 5, where public money is being spent jobs should not be outsourced or offshored. Companies and public bodies use this to shed non-core jobs to the cheapest bidder, very likely to be non-union and difficult then to unionise. The employer gains in the short term, the workers sometimes, the same people, lose. Where the jobs go abroad local economies can often be disrupted when trained doctors and engineers, for example, answer phone calls on broadband faults or train times.

Point 6, we still have to struggle hard for equal pay and audits on employers should be made compulsory.

Point 7, all the above and the below can be covered in a trade union freedom bill, the subject of the next composite, which the TSSA will be supporting. We also call for the fundamental right to strike in solidarity.

Point 8, much of our time is wasted trying to get activity time for reps for training and, in particular, for pensions champions, but even for time off when our representatives have to meet our managers.

Why is all this so difficult? It is a question of ideology. The Labour leadership believes that private is good and public is bad, individual motivation is superior and public service is old-fashioned, unless of course they do it for peanuts, and all is resolved by the free market.

We have a job to do and part of it could be achieved by isolating the neo-liberals from the social democrats. Social democracy and even the ideas of socialism are the roots of our movement. The neo-liberals are on the other side.

Lastly, the Charter of Fundamental Rights allows some level of a right to strike though other aspects of the EU Reform Treaty could be used to supersede this. however, we want this protection nonetheless and oppose the Government's pro-employer stand. Please support Composite 3.

Len McCluskey (Unite) seconded Composite Motion 3.

He said: Colleagues, employment and trade union rights should be at the very heart of the campaigning work that we do in the movement, not because we should rely on the law to defend our members against job cuts, pension cuts, casualisation, low pay and long hours, only effective workplace organisation can do that, but because our members need the tools to fight back when fighting back is necessary. Workers only feel the full force of anti-union law when they themselves take action, when they find their hands tied behind their backs, as Rosa Luxembourg observed, 'Those who do not move do not notice their chains.' So, despite the improvements in workers' rights there are still lots to do and it is not good enough to claim that all that is needed is better enforcement of existing employment rights. That is what the Government and some in our movement are peddling at the moment. Of course, we all support better enforcement but let us not get sidetracked and seduced into seeing this as a remedy. There has to be further reform. Better enforcement of individual rights is one thing but it is the right to take collective action where real strength lies, the strength to take on greedy bosses, the strength to fight for decent pensions, the strength to support vulnerable workers because solidarity is a human right. That is why we support the Trade Union Freedom Bill, a modest set of measures that go some way towards rolling back the anti-union laws of the Tory years and, yes, I am afraid to say now the Labour years.

As this motion states, this year an ILO committee of experts called upon the British Government, a Labour government, to amend UK laws to allow workers to participate in sympathy strikes. Solidarity is not a sin, colleagues, it is a virtue. It is the very essence of trade unionism. It is what we should be all about. The Freedom Bill is not a list of outrageous demands, it is in line with basic internationally recognised labour standards. I do not come here to attack the Labour Government but the reality of life stares us in the face. We see the same attitude in the so-called opt out of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, British workers, our members, once again the poor relations in Europe.

Congress, employment rights are also at the heart of the debate on inequality. It is a fact that those European countries with the highest levels of collective bargaining also have the lowest levels of inequality. So, let us take this fight forward, comrades, together clear of purpose and in solidarity because, to paraphrase Shelley, 'We are many, they are few.'

Tony Kearns (Communication Workers Union) moved the amendment contained within Composite Motion 3.

He said: We thank TSSA for accepting the amendment because it did not appear to be anywhere else to place on a pad a proposition regarding the disgraceful position of state pensions in this society.

I will give a brief history. Many believe that it was Lloyd George and the churches who secured the first state pension. In 1898 the trades union movement began a 10-year campaign and secured in 1908 what could be argued as the most significant advance in social policy in this country, which was the state pension. 2008 is that centenary and there is a centenary campaign being launched by the National Pensions Convention. One hundred years ago the old and the poor had to work in workhouses. Because of low wages there was a need for pensions and people could not save. Nothing appears to have changed in that 100 years. In 1908 the Victorians distinguished between the deserving and the undeserving poor, in other words, to decide that they adopted means testing. In 2008, 100 years on, nothing has changed. So, in 1908 five shillings was the state pension for all at the age of 70, which incidentally was to be collected at Post Offices. At that point in time that was 25 percent of the average wages. Today £87.30 being the state pension is 15 percent of average wages. How can it be that 100 years of progress still means means testing, that one in four pensioners live below the official poverty line, and the vast majority of those one in four pensioners below the poverty line are women. It is the least adequate state pension in Europe. Why are we not getting an index-linked pension? We are told it is because of the cost. To index-link pensions today would cost this Government £11bn. It seems like a lot of money except in the National Insurance Fund, which is collected for precisely that purpose, there is a surplus of £38bn. By 2012 when we are on a kiss and a promise there may be index-linking that is estimated to rise to in excess of £60bn. What the Government does is use the surplus in the National Insurance Fund to borrow for other campaigns, be it a war in Iraq or a war in Afghanistan.

So what we have is the National Insurance Fund collected for a specific purpose and not used for that purpose and even when they talk about index-linking, and when Gordon Brown said this morning that we are on track, I would like to know when. The caveat about 2012 is if affordable, so a government could come along, any government could come along, and change that policy. We have this position now, there are 7 million trade unionists and there are 11 million pensioners in this country, that is 18 million people. At the time of the General Election coming up I suggest there is a solid base there for a campaign to raise the stage pension and to be index-linked immediately.

To do that there has to be a number of things: first of all, get to the NPC stall, there is a national lobby of Parliament on Wednesday, 24th October, being organised by the National Pensioners Convention, get along to the stall and get the literature, buy the badge, take back to your branches, your regions, your national executives, the statement being prepared by the National Pensions Convention as part of their centenary campaign, get it endorsed to make it a public policy and to make it a rallying call for index-linking of state pension now. The demand is that it is now.

One of the other reasons we are told on the issue of affordability is we need to put up taxes. £14bn City bonuses, private equity and the super rich not domicile in the UK can well afford to pay the taxes to index-linked state pensions. If we want a civilised society, we want to look after the elderly in our society and call ourselves civilised, we need to index-link these pensions and end this disgrace right now.

Roy Dunnett (GMB) supported Composite Motion 3, sub-paragraph 4, Pensions.

He said: Colleagues, the trade union movement has led the campaign to protect and improve workers' pensions for many years now. It is through our campaigning that the Government set up the Pension Protection Fund and the Financial Assistance Scheme to help workers who had lost decades of pension savings when the employer went bankrupt and robbed their pension schemes. The PPF and the FAS are a move forward but there is more to do. Workers should have the full confidence that saving for a pension through their employer is a safe thing to do. This can only happen if the PPF and the FAS pay 100 percent of the pensions that members have earned. Every penny saved should go into the pension on retirement but perhaps even more worrying is the failure to fully compensate members in the absence of any ill health provision from these schemes. As the law stands seriously ill members with pension savings locked away in the PPF cannot get any money out when they fall ill. Members struck down with a terminal illness at, say, the age of 40 are deprived of any money from their pension and the only way any money will be paid out from the PPF is when that member dies. It is a bloody disgrace. This situation must not continue. The Government must ensure full compensation for people whose pensions have been lost, including providing ill health benefits to all those who need them. Penny-pinching that deprives mostly what is rightfully theirs will not rebuild the confidence in pensions that is so desperately needed.

Our message to the Government is clear: make sure that everyone can get the pension they saved for in full and when they need it. Congress, please support.

The President: I will now take the vote. The General Council support Composite Motion 3.

* Composite Motion 3 was CARRIED

Trade Union Rights and Freedoms

The President: We now have Composite 4, Trade Union rights and Freedoms. The General Council support the composite. I call on the RMT.

Bob Crow (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) moved Composite Motion 4.

He said: when the General Secretary gave his speech this morning I heard him mention the fantastic strike that the postal workers were involved in, I heard him say as well about the Prison Officers' Association's fantastic strike with union support. I do not know if it was an omission or not but if it was let me say on behalf of my delegation and my executive there was a bit of a skirmish in London last week. I do not know if people understood that. We knew we had won it when every Tory press paper attacked us. In fact, when Brendan Barber was talking about Dr Who, I thought Ken Livingstone was going to come out of a Tardis. What he said was that it is bad behaviour to go on strike, that people should cross picket lines and there is no reason to go on strike. I remember the times when he wanted to stand on picket lines, when he used to ask me and the former General Secretary of ASLEF, Mick Rix, to call strikes to save industries. But we are in a situation today, ten-and-a-half years after a Labour government has been elected and when you heard the Prime Minister speak this morning he never gave you one assurance that he is going to give you any other trade union right whatsoever. I tell you what, tomorrow morning, or Wednesday, if people in this building absolutely believe that the Director General of the CBI is going to come here because he feels sorry for you, you are living in a dream world. The fact is it is these people who want to keep you down and do not want to give you rights.

Let's see where we are. This TUC used to be live on BBC 2 and BBC 1 some 10/12 years ago. You are lucky to see it on the parliamentary channel now, or a bit on Sky, or a bit on the BBC World Service. Do you know the reason why? It is nothing to do with you great people in here speaking about the problems that you have because the problems you have now are even more, the fact of the matter is that they do not see you as a threat. They think that you are impotent. The reality is this, they have a good argument. In 1978 as the old Labour Government was going out and the Tories were coming in, over 90percent of people were covered by a collective agreement, even though 57 percent of people were in a trade union. You are now down to 32 percent of people that are covered by a collective agreement. The fact is when Gordon Brown gets up and talks about solidarity, and he used to be a trade union learning rep or used to be a part-time tutor, surely the trades union movement was built on solidarity. You have companies that come along, they split themselves in two, attack one group of workers conditions and then the other group of workers cannot come out to support them. This Saturday we have a strike in the entire eastern region of Britain through a lad who tried to defend the travelling public from an ASBO that jumped over the barrier, never had a ticket, started smoking, and tried to put the head on one of our guards. For that he got the sack. I will tell you what is happening this Saturday, 800 RMT workers are walking out on strike. (Applause) I will tell you what is happening on top of it, they are bringing in scab managers from all over Britain to operate those trains. I will tell you what, if it is good enough for this CBI bloke to come here to talk about partnership and allow managers to come in and scab on our members, I would call that class solidarity for the bosses. Then it should be class solidarity that we have the right to call those members out when they are bringing managers of other trains to show solidarity with the workers that are taking action down here. (Applause)

Comrades, I would say to you, there are 250 Labour MPs, never mind the Cabinet ministers, that will not sign the Freedom Bill. Why is it that for ten-and-a-half years these so-called Labour MPs will open their pockets and open their wallets every time a General Election comes in, and the people, the working people, are asked to give money to them, will not give you the right to have a Freedom Bill? You should say to them, 'Are you prepared to fight on behalf of working people, or you don't receive a penny from the trades union movement that you're supposed to support and you're supposed to campaign for.' (Applause)

Comrades, there is a rally and a demonstration taking place on 18th October. I accept that people come to this rostrum and say that migrant workers is the issue, and pensioners is the issue, and agency workers is the issue, and contracting out is the issue, all of them are issues but the only way you can fight back is having the right to have the shackles thrown off you. What the Labour Government did in 1977 and that period in opposition from 1977 right the way through the 1980s is oppose every one of the nine acts of anti-trade union laws. If it is good enough in opposition to oppose those laws, it is good enough to repeal them now. Get to the lobby and demonstration on 18th October, pass this resolution, and tell the Labour Government that unless it changes its ways, 'You ain't gonna get support and you certainly ain't gonna get our money to put the boot in that the Tories have done to us over the last 18 years.' Thank you.

Bob Andovers (POA-UK) seconded Composite Motion 4.

He said: Can I start by saying that I want to ask a question of Congress, it is a serious one, and it is one that I think is worth asking, that is, why do we want trade union freedom? We want it for a lot of reasons. Bob has outlined both in the motion why we want freedom, to operate as independent trade unions, but there is another reason, that is, that our forefathers fought long and hard, mine in the POA, got sacked, intimidated, bullied, for trying to form a trade union with the police. That came to nothing. It took a long time, a very long time, before in 1939, because the government of the day thought it would be locking up thousands of conscientious objectors they decided to give the POA (Prison Officers' Association as it was then) the right to arbitration and the right to be a trade union. That remained the position all the way through until 1993.

In 1993 the Tories took away our rights. They took away our ability to restrict and withdraw our labour. Many people complained about it, including the previous Prime Minister, and I do not know what Gordon Brown said about it or other cohorts of his, but certainly the last Prime Minister said that it was wrong and he would give us them back when they came to power. Now I heard the Prime Minister and listened very carefully to what he said this morning, and he quoted no injustice can last for ever. I think he is right. The Tories robbed us of our rights. (Mobile phone ringing) Excuse me, I am getting a message! It is Digby Jones, he would like to see me!! The Tories robbed us of our rights and the Labour Government never gave them back. There were lots of promises, promises not kept: 'No injustice can last for ever.'

I will tell you one injustice that will not last for ever, that is, where we think that our members are going to be beaten up every day, where we think that prisoners are not going to be rehabilitated, where we are going to send them out to rob, rape, murder, innocent people on the streets of the United Kingdom, then we will not wait for ever. We have proved it. I am going to ask again that question, why trade union freedom, because it is ordered. Let me tell you, we have had enough of the ordered life waiting for promises to be kept. If we have to, and if we do it again and we get threatened and we have to do it after that, believe you me we will take back our rights. I am not really bothered whether they bring in legislation, whether we get the Trade Union Freedom Bill, I am not bothered about that, because at the end of the day when workers feel as bad as we felt we will go out. The point I am going to leave you with is: do not vote for this composite if you do not mean it. Thank you.

Steve Kemp (National Union of Mineworkers) supported Composite Motion 4.

He said: Britain's anti-trade union laws, as already stated, are amongst the worst in the European Union and when introduced by Thatcher and the Tories represented the most vicious attack on workers' rights since the Combination Acts of 1799 and 1800. Here we are yet again in 2007 living in a country where workers still do not have a legal right to take industrial action. When the anti-trade union laws were introduced it was, we were told, to hand the unions back to the members. What has happened is directly the opposite, the unions have been handed over to employers and High Court judges. The most recent example is Brian's dispute, the POA, where prison officers following an 87 percent ballot result for industrial action, the Government ran to the High Court, robbing workers of their basic rights to withdraw their labour. It is only two years ago that the Gate Gourmet workers graced this Congress with their presence after being sacked by a vicious employer using a megaphone and when baggage handlers supported them once again it was the anti-trade union laws that came to the rescue of that particular employer. We pledged and we gave a firm commitment in 2005 and 2006 that we are not going to stand any more and not allow workers to be treated in such a despicable fashion by wildcat employers and of course wildcat judges. It is an indictment of the society that we live in that a worker who has but one commodity to sell, his or her labour power, is not allowed to do it.

Comrades, sooner or later these outrageous Tory laws must be swept aside, every motion this afternoon is linked to the anti-trade union laws and the viciousness of those laws as well. I was in Corfu last week and somebody said, 'There's somebody praising Thatcher's legacy, Steve, and that she's being talked about.' Let me tell you about Thatcher's legacy. It was a legacy of attacking the trade unions, a legacy of destruction. It is a legacy of broken communities and broken families. She has not to be praised, she has to be condemned at the end of the day. The only epitaph that Thatcher deserves on her gravestone is, 'Under this sod lies another.' That is the only one that she wants. (Applause) When people come to me and say, 'Steve, why are you so passionate about getting rid of the Tory laws,' I say take a look at the former proud mining areas in Britain, Scotland to South Wales, Yorkshire to Kent, Lancashire to the Midlands, destroyed, many of them still in the grip of social deprivation and a drug culture that has led to unemployment and low-paid jobs, and providing easy pickings for the poisonous bile of the fascists and the BNP to operate and spread the hatred in the mining communities. Our union, the NUM, provided the cement that held communities together, educated them, and gave them pride and dignity. The Trade Union Freedom Bill should be wholeheartedly supported, everybody should support it. It is a step in the right direction. If you are serious about supporting workers in struggle, the Remploy workers at GMB, support this motion and we can help those people.

Mike Kirby (UNISON) supported Composite Motion 4.

He said: I am pleased to support this composite and the call for fair trade union rights for all. After a decade of Labour rule we are still living under Tory laws but in supporting this I want to refer particularly to that part of the composite of the activities around the Scottish Parliament. The trade union week that took place there is an illustration of increased and enhanced engagement with that devolved administration. That week built upon the memorandum of understanding which exists between the STUC and the Scottish Government, an agreement with shared priorities of economic development, modernisation of public services, social partnership, lifelong learning, and equality, a memorandum to be reviewed with the minority administration now in power, but that first trade union week held at the Parliament in December last year saw trade unionists taking their case into government, emphasising trade unions central role in civic society. Meetings were held with all the main political parties to discuss STUC priorities and individual union sponsored meetings and exhibitions in the Parliament. The CWU, the Justice for Agency Workers, Prospect launched a Scottish Science Study, the General Council talked about organising migrant workers, the entertainment unions launched a manifesto for the creative industries, and PCS debated relocation policies, all issues at the centre of trade union campaigning and my own union, UNISON, sponsored a debate working for Scotland's public services which brought together a government spokesperson, a UNISON member, and an opposition spokesperson, a UNISON member. That week culminated in a debate on the main chamber of the parliament, led by the Scottish Executive on civic engagement and the role of trade unions in society, the first of its kind. Interestingly, the Tories put down an amendment to that motion which would have removed all reference to trade unions at all.

Congress, few will deny that the Scottish Parliament encouraged a difficult initial period but we have seen the development of that institution which is making a difference and trade unions have been part of that success working across the political spectrum with the plurality of politics in Scotland to ensure that the issues which are of concern to workers such as skills development, workplace health, economic development, and public service investment, are at the top of the agenda. That trade union week demonstrated the significant contribution that unions make to society. Along with groups such as the faith communities and voluntary organisations, we provide the glue that keeps society and keeps communities together. That is why we have a right to expect trade union rights and freedoms. Unison supports this composite. Thank you.

Nigel Gawthorpe (Unite) supported Composite Motion 4.

He said: Chair, colleagues, I am not going to repeat what has been said by previous speakers in regard to this important composite. However, I do believe it is important that we highlight a number of issues that we are asking the Government to address in future legislation relating to employment law.

I am a print worker and I am sure you are all aware previously of SOGAT, the GPMU, and Amicus had a consistent history of fighting for decent employment rights and the repeal of anti-trade union legislation at our own conferences, the TUC, and the Labour Party. Even though the Government have introduced legislation which has been very helpful, notably the right to achieve statutory recognition, there are a number of areas that the Government needs to address in order to bring real fairness at work.

One of the main areas of our concern is the fact that members working in small companies who choose to join a union where there are less than 21 employees are still denied the right to use statutory procedures to achieve union rights at work. These firms make up to 75 percent of the printing industry in the UK. In the printing industry we have a current situation where even the majority of employees in small companies have supported union recognition and have our union represent them but the fact that they have less than 21 employees means that they cannot use the statutory route to gain recognition and the employer can, and has, ignored their views.

There are a number of industries covered by Unite which are dominated by small and medium sized companies. These include the graphic and print industry along with such industries as IT and publishing. Why should it be that workers in small companies who wish to be represented by a union and collectively bargain with their employer do not have the ability to take a case to the CAC to achieve statutory recognition if they support their union? Why is it that just because you work in a small or medium sized business you are not allowed to have the same statutory rights to recognition as employees in larger companies? It is our union's view that these issues need to be addressed and addressed urgently.

As I have said before, in the printing industry we have many small companies and recognise that the relationship with the employer is sometimes different. It is easier to gauge where the workers support recognition in small companies and therefore we argue that there is no reason at all why recognition could not be simplified in small and medium sized companies to determine support for the union reasonably quickly.

I know that the TUC has continued to campaign to achieve fair employment rights and repeal of anti-union laws and they secured commitments from the Government in the Warwick Agreement. It is time the Government initiated those agreements reached at Warwick and they are fully implemented. So, support the composite, support fair employment, particularly for those colleagues working in small and medium sized businesses. Thank you.

Dave Wilshire (Communication Workers Union) supported Composite Motion 4.

He said: People have said that it is radical to ask for further rights for trade unions and people have said that by gaining rights trade unions will act irresponsibly. In respect of the first, all we are asking for is some of what we had before the anti-union laws were introduced and that which is enjoyed in much of the rest of Europe. I do not believe that that is radical.

In respect of the second, it is a myth. The lack of trade union freedom allows employers to abrogate their responsibilities whilst portraying the unions as being the unreasonable ones. Recent experiences in the Post Office disputes have highlighted this. We have been faced with bosses illegally employing agency workers to do the jobs of those on strike, agency workers who are being exploited by both the employer and the agency who hires them. This has caused further local disputes on top of the national strikes. We have been faced with bosses scrutinising notices of strike action and having the nerve to accuse us of taking illegal industrial action despite the fact that we have had a national ballot. We have been faced with officials being issued with punishment charters, despite the fact that official action is being taken and again that is the reason that we have had further disputes on top of the national dispute.

We have been faced with the bosses using a scabs charter to entice people to work at remote locations and moving vans and other vehicles to those remote locations so that scabs will not have to cross picket lines. We cannot legally picket those sites despite the fact that our work is being performed at those locations. That is a ludicrous situation. In fact, it is a lack of trade union freedom that gives employers confidence to do these tings and abrogate their responsibility to hold sensible dialogue with the trade unions.

Congress, the way to commit employers to act responsibly is by ensuring they know that should they continue to abuse their responsibilities and get into disputes with unions, the unions will be fighting without one hand tied behind their back. Thank you.

Alan Gibson (National Union of Journalists) supported Composite Motion 4.

He said: This issue goes very very deep into the heart of my union. When the Tories first introduced this legislation back in the 1980s the employers used it absolutely to casualise our union, to derecognise us, to drive down wages and conditions right across the industry. It was very very bad and damaging for our union and that is why we welcomed very much the changes that were introduced by the first Blair Government in 1999/2000, which allowed us actually to begin to rebuild our union, to win back recognition and so on. We have used it and we have begun to rebuild our union as a result but as previous speakers have already said, this legislation does not go anywhere near far enough. We are still confronted by newspaper groups which can pick off our members in individual titles to increase productivity, to bring in absolutely massive job cuts, to continue poverty pay and long hours without us having any recourse to building the secondary action across those titles, across those groups, that could change that.

My colleague earlier spoke about the casualisation of work within the national newspaper industry. Again, this is something that we are completely unable to stop as a result of the legislation as it stands right now. We are confronted by the situation where we are completely unable without breaking the law to build the secondary action that could stop this. That is why we welcome so very much John McDonnell's Trade Union Freedom Bill and why our ADM, our conference, this year voted overwhelmingly to support the bill and to support the campaign to win it in Parliament. We have to get behind the campaign to redress the balance of industrial relations in this country. We cannot allow another Gate Gourmet to happen. We will have to get behind this campaign.

I will just finish by saying that I take my hat off to the POA. On the day of your action two or three weeks ago one of your members made the point in an interview that as far as he was concerned the Government should 'stick its trade union legislation up its collective jumper'. I think if we all had that same attitude, we would actually win back our trade union rights a lot quicker than it stands right now.

Anthony Carey (Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union) supported Composite Motion 4.

He said: I am proud and privileged to speak in support of this composite by such a great stalwart of our movement, the National Union of Mineworkers, who I salute for their struggles over the years, and to reinforce the content of the composite.

Comrades, Gordon Brown and his party should hang their heads in shame for not repealing the anti-trade union legislation that has so blighted our movement. The motion asks for a stepping up of the campaign to take action without delay, to restore the rights of the worker in the workplace, and rightly so. It calls for Congress to step up its campaign for the repeal of all anti-trade union laws. Comrades, we have had 10 years of a so-called party of the people and so-called Labour Party who is so ashamed of its principles and direction that it had to change its name to New Labour, a party that has abandoned the socialist principles that should be at the very core and foundation of its make-up, principles that are so dear to us as trade unionists.

When I asked a minister at the TUC Disability Conference the same question, why were they ashamed of the word 'Labour' and had abandoned their socialist principles, he replied that it was a new form of socialism. Comrades, if that means restrictions and denial of trade union freedoms, then I would respectfully suggest that as a congress we should ever invited another member of so-called Labour to this Congress until the full restoration trade union rights and freedoms is given back to us. (Applause)

Comrades, ten years is too long to wait. I would implore this TUC to turn round and not just step up the campaign, let us get to grips as a movement and defend the working classes. Do not let the TUC be a toothless tiger, ensure that we have a real bite irrespective of the government of the day. Do not wait another ten years. This issue should be dealt with not tomorrow but now. Fight the fight for trade union freedom and rights.

The President: Thank you very much. That concludes the debate on Composite 4. I do not think there was anything to reply to.

* Composite Motion 4 was CARRIED

President's Address

The Vice President (Gloria Mills): Good afternoon, Congress, it gives me great pleasure to call upon the President, Alison Shepherd to address Congress.

The President: Thank you very much, Gloria. Thank you very much, delegates. It is pretty unusual, actually, for me to give a speech to a Congress that I was not finishing writing about two or three minutes ago and I had to finish this one on Thursday. I was not let out of Congress House until I had done it. That is the first line and I have departed from my text. I am not going to make any other major departures, I think.

It is really quite customary for the President to give the keynote speech on the first day of congress and normally it is the first major contribution of Congress week, but given that I have left it to Brendan to ask and answer all the difficult questions this week, I was more than happy to let him get his retaliation in first on this occasion and to prove that the TUC does not have to do everything in the same way each time. It is not every TUC president who gets the General Secretary, or the Prime Minister, to do the warm-up act for them either, and perhaps I should have added Bob Crow to this list because I think he is becoming a pretty impressive speaker, and I think we always enjoy listening to him. Thank you very much, and you did not go through the red light, either, and that is always a good act to follow.

Over the past few weeks by way of research I have read a number of presidential speeches which at least indicated to me that I had a fairly free hand and could do as I wanted. It also occurred to me that the way we planned the agenda and all the speakers we have this week a shorter rather than longer speech might be welcome so that you as delegates from your unions can have a good opportunity to get on with the main business of congress and bring forward the policies that you would like us to establish.

Many people have asked me what the highlight of my presidential year has been, perhaps prompting me for some overseas travel, or whatever, and it has really been quite difficult to come up with a simple answer. In truth, it has all been genuinely interesting. I have done things that I enjoyed doing, no two weeks have been the same, even Monday mornings have been good, and it has been great to see and participate in the very varied activities that our trade unions do every day, to help our members, and that goes for anywhere in the world. Trade unions make life better for working people and their communities, they make a difference.

My core duties were chairing the General Council and the Executive. This may not be everyone's choice but I have enjoyed it and I would like to thank all my General Council colleagues for their commitment, engagement, good humour and complementary contributions to improving the way that we work in making our meetings meaningful and ensuring that we have considered all the current relevant issues of the day. We do not always agree but we are a very diverse movement and the important thing is that we honestly represent our trade unions and the members that make them up.

Mentioning overseas visits and earlier rather than later in my contribution I need to tell you about the Nigeria Labour Congress. The Nigeria Labour Congress is a very good friend of the TUC and in February Bandula from the International Department, and I, flew out to Abuja for a few days to participate in their congress. It was well organised in a very businesslike way; timings tend to be a bit elastic but anyway the final day was to end with the elections of the new leadership. Now, corruption is something that does happen in civil life in Nigeria but the trades union movement knows how to conduct itself and how to run scrupulous elections.

In short, after a conference session of some nine hours without a break, the delegates cleared the hall and individually validated returned to stand in line casting individual votes in each delegation in transparent ballot boxes for a whole series of elections. So, we overseas visitors called it a day at 11 o'clock that evening. When I went to the airport the next morning I asked what the outcome was to be told that the delegates were still there. I know that a number of you might find it a bit hard to stay in your seats for more than an hour or two during the course of this Congress, and there are a few gaps at the moment. I would just like to reflect on the visible demonstration of democracy that was so important to our Nigerian friends. In our dealings with the Government, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and DFID International Development we always stress the importance of working with country trade unions. We made sure that we told them the Nigeria Labour Congress has a lot to offer.

I cannot stress how important I believe it to be that we have a single trade union centre in the UK and I include our sister Scottish TUC and Wales TUC in that, where unions can come together, work together, campaign together, and sort out problems between each other, and speak with one voice. My year as President saw the inauguration of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) the new world trade union body. I am very pleased to welcome the ITUC President, Sharan Burrow, to Congress this week. I recall Sharan delivering one of the best lines ever on the issue of unions and gender balance, and the importance that some trade unions do not always place in fulfilling their obligations in electing women to positions of power. Reading our equality audit report at Congress this week we do not need to be too self-congratulatory about it either. Sharan said, 'We are here, we are not going away, so you'd better get used to it.' Sharan can say this so much better than I can and I think you will get a flavour of that when she addresses Congress later in the week.

I would also like to welcome another sister trade union president, this time of the European TUC, and that is Wanja Lundby-Wedin. She will also be with us later on this week.

That neatly brings me on to one of my themes this year, the importance of reflecting the diversity of our membership and our leadership. I have spoken about this wherever I have gone, the TUC Women's Conference, the Black Workers Conference, the LGBT Workers Conference. I did not go to the Disabled Members Conference because it clashed with the ETUC Congress but I would probably have said that there as well. I have said that I am the third woman president in a row; there were others before and I think I am the tenth. Each of the last three, Jeannie, Gloria, and I, we are all different, we have different skills, abilities, interests, and roles in our trade union lives.

I am a lay member and that is one with a proper job. I am only kidding! I joined the union in my workplace and I have risen through a series of elected representative position to become President of the TUC, so I know all about the juggling that you have to do, to do your own work and to fulfil your union responsibilities; the member who comes with an urgent problem that materialises just as you are focusing on a crucial work deadline, the manager that you have not seen all week who turns up when you are about to slide away to a union meeting.

I work in a university. I will mention Middlesex because that is where I am. There are a few Middlesex people around. The photographer who did my photograph for the Congress Guide turned out to be a Middlesex graduate. There is at least one other member of the General Council who is a Middlesex graduate, and I have worked there for some time. I would not have done what I have done without the support of my colleagues and I think most of my local managers. I have had my ups and downs over the years with the university on time off and other issues. Currently we are fairly up with the university seeing unions as part of the solution rather than part of the problem. There is probably a little bit of kudos with having one of their employees as President of the TUC too.

I take the view that if you hang around long enough you can become President of the TUC and although some of my friends want to point out that there is a bit more to it than that, the role that I currently occupy should be one that every member of a trade union or every one working for a trade union can reasonably see themselves aspiring to. The last lay member to hold this position, Rita Donaghy, who then went on to become chair of ACAS, did some research when she was becoming president and she found that she was only the second lay member president in 139 years of TUC history. That makes me the third person but I am pretty sure that this statistic can be improved on very shortly.

I did want to spend some time today talking about the role of lay members in our movement, past, present, and future, and putting a price on our value. We are the largest voluntary organisation in Britain. We are the difference between a worker treated fairly and a worker exploited, between a job saved and a job lost, between a workplace where safety, equality, and learning matter and the workplace where they do not. We are 250,000 volunteers. We know that our reps give just more than their time. A recent survey showed that nine in ten believed they sacrifice their career prospects in order to represent their colleagues although we do not see it like that. Activists give their time and skills willingly because they want to make a difference and the lay reps who received the awards this morning probably did not think they were doing anything exceptional either.

Earlier this year the then DTI said workplace reps are worth £1.1bn to the UK economy and their impact on productivity is potentially worth £10bn. One hundred and fifty thousand health and safety reps are responsible for reducing the number of days lost to absence by over 600,000 a year, and by preventing at least 11,000 cases of work-related illness or injury. Throughout our history union reps have always made a massive difference. Just think about the struggle for equal pay. Most of the great cases in which advances were won, the Ford machinists, the school dinner ladies, owed much to the women's unions taking action in the courts and the role of workplace reps, many of them women, were absolutely crucial; people like speech therapist, Pam Endby, Julie Haywood at Cammell Laird, and all the others who stood up and fought for justice.

At this current time when greedy lawyers seem to think that they can do it better than we can, we should not forget where the rights that we have and we now take for granted really came from. Union reps have always understood the concept of equal pay within the workplace. They know that the lives of women workers can be transformed through collective bargaining and timely litigation. As we reflect on what our reps have achieved, we should continue to argue for full funding for equal pay and for statutory equality reps to act as agents of change in the workplace.

I want to finish by looking to the future. Union reps have come a long way since the days of the ubiquitous shop steward in the 1970s and today we have organising reps, health and safety reps, equality reps, environment reps, and of course union learning reps, all supporting workers in crucial ways. The latter have shown that trade unions are not just about getting even but about getting on, showing that we are attuned to both the aspirations of today's working people and the challenges of globalisation. Indeed, our learning reps are redefining trade unionism. Most of the new union activists, half are women and many of them are young, and they are ordinary working people doing extraordinary things, helping their colleagues get on at work and in life, unlocking learning opportunities across the spectrum from literacy and numeracy through to higher degrees. Earlier this year I chaired the unionlearn conference and it was an inspirational event. I listened to people telling me that union learning was the best thing that they had ever done.

Our workplace activists are the key to our movement. They have shaped our past and they perhaps more than anyone else will shape our future. They will ensure that unions remain relevant because the issues that we take up are the ones that members want. The challenge we face is not just to ensure that workers become union members but to encourage union members to become union activists.

So, I am looking forward to the rest of the week to listen to your contributions and as a Congress speak as the trade union voice in our country. We are the workforce in the UK. We are the citizens of the UK. We have skills and experience and we have something to say.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge some contributions and support. I would like to thank UNISON, my own union. I am very proud to be a UNISON member and I thank everybody in UNISON for all the support and friendship they have given me over the years.

I could not finish without thanking all the staff at the TUC for all the help they have given me this year, the friendly professionalism and high quality organisation which has helped me and enabled me to carry out the duties of President of the TUC. Thank you very much. (Applause)

The Vice President: Thank you very much, Alison, for your address. Alison is a very modest person but I should say I have worked with her for a number of years and I just want to say your commitment, your support, your achievements, are so important and you have continued to press the case for, as you say, ordinary activists and workers in trade unions. I want to say thank you for all that you have done in the past year and also over the last 40 years. I now want to call upon Lesley Mercer to move the vote of thanks to the President. Lesley?

Vote of Thanks to the President

Lesley Mercer (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy): In moving the Vote of Thanks to the President, he said:

Congress, I am delighted to have the opportunity of moving this vote of thanks for Alison. Alison and I have been on the General Council for seven years so Alison is a friend as well as a colleague. When she took on the role of President last year she followed straight on from Gloria Mills and Jeannie Drake, two real class acts to follow on from, but I think that Alison very speedily made the role her own, demonstrating yet again, I think, just how important strong independent women are to our trades union movement.

In terms of Alison's chairing of General Council and Executive meetings you will have started to get the feel of that yourselves as to her style. I would describe it as calm, as focused, and always inclusive. Coming from a small specialist union like the CSP, that inclusivity I cannot stress is so important and I think is the reason why, as Alison said, we are mostly able as a TUC to speak with one voice.

You might have kind of noticed over successive conferences that there are a few characters on the General Council but I have never known any of them throw Alison as President, she treats everyone with the same courtesy and the same friendliness. That might mean some of our debates perhaps are not always the shortest but they are always good-humoured. I think that is really important.

Alison's motto, which she says she has expressed herself by on a number of occasions, is 'We'll all work this one out between us'. That is a great motto for the trade union movement. There is, of course, more to the role of TUC President than chairing General Council meetings, important though they are. Let me give you an example from Alison's diary. Last month she led a TUC delegation to meet the new Prime Minister and a number of members of his Cabinet. Very shortly after that occasion finished, she was off to host the TUC's annual reception for MPs. If you remember, Alison, we had a snatched cup of tea between those two events in the sunshine, as I remember. That is probably why it really fixes in my mind. What Alison told me during that cup of tea was that she spent the whole morning representing a member at her local workplace. I think that helps to explain why Alison is so down to earth and human as a person. I know that TUC staff respect her for that. It is not just today, Alison, in thanking TUC staff for their support, but I am told that throughout the year Alison has gone out of her way to recognise the work that TUC staff do and show her appreciation. Recognition and appreciation is so important to all workers.

I cannot move a vote of thanks to Alison without saying a few more words about her international role. I think that Alison has described that in typically under-stated terms. What she did not say, for example is that she was part of the first ever trade union delegation to Colombia at a time when most of us would not just think twice about visiting that country, but we would probably think 20 times, on grounds of sheer personal safety. But Alison went on that trip and it was successful. The reaction of trade unionists in that country was so positive that that trip paved the way for a much greater involvement by the TUC in supporting trade unions and workers in that country.

In the past Alison was also a member of a fairly ground-breaking trip to Indonesia at a very crucial stage of that country's history. As a direct result of that trip, to show that these things can really make a difference, the delegation was able to come back and persuade our Government to supply funding to help with the development of an independent trade union movement in that country.

During the past year, as well as Nigeria, Alison has been to Palestine, Israel and to the Western Sahara; none of them particularly easy safe places to go. I have not accompanied Alison on any of these trips but I have talked to people who have and they say that Alison goes to listen. She does not go to tell people in other countries how they should do things. As a result, Alison has been able to bring back to the General Council and, no doubt, to UNISON, too, not just practical ideas for how trade unions in this country can support workers overseas but a real feel and insight for working conditions in those countries and their people's working lives.

On top of her extremely hectic schedule as President, Alison has managed to have a personal life, which she is allowed, I think. It is a little known fact that she is an ardent supporter of Shrewsbury Town Football Club. Up and down the country, I am told, Alison goes to watch her team. I have added a bit of research myself to this speech, and I want on their rather quirky website. If you have not been on that website yourselves, then if you do go you will find out things like how they once beat Everton, how they once marked Wayne Rooney out of a match and all kinds of trivial... I'm sorry - all kinds of important facts like that.

Alison is also a cricketer of some prowess. She has followed the strong tradition of UNISON women by taking part in the annual cricket match between the TUC and the media. In fact, Alison in 2005 was the opening bat in one of those matches. The then Prime Minister went on to comment - I believe it was actually in this Congress - 'This was the year that England won the Ashes and the TUC beat the press'. (Laughter)

Alison, I do not quite know what you do to follow up a year as TUC President, but I am sure that when you have caught up with a year's lost holidays and perhaps lost sleep, too, you will continue to do great things for our trade union movement. You said this morning, if you recall, when you were introducing the local reps awards, 'I'm not an award winner myself'. Well, Alison, I do beg to disagree. I think you have been a fine role model for our trade union movement. I think if your successor, whoever that might be, follows your example, then they will have a successful apprenticeship, too.

On behalf of the General Council and I am sure on behalf of all of Congress, too, thank you, Alison, for your hard work; thank you for your enthusiasm and thank you for your sheer downright decency as a TUC President. I move. (Applause)

The Vice President: Thank you, very much, Lesley, for that. I now call on Katrina Murray to second the vote of thanks to the President.

Katrina Murray (UNISON) in seconding the vote of thanks, said: Congress, I am exceptionally proud to be standing at this rostrum seconding the vote of thanks to the President. When Alison first suggested my doing this in August, my first thought was one of pride because it is a great honour to be asked to do this, to pay tribute not just to what has been said as part of the President's Address but what is proving already to be a very successful week and the conclusion of a very successful Presidential year. It is also to pay tribute to the work of Alison's trade union career. The good bit about this is that she is still alive and she can hear everything that is being said about her. Normally, we would only get a chance to do this at somebody's funeral.

Given that premise, my second feeling was one of complete and utter fear. Why me? I have known Alison for a long number of years, granted, but she is a colleague and a comrade, but not necessarily somebody who I would go to the pub with on a Friday night. As has already been mentioned, Alison is only the third woman lay President in the TUC's history. I am particularly proud that two of those three women Presidents have been from my own union, UNISON, because it shows how much value our organisation places on the role of its lay members.

I also want to say that after my experiences with the STUC, I appreciate the roller-coaster ride that you have been on, and I can quite categorically say, as a lay member, that this is as good as it gets.

The roller-coaster, including the combined expectations of your employer, your branch, your union and the one, two or 25 phone calls that you might receive from the General Secretary in the course of a day, means accommodating the balance of representing the domestic who has a grievance about working hours at 9 o'clock, meeting Government Ministers at 12 o'clock and then going back to negotiate in the late afternoon, before packing a suitcase because you are scheduled to be out of the country the next day, it takes a very special person to combine the role of TUC President and the role of branch secretary. Alison, you are it.

Anyone who is expecting me to stand up and dish the dirt is sadly mistaken, not because I am trying to be honourable or anything but nobody I asked would actually spill. I am sure there are detailed to be spilt but they are all keeping very tight about it. Everything I heard just reinforced what I already knew. The true strength of Alison is you see what you get and you get what you see. There are no hidden agendas. There is a downright decency, honesty and reliability, somebody who does not necessarily jump into the foreground but will always be the voice of reason when things are getting entrenched. You have had testament paid to the fact that you will always leave the room with a solution and not with even more entrenchment.

It also shows that we have the same ideas about things we wanted to say. I have got big red marks all over this speech because, as delegates' advice to Congress is to watch for the red light and do not go over it, Bob Crow recognised that one.

Alison, if you have half as successful a week as you have had in your Presidential year, then this week is going to be great. It will be a good one and I am very proud to second this vote of thanks and commend the President's Address to Congress. Thank you. (Applause)

The Vice President: Thank you very much, Lesley and Katrina, for what you have said.

The President: Thank you very much. I have got the microphone back. I would like to thank both Lesley and Katrina for saying such nice things. It just shows the quality of the colleagues who I have had during my years.

We must now get back to business. We are running a bit late but I am sure we will catch up by the end of the week. We are on General Council Report, Chapter 4, Economic and Industrial Affairs. We have a slight change to the programme because we are not dealing with Child Care this afternoon. In its place we are taking Motions 53 and 54.

The future of the Post Office

The President: I call Motion 53, The future of the Post Office, on behalf of the Communication Workers Union and seconded by PCS. The General Council supports the motion.

Tony Kearns (Communication Workers Union) moved Motion 53.

He said: Congress, when I spoke earlier on the issue of pensions, I made the point that when the State Pension was first agreed it was paid at the Post Office. I made that point deliberately because the idea was that to pay the State Pension at Post Offices you recognised that Post Offices would be placed in deprived or poor areas. So those who needed the service had access to it as a means to survive in the community. Therefore, the Post Office became a focal point and it remained as that focal point for the best part of 80 year. Then, in the mid to late '80s, the Conservative Government at that time embarked upon a campaign, which we termed 'Post Office closures', because that in effect is what it was. At that point in time there were about twenty thousand Post Offices with some two thousand Crown Offices which were staffed by members of my union. Today there are about half that number of Post Offices in total and only 345 Crown Offices. So you can see that there has been a steady decline in the number of outlets to provide this public service.

In December 2006 this Government embarked on a 12 week consultation programme about the future of the Post Office network. Despite some widespread opposition, they made an announcement that another 2,500 Post Offices are going to close. That is 15 percent of the total of the Post Office network. Without wishing to put too fine a point on it, this is - it will sound familiar - a sustained attack on jobs, a sustained attack on a public service, a sustained attack on the terms and conditions of the people who work there and, equally and importantly, it is an attack on communities. Those people who predominantly live in urban deprived areas, who are most likely to lose out, are the ones who are most likely to need the Post Office service. Quite simply, the Communication Workers Union does not accept that the Government's package goes anywhere near protecting the long-term future of the Post Office network, which is a basic and valuable service.

We object to several points, not least of which is the local consultation process, because when a closure is announced a consultation process is embarked upon but, in reality, it is a sham. The point is that no end of contributions come from bodies outlining their opposition, and justified opposition, and then the closure goes ahead anyway. We think that the Government are also missing a golden opportunity here to make the Government more accessible to the community, which is why we have asked for the commitment by local, regional and national government departments to fully utilise the Post Office network, to provide access to their services and to ensure that that acts as a shopfront for government services.

Conference will have noticed the recent Royal Mail industrial action. Those Royal Mail workers, some of whom are sitting in our delegation, took four days of industrial action. Actually, counter staff, who are in the Communication Workers Union, took more than four days of industrial action. I need to add an aside. We have since found out that Post Office managers have decided to 'bung' some of their managers who scabbed in our dispute a bonus of £100 and an extra one day's leave for scabbing and trying to break that particular strike. I think that is an absolute disgrace. So, like UNISON, GMB, RMT, POA and PCS, members of the CWU sacrificed pay to fight job cuts and they sacrificed pay to fight pay cuts. Importantly, as with the trade unions, they have been fighting to defend what is a real public service and a necessary public service. In our campaign, we have enlisted the support of the National Pensioners' Convention, the Citizens' Advice Bureau, Age Concern, RNIB, the Countryside Alliance, the Women's Institute, the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters and the Town Women's Guild. We now believe that workers in this struggle to defend public services and jobs, and those organisations which are standing four square with us, now deserve your support. On that basis, I move Motion 53.

Sue Bond (Public and Commercial Services Union) in seconding the motion, said:

I am very pleased to second Motion 532. President and Congress, our members in PCS who deliver pensions and benefits, passports and driving licences, know full well the adverse impact of Post Office closures on local communities. This closure programme mirrors government attacks on many other local services. Hundreds of Job Centres and local tax offices are also being closed as a result of Civil Service job cuts. They are forcing some of the most disadvantaged in society to 'phone remote call centres instead, centres so understaffed that in the Department for Work and Pensions 21 million calls went unanswered last year!

The consequences of Post Office closures are enormous. Take one example: Dorchester. In Dorchester the local Job Centre is closing. The local tax office is closing. At the same time, around half - half! - of west Dorset's 50 remaining Post Offices are expected to close in 2008. The impact on older people can be devastating. First, the Government refused to allow public counters at pension centres, so instead of discussing their pensions face to face, pensioners have to make a phone call. Then they announced the closure of more than half of these pension centres, cutting jobs and reducing the service. Then they replaced pension books with paying pensions into bank accounts, despite all the representations from pensioner groups that many pensioners actually preferred drawing their pensions at their local Post Office. Now they are ending the Post Office Card Account and replacing it with something else, and this from a government that talks about choice and from a government which talks with enthusiasm about the importance of local democracy and community involvement in the Green Paper entitled Governance of Britain, while at the same time closing down local Post Offices and local services. This is a piece of double speak that George Orwell would recognise. These are double standards which take your breath away, leaving many pensioners feeling that they have been double-crossed because it is all about cutting costs.

Clearly, the consultation mechanism advocated in this motion is essential, and that approach should cover all public services, Post Offices, schools, hospitals, bus routes, tax offices and benefit centres. None should be closed without a full community consultation because, surely, they should be extending the Post Office network, not cutting it, thereby enabling Post Offices to become integrated local providers of government services and not subjected to this nonsensical marketisation, which has no place in the accessible, high quality services in our local communities. Thank you.

Paul Prendergast (Unite) supported the motion.

He said: President and Congress, this is my first speech at Conference so please be gentle with me. I am here to ask delegates to support this motion on the future of the Post Office. In every city, town, village and hamlet where people live there is one thing that the public can rely on, and sometimes it is in the heart of the community, and that is the Post Office. It plays a vital role in the daily life of this country and that is how it should stay. The closure of any Post Office, whether it be in a city, a town or a village has a devastating effect on the community and the community which it serves. It is a public service and should remain a public service.

The biggest effect would be on the most vulnerable people in society, and that is wrong. I believe that it is every person's right to use the local Post Office and that is how it should stay. People are entitled to go for a stroll to their local Post Office to meet people. In some instances, this is the only contact that they have with the outside world apart from the postman who delivers the mail.

Also, having to travel miles, as the other two speakers have said, could have a devastating effect on the older people in our society. I also find this situation interesting. Could you imagine any of our ex-Prime Ministers, the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, bless him, getting on a 44 bus, going down to Tooting Broadway and drawing his pension out? The answer is no. Post Offices affect the communities they serve.

Congress, please make sure that you give your support to this motion. People should have access to public services and, especially, the local Post Office. Congress, please support.

The President: I do not think that there is anything to reply to. I will put Motion 53 to you.

* Motion 53 was CARRIED

Fires in high-rise dwellings

Matt Wrack (Fire Brigades' Union) moved Motion 54.

He said: The most difficult and harrowing duty I have ever had to perform as an official of the Fire Brigades' Union, both as General Secretary and formerly as a lay official, has been to visit the families who have lost someone killed at work. I am sure that there are other officials in the hall today who have had to deal with similar events. Sadly, it is something which has happened all too often.

On 2nd February 2005 a fire broke out in a block of flats in Stevenage that was to claim the lives of a resident and two fire-fighters. Any death at work is a horrendous tragedy. On this occasion we also had some remarkable heroism from the crews of Blue Watch Stevenage who attended that fire to try to fight the fire and save lives. In particular, Michael Miller and Jeff Warnham, who rescued one member of the public but died while trying to save the life of another. It was and remained a terrible tragedy for the families and colleagues of those two fire-fighters. We often discuss statistics about accidents, fatalities and so on. I would like to remind people that behind those statistics lie real people, real families and real tragedies.

This motion came out of discussions with the families of our members involved in that incident. After sitting through a long and extremely painful inquest, they said to us that the best way a tribute could be paid to their sons was to ensure that the Fire and Rescue Service properly learnt the lessons of that incident and took measures to try and prevent such tragedies from happening again.

We mention high-rise dwellings in the motion. High-rise buildings create their own problems technically for firefighters. Water is not available on the high floors, so you need adequate resources, adequate numbers of people and adequate equipment. Unfortunately, in this case, it was not all available quickly enough. There are issues around training that we have identified. There are issues within the Fire and Rescue Service concerning target-driven policy. I am sure that many others within the public services have experienced the situation where we have managers now saying, 'That's the key target. Don't worry about the other stuff. Concentrate on that because that is how we are going to be assessed'. We are hearing reports now that some core activities, such as basic training, are, unfortunately, being neglected because of this approach.

We say - it is a phrase we often use - that 'Cuts cost lives'. Unfortunately, it is a phrase which is true and remains true. We saw what happened recently at the Newquay fire in the Penhallow Hotel. We highlighted there the lack of high-rise rescue vehicles which had to come 50 miles from another county. The irony in Cornwall was that only two or three months before that incident we were lobbying and protesting at the county council to stop further cuts, which would have meant, had they gone through, that we would have had even less resources to fight that fire than we had, and even those resources were stretched as the incident highlighted.

I want to make a clear call to Cornwall County Council. They have an opportunity to withdraw the threat of those cuts and I would hope that they take the opportunity to do so.

Our motion is about the safety of firefighters and of the public. The cause of the fire was one of these things; a tea light. We bought a bag of them in Brighton today. You can buy 100 of them for £1.48p. from a well-known chain store. There is a very small fire safety message on the back. It was an issue raised by the coroner and we will be campaigning, hopefully with the Fire and Rescue Service, with the Government to make sure that there are improvements and better advice to people on the use of those things, because it was one of those placed on a television set which caused the fire which led to those three deaths. We need a joined-up policy in relation to this.

We discussed this morning the issues of housing and poverty. The fact is that if you live in social housing you are more likely to suffer from a fire and you are more likely to be killed in a fire. If you are poor, you are more likely to suffer from a fire and you are more likely to be killed in a fire. So we want policies which address those inequalities. We want the Fire and Rescue Service, local authorities and housing providers to work together. We will be approaching you over the coming months for your support and for your members' support and tenants' associations support in what we are trying to do. We will not be letting this issue drop. That is going to be our tribute to Jeff and Michael. I move.

Georgia Cruickshank (GMB) seconded Motion 54.

She said: The GMB welcomes the work which has been undertaken by the Fire and Rescue Services to increase public awareness of the dangers of fires in properties, especially high-rise flats. Fires in domestic properties have many and varied causes and the public needs to be made aware of the dangers to avoid fire in their own homes. Fires in domestic properties are deeply devastating to householders and families. They are even more devastating in high-rise flats, not just because of the height and number of flats in the block, as these flats often not only affect the flat that is the source of the fire but also those around, above and below them.

The GMB does not represent firefighters but would like to put on record our grateful thanks for all the work that is undertaken by the Fire and Rescue Services on behalf of us all. However, the GMB does represent all those workers who have to deal with the aftermath of fires, especially in high-rise blocks. I am talking about the electricity, gas and water workers who have to isolate the services; and the local authority workers who have to remove the debris and make the property good so that it is fit for redecoration and rehabitation. These are all important parts of the public services of the UK.

At the start of Congress we heard how many new houses are needed to accommodate the rise and change in the population of Britain, which is many millions in both towns and rural areas. Many of these buildings will be high-rise flats and it is important that these new houses are built to the highest safety standards possible. We must never let these new properties fall into the state of disrepair that some tower blocks did in the '60s and '70s, where many were only fit for demolition. We must ensure that Britain's housing stock, both old and new, is maintained to the highest standards of safety. We must also ensure that there are adequate resources and the numbers of firefighters available across Britain to ensure that when the worst happens they can arrive at the source of the fire quickly and with the right equipment.

Furthermore, adequate money must be available to spend on protection and public awareness to continue the work that the Fire and Rescue Services already do in this area. Please support our valued public services, both the emergency services and all the other workers. They must be stopped from being treated as second-class citizens. Thank you.

The President: There are no other speakers so I will put Motion 54 straight to the vote. The General Council supports the motion.

* Motion 54 was CARRIED

The President: Before we move to Chapter 3 of the General Council Report and start the debates on Equal Rights, as I indicated earlier we are running behind schedule. I am sure that we will catch-up towards the end of this week. Let me say that Composite Motion 7, Violence against Women, and Motion 27, which are the last two items on the agenda for today, will definitely not be taken this afternoon. I thought that those delegates who are associated with those two items would want to know that now rather than hang on to see whether we would reach them or not. We are not going to. We will reschedule those two items for later on in the week.

Single Equality Act

Judy McKnight (napo) moved Composite Motion 6.

She said: Congress, earlier this year the Government established the Discrimination Law Review which was charged with undertaking a comprehensive review of discrimination legislation and making recommendations that would simplify and modernise the law and ensure better enforcement and compliance with it. So far so good. The eventual outcome of this review was the publication of a Green Paper in June entitled: Framework for Fairness - Proposals for a Single Equality Bill.

The principle of a Single Equality Bill is not a problem. Indeed, it is TUC policy to seek harmonisation of the current mishmash of equality legislation, particularly given the imminent arrival of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, which opens its doors for business on 1st October of this year, replacing the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Commission for Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission. Indeed, on checking back, I found that I was at this rostrum at TUC Congress in 2002 moving a motion agreed by Congress on the Single Equalities Commission and actually identifying the fact that a Single Equalities Bill was a necessary pre-requisite for such a Commission.

So, yes, the principle of a Single Equalities Bill is welcomed. So why is it that this Green Paper has drawn so much criticism, not just from the TUC and affiliated unions but from across the board, including all of the Equality Commissions. Just let me give you a flavour of some of the points that the Equality Commissions are making. From the Disability Rights Commission: 'The Green Paper fails to measure up either to the remit it was set or the reality of continued inequality and discrimination in Britain today.' Watering down new duties on the public sector to tackle endemic inequality is hardly a step forward for people facing disability, gender or racial discrimination.

The statement by the EOC said: 'The Green Paper has missed a real opportunity to tackle the pay gap. Women working full-time still suffer a 17 percent pay gap and the part-time pay gap of nearly 40 percent has barely shifted in a generation.

The CRE statement said: 'Racism still blights modern Britain. Many ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty and poor housing and have poor education outcomes. The Single Equality Act must address these challenges otherwise it fails race equality.'

The TUC's own excellent and detailed response well makes the point that the Framework for Fairness paper does little more than tinker at the edges of the complex and incoherent discrimination law framework. As the TUC's response to the Green Paper and this motion make clear, the priorities for the Single Equalities Bill must be reform of equal pay legislation, a strong public sector equality duty, positive equality obligations on the private and voluntary sectors, a clear statutory duty on public authorities to use procurement to promote equality, better enforcement mechanisms, including allowing unions to bring representative actions, provision for statutory union equality reps, recognition of multiple discrimination and better protection for carers. These must be the priorities.

As the motion makes clear, we must now see if the new ministers who have come into that area since the publication of the green paper will listen to the deafening chorus of concern and criticism that has greeted this paper. If they do not listen, then we must be ready to campaign and ready to lobby ministers and MPs.

Conference, too much is at stake to allow our equalities legislation to be allowed to slip backwards. Let me end with a quote from the CRE, which said: 'If the Government gets this right we should have a more equitable and secure society for all. If they get it wrong, it could have a devastating effect on the country's prosperity and undermine community relations'. Please support Composite 6.

Alex Mackenzie (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy) seconded the composite motion:

She said: The CSP welcomes the current review of the discrimination laws and the broad concept of a unified Equality Act. However, we believe that the Green Paper fails to do what is needed to tackle inequalities and, as such, represents a missed opportunity. The proposals, as they stand, will result in huge backward strides in making public sector employers take action to end discrimination.

The Department of Health recently commissioned Stonewall to look at experiences of lesbian and gay staff in the NHS. This showed that prejudice is still experienced throughout the NHS. One consultant reported the homophobia he experienced from his secretary when she found out that he was gay. He reported this to his manager, the clinical director, who said he was powerless as the lady had a right to express her opinion and that the consultant had to sort it out himself. The secretary refused to speak to him, bad mouthed him to colleagues and was supported in her attitude by clerical management. Other staff have reported hiding the fact that they have same sex partners and enduring an attitude of tolerance for homophobic remarks from both colleagues and patients.

It is of concern that the Green Paper proposes watering down the statutory obligations where, even where they currently exist, there have been problems with enforcement.

The Commission for Racial Equality has been monitoring the performance of Whitehall departments since 2004 but was so concerned by the lack of action by the Department of Health that in February of this year it announced the launch of an investigation to uncover the extent to which the Department of Health is failing to meet its duty to promote race equality. Along with the effective weakening of certain aspects of current legislation, there is no provision for the existing public sector equalities duties to be extended to the private or voluntary sector. We would want to see the new legislation incorporating a specific duty on public bodies to include equality in procurement procedures. This is of particular importance in the NHS with the Government's policy of expanding the numbers of alternative providers of NHS services. Without this, it will represent a huge missed opportunity to promote equality and diversity fairly and consistently in all public services regardless of the nature of the provider.

In summary, the green paper does not offer the legislation required to tackle discrimination and inequality. We call on the General Council ensure that lobbying and campaigning to improve these proposals are given a high propriety. We need to achieve statutory rather than voluntary measures to bring about a climate of compliance and ensure that the issue of equality is taken seriously. Please support.

Tim Poil (Nationwide Group Staff Union) supported the composite motion:

He said: Delegates, I will be brief as time is pressing. In supporting this composite, I would like to focus on three main issues where I believe that this draft piece of legislation is deficient, namely, enforcement, equal pay and private sector compliance.

Improving the enforcement of equality rights has got to be central to the development of the Single Equality Bill. The current approach of individual enforcement and remedies is of very limited effectiveness. As you will all be aware, where there is a systematic discrimination in the workplace on gender pay and equality for example, the current requirements on unions to assist members equally in bringing claims is time consuming, expensive and can lead to incoherent decisions in the tribunals. That makes no mention of the traumatic experience of members.

It is, therefore, essential that the Government recognise these shortcomings and through this Bill establishes the right of unions to bring representative actions in tribunals and courts on behalf of their members.

Turning to equal pay, the Government must take this opportunity finally to do something effective on bringing about equal pay. The Green Paper is feeble when it comes to equal pay and it will do nothing to narrow the gender pay gap further. There are already tens of thousands of equal pay claims in the tribunal system. Because of the complexity of the law as it stands, these will take many years to conclude and be horrendously expensive.

Turning to the private sector, the current entirely voluntary and light-touch approach of the Government to private sector inequality is, at best, misjudged. For us to make real strides towards a workplace free from discrimination, it is essential that positive equality duties are applied to the private sector. Much more than a light touch is needed to ensure that private sector employers carry out equal pay audits, for example, and to ensure that all workers are treated equally. Please support.

Agnes Tolmie (Unite) supported the composite.

She said: Conference, this movement has spent decades campaigning for the introduction of equal rights legislation in the workplace. The current plethora of legislation was introduced to combat discrimination and inequalities faced by workers. The Government are attempting to simplify the current complex and often inconsistent equality legislation by introducing a Single Equalities Act. My union, Unite, and its predecessor unions, have long campaigned for a comprehensive and transparent Single Equality Act, one fit for the modern world of work.

Colleagues, the Green Paper which has been produced does not achieve this. Once again, the private sector is let off the hook. As this composite rightly highlights, there are serious issues that need to be addressed, and these include the proposals on equal pay, which are totally inadequate and fail to understand the issues causing the pay gap. There is no facility for compulsory equal pay audits or the requirement for employers to monitor and report on action that they are taking to address these inequalities. Despite regular submissions from unions, the ability to use hypothetical comparators in equal pay cases is still absent. The public sector equality duty has been watered down. There are no proposals to use public procurement as a means of promoting compliance with equality duties. Also missing is the ability for unions to bring representative actions on equal pay and discrimination cases. Enforcement of the legislation is weak and there is no provision for tribunals to recommend reinstatement or re-engagement.

Colleagues, this legislation needs to recognise and support the work that trade unions are achieving on equalities. The simple fact is that we cannot tackle equality through legislation alone. We have an Equal Pay Act but we still have a pay gap. We have race relations legislation but we still have racism. We need to be organised and get every workplace building collective agreements and encouraging worker participation. We need to be educating and consulting our members to create a real culture change so that all forms of discrimination become a thing of the past.

If this green paper is to be effectively improved and the equality agenda taken forward, we, the trade union movement, need to up the ante. We need to use the strength of the union movement and make it clear through union organisation and collectivism that we will finally secure dignified and lasting equality for all in the workplace. Thank you.

Annette Mansell-Green (UNISON) supported the composite motion:

She said: Conference, before I get into my speech, it is one of those moments where you are sitting waiting to speak and you feel like tearing your speech up because everybody else has already said it. But I think it is worth repeating, it is worth saying again and it is worth driving home. We have already heard this morning about the effect of inequality on society and, in particular, on our black members of society, which was so eloquently expressed by Colin Moses. We have also heard about our own TUC equality audit, if somewhat lacking. I think perhaps we should sit up and listen to these points, get our own house in order and make available equalities and equality of access to every member of the trade union Movement, whether they are staff or activists.

Comrades, equal rights for all is no longer an optional extra. For almost 40 years we have had multitudinous pieces of equalities legislation. However, application, interpretation and enforcement have been, to say the least, problematic. The current legal framework is weak and it is inconsistent. We still have an unacceptably high gender pay gap. We still have occupational segregation, racism and homophobia. Just look at the rise of the BNP and other fascist groups. Age discrimination in goods and services is still legal. We still have members with disabilities who are prevented from accessing jobs, training and goods and services. I could go on. So, yes, it is time for a review, but how disappointing it is that the Government did not grasp this opportunity to plug the gaps and move forward to make equality a reality.

This Government must not fall into the trap of paying lip service to equal rights in order to placate the CBI and other employers. Let us be clear. Legislation without proper enforcement is totally meaningless. The stated aim of the green paper is: 'In simplifying the law, we want to make sure that we do not erode existing levels of protection against discrimination.' Unfortunately, it fails in this aspiration.

So what do we want? We need consistency in protection; equal rights, whether you work in the public sector of the private sector. We know that in union organised workplaces pay differentials are less and you have better family friendly policies. Equal pay is a key issue for us and the legislation urgently needs to be revised and extended including mandatory equal pay audits.

Comrades, I am pleased to be involved in this debate. It is a debate that we have been having for a while at Congress. I have been coming to Congress for 12 years and we have gradually moved equalities up the agenda. I remember when we used to struggle to get equalities on to the Congress agenda so this is a good step forward. It is a missed opportunity. However, if any sisters here today play golf, then you will be able to drink in the 19th hole on an equal footing with the men who hit small balls with a big stick into small holes. Woopee! What great strides, sisters. (Laughter)

I am sure that you will all support this motion, but we must understand it, understand the review, understand the direction of government and we have to make it a priority. We have to use our collective strength to ensure proper equalities for all members of society. How else can we achieve social cohesion and stop events like the recent shootings of teenagers across the country? That is what inequality breeds and we have to change it. Thank you.

Hugh Lanning (Public and Commercial Services Union) supported Composite Motion 6.

He said: PCS represents the majority of staff in the existing three equality commissions, and that is not a hint to Unite, or maybe it is. I was given a quick version of the PCS intervention which was that it is resources. Put simply, if the new CEHR is not given sufficient resources and budget it does not matter how good the law is. There will not be anyone conducting research or investigations, providing advice or enforcing the law. At present, according to our latest information, the CEHR will open its doors on 1st October with no phone system, no IT system, no websites, no email addresses and temporary accommodation for most of the staff.

PCS produced a strategy document entitled What Price Equality? The title of our strategy is no coincidence. Our starting point is that the proposed budget of £70 million falls far short of the funding required for the CEHR for it to be an authoritative, coherent and effective organisation and one that is capable of making a difference. Although the proposed budget is slightly greater than the combined budgets of the existing commissions, it has to be remembered that it is taking on three additional duties, three equality strands, the promotion of human rights, the enforcement of the new disability and gender public sector duties.

In some ways, the Labour Government has been good for equality but, unfortunately, none of these developments have gone far enough. The Government have tended to listen more to the views of business and industry than those of trade unions so the equality framework is a weak one, often better on paper than it is in reality.

I want to give you one example from our own experience. Recently the old DTI, now snappily entitled DBERR (Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform) issued compulsory redundancy notices to our members, and it is threatening to do more at the end of the month. So we sought to have a Race Impact Assessment done because, in our view, there was a greater impact on black staff than on others. This they did not do. They refused to do it. We are seeking a judicial review. We met with the Minister. The Secretary of State, John Hutton, who is due to speak at this conference, said that he would not withdraw the notices and he is not going to stop further notices. He has been sued in court before. 'I'll see you in court' was his response.

This is no way to conduct business but what it does reveal is the weakness of the legislation. It has no teeth. In our view, we need to strengthen the legislation not only to strengthen the legislation, not only to undertake Race Impact Assessments but to make employers act, to adjust what they do in reality.

The new legislation is an opportunity for good, but we need to strengthen the law and enforcement, not weaken it. The proposals are weak. There is no cheapskate route to equality. Support the motion.

Heather Phillips (Connect) supported Composite Motion 6.

She said: Delegates, I want to stress the importance of introducing a right for trade unions to bring representative actions, also known as 'class' actions, to enforce equal pay. There has been a significant growth of equal pay claims, but individual cases do not deal with the indirect discrimination within the pay structures. It is in an employer's interest to settle a case rather than to address the real cause of the problem. Employers often encourage an atmosphere of secrecy around pay. Discussion about pay is actively discouraged. Some senior managers, all men, of course, have declared that any mention of pay is a disciplinary offence. It is no surprise that women feel very worried about even asking questions concerning their pay. They fear retribution. There are many subtle ways of getting back at someone who is making an equal pay claim: for example, through performance assessment. This atmosphere of fear means that women are often unable to take forward individual cases. They cannot take cases forward as they simply do not know if they are earning less. They simply suspect it. They are unwilling to raise a grievance for fear of retaliation. Even if women are willing to take a case to a tribunal, they often find their male comparators will not talk to them about their salaries for fear of retribution.

We firmly believe that provision for unions to bring representative actions would be a more effective way of tackling systematic discrimination issues. These representative actions would also give us a way to tackle discrimination arising from the design of pay structures. Much of the pay gap is as a direct result of these pay systems. This situation affects thousands of women. More women are coming forward to take individual cases but this is a collective problem which needs a collective solution. The right to bring representative cases would give us that. Please support Composite 6.

Rowena Hayward (GMB) supported the composite motion.

She said: Chair and Congress, equality laws should not be about reducing terms and conditions to the lowest common denominator. Treating workers equally badly is not what the Labour Government should be allowing to happen, yet time and time again this is exactly how new anti-discrimination legislation is greeted. Take, for example, the age discrimination laws brought in last year. It was not just the usual rogue employers who used the new regulations to reduce members' terms and conditions. Councils up and down the country used changes to the age discrimination compliance as an excuse to reduce public sector workers' redundancy terms. The Government, through the DCLG, gave them the green light to do this. Why? It is because of the resources pot. This is why the GMB has put forward as part of this composite the absolute imperative that equality work is fully funded. Without that, all the other aspirations in this composite may well never be realised.

A Labour Government built on the principle of equality and fairness for all should not be using its power in Europe to water down directives focused on achieving this aim. Anti discrimination laws should protect workers, not give new opportunities for employers to exploit them. The GMB demands that our Labour Government allocates specific funding to ensure that this vital equalities work is not undermined through lack of resources. We cannot continue to allow employers to keep levelling down when it comes to equalities. As trade unionists our objective is to level up. Congress, please support this composite.

The President: That concludes the list of speakers I have on this composite. I am sure there is nothing to reply to. They were all very positive contributions in favour of the composite, so I will put that straight to you. The General Council supports the composite.

* Composite Motion 6 was CARRIED

Single Equality Act

Richard Cook (Unite) moved Motion 24.

He said: Delegates, I went to the Disability Conference and I speak on behalf of the Diability Committee, moving the Single Equality Act.

This Act is the most important reform of equality legislation in 40 years. Within the term of this Parliament, we must ensure implementation of this Act without further delay, ensuring that it strengthens rights for a new Act. It is simpler but providing the same or better protection. Collective bargaining will support trade unions addressing inequality in regulations. As it stands, the green paper is a missed opportunity. It does little in strengthening equality rights or to deal with inconsistencies in legislation. I am sorry if you have heard all of this before.

We require statutory rights for trade union equality representatives. The Amicus 'disability champions'. This product has trained over 600 and is quite famous. These champions are doing a great job. Over one hundred are working within Amicus in tackling disability discrimination, and promoting good disability policies and good practice in the workplace is our goal. Many champions have difficulty in carrying out their role fully. They do not get paid time off in carrying out the role. Statutory backing would change this allowing the effective development of equality reps for all strands. We see equality reps making a real difference at work. We have seen this situation with health and safety and learning reps, ensuring that equality was at the heart of the collective bargaining process duly promoting disability, gender and race. Equality for the public sector is welcomed by Unite.

To combat discrimination and taking action to address inequalities requires a lead from employers in the public sector, but it is not enough confining it to the public sector or confining it to disability, race and gender discrimination. It must cover all strands. The Government cannot achieve equality by ignoring other inequalities, by ignoring private and the not-for-profit voluntary sectors. These sectors discriminate against disabled workers. Many employers will not take action unless compelled to do so. Disabled people need more rights and the new legislation as we have heard before. We need rights that ensure paid disability leave makes a huge difference to disabled workers, or perhaps they have lied. Legislation should give disabled employees rights to time off, separately defined from sick leave; employers to make reasonable adjustments, if required.

I think I will move to the end of my speech because I must be out of time now.

The President: You are doing fine.

Richard Cook: Conference, we must simplify, therefore speeding up the process of tribunals. For instance, we have been calling for a long time to unions to be able to take class actions, well aware of the years it takes for the pay claims of some people to get through the tribunal process. This must be part of a new Single Equality Act.

The last paragraph. Finally, Conference, we cannot under-estimate the Single Equality Act. We must make sure that the Government gets the right notion. We will not have an opportunity like this for many years. Conference, please support this important motion. (Cheers and applause)

The President: Thank you, Richard. Richard was illustrating a good principle that you could always move towards the end and wind-up when you think you are getting a bit near the end. Thank you very much. That was done really effectively and well.

A delegate (UNISON ) formally seconded the Motion.

The President: That is another illustration of a very effective contribution. I do not think that there is anything to reply to. The General Council is supporting the motion. I think it is fairly clear what we ought to do.

* Motion 24 was CARRIED

Race Equality

Jeremy Dear (National Union of Journalists) spoke to paragraph 3.10. He said: Delegates, I rise to address paragraph 3.10 of the General Council Report, in particular the section on page 49 on Redwatch. In doing so I would like to praise the work of the TUC and, in particular, Frances O'Grady and Wilf Sullivan, who have worked so hard to keep this item on the agenda. There is no question about the commitment of us all to combat the vile racism and facism of Redwatch, but I am forced to rise to question the commitment of the Government to tackling that vile hatred that spews forth from Redwatch and the associated websites. It is now four years since the TUC passed its first motion calling for action against the site. In that time we have met four Home Secretaries, three chief police officers and countless government officials. We have had endless meetings and received an infinite number of promises. Yet there has been no action from the internet service providers, no prosecutions or convictions of those behind the site and no arrests of those who use the site to pour forth hatred or those who fund the neo-Nazis. Apparently, precious little progress has been made in closing down the site, whose sole purpose is to silence and intimidate the critics of racism and fascism. In fact, if anything, Redwatch thrives. The number of us targeted grows, the number of threats increases and the number of attacks on people and property rises.

I welcome the work of the TUC and all the anti-fascist organisations in trying to tackle Redwatch, but I, and I am sure all of you, want to see more vigorous action from government. On this paragraph, I would therefore welcome assurances from the TUC that, despite the fact that there is no motion this year on this issue, we will not rest in our efforts to secure action to close down the Redwatch website. (Cheers and applause)

The President: I will just ask Gloria Mills if she will respond quickly to that speech.

Gloria Mills (General Council): replying on behalf of the General Council said: I would like to thank Jeremy for his question. Just to reassure you, Congress, and Jeremy as well, the TUC takes this issue very seriously and we will continue to press the Government to close down the Redwatch website and actively to prosecute those behind it. We will continue to lobby the Government to take urgent action on this matter, to note what the Prime Minister said this morning about the BNP and use this opportunity to urge him again and the Government to take urgent and decisive action to close down this website. Thank you.

The President: That concludes the paragraphs. We were going to take the Equality Report, but I am sure you will agree that we have not got time to do justice to it this evening, but you have time to read it. In case you have not had a good look at the report, you can do that before tomorrow. That is all the business that we can deal with today.

(Congress adjourned at 5.30 p.m.)

SECOND DAY: TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 11TH

MORNING SESSION

(Congress re-assembled at 9.30 a.m.)

The President: Delegates, first of all, I would very much like to thank the Gower Guitar Quartet from Ashford who were playing for us in this morning. It was lovely soothing music. Thank you so much. That was lovely. (Applause) That music has got us off to a nice calm start. Let's hope that it is a good omen for the rest of the day.

I have two or three announcements. I would like to remind delegation leaders that the ballot for the General Council takes place this morning. If you have not collected your ballot paper, you can do so from the desk outside the TUC stand on the ground floor. You can only get your ballot papers if you provide your official delegate's form. The ballot closes at 12 noon today. So I do not want to see no rushing down the hall at three minutes to 12 because you might not make it.

I would also like to remind you about the delegates' questionnaire on the tables. If you would return these to the TUC Stand, which is no. 18. That is by the front entrance. You can comment on Congress and have the chance to win a magnum of champagne, if you wish. Those are all my announcements for the morning.

We did quite well yesterday. I think we were running about half-an-hour late by the end, but there were some important debates that so many unions needed to get involved in. I am hopeful that with your help we will make good progress and we can restore the balance.

Address by Leo Gerard, AFL/CIO fraternal delegate

The President: Our first real event this morning is to welcome Leo Gerard. Leo is our AFL/CIO fraternal delegate. He will give the opening address. I very warmly welcome him to our Conference, as I did yesterday. Leo is the International President of the United Steelworkers' Union and he is a member of the AFL/CIO Executive Council and Executive Committee.

His union has more than 850,000 members. Many of you may be aware that his union is discussing issues with Unite, which is our new big union. However, Leo's union is already an international one. Leo is Canadian by birth and he has a long track record of international work and he is truly an international friend of the TUC.

I think that many of us are aware that today is the sixth anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers, which brought our 2001 Congress to an early end. I think none of us will ever forget that day. So it is appropriate that we take this opportunity to think about the issues in the world and to re-dedicate ourselves, as a trade union movement, to the causes of international solidarity and working towards world peace, to which I think there is no better aim to have. Leo you are so welcome to our Conference, and I invite you to address our Conference. Thank you very much. (Applause)

Leo Gerard (AFL/CIO) said: Brother General Secretary, Sister President, Brothers and Sisters, Comrades. I've got to tell you that it feels good to be able to say the word 'comrades' without expecting George Bush's arm to come out of sky and render me somewhere. (Applause)

It is a painful morning for many of us. I remember what I was doing on September 11th six years ago, and I remember stopping and crying because I could not imagine a world in which people would do this to each other. Today I still cannot imagine a world where people could do this to each other. I actually cannot imagine a world where so many of our people are getting treated so poorly, where people all around the world are being pitted against each other for various reasons. I am humbled by being here today at the 139th Congress of the TUC. I bring greetings of solidarity from the AFL-CIO and, I should say, because of my Canadian heritage, from the Canadian Labour Congress. But the AFL-CIO/TUC relationship is one of the longest and most cherished that we have in the labour movement in the United States.

As I sat through most of yesterday's debates, I thought about the tremendous similarities, the tremendous struggles that we have and how common they are. I thought about when I go to Brazil I hear many of the same things. When I go to Australia, I hear many of the same things. When I am in my homeland of Canada, I hear many of the same things. When I go to Africa, I hear many of the same things only worse. If I go to parts of Asia I hear the same things, except worse again. If I go to Europe, I hear discussions and dialogue about many of the same things. What really comes to my mind is the need for workers of the world to unite.

Using the term 'unite' makes me feel good right now because the United Steel Workers and Unite are engaged in what I think is one of the labour movement's most historic explorations. We agreed in May of this year that we would explore the possibility of a transatlantic merger, that we would explore the possibility of bringing workers on both sides of the Atlantic towards the first step of the possibility of creating the world's first global union. I am convinced, as I hope my colleagues are, that one of the things we need to do to take on global capital is to have a stronger global labour movement. One of the ways of having a stronger global labour movement is to have unions of similar social and industrial values come together so that we can take on the issues of global capital.

I sat through the discussion yesterday about trade union freedom. What was ringing through my mind is that in America right now one of the tough issues we are fighting with and fighting for is something called the Employee Free Choice Act. Only in America do workers have the right to try and form a union and the boss has the right to do anything the boss wants to prevent you from forming a union. We are taking a position in the American labour movement that if all I need to do to join the Republican Party is sign a card which says that I want to join the Republican Party, then workers in America ought to be able to join a union by simply signing a card that says I want to join a union, and that should be none of the boss's damned business and the boss should not be allowed to interfere. (Applause)

So we are fighting in 2007, as we will be in 2008, to get legislation passed in the United States that gives workers the right to form a union and which gives them the right to collective bargaining. With all due respect to all politicians everywhere, the best form of income distribution which has ever been invented in the world is free collective bargaining led by workers who have chosen their union of their own freewill and are able to bargain for the rights to distribution of the wealth they have created with their employer at the collective bargaining table, without interference by anyone on the right to strike if we cannot reach an accord. That is the best form of income distribution and wealth creation in the world. It is the best that has ever been invented. (Applause)

I realise that I have limited amount of time, but those of you who know me always know that I have more to say than the time I have. I want to say something about private equity and financialisation. The right to form a union and the right to collective bargaining is a fundamental right of any democracy, but you need to have employers to bargain with. One of the things which has been happening during the past 25 years is the accelerated financialisation of the global economy; financialisation really leading to the political and economic decisions of nations and of industries being driven by financial markets as opposed to being driven by the real economy; the creation of everything from junk bonds, leverage buy-outs and private equity firms.

The head of Blackstone Group, one of the world's largest equity firms, Stephen Schwarzman said when he was capitalising his private equity firm by going public - talk about hypocrisy! - 'We needed to go public because when these things end they never end well'. Well, they ended well for him because he pocketed a billion dollars. They ended well for him because, by paying himself the billion-dollar dividend, he paid himself a lower taxation rate. The taxation rate for the private equity dividend was less than his office janitor paid. His office janitor paid something like 30 percent tax whereas he paid a little under 15 percent before he worked his way through the loopholes, and maybe paid 7 percent or 8 percent at the very end. There is something wrong with an economy that rewards the manipulation of money and punishes hard work.

In fact, it is easy to generate high returns for equity with a combination of cheap debt financing and tax subsidies. That is not a long-term strategy nor does it require you to be a genius. There is a real cost to that. The hidden cost is to the investors who are paying many times for the leverage with additional risk. Those are our pension funds, the pension funds of British workers, French workers, American workers, Canadian workers, and those pension funds are being invested and they are being saddled with the additional risk. Those investments are not for the long term. Those investments are for short-term gain of profiteering billionaires.

I don't know how well you keep track of this in Britain but in America I keep track of it. Since the deregulation of the financial markets by Daddy Bush before Junior Mini-Shrub got in (Laughter) - before I sit down I have got to tell you something about George Bush, by the way. In fact, I would like to tell you a lot about George Bush - but if we think about the scandals and the thefts of workers' pension money through financialisation and the manipulation of financial markets through deregulation, in the US we had the first major one of the last two decades being the Savings and Loans scandal where they deregulated the savings and loan industry and it virtually collapsed and had to be bailed out. You see, socialism for the rich is okay. We need capitalism for the rest of us and socialism for the rich in the American model. They bailed out the savings and loan industry to the tune of almost $800 billion. That was publicly admitted.

Then in the US we got rushed into being told that we had to move our money out of American investments and put them into what was called then the 'Asian Tigers'. They were unregulated markets so if you thought you were buying apples you might have been buying bananas, but you did not know because they were unregulated markets and you put your money into that. When that collapsed the industry lost $4 trillion, most of it our pension money. Then we had the junk bond collapses and the Michael Millikans and the lot who went to jail. You did not know that Michael Millikan was bald until he went to jail and had to sell his $4,000 toupé to help pay his fine.

Then we had the hedge fund collapse where, in the middle of the night, literally in the middle of the night, Alan Greenspan pulled together some of the world's largest banks and dredged up close to $500 billion of our money to re-invest back into saving the hedge fund industry that was collapsing and he was worried that it would bring down the financial market. He didn't give a damn that he was stealing our pensions.

Then came the tech bubble. Do you remember the time where, if you could tell people you had some kind of hi-tech idea you could raise all kinds of capital but if you had a steel mill you could not invest any money because you could not get capital to modernise your steel mill? When the tech bubble collapsed, we lost trillions again.

Then, most recently, we had the accounting scandals of the world's major accounting firms that collapsed. In that loss we are told that the financial markets lost $7 trillion.

After all of those collapses pension funds were taken from full funding to under funding because that is where the money was. Most of those funds are workers' deferred wages. Most of those are our funds that we bargained for in collective bargaining to put into pension plans and we have hired asset managers and those asset managers have got it invested in these Wall Street, Bay Street and Fleet Street scams. When those pension funds lost the money, what was the response? The response was not to come back and say 'We have to regulate the financial markets so they cannot destroy people's pension incomes'. The response in America is that we cannot afford defined benefit pension plans, that we need to go to defined contribution plans and workers ought to take the risk because bosses are too busy and bosses have made too many mistakes and been ripped off too many times with our pension money so the best thing to do and the safest way is to not give you a defined benefit pension plan but to give you a savings plan, put your money in it and hope for the best at the end. Excuse my language, but bullshit! We are not going to stand for that and we are going to fight. (Applause) I promised Derek and Tony that I wouldn't swear, but that is not really swearing.

We are going to fight to make sure that we always have defined benefit pension plans. We are going to fight to ensure that workers get their proper defined benefit pensions and that private equity funds (and all those scams) are properly operated in the light of day and that they are made under the same rules. I am not talking about public companies being our best friends, but private equity fund managers ought not to be operating in the dark of night while the rest of us have to operate in the light of day. We all need to operate by the same rules and we all need to operate in a way where we can see what is going on because that money is our money. That money is the money that, when I go to collective bargaining, and we are bargaining at the table and they say 'We've got a dollar', I say, 'Okay, I want so many cents of it to be invested in the future for my pension. I'm not giving you that money so that you can steal the damned thing'. Workers around the world have to start talking and singing from the same song book about pensions, private equity funds and about investments in the global economy.

The global economy does not have to be the kind of economy that pits worker against workers, country against country. It does not have to be the kind of economy where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Rich countries get richer, poor countries get poorer, rich people in rich countries get richer and poor people in rich countries get poorer. It does not have to be that kind of economy. It can be the kind of economy where if you want to trade you raise people's living standards. You can have decent healthcare. You can have decent control of the environment. You give decent pensions, decent wages and we all rise up together, not where some rise and the rest are pushed down. We need to fight for that kind of an economy. (Applause)

We need to fight for that kind of economy on the global stage.

With all due respect, I am privileged. I am very privileged. I was born into the labour movement. My father was an organiser. This is all I know and I have had the blessing of being able to do this for all of my adult life, mostly in two countries, the US and Canada. I can tell you that if you try to fight this fight just in the US, just in Canada, just in the UK, just in Brazil, just in China or just in South Africa, we will lose because they don't fight on only one ground. They have a global strategy of how to move the global financial markets to encircle us, then to divide us and then to conquer us. What we need is a global labour movement response to the crush of global capital. We need a global labour movement response on the environment. We need a global labour response on defined pension plans, which are an entitlement after 30 - 40 years of work. We need a global response to the need and the right for healthcare.

Let me tell you about America. In America today 16 percent of Americans' gross domestic product goes to pay for healthcare. What is it in Britain - 10 percent, 11 percent or 12 percent? Sixteen per cent of gross domestic product goes for healthcare and 47 million people, millions of whom are kids, have no healthcare. I was reading on the plane an article which was headed: 'Denying children's healthcare' in the New York Times. The State of New York wanted to increase its allotment of resources that would go to the kids of New York and the Bush Administration intervened and said no and went to court. That is not the kind of America that you see on television.

In America when we go to the bargaining table it will cost somewhere between $12,000 for a modest healthcare plan for a worker and his family. That plan may have 20 percent co-pay and have the first $500 - $800 - $1,000 paid for by the worker. We might have what we think of as an excellent healthcare plan. That one might cost you $18,000 a year. That one may have that you pay the first $200 of family coverage yourself and you pay the next 10 percent of the co-pay for every service. Those of you who do collective bargaining will know, in America anyway, based on a 2,000 hour work year, $12,000 is $6 an hour. $18,000 is $9 an hour. America is trying to push the American model of an industrial economy. The American model is a disaster for working families in America. In fact, it is a disaster for America except that insurance companies, drug companies, private hospitals and the private healthcare industry put almost $400 million a year into lobbying to make sure that we do not change the status quo.

I can tell you that in 2008 the American labour movement, led by the AFL-CIO, is going to change the political dynamic in America and some time after 2008 and before 2012 we will win universal healthcare in America so that we do not have the Bushites denying healthcare to kids and we do not have to go to the collective bargaining table and strip ourselves naked so that we can have healthcare for our families. We are going to change the system in America by kicking the shit out of the Republicans and electing some people who actually care about the future. (Applause) Derek, that is not swearing. (Laughter)

As I close, let me just say that, like all of you, we want Bush and the military out of Iraq. That is a war that he lied us into (Applause) and it is going to take our honesty to get us out of it.

Last but not least, a few weeks ago I was in Memphis, Tennessee. I could not figure out, while I was getting into Memphis, Tennessee, I could not get a hotel room that night. I had to end up staying 20 miles out of town. What I found out was that that was the night that they were celebrating the 30th anniversary of Elvis's death. I saw every kind of Elvis you could imagine. I saw Elvis who could only speak Italian, I saw Elvis with red hair, I saw Elvis in blond hair with a surf board; in fact, I saw every kind of Elvis you could imagine. That was also the same day that it was announced that George Bush was down to 28 percent in the polls, but when I was in Memphis I found out that 32 percent of Americans believed that Elvis was still alive. (Applause) I think some of them are the same people. (Laughter)

Last night, as I normally do when I go to a city, I went looking for a gift for my wife. Just down the street, if you go looking tonight you will find that there is a little gift shop that sells trinkets. I bought a bronze rat there last night. As I was buying this rat that I was going to use as a doorstop at home the shop owner said, 'The bronze rat is 20 bucks but the story is $100. Do you want the story?' I said, 'No, I just want the rat'. He said, 'Well, you'll be sorry because you will really want the story'. I said, 'No, I just want the rat'. So I paid for the rat and I left.

As I was walking back a bunch of rats came up behind me and started following me. I looked behind and I thought that that was kind of curious. I started walking a little faster. As I started walking faster more rats showed up. Actually, I started to run and, if you look at this body, that is a feet. As I started to run more rats showed up. I got rather scared so I started to run real fast and rats started jumping all over me, climbing up on my neck and I was throwing them off. I was trying to get away. I was getting close to the Brighton Pier. There must have been a hundred thousand rats behind me. So I ran towards the pier and I took the bronze rat and I threw it as far as I could and it went into the sea. All the rats ran right passed me they jumped into the sea and drowned. I thought, 'Oh, my God. It wasn't me they were after but it was this bronze rat'. So I hurried back to the gift shop. I got to the gift shop and the owner was there with this big huge smile on his face. 'Hah, hah, hah', he said, 'I knew you would be back. You're back for the story, aren't you?' I said, 'Hell, no. Can I buy a bronze Tory?' (Laughter and Applause) Thank you. (Presentation made amidst applause)

The President: Leo, I think that went down really well. I think the tone and your robust style of delivery was right. It is always good to hear from our friends from the AFL/CIO and the view from over the Pond. It gives us that right sense of perspective. I have just presented Leo with the Gold Badge of Congress, which we give to our guests.

Economic and industrial affairs

The President: We are about to move into Chapter 4 in the General Council's Report on Economic and industrial affairs in which there are two motions, Motions 33 and 34. Because we are a little delayed on time that we have been accumulating during the past couple of days, I am going to take the address by Richard Lambert, the Director General of the CBI, between the two motions. That should get you nicely focused for the second part of the debate on Motion 34. After we have heard the address by Richard Lambert, there will be a question and answer session. I have a mover and seconder for Motion 33. The General Council's position is to support the motion. If at all possible, I would like any other contributions to come in on the second Manufacturing motion. Perhaps you can be thinking about that.

Manufacturing and globalisation

Graham Goddard (Unite) moved Motion 33.

He said: Good morning, delegates. Follow Leo Gerard. Leo has, I think, probably summed-up half of my speech this morning on the globalisation perspective around worker against worker and the reasons why. Obviously, we put the motion down as it is worded today. It is the old hardy annual, I suppose, when we come and talk about manufacturing, but when you look at the manufacturing aspect as we see it today, it is at a record low level with only three million people in employment in manufacturing compared with what we have had in the past. Then we know exactly why we are putting motions down as we are today to get your support.

If you look at the position that we have experienced with Peugeot, we have seen the work of around 1,700 Peugeot workers going abroad and the shafting of workers on a daily basis. Compared with Peugeot, we have seen a company like Lilletts, with only 49 workers, having its work transferred abroad, and shafting the pensions, as Leo has rightly said as well. We are in the same position on a daily and annual basis of seeing manufacturing jobs go.

As far as manufacturing jobs are concerned, they are the backbone of an economy which should be thriving, as we get told on a regular basis. We get told on a regular basis that even though manufacturing jobs are going, they are being replaced by lower levels of employment that we have got inside this country. You have got the motions on agency and temporary workers, etc., and we see where those jobs are going.

My union did a survey around the closure of Rover. If you take the position of when Rover closed and the survey where people finished up working, the majority of them finished up working in agency and temporary working jobs, being part-time and also being self-employed such as taxi driving and issues like that.

I want to focus on the three points at the end of this motion. When motions are put up, it is vital that not only do we give the background as to why the motion is in the motions book, but also pursuing the issues and policies that we need to pursue as a TUC to get manufacturing back on to the playing field. If you look at the first one, Congress calls upon the General Council to press the Government to 'use procurement to underpin UK manufacturing wherever possible'. What we are looking for inside that, and if you take the example of the defence industry strategy that we currently have, you will see that that has been working during the past few years. If we can develop that approach across all manufacturing industry, that is what we are looking for as the campaign and the motion stresses.

If you look at the second point, it is to 'apply or introduce legislation to remove the disadvantage suffered by UK workers when compared to other developed manufacturing members in the EU'. Our Joint General Secretaries have stated readily throughout the country about the level playing field. It is easier to sack workers in this country than it is in the rest of Europe. That is what that issue is all about. If you looked at what Gordon Brown said yesterday, he talked about maximising security and minimising insecurity. That is what we are after. We want to maximise the security of people in employment. The point is that 80 percent of workers currently in the manufacturing industry see job security as their major item when they are looking for employment.

If you look at the information that some figures give, we learn that people have to change their job roughly five times in their lifetime at work. If you take our legislation that every time jobs you are in the position of having employment rights only being delivered after a year, then you can see the insecurity that brings in the so-called flexible market.

The third item calls on the General Council to press the Government to lift training support to a minimum of NVQ level 3. Again, Gordon Brown stressed the issue of skills yesterday. Again, we, as the TUC and as the union movement, have to go out and deliver that skills and training agenda, and use the money that we talked about yesterday from Brown to be able to uplift that skills agenda and make sure that that is covered inside it.

The last item is the removal of legal barriers to cross-border trade union co-operation and merger. That is exactly what you have just heard in Leo's address about the globalisation, the pensions issues and the insecurity that people face in work today on a regular and daily basis.

Just to close what I want to refer you to and ask for your support, the first is the lobby that the union Unite is organising in London on 17th October. It is specifically on manufacturing and any support we can get at that rally is vitally important to put across the message forward from the motions we are discussing this morning. On Sunday, 23rd September, there will be a demonstration at the Labour Party rally. Again, we are looking for support. As the website of the T&G section of Unite says, 'Manufacturing matters', we believe it does and all of Unite believes it does. Please support the motion and that will stress to the Government that we know that this Congress knows that manufacturing matters. Thank you.

Keith Hazlewood (GMB) seconded the motion.

He said: Colleagues, globalisation is here today and it is part of modern industrial life. However, it would be helpful if the UK Government had a strategy for dealing with it rather than sitting back and allowing the UK to be sold to the highest bidder without even batting an eyelid. Unlike many other governments, such as the French, the German and the United States' Government, which all intervene in mergers and takeovers when they think it is against their national interest, we in Britain just leave it to the market. In fact, we almost openly encourage the sale of UK companies. In the past ten years the number of UK firms sold to overseas investors are too numerous to list in the time I have to speak. However, they include household names such as Allied Domique, BOC, Land Rover, Jaguar, Rover, the 20 percent share of Airbus and Pilkington Glass. This situation not only applies to manufacturing but the service sector as well. Names such as BAA Airports, Bodyshop, Abbey National, O2 and, of course, the odd football team including Manchester United, Chelsea and Hearts, which are all in foreign ownership.

We in the GMB are not against foreign ownership in itself. Frequently, foreign owners have treated the UK workforce better than the previous owners. However, new ownership not only gains a household name but also the intellectual property that goes with it. This frequently means that production is moved overseas at the expense of jobs in the UK. Some examples are HP Sauce, now made in Holland; Terry's Chocolate Orange now made in Poland; decisions on investments are made in headquarters in France, Germany, Japan, the USA or elsewhere in the world. They no longer consider the national interest in the UK. This situation often means that jobs and products are moved abroad, based on the lowest labour costs available. Companies all too frequently ignore the poor and unsafe conditions that third world workers have to face in their factories. They pay lip service to basic ILO standards and the right to trade union representation. This attitude also prevails in UK registered companies such as Burberry, which has now transferred its production abroad to compete in the global economy at the expense of UK jobs.

We, therefore, call on the General Council of the TUC to press the UK Government to recognise the problem that globalisation causes to UK workers, to underpin UK manufacturing by the use of procurement, to support companies such as Remploy, to remove legal barriers to cross-border trade union co-operation and, most of all, colleagues, to support UK companies and UK manufacturing. Colleagues, I urge you to support this resolution.

The President: I do not think there was anything to reply to. I put it to the vote.

* Motion 33 was CARRIED

Address by Richard Lambert, Director General CBI

The President: I would like to welcome to Congress Richard Lambert who is the recently appointed Director General of the CBI. Relations between the CBI and the TUC, I think it is fair to say, have not always been the most harmonious, but Richard is newly appointed and he has brought a wealth of experience to his role through a distinguished career, reporting on British business and industrial affairs.

He has a series of awards for journalism, including the Harold Wincott Senior Financial Journalist Award. He has been Editor of the Financial Times during a period which saw the paper's circulation double; so he is clearly a bit of a winner. He is widely known and recognised for his calm, reasoned approach. The TUC very much welcomed his appointment, particularly noting his deep understanding of British industry and the recognition of the importance of good industrial relations. So we hope, with Richard's arrival, we will begin a more positive phase of relations between the CBI and the trade union Movement. I invite you to address Congress, Richard. Thank you. (Applause)

Richard Lambert (Director General, CBI): Thank you, Alison, and I would certainly welcome that tone of our discussions in the months and years ahead.

I would like to start, if I may, by saying a brief word - I think I should - about Anita Roddick who started her business life in this town and whom you will have seen died last night. She was a role model in all kinds of ways and a visionary business leader in the sense that she was years ahead of most of her peers in recognising the importance of corporate responsibility and economic sustainability.

I would also like to thank you for the opportunity to talk to you this morning because this is a time for us to be talking, as employers and employees, indeed the whole of our society, are facing the same challenge, the challenge that you have already been discussing, which is how best to deal with the fundamental changes which are now taking place in every aspect of the world at work.

During the past 20 years the global labour force has quadrupled in size as trade barriers have fallen away and countries like China, the former Soviet Union and India have joined the market system.

At the same time, rapid advances in technology have made it possible for these vastly increased labour forces to be glued together, making it possible to unbundle production processes and transfer work to more efficient or lower cost locations, wherever they may be.

It may not always feel like it, but these changes have brought real benefits. They have triggered the fastest and most sustained period of global growth in a generation. They have helped to lift hundreds of millions of workers out of poverty in the developing world. In the developed world, the changes have provided access to cheaper imported goods, everything from TVs to trainers. They have boosted productivity and contributed to higher wages and more jobs over a long period. Dramatically increased competition among the suppliers of goods and services has brought benefits to consumers everywhere.

However, there is another side to the story. The benefits of all this growth have not been evenly distributed. The overall economic pie has increased in size and workers have shared in that increase just about everywhere. But because of the enormous rise in the size of the global labour market, it is not surprising that their share of this bigger pie is rather less than it has been in most developed countries. This situation in turn has contributed to a period of rising income inequality.

The point I would like to emphasise this morning is that this is a global phenomenon. We are seeing some of it in the UK, and the TUC, not surprisingly, has expressed strong views on the subject. But the pattern is also clear in many other advanced economies, most particularly the United States.

So it is not just a question of what is happening at home. The question is what should we do about it, how we should respond and how policymakers should properly respond to what we are seeing happening around the world?

In my opinion there are only two choices. One is to push back against the forces of globalisation by being protectionist and restricting cross-border flows of trade and services, and by slashing the income of high earners through the tax system. I think that would be disastrous and have serious consequences for growth and employment. It would cut the UK off from the benefits of open markets and free trade and both capital and talent would drain out of our country.

The other choice is to look for ways of sustaining a growth economy on the one hand, while underwriting social cohesion on the other. No one wants to live in a society divided between the extremes of gated communities and the under-privileged and under-employed. As the former US Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers, said earlier this year, the challenge is to develop "policy approaches that can ensure prosperity is more fully shared without threatening the fundamental basis of that prosperity".

I think there are three key areas which policymakers should focus on. One, you will not be surprised to hear, is the labour market. A major study by the IMF a few months ago concluded that those countries which have put reforms in place to improve labour market flexibility have generally experienced a smaller decline in labour's share of income than those that have not. That is because they have found it easier to adapt to changing business conditions and to move resources from declining industries to growing ones.

The UK's relatively flexible labour markets are a key source of competitive advantage within the European Union. They help to explain our consistently high employment rates relative to those of the Continent as well as our attraction to foreign investors. Among other things, that is why the CBI strongly supports the opt-out from the Working Time Directive. And, yes, Brendan, it is why we oppose the Agency Workers' Directive in its present form. We do not believe that in its present form it would protect vulnerable workers. In fact, we think it could make it harder for some to find their way into permanent jobs. Recent CBI research suggests that large numbers of agency temp placements would disappear.

Of course, labour market flexibility brings with it responsibilities as well as opportunities. So the second key area for policymakers must be skills, education and training. Those of us who support free trade and open markets have an obligation at the same time to address the urgent need to strengthen the UK's pool of skills; so that as many people as possible in our society have the chance to share in the job opportunities that come with pro-growth policies. That is why we, in the CBI, support the Skills Pledge and why we are calling on the Government to be more urgent in responding to the proposals that Lord Leitch put forward last year.

We know that government, businesses and individuals need to be investing more, and investing more smartly, to raise our game in this intensely competitive global labour market.

The third key piece of policy that has to be got right covers the social policies that are needed to cope with this period of change. That includes providing adequate income support to cushion the process of adjustment, and it certainly includes providing protection for vulnerable workers.

Here I can do no better than strongly endorse Brendan's comment in this Saturday's Guardian when he wrote: "First, we need to focus far more on enforcement of existing laws, which is weak and piecemeal." Responsible employers recognise the importance of the National Minimum Wage and accept that employment tribunals provide an essential recourse for those denied their basic rights. They acknowledge the many ways in which employment rights have been strengthened during the past ten years and they have accepted new rights for part-time working, new maternity and paternity rights, and so on.

Good employers will always want to do all they can to retain and motivate staff. There should be no hiding place for those who operate outside the law. I agree with Brendan, they should be clobbered. Rigorous enforcement of the existing rules must be the right way forward.

So how does the UK stack up against these three policy benchmarks? I think in some ways we come out quite well. We have more flexible labour markets than most of our neighbours in continental Europe. We have more social protection than is available in the US. This, I am convinced, is one of the main reasons why we in the UK do take an outward look on the world and support free trade to a greater extent than is the case in the US and France.

But there is still much to be done, particularly in the area of skills and training where our record does not compare as well as it should with those of other advanced economies. Here I would like to pay a particular tribute to those many union learning reps who do great work up and down the country in helping their colleagues to gain new skills and experiences.

Just last week, I visited the transport company FirstGroup and learned how representatives from the TGWU are working with managers there to refresh existing skills and bring new ones to the workplace with tailored courses ranging from computer literacy to conversational Spanish.

The programme, I was told, now has a momentum of its own and has brought a new sense of partnership to the workplace. Around three-fifths of FirstGroup's 20,000 bus drivers have access to the scheme and next year they all will. This sounds like a model. The fact is there are many other stories like this going on around the country.

Of course, there are many issues on which, as Alison said, the TUC and the CBI may not agree, about the right balance between the voluntary approach to training and compulsion; about the potential role for the private sector in the delivery of public services, and so on. But it is important to remember that, in big picture terms, we do have vital common interests; about the need for high employment levels and a skilled workforce; about the importance of creating a fair and competitive society with opportunities for those who can grasp them and support for those who, for one reason or another, cannot.

We also have a common interest in fostering an open and constructive discussion about the benefits and the costs of globalisation and the policies that will be necessary to support the one and minimise the other.

It is with that in mind that I was so pleased to accept your invitation to come to Brighton this morning. Thank you very much. (Applause)

Brendan Barber (General Secretary): Richard, you are very welcome. You have made remarks on many issues of real interest to delegates. When you said that you thought some of your members should be 'clobbered', I do not know whether you are intending to move a motion to that effect, but I suspect you would get unanimous support from the Congress on that proposition!

Richard Lambert: I am happy to tell you, Brendan, these people are not our members. (Laughter)

Question and Answer Session

Brendan Barber: A range of unions have indicated they have questions to raise with Richard. I will start with Tony Lennon from BECTU. Tony, perhaps you could put your point?

Tony Lennon (Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union): I applaud your courage in coming to this Congress and once again outlining the CBI's support for the opt-out from the 48-hour rule in the European Union. It is not popular here and, I can tell you, it is not popular with members of my union who are regularly expected to breach the 48-hour rule, often without being consulted. For some of them, especially freelance members in the film and TV industry, it is a precondition of employment sometimes that they sign a waiver from the 48-hour rule, whether it is justified or not.

You made the old argument of ten years ago, which is if we do not have the opt-out, the UK economy will fall apart. We have watched other economies in Europe who observe the 48-hour rule. They have not collapsed in the last decade. Richard, you owe it to my members and other people in this hall to justify your support for a measure which, in our experience, simply allows employers to bully members into working excessive hours. I think you need to justify your position. (Applause)

Richard Lambert: Thank you. One of the things that has interested me, even surprised me, in the months that I have been in this job is the number of very large capital-intensive companies, manufacturing plants, foreign-owned manufacturing plants, that are in the UK for whom the opt-out is critical. They have to make a range of choices when they are thinking where to site their plants. They have to think about building infrastructure and transport infrastructure; they have to think about location; they have to think about productivity. In those measures, the UK does not shape up as well as it needs to in capital-intensive manufacturing with, for example, Germany, particularly on the productivity piece.

These foreign owners of important capital-intensive plants tell me that operating in this country is a key part of their agenda. They know that people cannot be compelled to work more than 48 hours. They take the view that, especially in, for example, the motor manufacturing sector, which is what I am thinking about when I am talking here, they are operating with peeks and troughs. They want to be able to cope with changing workloads which they find is a very important part of the process.

So that is my argument, that in a very competitive global marketplace we need all the advantages we can get and that is one of them.

Brendan Barber: Thanks, Richard. Patrick Roach, NASUWT, has a question on investment in skills.

Patrick Roach (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers): In order to end what the CBI itself has described critically as the UK's skills nightmare, the long record of employer failure to invest sufficiently in workplace education and training for young people must be tackled. As we move forward into the era of a comprehensive programme of education and training for all 14 to 19 year-olds, is it not now time, once and for all, for the employers to put their money where their mouth is and increase their investment in workplace training and development to exceed the levels achieved by employers in other OECD countries? (Applause)

Richard Lambert: Thank you, Patrick. My starting point would be, yes, this is a critically important issue. We all have a part to play and certainly business has an important part to play in workplace education. However, let me just pick you up on one point that you made. Lord Leitch produced a whole pile of data in his work on productivity and skills. One of the things we should note in all of that was - these were his numbers - that UK companies invest more in training and skills than do companies in Germany, France and the United States.

We are not starting 100 yards behind the kick-off tape, or whatever you call it. British companies, we reckon, spend about £33 billion a year on training and skills. One of the key factors which comes up in our surveys is that a good part of the training budget goes on what they call remedial skills, which is about literacy and numeracy, about things that should have been picked up, in my view, in the classroom.

So I am not saying that everything is perfect. I am not saying that there is not much to be done. However, business has an important part to play in this area and it is already doing a great deal, but we are all going to have to do more.

Brendan Barber: OK, thanks, Richard. Stephanie McCaig from GMB has a question on private equity. Michelle, I will ask you to raise your point too, about taxation which I think relates to Stephanie's question.

Stephanie McCaig (GMB): Good morning, Richard. As head of the organisation which represents British industry, how do you feel about the special advantages in relation to taxation, corporate governance and transparency and accountability enjoyed by private equity firms compared with public limited companies? And what do you think the Government should be doing to level the playing field? (Applause)

Brendan Barber: There is a related question on the taxation issue by Michelle from FDA.

Michelle Wyer (FDA): As President of the Association of Revenue & Customs, part of the FDA and an employee of HMRC, I know that there is increasing concern in the public sector as a result of tax avoidance and evasion. Some of the cleverest minds in HMRC are tackling the avoidance, but, as Brendan explained yesterday, it is currently estimated that exploitation of the non-domicile status alone costs the Government billions of pounds. Billions more are lost as a result of the many other legal tax loopholes being exploited by the wealthy and their agents.

Richard, do you think it is time that the CBI unequivocally called for an end to the socially unacceptable exploitation of the tax legislation by large corporates and wealthy individuals and then, arguably, the money generated could be spent on schools and hospitals, in line with the Prime Minister's ambitions as spelled out to Congress this week, rather than on city bonuses and such like? (Applause)

Richard Lambert: Let me take Stephanie's question first. It is clear that in the last few years private equity firms have come from almost nowhere to being major players in the national economy. That has been to do with particular economic circumstances, low interest rates, loads of liquidity in the financial markets and rising asset prices; so there have been special circumstances. They find themselves now in a different role in our economy and this has to be recognised.

If I was going to unpick the comments you made, I would say it is important that private equity companies do disclose more than they have been doing. Of course, they disclose an awful lot to their owners because their owners and managers are one and the same, but there are other stakeholders who need to know what is going on. They include employees, customers and creditors. So we at the CBI are now working on our response to Sir David Walker's comments about greater disclosure, which we broadly agree with.

On the tax question, that is a more complex question which the Government are now looking into. I expect that the Treasury will come out with its views on that later. We need clarity on what actually is going on before we spring off and come up with a solution.

My feeling strongly always has been if it is a duck, tax it like a duck; if it is income, tax it like income; if it is capital gains, tax it like capital gains, but I guess the world is not quite as simple as that.

Dealing with Michelle's question about tax evasion and tax avoidance, I would take my hat off, I must say, to the HMRC. My members tell me they are no slouches when it comes to pursuing tax avoidance and have become particularly sharp on these points in the past year or two. I think I would like to unpick your question as well, if I may. You have bundled together large corporate taxes and non-dom taxes. These are two completely different subjects.

Corporation tax is yielding, as you know, massively increased revenues for our economy year on year. That is not just through corporation tax payments, big though they are, because, of course, other taxes, whether it is NICs, or whatever else, are roughly equivalent to corporation tax. So I do not think we need be concerned that business is not paying its full whack of business taxes. In fact, compared with other countries, I would argue that it is paying more than its full whack.

However, I do agree with you that there is a legitimate question on the non-dom side. It is important that a tax system should be seen to be fair, open and that there should not be any whacking loopholes that undermine the whole approach. So we need to know more about the non-doms. We need to know what benefits they bring to our economy and what the numbers are. We need to know more and so I think it is a very legitimate question to raise.

Brendan Barber: Thanks, Richard. Russell Brown from Prospect.

Russell Brown (Prospect): Thanks, Brendan. My union, Prospect, welcomes your support for initiatives to boost science and engineering studies. However, this is only part of the problem. Would you agree that at the same time action is needed by employers of scientists and engineers to improve their pay and career development, to create a workplace culture that genuinely encourages more women and people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds to take up science careers? In other words, once we have them, we need to keep them. These are not just issues for the private sector, but also they are of key importance for members that I represent in government science. So I hope you will give me your support. Thanks very much.

Richard Lambert: Thank you, Russell, and I will. If you look at the numbers, you see that pay for new recruits with science and technology skills has risen. Actually, the pay for graduates, those with what we call stem skills - science, technology, engineering and maths - now is above the average. But there is an issue - I think you are right - in career development once you are in the workplace. The Royal Society has just done some work on that subject - it is really interesting - showing that people, for example, with engineering skills come into the industry on good terms and then their prospects seem to be limited so they clear off. That is an issue.

Furthermore, gender and ethnicity is an issue as well, but I think that starts in the schools. If you look at GCSEs and the 'A' Levels, you see an astonishing gender tilt in science subjects and a vastly disproportionate number of young males undertaking science skills - far too many. It starts in schools. School teachers and career advisers have a big job to do there. Employers, of course, also have to persuade young women that really attractive opportunities exist and it is not a question of standing around in oily overcoats with screwdrivers. Engineering has many exciting propositions.

Brendan Barber: Richard Green from Community.

Richard Green (Community): Good morning. Obviously, there has been a decline in manufacturing jobs in the recent past, so I would like to ask the question: how does the CBI account for the loss of British manufacturing jobs at a faster rate than any other EU country with a government slavishly following the CBI line in resisting EU social policy initiatives? What positive proposals has the CBI for the regeneration of British manufacturing beyond further deregulation and tightening constraints on the public sector? Thank you (Applause)

Richard Lambert: Thank you, Richard. You are underplaying the success of British manufacturing during the past ten years. The fact is that the UK ranks number six in the world in terms of high-value manufacturing output. The Financial Times did a quiz of its own correspondents and they thought the UK came in at 31st. We actually come in at number six.

It is true there have been major job losses during the past ten years. Output has risen dramatically during the ten-year period in our manufacturing sector.

However, what positive proposals do we have? I would like to mention two. Firstly, the earlier speaker talked about the importance of strategy, and I agreed with a lot of what he had to say. We strongly support the idea of a technology strategy board where public and private funding comes together to support technology platforms that will lead to strengthening manufacturing in the future. We think this is a key part of the current agenda and we are pushing hard for a stronger and bigger technology strategy board.

Secondly, I would like to mention something we have not really talked about this morning, which is the environment. There are big opportunities, as well as huge challenges, in the agenda for shifting our country in a major way to a low carbon economy. If we can grasp that opportunity, and that will take training skills, heavy investment by business and by government in these new technologies, I think we have a chance of reinvigorating our national industry.

Brendan Barber: Thanks, Richard. The final question is from Leslie Manasseh from Connect.

Leslie Manasseh (Connect): Richard, I sit on the TUC's Commission on Vulnerable Employment and I have spent many months speaking to scores of people up and down the country who are facing the worst kind of exploitation and abuse of their rights by unscrupulous agencies. I have met migrant workers who pay hundreds of pounds to agencies on the promise of work and then end up with nothing. I have met people who are paid the minimum wage, but then have deductions for uniforms or work credentials, or substandard accommodation. I have met people who face such punitive piece-rate regimes under which they can only earn £2 or £3 an hour. I have met people who are simply paid less than the minimum wage. I have met people who have been paid nothing at all.

Having spoken to all those workers, I know they would welcome the protection afforded by the EU Agency Workers' Directive. So my question is to you, why would you deny them that? (Applause)

Richard Lambert: Thank you, Leslie. I think we are blurring two separate issues. One is employment rights; the minimum wage, discrimination, maternity and paternity rights, and so on, which we at the CBI strongly believe and support. The second issue is about equal pay and benefits. The debate is about how one should arrive at an equal pay structure.

That is where the area of disagreement lies. We are not against the Agency Workers' Directive in principle, but we are concerned that the pay side will tilt adversely on workers and businesses through the country. The main thrust of your question, it seemed to me, was that employers are not recognising the existing laws. If they are not doing that, as I said, they should be clobbered.

Brendan Barber: Congress, I hope you will agree that we have very much welcomed the fact that Richard has been prepared to engage with us and face up to some quite tough questions. Clearly, there are a whole range of areas where we are very much in disagreement with the CBI and in other areas I hope we can work together. I hope we can make a common cause on a strategy to clobber some of those employers that we have talked about.

I was interested in your response to the question about the non-dom tax point. We issued a report just a couple of days ago that showed that if that loophole was closed, potentially we would have the resources in the public coffers to meet our ambitions in eradicating child poverty. The fact that the CBI has a degree of an open mind on that issue, I very much welcome, and I hope we will begin to see the Government acknowledging that this is an area where we really need to see change. Richard, thank you for coming and we look forward to continuing the dialogue. (Applause)

The President: Thank you very much, Richard, for coming and I echo the comments that Brendan made. I think it is really important that we develop a working relationship so we can work on the areas where we can agree and make progress and have a clear identification about others. But that is about the trade union world, which is a working world, and it is about dealing with people.

Manufacturing in the United Kingdom

Michael Leahy (Community) moved Motion 34.

He said: President, delegates, we are ten years into the remorseless pursuit of financial prudence by a government which, unfortunately, pays slavish attention to the CBI. The relationship is made flesh by co-opting a loud-mouth non-Labour former director of the CBI into a key economic post; yet we have the fastest decline in manufacturing employment in the western world. As recently as 2000, there were well over 4 million manufacturing jobs in Britain. Last year, there were fewer than 3 million.

Why, you might ask? Well, they cannot blame us! Tony Blair took pride in declaring that we had the least regulated economy in the EU and in maintaining the violations of normal trade union rights introduced by the Tories. Inferior productivity is not the main reason. Typically, the steel industry, for instance, in the UK has seen productivity increases averaging 10percent per annum during the past 20 years; yet we have lost steel jobs at a faster rate than any other European country.

Short-sighted and greedy management must be part of the explanation and, in particular, their failure to invest. This has been repeated throughout British manufacturing. In the past ten years, investment has actually fallen by 42 percent.

There is one critical respect in which British industry differs from its counterparts in the rest of the European Union, the US and the emerging economic super powers of China and India. The authorities here are, unfortunately, enslaved by non-intervention. One consequence of this ideological bent of our own ministers and civil servants for the free market means that last year in the steel industry we roughly paid one-third more in energy than did our European competitors. We are convinced that the public policy framework prejudices the opportunities for manufacturing to prosper.

Delegates, Gordon Brown shows a profound concern for the social and moral state of our country, but this has not been reflected in the policies for which he is principally responsible. He takes pride in having made the Bank of England independent in setting interest rates and determining monetary policy. The usual result is that as soon as manufacturing output shows a minimal upturn, the Monetary Policy Committee panics about inflation and introduces interest rate rises.

Brothers and sisters, that is not the fault of the Committee. It is their sole responsibility. It is does not seem to be a matter of concern to Mervyn King that the astronomical bonuses of his mates in the City boost property values and inflation generally.

The next stage of the vicious circle is that sterling exchange rate strengthens against Euro terms. This makes imports cheaper, exports more expensive and worsening the yawning trade deficit. This circle has undermined the prospect of attracting investment. The instability of the exchange rate also makes UK a risk destination for all long-term commitment of resources. Another reason is that other EU governments make sure that the public procurement rules of the European Union are applied in favour of home production.

Colleagues, our motion does not ask for any special treatment for British manufacturing. We want the nation to take a cold, detached look at the reasons for our failure as a manufacturing nation. We want to be able to compete with the rest of Europe and the rest of the world on a fair and equal basis. Colleagues, delegates, I call on you to adopt this motion. Thank you. (Applause)

Steve Jary (Prospect) seconded Motion 34.

He said: Congress, a vibrant manufacturing base is the essential ingredient in any successful economy and any government serious about economic success must have a policy for manufacturing. There are two aspects of this issue that Prospect wanted to add to Community's excellent motion.

First, we wish to emphasise the relationship between the skills agenda and manufacturing. Manufacturing provides the seed corn of many of the skills we need in a high-tech economy. Without manufacturing, demand for those skills declines, they lose their attraction for youngsters and we lose our ability to develop and maintain them. It is this vicious circle that lies behind the shortage of school students taking science subjects and the closure of university physics departments.

The Prime Minister yesterday talked of the creation of five million skilled jobs and the need to make sure we can fill them, but skills are not enough to create a vibrant manufacturing sector. Companies also need markets and they need a fiscal and financial framework that promotes investment, innovation and trade. Our message is that the Government must have a policy for manufacturing as well as one for employment and skills.

The second issue that Prospect wanted to highlight is the huge significance of the defence sector to UK manufacturing. All in all, defence accounts for around 15 percent of manufacturing jobs, but cuts in budgets threaten these jobs with a spate of company takeovers and plant closures. The Defence Industrial Strategy launched by Defence Minister Lord Drayson nearly two years ago is a start. The DIS recognises the need to address skills shortages by maintaining manufacturing capacity in key areas, but is this enough?

As I speak, the Ministry of Defence is quietly closing the Defence Diversification Agency, which was a union-driven initiative in the 1997 manifesto. That is a decision completely at odds with the DIS. However, the recent decision to build two new aircraft carriers will help sustain the British ship building industry for a decade or so. The companies evolved are looking to recruit apprentices to deliver this contract, but why would any bright school leaver take that opportunity and spend time training when the job will disappear in ten years' time?

This is why a joined-up policy is needed, a policy which recognises the manufacturing industry provides the seed corn for the rest of the economy in the form of skills and innovation. Congress, please support the motion. (Applause)

The President: Thank you very much. The General Council supports the Motion.
* Motion 34 was CARRIED.


Pensions

Tony Lennon (Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union) speaking on paragraph 4.11 of the General Council Report, said:

The story of pension review was left hanging this summer. There were two important issues for people in occupational pension schemes still not resolved: (1) the question of whether pension benefits that people have earned to date can retrospectively be diluted in any way, and (2) the question of what happens to surpluses and the extent to which employers can take advantage of surpluses?

Things have moved on since the report was published. I would like confirmation that the TUC's position on both of those is robust. We are against retrospective changes to pension benefits and we do not believe that employers should willy-nilly be allowed to raid pension surpluses. (Applause)

Brendan Barber: Very briefly to respond to Tony's question, the Government are still formally consulting on those issues. We have made a very strong and clear response emphasising those points that he makes. I hope that the Government will very clearly come down on our side of those arguments.

Rob Middlemas (Community) spoke to paragraph 4.11 of the General Council Report.

He said: Delegates, in 2010 the Government will raise the limit on early retirement age from 50 to 55 in an attempt to address some of the problems which occupational pension schemes are facing - yes, those dreaded black holes. There are many reasons why those black holes in schemes have been created - years of underfunding and poorly-run schemes, et cetera, but the best one of all is that we are all living too long! Well, excuse me! I am sorry for being a burden to my scheme! I am tempted to ask my employer or the Government, "When would it suit you for me to pop my clogs?" Perhaps we could draw lots and take it in turns in order to die to keep the schemes in a healthy surplus!

However, on a serious note, I believe that our members in the steel industry and other heavy industries on which the economy still depends should be treated differently. You might say, why?

The President: Can you just tell us what the question is, please?

Rob Middlemas (Community): Because these industries which are key to national economic success make very great physical and psychological demands on people working in them. Not only are the hours long with 12-hour shifts, but there are high stress levels associated with continuous process work in the steel industry and within team working, which in many cases is too much for people in their 50s. Who would want to work in a team and always be struggling to keep up with its younger members? Outside the television programme, nobody wants to be called 'The Weakest Link'.

I am not suggesting that people in their 50s have passed their sell-by date. If it suits an individual, he or she could be able to take early retirement and create a position for a younger person, and it should be possible for individuals to take lesser paid work and at the same time continue to contribute to an occupational pension scheme.

In heavy industries, workers in other EU states are allowed to retire early if they have worked shifts for over 30 years. Delegates, there are many people in Britain still employed in the steel industry and other industries. After 30 years they should be able to chose to retire at 50 and take a reduced pension if that is what they choose. I hope the General Council takes up our cause with the Government in the months to come. Thank you. (Applause)

The President: We are moving towards Composite Motion 8 on private equity. It has been something that has emerged as really quite a high profile issue during recent months, and certainly I have found out a lot more about private equity than I ever thought possible, and I am only a novice.

The TUC has done some really good, first-class work, prompted by some of our unions, in terms of lifting the lid and raising the profile on private equity. There is a report for people interested about the TUC's work. You can get that from the TUC information stand. I would like to call Composite Motion 8.

Private Equity

Adrian Askew (Connect) moved Composite Motion 8.

He said: I echo the President's comments about the excellent report which has been produced by the TUC on this issue and I really urge everybody to read it.

Congress, private equity today really is a complete illustration of how the global economy has completely lost contact with any logic or reason. High financiers now fly so high they seem to have lost all touch with the world that you, me, and certainly our members, live in. They exist apparently on a higher plane where it is perfectly acceptable for the biggest earners to get increases to their pay way in excess of anything that could be hoped for by most workers, where a chief executive, and this is a real example, can earn more than a thousand times the average employee in the same company.

Private equity is not new, it has been around for many years and it is claimed sometimes played a useful role in investing in business, both new and old but today fund managers are looking for the quick buck rather than long-term investment. We really have witnessed a 21st century gold rush. The theory goes that private equity takes over poor performing firms, strips out inefficiencies, and leaves them stronger for the future. But what are some of those so-called inefficiencies? They are decent pensions, they are research and development, it is an investment in infrastructure, and at the same time fund managers claim that private equity is good for jobs, for investment, and research and development.

I am sure that they can produce plenty of glossy brochures which say just that but I have to say in my union's industry, telecommunications, the reality is very different. For example, a company called Airwave runs the communications network for our emergency services. It was purchased by private equity earlier this year and the day that the takeover was announced so was the closure of our members' pension scheme. Thankfully, working with our sister union, the CWU, we have been able to secure an improved deal for our members but the initial intention was absolutely clear, pension provision was getting in the way of profit. It is not just our members' interests that are at stake, the long-term future of our industry is also in the balance and threatened by private equity.

Denmark, a European leader in broadband provision, its track record in communications technology the envy of the world, mostly thanks to the telecoms company TDC, however, in 2006 TDC was taken over by private equity, the company is now so indebted it is hard to see where any investment is going to come from. A similar situation can be seen with Aircom in Ireland and Deutsche Telekom in Germany.

Colleagues, if our Government wants the UK to be a leader in the information economy we are going to need world-beating communications systems so we can use that knowledge yet the evidence is that where private equity gets involved investment plummets, new services decline, and in our case broadband networks deteriorate. Congress, the recent turbulence in the financial markets means we have an opportunity, maybe a temporary respite, but private equity has not gone away. These funds have the taste for easy money and they will return, but we do now have an opportunity to take some action. In the meantime, as the credit squeeze begins to bite those companies that have already had their levels of debt cranked up by private equity buy-outs will have to find even more money to service those debts, they will have to face even more so-called efficiency savings, and we all know what that means for our members.

So what is to be done? First of all, the Government must act to ensure that private equity is subject to fair and progressive taxation. It must pay its fair share. We have to shine a light on the activities of these funds and we have to ensure that private equity does experience the right level of exposure. Private equity prefers to drag our members into the dark back alleys of the City of London where out of the public gaze it is easier to mug them of their pensions, their employment rights, and all too often their jobs.

Finally, we are calling on the General Council to establish a database, which must be supported by the affiliates, which will bring together information on private equity so that we can all learn from each other's experience. Colleagues, private equity claims to invest in the long-term but they are only talking five-year plans at the very best. Our members have an interest in long-term career prospects, in training, in good pensions, and our members are putting their lives into the companies in which they are working. Quite frankly, I can think of no longer-term investment than that. Congress, please support the composite.

Maria Ludkin (GMB) seconded Composite Motion 8.

She said: GMB became involved in private equity when two private equity firms, Permira and CEC, took over the Automobile Association in 2004. We quickly realised that we were dealing with a very different type of corporate owner. They soon derecognised the GMB and replaced it with a so-called staff association. As soon as they had removed the union they were able to move on to their real agenda, which was never about growing and building a successful company but about looking at every aspect of the business and finding ways to cut costs, strip assets, and extract value.

What we saw was 3,500 jobs lost and workers forced out of their jobs, and a massive decline in the service at the AA so it slipped from first place to third in customer service rankings. What we saw were workers intimidated into accepting redundancies they did not want. After they were told if they did not accept the package they would be performance-managed out of their jobs without compensation. What we saw was a £40m hole in the company pension scheme being filled with new debt making it vulnerable and more likely to fail in an economic downturn.

We tried to discuss our concerns with management but they refused to meet us and for the first time we began to understand how private equity works, in secret, unregulated, owned by faceless funds. The GMB ran a very successful campaign to force some of these private equity operators out of the shadows where they operate. We showed up at the church of Permira's senior partner, Damon Buffini, we went there with a camel, a needle, and some of the workers he had sacked so he could meet the people who had suffered to help him get richer. We started investigating what happens when private equity takes over a company, monitoring the fact that they were buying bigger companies with more employees, taking High Street brands out of the regulated sector of the economy and making them private companies, operating in secret. We looked at how much money they were making and what price was being paid by the companies they owned and the workers they employed.

Our research showed a lot of smoke-and-mirrors publicity designed to suggest that private equity was doing something special for the British economy. What they were really doing was extracting value, slashing staff, reducing pay, selling company assets, and borrowing heavily using the company as security for the debt. These people are not masters of the universe, they are simply slick operators who worked out how to exploit the system, to move money out of companies already built up into their own pockets. It is easy to make money if you walk into the store and sell everything inside it, then sell it on leaving it without much stock, under-staffed, lacking investment, with low paid workers and a vulnerable pension scheme. It is not difficult to become wealthy if you pay less tax than your cleaner.

The Prime Minister last week mentioned that he was against legislating private equity because he preferred to think the individuals who run them should use their own moral compass. I do not know where Permira's moral compass was when they forced AA workers out of jobs right before Christmas. I do not know where the moral compass was pointing when they targeted workers with disabilities, who had been off sick, for reinforced redundancy packages. I do not know where the moral compass is when they fill the £40m hole in the pension scheme with more debt.

Trade unions support healthy British companies with owners committed to long-term investment, good management, working together with workers to build a strong business for the future. I do not think private equity firms have a moral compass. In our experience, all they have is a cheque book and a calculator. For these reasons we urge you to support the composite.

Jack Dromey (Unite) supported Composite Motion 8.

He said: Who are they, why do they not pay their fair share, and what about the workers? First, who are they? Until the GMB campaign more was known about the Cosa Nostra than private equity. These are fabulously wealthy men, overwhelmingly men, inhabiting a twilight world of secrecy, not subject to the same rules on transparency. There are reputable employers but there is a world full of rogues and at their worst like Texas Pacific, whose actions in Gate Gourmet led to 60 overwhelmingly Asian women being sacked in a car park. All the evidence is that in leverage buyouts we see jobs, pay, terms and conditions of employment, and pensions, put at risk, workers kept in the dark, companies piled high with debt, and to add insult to injury they fleece us all by not paying their fair share of tax.

Second, why not pay their fair share? We exposed last year the scandal of £8.8bn of City bonuses in banks and finance houses where the cleaners were on the national minimum wage in our drive for Justice for Cleaners. Now what we see are fabulously wealthy men paying less tax than their cleaners and even voices in the world of private equity are now speaking up and saying that is wrong.

Third, and finally, what about the workers? If it is right that we should lift the shroud of secrecy, if it is right that private equity should pay its fair share of tax, so too is it right that workers' rights must be respected. There cannot be two standards of protection in the economy, one in public companies where there are obligations on employers and the other in the world of private equity where there are no such obligations.

Now, private equity's answer, I kid thee not, is self-regulation. Self-regulation in the Cayman Islands? In the immortal words of John McEnroe, 'You cannot be serious.' That is why I said to the private equiteers with Paul Kenny at a summit in Congress House in July, our members want straight answers to straight questions: will their pay be protected; will their terms and conditions be safe; can they count upon security and dignity in retirement because their pensions will be protected; will their union continue to be recognised, and if you have plans, tell us now; all questions that have to be answered in public companies because TUPE applies, but the silence is deafening in the world of private equity.

That is why the time has come for there to be one standard of protection in the economy, TUPE must apply to all those transfers and workers should also have the same rights as the banks, the lenders, the pension trustees, they have the right to block a transfer if their rights are not respected but not workers in private equity. Workers have no rights. That is wrong. It must change. Support the motion.

Jeff Broome (Union of Shop Distributive and Allied Workers) supported Composite Motion 8.

He said: Private equity is a big issue in the sectors that USDAW organises. The private equity takeover of Alliance Boots and the private equity involvement in the demise of KwikSave have been two of the biggest issues for USDAW over the past 12 months. In the year ahead there is also a very real possibility of a private equity involvement in the takeover of Sainsbury's. Boots, Somerfield, KwikSave, and Sainsbury's, are key USDAW agreements covering thousands of our members. USDAW represents members working in many of the high profile companies affected by private equity takeovers.

In our experience one of the key areas of concern relates to private equity's lack of formal accountability and transparency. We are not here to condemn all investors involved in private equity takeovers. Some investors honour commitments made to the workforce and engage in meaningful discussions with employees' trade unions. In June this year USDAW was able to negotiate an agreement with the new owners of Alliance Boots for millions of pounds of investments in the company's pension schemes. However, there are many more private equity investors who are interested in short-term gain and not long-term investment in business. Short-termism and saddling businesses with huge debt will always lead to job losses. The fact that thousands of KwikSave employees lost their jobs earlier this year is proof of the negative impact that private equity can have on a business. USDAW embers affected by these private equity takeovers but we are committed to represent our members affected by such takeovers, to protect jobs and to get guarantees on terms and conditions.

Congress, alongside representing members affected by such takeovers, the Tades union movement needs to be raising public and political awareness of some of the bigger questions posed by private equity. The lack of accountability and the lack of transparency in private equity owned companies is a major issue of concern. Making private equity more accountable and transparent must - must - be a priority for the labour and trades union movements. Please support.

Bernard Roome (Communication Workers Union) supported Composite Motion 8. He said: I rise to support the motion and to reflect on a group of workers that Adrian in moving the motion has already spoken about, which is our Airwave members. It is a company that not many of you will have heard of; it is a company that does a vitally important job. It is a group of workers that have been moved about over the last six years not knowing what their future was from day to day. They started building a digital network to support our emergency services while working for BT. In 2001 because of BT's disastrous moves into the global economy they had to sell them off and sold them off to a company called 02. They carried on working for 02, they carried on building that network, and at that stage all their terms and conditions were TUPE'd over. All of a sudden another company decided, 'Oh, 02 looks as though it is a profitable company now,' which it was, so they bought it out. Those workers then started to work for Telefonika. Luckily, their terms and conditions were maintained. Unfortunately, Telefonika decided that they are a global company and as a global company they have to ensure wherever they invest it is important they invest to the best of their ability. So they decided that Airwave was no longer a core industry for them and would sell it off on the basis that they could use the money, the £2bn that they made out of selling off our emergency network, to a company from Australia so that they could invest in Brazil and in China. So, our members' futures were sold off so they could use the money that our members had made through their work so that they could invest and exploit workers in other parts of the world.

Late last year we were informed as a union there was a review taking place of Airwave. This review was taking place just two weeks after Macquarie had been quoted in the press saying they wished to buy Airwave. Early this year we were called in and told they were now going to sell Airwave and there was a list of people that might want to buy it. Two weeks later we were told that there was one investor that they were going to deal with, a preferred investor. Surprise, surprise, although we were never told who it was, it was Macquarie. Throughout those discussions we never once met anybody from Macquarie or anybody from Telefonika. Our members' jobs were sold without ever us meeting the person they were going to be sold to. That is frightening enough for our members because although their jobs can be globally sourced their futures certainly have. It is not their future, it is the future of the system that provides the emergency systems if we need them. Our members not only maintain it, they not only control it, but they are also the people who drive the vehicles if we have another problem like we had in London. They are the emergency response teams that deal with communications if there is another bombing. Their future and the investment in that future is now based in a company in Australia who have no accountability whatsoever. That is no good for us and it is no good for our members. Please support.

Jeremy Dear (National Union of Journalists) supported Composite Motion 8.

He said: As we have heard, the private equity vultures not content with devouring sections of our manufacturing industry, our telecoms and our pharmaceutical industry, are now preying on your media too, from your national newspapers to local newspapers, and radio stations, nothing is save from the clutches of private equity. Local media not run by local people in the interests of local communities but increasingly run by faceless money men in the interests of short-term profit, not content with a measly 20 percent return on investment they crack the whip and demand 30 percent, and in some cases 40 percent, return on their investment. That is not profit: that is profiteering. Not achieved by long-term investment in skills and technology, not achieved by increased sales, but achieved by mass job cuts, by closing offices, by selling off property, by reducing pagination and programme budgets, by deskilling, by casualisation, and by grand larceny on an industrial scale as they close pension scheme after pension scheme, and all done far away from the glare of scrutiny, done for short-term gain, not long-term success, done not to save an ailing company or turn round an unprofitable title, but to squeeze out every last ounce of sweat and every drop of profit before selling up and shipping out and damn the consequences.

In our industry the consequences are there to see. Newspapers and radio stations with less journalists cannot cover issues in such depth or give local communities the coverage they deserve, merged titles, closed offices, make local media more remote from the communities they are supposed to serve. Yes, the workers suffer but local democracy and accountability suffers too. That matters to you and I and to our members but to those who see us as nothing more than figures on a balance sheet to be used and abused such concerns are of no consequence. Our Stand Up for Journalism campaign which many of you have signed up to support this week is part of our efforts to tackle these modern day robber barons but we need more than the actions of individual unions against the private equity groups, we need the collective action of our Movement in exposing and combating the consequences, and we need government action to strengthen the regulation of the private equity industry, to demand transparency, and extend the rights of workers and their unions when faced with the prospect of private equity firms taking over or investing in our industries. Please support the motion.

The President: That was a very interesting debate. I do not think there is anything to reply to so I will put Composite 8 to you.

* Composite Motion 8 was CARRIED

Climate Change

Paul Noon (Prospect) moved Motion 36.

He said: It is not unusual for movers of motions at the TUC to claim the distinction that their motion is the most important one on the agenda. I believe that climate change is not only the most important issue on this agenda but also on the UK's agenda and the planet's agenda. It is not my purpose here today to seek to persuade you of the reality of climate change, nor to overwhelm you with the scientific data which is mentioned in the text of the motion. The evidence of record high temperatures and wild fires across Europe, of melting icecaps, of extreme weather episodes, of an observable change in the seasons is there for all to see. In any case, many of you will have seen the Al Gore film, An Inconvenient Truth; if not, I recommend it to you. The film is an hour-and-a-half long and I have only five minutes and I am no Al Gore.

I do, however, have a passionate belief that climate change is a trade union issue. It is an issue on which we need clear and consistent policies and an issue where we need to demonstrate leadership and personal and collective commitment. At its most basic level this is about jobs, the shift to a low carbon economy will have huge employment consequences. Jobs have been lost and will be lost in the future in some areas but there will be opportunities in many other areas. We need to see a just transition but in maximising opportunities ensuring that the UK is well placed in developing environmental markets and industries. This will not happen by chance. The UK lost its first move or advantage in the 1980s in wind technology and we must not repeat that mistake. That is why the motion calls for the proposed commission for employment and skills to undertake a cross-cutting review of the employment and skills required to sustain a low carbon economy and to act to develop those skills for sustainable production and consumption.

The motion also supports the principle of statutory targets for reducing carbon emissions as set out in the Climate Change Bill. My union supports the bill but we do have profound concerns as to whether the UK target of a 60 percent reduction by 2050, demanding though that is, is sufficiently ambitious. There is a wealth of scientific data which indicates that if climate change is going to be constrained to an average increase of what is described as only 2percent globally, then further and deeper cuts in carbon emissions will need to be made. The UK cannot act alone but we must have a leadership role and we must take sufficient action to contain the threat of global warming.

Prospect represents many scientists, including those who have been involved in this issue in the Meteorological Office and the British Antarctic Survey and other areas tracking the changes in global temperatures and demonstrating the clear link between the levels of carbon in the atmosphere and global warming. Some sections of the media portray this issue as though there was a fine balance in the arguments about climate change, and that is simply not the case. There is a clear and overwhelming consensus amongst the world's scientists that greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon, have caused and are causing profound changes in the earth's atmosphere and that if significant further action is not taken now, not in 10 years' time but now, then the outcome could be catastrophic. Already the poorest in the world in developing countries feel the harshest effects. It is certainly tragic if you live in the UK and your home is affected by floods. How much worse, however, if you already are at a substance level of existence, your crops fail, your animals die, and your soil turns to desert. That is the reality in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Colleagues, many of our other policies on this agenda on international development, on social justice, on economic progress, will not be achieved unless we tackle the issue of climate change. Trade unions are about collective action, working together with our members and with unions internationally we can and should make a difference. The knowledge of what is happening, the real and present danger facing us, gives us the moral imperative to act. We must do so. Please support the motion.

Helen Rose (UNISON) seconded Motion 36.

She said: Congress, as members of the Stop the Climate Chaos Coalition, UNISON share strongly the concern expressed by Prospect in Motion 36 that the proposed 60 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 is not enough. If we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, action needs to be taken by all nations to keep temperature rises to a maximum at 2 degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial times. Scientists are clear about this. anything above two degrees could trigger the melting of the Greenland ice shelf and the collapse of the Amazon rainforest. This in turn could trigger even greater climate change as it would lead to the earth itself releasing more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Of course, the impact of any climate change is serious but the implications of temperature rises above 2 degrees would be devastating. Millions would die and be displaced by droughts and flooding, particularly in the developing world.

Congress, given this nightmare scenario the Government's commitment to introduce a bill which will commit us to a reduction in emissions has to be welcome but it is not as currently proposed the cavalry coming over the hill because the 60percent target that it includes will not keep rises to 2 degrees. Scientists now think that 60 percent reduction will result in temperature rises of 4-5 degrees and that what is needed to prevent serious climate change is progressive action towards an 80 percent reduction by 2050. That, we believe, is the target that should be on the front of the bill and that is the target that we will be campaigning for over the coming months.

We also support the points the motion makes about the need for stronger measures to create certainty in the energy sector and for a committee on climate change to include a voice for key stakeholder groups. We, of course, believe the trade unions will be a key stakeholder group and a genuine contribution to make in the transition to a lower carbon economy. It is difficult to imagine now what the economy will look like in the year 2050 but if we are serious about keeping temperature rises to 2 degrees Centigrade it is clear it will be very different from the ones we have today.

Our economy will have to be planned to a far greater extent than is currently fashionable to admit and in this context we have to make the irresistible case for trade union involvement in all of the key decisions about the transition to a low carbon economy. Transition will be tough but we have to make sure that it is just and fair. Only in this way will change win the support needed to make it durable and robust enough to cut sufficient carbon. Congress, I am passionate about this and I hope that you all are, too. Please support this motion.

Tam McFarlane (Fire Brigades' Union) supported Motion 36.

He said: I am very happy to support, of course, this very important resolution. I am an FBU representative from the South West of England and that includes Gloucestershire. I think here is the real point, the effects of climate change are no longer just a news item on the television regarding some place outside the UK, the effects of climate change I think have been brought home to everyone in the UK, especially the public, right across the North Yorkshire area and of course in Gloucestershire itself. The consequences of the floods that we have seen, which the Government has acknowledged, were as a result of climate change. It is absolutely devastating. We have entire streets within communities currently living in caravans for up to 18 months waiting for the shells of what used to be their homes to dry out. We have seen real issues of people during the courses of the floods having no water, 110,000 people left without water because of the effect of these floods. Certainly in terms of us, the emergency services, who had to deal with that at the time, if you turn to page 76 of the General Council Report you will see a picture of two fire fighters pulling a boat with another fire fighter sitting inside it; I take it he was the boss, that is always the way it goes!

I have to tell you that was the exception. Quite frankly, emergency services do not have the equipment required to deal with floods on this level. The Government are telling us that these floods may well become an increasing occurrence, I think what we also need to acknowledge is that we need action now within this country to deal with what are the very serious consequences of climate change, and of course that requires investment. Fire fighters at the time were wading chest deep, neck deep, in sewage contaminated water, wearing equipment and using kit primarily designed to deal with fighting fires and, quite frankly, that is not good enough now. We have fire fighters working for 70 hours at a time because they were cut off because the equipment was not available to ensure they could get out to the public. Despite all this, of course, our members did a magnificent job. I think as part of this we really do need to call for government investment in the emergency services, much needed investment. We have to give our people the equipment and the kit that is absolutely vital in making sure that we can do our job properly.

Yes, we are supporting this resolution, it is a very important resolution, but we also need to join together to make sure the Government releases the finances to give us the resources to do our job properly. Please support it.

Malcolm Sage (GMB) supported Motion 36.

He said: It is clear today that climate change and global warming are a reality and issues that we must address. Since the year 2000 the UK Government has issued a number of policy documents and white papers covering the subject. In the last year these have included the Energy Review and Climate Change Bill and these have set targets for the UK to reduce CO2 and other emissions and also set targets for the use of renewable energy. It was pleasing to see the UK Government was one of the first governments to sign the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. Ever since then we have a target to produce 10 percent of electricity by renewables by 2010 yet today in 2007 we have only just made five percent and do not look like making these changes.

Earlier this year at the March EU Summit the UK agreed targets of 20 percent of electricity to be generated by renewables by 2020. However, based on our present record it looks likely that the UK will not reach them so now we have rumours circulating that the Government will try to reduce these targets and try to water down the EU commitment. Schemes such as the Merton Scheme where the London Borough of Merton has imposed strict planning regulation on new buildings to ensure their buildings comply with the highest sustainable designs are being discouraged. Yet we find other countries, such as Germany and Denmark, are already exceeding their targets. Why? Unlike the UK the governments of Denmark and Germany have interventionist policy on climate change. They have also linked climate change to energy, manufacturing, and training policies. They have accepted that governments can and do also create markets. They have used interventionist policies to become the world leaders in wind and solar photovoltaic technology while we in the UK are still relying on the free market to make that big leap. The UK will not achieve its targets until it takes a much stronger lead and it sponsors UK manufactured products with full-size plans. We need government-led policies on renewable energy. Every school and public building should have a visible form of renewable generation, either solar panels or wind turbine. The UK surrounded by water and every coastline should have at least one wave or tidal generation scheme. This would link energy policy to manufacturing and then to training. Studies by the Highlands and Island Enterprise Board, the London Development and the Learning and Skills Council, have all discovered we need new skills in renewable technology. If the UK is serious about renewable energy and climate change, we should invest in the technology and training just like Germany and Denmark.

* Motion 36 was CARRIED

Coal Industry - Clean Coal Technology

Ian Lavery (National Union of Mineworkers) moved Composite Motion 9.

He said: Congress, for years and years and years following promises after promises after promises, forums, symposiums, congresses, conferences, the coal industry is still no further forward than it was at the time of privatisation in 1995. There is a slight difference and that is, of course, that we now are producing coal cheaper than imported coal; that is in the deep mine sector. But the price of imported coal now is twice the price, if not more, than it was back at the time of privatisation so the economics for a deep mine coal industry stand up very, very, very well indeed. Last year we imported in excess of 50 million tonnes of coal into the UK. We burned 68 million tonnes in the UK with 9.5 million tonnes being produced in the deep mine industry, and 9.5 million tonnes of coal being produced in open cast.

As Congress is aware from previous speakers and discussions, there has been massive progress made in terms of clean coal technology, which really is extremely important to the very future of our planet. The NUM on many occasions have pointed out that coal is the fuel of the future and not the fuel of the past. In fact, it is the solution to the energy problems not just here in the UK but globally as well. Government figures show that coal burn is projected to increase worldwide. Coal trade will increase by 50 percent by the year 2030. In Britain coal fuels more than 37 percent, or more, of the UK's generated capacity and at peak times last year and the year before coal powered more than 50percent of our electricity generation in Britain.

If we are to avoid an energy gap of some 22 giga-watts of electricity we need the Government to finance the demonstration plants and clean coal technology plants which are required to assist. We need to accelerate our desire to burn coal cleanly. The Government made little progress in relation to carbon capture and carbon storage which is the new technology, it is the new kid on the block. We were all excited about this new innovative technology but we have made extremely slow progress in advancing with the CCS and CS.

The EU requested that member states agree to 12 demonstration plants in the UK. The Government in the UK at this moment of time have agreed and committed to only one plant. It is simply not good enough. The arrangements for some form of competition on what type of clean coal technology and carbon storage will take place is now in place but there are many, many hurdles in front of us before we even get this technology off the ground. The investment - who will invest in the clean coal technology, in the carbon storage? Who will be providing the finances? Will it be big business or will it be the Government? The National Union of Mineworkers quite firmly says it is the responsibility of the Government to provide finances for this. We do not have any planning applications, planning will be extremely difficult. There is no legislation that allows for the transport of CO2 or the storage of CO2. Comrades, quite frankly, we are not even off the starting blocks. There are many different types of clean coal technology which we have and we are developing. I have a massive fear that the Government are creating the conditions for a second 'dash for gas'. If that happens we then will see what has happened previously, repeat itself in terms of the first dash for gas. Eventually, we will be facing a nation supplied by nuclear energy, not in its entirety but as the major and primary producer of electricity in Britain.

Comrades, globally there is an excess of 900 million tonnes of coal, 160 years of current production levels, and unlike other fuels coal is not concentrated in nations of political unrest or conflict, it represents a massive global asset. The TUC and affiliated energy unions should seek urgent discussion with government to address the lack of progress in the development of CCS and CS in the UK, also the best means of exploiting the nation's huge coal reserves in the best interests of the British people.

Patrick Carragher (British Association of Colliery Management - Technical, Energy and Administrative Management) seconded Composite Motion 9.

He said: I would ask delegates to look at this composite motion as complementary to the preceding motion on climate change. Reference was made in the preceding proposal to the Al Gore film; we could also make reference to the IPCC report, to the Stern Report, all of which highlighted the urgency of dealing with the issue of climate change.

I just want again to emphasise that coal is on the up and up globally and will continue to be used. We know the rate at which coal stations are being opened in the developing world and I think that puts the responsibility on the developed world to bring forward the new technologies that are actually going to minimise the carbon footprint of burning coal.

We have a number of new technologies that can be brought forward and they increase the thermal efficiency of coal plant that we have, but what we do not have for the proposals that are currently there are means of delivering captured carbon to secure sites for storage, whether that be onshore or in aquifers. The UK is very well placed because we are close to the UK continental shelf with oil and gas wells there to take advantage of this so I would say that there is an even greater pressure on countries round the UK continental shelf to develop these technologies.

The issue is how are we going to bring forward the means of delivering and Ian previously made the point, who is going to pay for this, is it the private sector, is it government. I am certainly clear in my mind that the responsibility is on the Government to incentivise the means of delivering for bringing on carbon capture and storage. The Government when it came to power in 1997 was broadly willing to accept the deregulated agenda for the energy economy to working in this country but I fear that we are moving from the period of relatively cheap energy to one where energy is going to become expensive where the issue is not going to be can the energy system deliver competition, but can the energy system guarantee security of supply. Within that I think the role of indigenous UK-produced coal is going to become increasingly important. I think these various strands mesh together to highlight the importance of this motion and I would ask you to support it. Thank you very much.

Terry Fox (National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers) supported Composite Motion 9.

He said: Congress, I would like to make three points in supporting this composite on coal reserves, coal burn, and clean coal technology. My union in three years' time will be celebrating its centenary. When we first started we had the coal owners, then we had that lovely word 'nationalisation', and now we are back to coal owners. Just six weeks ago I worked my last shift at Maltby Colliery before being elected by the membership to do the national president's job. They also next year will be celebrating their centenary, 100 years of production at Maltby Colliery, and they still have the emblem of 'fuel for the future', and it is fuel for the future.

The coal reserves of this country are massive. You heard from the last two speakers here that there are massive reserves in this country that should - should - make us secure in this global age, as Gordon Brown told us yesterday. We obviously at some of these pits have an end to some reserves in some parts of the mine and massive investment is required to move men and machinery to open up those reserves at other sites. These mines are the safest and most efficient in the world and in this (as it has been called) the 'good era' where we are the fourth wealthiest nation, then why, Congress, do we have a car boot sale attitude; we always seem to go for the cheapest option. We congratulate the TUC and the members on the Coal Forum, and whilst their input is most welcome I think it would be fair to say progress is slow and we need to put force on the Government because to change their stubbornness we need to prove that coal can burn in this country.

Coal burn in this country, as you have heard, is almost 60 million tonnes and yet we produce indigenous coal of 80 million tonnes. That should be a growth area for any industry to move forward but now - now - the generators, a lot owned by foreign companies, obviously still import their coal. With China and India expanding at the rate as we all have been told we still know that coal will be required to be burnt in this country for a very, very long time but our coal owners only see growth in the land, in the brownfield sites that we need. But, Congress, when we rely on the unstable geopolitical states to supply us, what would we do if Putin turned our gas off? I urge support, Congress.

Sue Ferns (Prospect)supported Composite 9.

She said: I wish to emphasise both the continued important role for coal as part of a balanced energy policy and the need for urgent action to ensure that a balanced energy policy is actually put in place to ensure the UK can address the twin challenges of climate change and ensuring security of our energy supplies.

If we continue as we are the International Energy Agency expects that global energy demand will increase by 53 per cent by 2030 and that $36 trillion worth of investment will be needed. No one energy source can meet this level of demand and nobody is seriously suggesting such an approach. Renewable, gas and nuclear all have a role to play but it is clear that across the world fossil fuels will remain dominant. As someone from outside the industry I was very struck at the TUC's Clean Coal Conference held last spring by the joint commitment of employers and unions to maximising the opportunities provided by clean coal technologies and by the high quality work that has already been undertaken to achieve this. Other initiatives have developed since the spring, including the carbon capture and storage partnership for Yorkshire and Humber, but there are significant barriers.

First, the current market structure does not provide the stability required to sustain long-term investment either in clean coal technology or in mines to supply them with indigenous coal. That is why Prospect's response to the Energy Review argues for a rebalancing of state influence with market solutions through the creation of an energy agency. We have also argued for the EU Emission's Trading Scheme to be strengthened and for a more fundamental review of the renewals obligation to determine the most cost-effective approach to the development of a range of technologies.

Second, there needs to be significant investment in the skills base. The combination of tight profit margins and long-term insecurity raise the prospect of continued skills shortages in both power generation and mining. Employment in energy R&D, crucial in terms of clean coal, was slashed on privatisation and has never recovered. That expertise is needed now more than ever. The Government's commitment to a competition for commercial scale carbon capture and storage is, of course, welcome but we need to build on this commitment and also put in place a market framework to ensure that clean coal can become part of an energy policy for the future.

Please support the motion.

The President: I will now put Composite Motion 9 to the vote. The General Council's position is to support.

* Composite Motion 9 was CARRIED

Freight on rail

The President: I call Motion 39, Freight on Rail. The General Council's position is to support.

Keith Norman (Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen) moved Motion 39.

He said: I am grateful to our sister trade union, TSSA, for agreeing to second the motion. I promise not to swear!
ASLEF is not arguing for freight on rail simply because it is our members who drive freight trains. It has wider benefits than that: it has environmental benefits; it has economic benefits. It is not rocket science to put more freight on our under-used, under capacity-ed railways, yet there appears to be a reluctance by the Government for that to happen. I think we should make it happen.

I think we should not argue the case that rail is better than road; that is not ASLEF's position at all. ASLEF's position is that we want an integrated freight-borne system in this country, preferably one railway company as it used to be, who were professionals at handling freight on rail. The economic argument is second to none; the environmental argument is second to none. Previous speakers in previous debates have indicated the effects of global warming and various other climate changes, and other issues connected to that. Yet the emissions by trains, freight trains especially, are five to ten times less than road vehicles. I must stress that. ASLEF is not opposed to road. We want to see a proper integrated freight carrying system in this country -- long overdue. We know we are right; I think this conference knows we are right. When you have the support of organisations like the Countryside Alliance you know you are right.

So that is where we intend to go for the future. We have a great deal of political support; we have a great deal of support amongst the public; and I believe we have a great deal of support amongst the trade union movement itself.

Please support this motion. Support it for the environmental, the economical and the climate change effects that it will have on our country. Thank you for listening.

Harriet Yeo (Transport Salaried Staffs' Association) seconded Motion 39. She said: Conference, I am hugely pleased to be able to second this motion. For some, rail freight does not seem overly sexy, but I tell you what: it does it for me! It does it for me because it is about the environment, it is about road safety and it is about road congestion. It is not about great huge trains meandering through the stations causing havoc; it is about real possibilities that can make life better for our children, especially with the environment.

If you will forgive me, I am also a member of the Labour Party Creating Sustainable Community Policies Commission. We were talking about road pricing in December and I asked Douglas Alexander 'When we are looking at road pricing have we actually taken the time to see what would happen if we took all practicable freight off the road and put it on rail? There will always be road freight, but what would happen if we took all of that off that needed to come off?' I said, 'Has there been a report that looks at how it would impact on the environment, on congestion and on road safety?'

I think you can guess what the answer was. No, there had not been any look at what would happen if we put all practicable freight on rail. Imagine the congestion and how it would be eased. Imagine driving without all those lorries. Think about the air you would breathe, wonder how much quieter the motorways would be for those living next to them and think most of all about your children and the school run, how much safer would it be. I know the school run is a bone of contention but for rural people you have to take your kids to school. I live in Kent, and I use the M20 every day. That journey is a nightmare: there are foreign drivers and they cause most of the accidents It is not their bad driving, it is that they do not have a chance to get use to British roads before they they are on a busy motorway. We could save lives by putting freight on rail.
In Kent we have Operation Stack. I do not know if you have heard of it, but believe me it blights our lives. If we had freight on rail there would be no Operation Stack. One of the best ways of putting freight on rail, because it is a social thing, is actually to have a publicly owned, publicly funded, publicly accountable railway system, which is Labour Party policy and has been ignored for the last three years since it was passed at conference. I was the one who moved that policy. My General Secretary won it at conference, and that is one way to put freight back on rail.

Freight on rail is sexy; it is important, like this motion. Please support it.

* Motion 39 was CARRIED

The Environmental Benefits of Shipping

The President: We move on to Motion 40, The Environmental Benefits of Shipping. The General Council support the motion.

Mark Dickinson (Nautilus UK) moved Motion 40. He said: Green is definitely this year's colour. No self-respecting politician can fail to mention the environmental challenges that face us all. The need to find more energy-efficient ways of living our lives has risen right up the political agenda. But when it comes to transport there are some major challenges. Transport is the only sector of the UK economy in which carbon emissions were higher in 2004 than the base line year of 1990 and the only sector in which emissions are projected to be higher in 2020 than in 1990.

You might think that British roads are bad at the moment, with one in nine of freight deliveries arriving late because of congestion, but it is set to get much worse, with road traffic due to grow by a further 33 per cent over the next 20 years. Yet the Government are missing a vital part of the equation in getting to grips with transport's carbon footprint. The Channel Tunnel aside, we remain an island nation yet water transport is invariably overlooked as a way of cutting carbon emissions and reducing congestion on the nation's roads. There is an under-utilised coastal ring round around the UK that could play a major role in helping us to meet our green goals. There are more than 300 commercial ports around the country and over 2000 miles of rivers, estuaries and inland waterways all capable of carrying freight. The maritime motorway does not need to be built; it does not need to be repaired and does not need a costly infrastructure of support services.

It is not that the benefits of shipping are not recognised. In 2000 British Waterways promised to double the amount of goods on water by 2010 but by 2005 the amount had actually fallen from 4.3 million tons to 3.4 million tons. The UK is lagging behind other countries in embracing the potential offered by water, and not just lagging behind because we are actually going backwards. Total water-borne freight tonnage in 2005 was 7 per cent less than a decade earlier. Coast-wise traffic was down by 4 per cent over the same period and inland waterways traffic was down by 20 per cent in terms of goods lifted. It is almost a decade now since the European Commission first came up with the concept of motorways of the sea, to cut congestion on major road routes by making more use of short sea shipping, yet Ministers have rejected the House of Commons Transport Committee's call to develop an integrated freight plan and refused to identify any ports to act as hubs on the grounds that this would be state interference in the private sector. There is a desperate need to end the market failure that prevents any proactive green shipping strategy from being implemented.
Any genuine wrecking of the environmental impact of food miles requires much more than the glib assumption that all transport is bad. All the available evidence shows that using shipping is a sustainable system that can bring benefits not only to consumers but also to producers in developing nations. We are not knocking the local food movement but we need to be aware of the food miles movement being used in a way that threatens international trade and the sometimes fragile export markets in many developing countries.
Congress, shipping's green credentials are genuine, especially if we use quality ships from quality flags with quality crews on board, but this is an industry that seems to be overlooked by the public and politicians. Making more use of our maritime motorways could deliver real advances in the campaign against climate change.
Please support this motion, support the shift to water. I move Motion 40 and thank you for your attention.

Jill Murdoch (Transport Salaried Staffs' Association) seconded Motion 40.

She said: We were delighted to be asked by Nautilus UK to second this motion. I volunteered to do it because I wanted to say something about food miles, but as soon as I started researching the subject I discovered that this whole issue is down to something very familiar to my own union: public ownership versus the free market.
The mover has made the environmental benefits of shipping very clear and has told you that the European Community has recognised those benefits and has proposed the idea of motorways of the sea. Our Government have welcomed that idea. It is, after all, hardly a new idea to an island nation. Historically, inland waterways and coastal shipping were critical to the development of Britain's industry and wealth. Those waterways and coastal ports are still there. The UK Government said in 2004 that it intended to 'continue to encourage freight traffic to be shifted from rail to water where this makes sense.' The clue is in 'continue to encourage' for we are confronting the 'free market'.

Here is a quote from the response from the UK ports industry. 'The UK industry firmly believes the proposals for investment in new port facilities or new shipping services should be market driven. It is not for governments to decide what new facilities or services should be developed for, of course, there must be no distortion of competition' as they put it. Note, Congress, 'It is not for governments to decide what new facilities or services should be developed...' Since when? Since when is the essential infrastructure of this country not part of the remit of the elected government? Efficient transport is the life blood of the economy and we now know an environmentally efficient transport system is essential to the life of the planet.
Shipping has the potential to radically reduce the environmental impact of transport in this country but it is market driven.

So what do we have? Paralysis. No port developments, no new shipping lines. They would initially cost money and the market only wishes to take profits. It has no interest in the other obvious benefits of developing shipping. It is so obvious that transport services and transport infrastructure should be publicly owned and publicly accountable that my union is getting sick of saying it. You cannot control what you do not own. The Government have a strategy for shipping but the market says 'you must not distort competition'. Let us get real, we desperately need to develop low pollution, low congestion transport. Developing shipping could not be more obvious for this country.

Support this motion and support lobbying of the Government to get motorways of the sea established. They will not be driven by markets, which only steer where profits are obvious. This is not about competition; this is about essential infrastructure; it is about the future of the planet. Do not let the market drive both into the ground. Support this motion, Congress.

Richard Crease (Unite) supported Motion 40.

He said: I am from the Docks and Waterways Section of Unite. Working within the ports industry for a number of years I have seen significant changes in my industry, some good, some bad. Since 1980 the total imports into UK have increased by 87 per cent. This is good news for those who work within the ports, but at the same time coast-wise traffic has decreased by just over 12 per cent over the same period -- not so good, especially for the environment. The decline of coast-wise traffic has been counterbalanced by an increase in commercial road traffic both in the UK and continental Europe. My union has constantly supported a balanced modal shift from road to water. Also at UK and European level through the European Transport Workers' Federation we have supported the EU Motorways of the Sea proposals. Indeed, we have gone further. We have argued that much more commercial traffic can be carried on our inland waterways network. Therefore, we support the call to lobby for incentives to encourage the expanded use of water-borne transport and for measures to overcome obstacles to the use of not only short-sea shipping but our British waterways network.

But benefits to the environment are obvious. By developing the required infrastructure in our ports we can take some of our long distance commercial traffic off our roads. This could be mutual as far as drivers are concerned, shorter distances to travel and also taking on board the concerns of British food and agriculture. Also, unlike the railways, which are near to capacity, there are few capacity constraints on the seas or on our inland waterways network. We have already pressed the Government on this issue, so we welcome the call for the General Council also to press the Government to seek to enter fully into the European Motorways of the Sea programme.

In regard to identifying routes, ports and suitable technologies to encourage a balanced modal shift of freight to shipping, this could be done with close consultation of all relevant trade unions. Conference, please support the motion and support the environment.
* Motion 40 was CARRIED


The President: That completes chapter 4 of the General Council's Report. We now move on to the section on transport. I am pretty determined to get to the Remploy debate before we break for lunch. I may not get much further than that but I am trying to do that one at least. I call Motion 41, Transport. The General Council support the motion.

Transport

Graham Stevenson (Unite) moved Motion 41.

He said: Logistics is the sexy word for IT-organised contract freight delivery applied to 'just in time' production. Even high street sales forecasts are now based on demand-related supply. But there is always a sting in the tail with capitalism, you know. Out-sourcing transport may have increased profits by squeezing productivity and even safety, but it introduces vulnerability. Today a few thousand dockers and tugboat workers have the pinch points of supply literally within their grasp. Ninety per cent of our consumed commodities enter either in a big container box, or a good part of the rest come in the bellies of passenger planes along with your luggage. Britain's biggest export is empty boxes. We only have five days supply of food in our warehouses. Shocks to the network are rapidly transmitted. Put simply: if boxes stay on board ship, if lorries do not roll, the economy grinds to a halt. That is why Unite's transport sector has begun to map supply chains to apply bargaining and organising levers.

Elsewhere there are our buses. The whole thrust of the 1980 Tory Government's policy was a complete failure but one by-product was that your average local bus company is now very much like most of logistics, almost certainly part of a gigantic transnational corporation.

Global interdependence enables union action to pressure governments and institutions, but we have to change the way we organise ourselves, networking the rank and file, organising agencies, flattening the pyramid, and empowering activists. Global solidarity works both ways. You gain when you give, unexpectedly. Unite has been campaigning hard to oblige UK First Group to concede free trade unionism to its American employees. I am enormously proud here today to welcome Sabrina Eisome from South Carolina. Like most yellow school bus workers Sabrina is a very brave woman. She faces victimisation in the so-called land of the free for just wanting a union. Three times now, First have tried to sack her. Once it was even her fault that the union leaflets were on the lunch counter. I do not know about Elvis, but trade unionism still lives in the Deep South and in her name, and in the name of thousands of others, myself and Jimmy Hoffa of the Teamsters have pledged to continue this campaign until we win, and win we will.

Back here over the water, government thinking does not focus on owning public transport. Over the last decade alone bus fares have soared three times faster than motoring costs yet in London state funding and local democratic control have seen a major leap forward. In the last decade bus patronage in the capital has soared by 42 percent. We may now see a modest movement forward with quality contracts but we are still fighting so that these should be on the basis of best value with minimum conditions on pay and pensions.

The Working Time Directive did not bring much gain to transport workers. Government Ministers twisted that to favour the bosses. I have even heard of one coach firm claiming that a two-minute wait at a red light counts as a period of rest. I do not know what the CBI thinks about that. We are still waiting on the Government who promised in 2000 to review the domestic hours rules, which makes bus drivers work continuously for five and a half hours without a break. The gruelling hours of professional drivers mean they are more likely to die in service than any other profession. Time has come for a strong campaign, backed by strike action, backed by international action, to force the drivers' working day back on to the agenda. One major international transport company claims wrongly that the Health and Safety Executive cannot tell them how to risk assess an individual driver's hours of work, and yet the Treasury-commissioned Hampton Report says that risk assessment should rule the day. If Ministers cannot fix transport, they cannot fix anything. You cannot get an integrated transport strategy down the market; you might manage to get a few carrots and onions. We need to see some movement now, some action now, from Government Ministers, to ensure that transport workers are properly protected.

Robert Monks (United Road Transport Union) seconded Motion 41, as amended. He said: I am speaking on the amendment.

Last year, in 2006, over 2,500 people died on UK roads. Of those 2,500, 47 were professional lorry drivers. Of those 47, the majority, it was found, died as a result of driver fatigue. You might be surprised to know that drivers in this country, professional lorry drivers, very often work in excess of 60 hours a week, and that is surprising given that the working time regulations say that they should not work more than 48. How do they do it? They do it by utilising what are known as 'periods of availability'. You have a situation where a vehicle is parked waiting to be unloaded, could be for a number of hours, and employers are insisting that their employees, their drivers, book this down as periods of availability whilst they are working. As a result of that, we have long working hours. The Government are currently carrying out a review of this legislation and, as a result of that review, which the TUC are involved in, we are seeking that the definition of 'periods of availability' is much more greatly defined in law and applies to the working time of a driver.

Congress, I urge you to support motion 41 amended. Thank you.

Mick Rix (GMB) supported Motion 41.

He said: I never ever thought I would come to this platform and speak after Roger Daltry, but I think Bob raised some serious issues that are affecting transport workers in the country today on issues that we clearly support.

Transport is the lifeblood of UK industry. We have new systems of working such as lead production, central warehousing, Internet and mail catalogue deliveries. The UK economy can no longer function without an efficient logistics industry. The need to deliver goods, services, as though they are part of the production line, along with congestion, causes much stresses and pressures to logistics drivers. The GMB was pleased, though, that for LGV drivers the Working Time Directive contains no opt-out of the 48-hour working week. However, we believe that this is both right on the grounds of safety and the health of drivers, but it does not apply unfortunately to those drivers of light goods vehicles and vans, which are now on every high street, every country lane, unregulated, allowing unscrupulous companies that encourage their drivers to work long hours through low rates of pay and excessive numbers of deliveries, or just paying them by the drop rate, or employing them as mums and pops and other imported working methods that have come from across the pond.
This is threatening the safety and the security of not only the drivers but also the public at large. Another cause of commercial driver frustration and anxiety is Britain's over crowded roads and especially in town centres.

When we look at most of these issues, we have been talking for years now about an integrated transport plan, including improved bus networks and looking at expansive issues for people mobility as well. However, as you can see this motion is in two parts and that is because the Department for Transport works in separate boxes. It is not integrated after ten years of government. No matter how many times the TUC and the Labour Party call for a national integrated transport policy, involving both freight and passenger transport, by road, rail, aviation and waterways, the DfT still fails to get to grips with the word 'integrated'.

We are calling on the TUC to apply more pressure on the Government and involve affiliates in discussions on the following: regulation and improvement for bus public transport in all of the UK; work with other European trade union federations to strengthen the Working Time Directive for mobile workers driving light vehicles and vans; and influence spending. We have a golden opportunity at this moment to influence spending for the next ten years' priorities and, over the next ten years, to build a new infrastructure that integrates various transport modes.
We have some great transport industries in this country, both old and new. New spending priorities should not just be based on renewal but should also be based on integration so that we can expand the economy and build a first-class economy. We support the motion.

The President: I like your T-shirt. We look forward to seeing that again.
* Motion 41 was CARRIED

Railway Industry

The President: I would like to move to Composite 10 on the Railway Industry. The General Council supports the motion.

Gerry Doherty (Transport Salaried Staffs' Association) moved Composite Motion 10.

He said: I never thought I would come to this rostrum and speak after Luciano Pavarotti!

I think I know what your attitude is to public ownership of the railways. I think you very clearly demonstrated that when my colleague was speaking earlier. It is ten years on the first May this year since Labour came to power. It came to power with a policy of bringing the railways back into public ownership. I know that they had a big agenda: they had to get to grips with the economy, they had a health service that was in decline; and most of all they had to deal with the education of this country. But for ten years we have been waiting, and we have had to change Labour Party policy to do the right thing to bring the railways back to where they belong. What we did not expect was a complete ditching of what was, and still is, an electorally popular, cheaper, more efficient way of running trains, and just about every other country in the world knows that.

I know it sounds like a broken record at this stage, but railway unions year after year come to this Congress calling for public ownership, and I make no apology for that. Paragraph 4.9 of the General Council Report outlines what the TUC has done in pursuit of that policy. Have a look at that paragraph and agree with me that if that is all the pressure that the TUC is able to bear on government, then the railway unions will be back at this rostrum in future years because until we learn to combine the force of their argument with the argument of their force then we will not change the way our railways are run.

So what is the force of the argument? Well, it is certainly economic. You, me, the British taxpayer, are subsidising the industry to the tune of £5billion a year, five times as much as when it was in public hands. You tell me that the service is five times better. You, the railway users, are paying the dearest fares in Europe, and will continue to pay them more and more in the future. The Bransons and the Souters of this world, with sheer impunity, and without a word of comment let alone condemnation from the Transport Secretary, raise fares by far above inflation, not to improve the services, not to reward the employees, but simply to increase profits and to line their own pockets.

Then there is the environment. At a time when Britain's road infrastructure is creaking under the load and road congestion is costing the industry £20 billion a year, at a time when our airports are crammed to the seams with low-cost airline passengers adding to carbon emissions and exacerbating climate change, what do we do? We price people off the most environmentally friendly form of travel that we have, the railway. A recent poll conducted by ICM on behalf of ourselves -- found that because of increased fares 15 per cent of travellers said they travel less by train, 13 per cent said they use their car more, and ten per cent said they would use other means of transport. This is not a transport policy. This is a gridlock policy.
But there is a success story in the sad saga of privatisation of the railways. Network Rail -- the fallout from the collapse of the private equity company, Railtrack, commonly known as Failtrack -- was set up on a not-for-profit basis. It brought maintenance back in-house and saved millions but, more importantly, it improved the performance of the industry. All of that was done with the removal of the profit motive from the maintenance of the infrastructure. Why can we not remove the profit motive from the train operating companies as well and get the same benefits?

Now we have the same situation in the Tube, the nonsense of Metronet and the PPP, which we all knew was not going to work. Last week the media invited me to criticise my sister union for inconveniencing London's travelling public. No one heard condemnation from our lips of my good comrade Bob Crow, and I mean that sincerely. I did not do it then and I am not going to do it now, because when Bob brings the force of his union behind the just cause of driving profiteers from the Tube or from the main line railway, he will not find me standing behind him, he will find me standing four square, shoulder to shoulder beside him, until such time as the fat cats are driven from our industry and the railways are once again returned to the service of the people, all the people and not for the benefit of the few. I move.

John Leach (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) seconded Composite Motion 10.

He said: Speaking in obvious support of Composite 10, let us make it very simple. First and foremost, my union stands here today calling for the full and total public ownership and public control of the railway, and we will be campaigning to that end along with our sister unions on the main line railway.
The composite you have in front of you is very clear. It talks about the familiar cuts in services, the rise in fares and the damaging and appalling effect of privatisation on the railway. We had the Prime Minister here yesterday, standing in front of us -- and we would not expect him to commit himself or his current Labour administration to the re-nationalisation of the railways but this Congress today should do that and I am sure you will.

As our good comrade from the POA said earlier this week, I am not going to ask you to vote against something, but it has got to be more than lip service, we have to get out there and campaign and fight, and my union will do that and that is very much what our experience is at the moment on Metronet.

The reason why we come up here and make these speeches and we do what we do out there as a trade union, the RMT, is because of our experience -- our experience of the death and carnage on our industry since privatisation at Southall, Paddington, Potters Bar, Hatfield and Grayrigg. Then you see vultures like Branson standing there at the crash scene, trying to get his grubby hands on the maintenance side of the railway where he already has it on the operating side and we are not going to stand back and allow that to happen.
That is why we today have a lobby outside this TUC, because we know what our experience is with Metronet. I thank Gerry Doherty very much for his supportive words for my union that was engaged in struggle last week on the London Tube. You could not believe what has happened on Metronet; you could not make it up. They privatised tube maintenance in 1998 and it took effect from 2002. You ended up with a company lifting $1 million a week out of the industry, and then three years later the company turns belly up and goes bankrupt. Our members, who have been in there for 30 years, and generations before that, have got their pensions being called into question. We went on strike in defence of that and we will strike and strike again. That is what we are about, we are fighting against the obscenity of bankruptcy in an industry like that when we know what should happen. It happens today. Tube Lines, another privatised tube maintenance company, is making £1 million this week and the next week and the week after that out of the public private partnership. It is a complete scandal and Mayor Livingstone wants to privatise the East London Line.

I am not up here ranting and raving and saying this because of anything else other than total conviction that this is all wrong and the entire labour movement knows it is wrong. Vote for this composite and get out there with us today with the lobby. Support Metronet, support re-nationalisation and support workers in struggle like they were last week on the London Tube.


Keith Norman (Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen) supported Composite 10.

He said: I know it is very close to lunch and I will not delay you too long, but can I just say that I totally agree with the sentiments expressed by the mover and the seconder of this resolution. I do not want to go over old ground again, but can I say this, that our sister trade union, the RMT, were engaged in a dispute with Metronet last week and, as a result of that dispute, the press attacked individuals within the RMT and also attacked the RMT trade union itself. Some very unpleasant things were printed. Are we prepared to allow that kind of culture to develop in this country? No, I do not think we are and I think we should all stand together when the press attack a fellow trade union, a sister trade union, engaged in looking after and trying to represent the best for its member in that particular company. What happened in the London Evening Standard and other publications last week was an absolute disgrace and does nothing for the newspapers concerned.
Let us get back to the privatisation issue. There is no other country in the world that has done what our country has done, separated the track from the trains.
Let us not forget that when privatisation was set up, and the rolling stock companies were set up, the fantastic amounts of money that were salted away out of the industry, British Rail in its hay day only had a fraction of the amount of money that has been spent on privatisation. If that money had been put into British Rail coffers we would probably have had the best railways in the world, not just Europe but in the world, but privatisation saw an end to that.

We support our sister trade unions. We support a joined up railway, which includes freight at well. We want to see it all brought back under one umbrella - freight, passenger, maintenance, the lot.

We are happy to support.


Mark Kaye (Community) supported Composite 10.

He said: Speaking in support of the motion for Community, I would like to make clear that the development of our rail system is in the national interest and for the common good. I hope our support will carry weight because our union is not directly involved and our members have other non-relevant vested interests.

Privatisation of rail has more disastrous consequences for the public. You only have to see what national ownership has done to establish fast, clean, relatively cheap transport in continental countries in the EU, to understand how far we have fallen behind in the UK. We pay the price of having the most expensive systems and diminution in service for customers because of the obsession of the market forces, which we all know are inappropriate and unworkable in the sector. It will remain unworkable with the present structure. Even if the Government were to get their act together, it is failing to take action needed to promote rail transport. This imposes costs to the whole nation not only on the passengers who pay expensive fares but also penalises manufacturers through excess freight charges. The return of the rail industry to public ownership from the private sector would be a popular move and would return public accountability to areas of decision-making important to most of the population.

We need a rail system to suit the needs of the future in a clean, green and efficient way and at least comparable to those of other EU countries. I feel that this would establish a future position to ensure that our products and our travelling public can move the UK efficiently and unerringly away from relics of the past generation.

* Composite Motion 10 was CARRIED.

Transport

Jeannine Booth (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) speaking to paragraph 4.9 of the General Council's Report said: I am getting up on this paragraph to ask for your support and the support of the General Council for a campaign we are having to wage on London Underground at the moment. London Underground Limited plans savage attacks on its ticket offices. It plans to close 39 of them and to cut the opening hours of virtually every other ticket office on London's tubes. It claims the reason it is doing this is because more people are using Oyster, the little smart card, the new way of doing ticketing on the underground. However, we know that passengers still need ticket offices because not everyone uses Oyster because Oyster is a complex system and people need help with it. There are already long queues at our ticket offices. There are several types of transaction that can only be done at ticket offices because stations without ticket offices are hostile places for people to be, especially at night and because sometimes phone lines, websites and touch screens are no substitute for human contact.

The truth is that London Underground is not simply responding to changes in ticket buying behaviour but it is forcing people to change their ticket buying behaviour by driving them away from ticket offices by closing them. We believe that London Underground should be a public service and not a profiteering business and that therefore ticket office windows should be open for all of those who need them. I am no Luddite; I believe new technology is a good thing but new technology should be brought in in the interests of the workers and the service users and not in the interests of the profiteers. London Underground already charges you some of the highest fares for underground railway travel in the world. The least it can do is to make it easy for you to pay those fares and, better still, it could cut them.

This attack also comes with the loss of over 270 staff posts on London Underground. It will see workers displaced. It will see promotion opportunities lost. It will see part-time family friendly working opportunities lost. It will see an increase in work load and stress for those who remain and an increase in vulnerability to assault on a system where already 77 per cent of staff assaults are connected with ticketing disputes. Do not let Ken Livingstone come to this Congress and tell you that he is the champion of working people when he is doing this to his own staff and his own passengers.

The RMT and the TSSA are campaigning together against this. A week on Thursday, on the 20th, we have a public rally in London, that you are all invited to, to protest against these changes. It is my belief that we may well end up having to strike to stop this attack on our ticket offices.
I ask all unions in this hall to support us in this crucial campaign and I would like to ask the General Council to confirm that it will also support us in fighting to save London Underground's ticket offices.


The President. I am sure we can confirm that.

I did say I was determined to get to Remploy and I still am quite determined but I want to take your views. Are you willing to take the Remploy debate? There are several unions wanting to come in on the debate. It is quite important. Are you willing to take it now ? (Agreed)

Remploy

The President: Then let us move on to Motion 31 on Remploy. I would like to welcome the Remploy workers who have been fighting factory closures, and who are currently fighting. They are with us today. (Applause)

As well as the mover and the seconder of the motion, there are probably a couple of other unions that want to come in but we will take it as well as we can and make some progress. I am sure you want to be supportive of this.

Phil Davies (GMB) moved Motion 31.

He said: I come to this rostrum angry and disillusioned: angry that our members are being made to pay for incompetence of a Board of Directors who choose to ignore the major opportunities that public procurement offer; angry that the Board cannot run this company for the benefit of disabled people; angry that on 22nd May this year the Remploy Board of Directors declared war on this trade union movement and not just the Remploy workers. The senior shop stewards were called to a meeting in London and at two minutes to twelve the company announced that 43 factory sites would be closed, with 2,300 disabled people and over 300 non-disabled people facing the sack. At 12 noon every one of the 43 factory employees were shown a video of the Chief Executive telling them they were to be sacked. What a disgrace to be told by DVD that your job, your factory and your way of life will change for ever. To do it while your senior stewards are away from the factories is calculated and, yes, the Government did know what was going on. That day was a shameful day for our Labour Government. The Board of Directors have lied and cheated all the way through the consultation process.

I am disillusioned because a Labour Government has conspired with this Board of Directors to throw skilled disabled workers on to the scrap heap. Make no mistake, the Government have played a significant role in these dismissals. The Board have been given £80 million to modernise Remploy. This will be used to fund redundancy payments. None of it will be used to improve Remploy because the company have no plans to improve it. The 40 remaining factories within a two-year period will probably close as well.

Our disabled shop stewards and activists are on a crusade to save their factories and their communities. A coach left Aberdeen on 28 August and, as we speak, it is travelling down the country calling at every threatened factory. It will arrive at the Labour Party Conference on 21st September. Thousands of workers and tens of thousands of supporters have been addressed in dozens of public meetings. Not since the Jarrow crusade and the People's March for Jobs has this been attempted and we should applaud those brave men and women who have given up their time to carry out this crusade. We have taken our message to the very heart of the Labour Party and to the very heart of our Labour Government. I ask the Government to listen to the workers and to the public. Not to do so would be a tragic and costly mistake.
Congress, this disgraceful Board of Remploy Directors have acted against the interests of the British people. In my hand I have a letter from the Secretary of State addressed to GMB General Secretary, Paul Kenny. The Secretary of State, Peter Hain, says that no individual redundancy quote will be handed out. Well Peter, here are the redundancies for our members that are not to be handed out. (Sackful of redundancy notices heaped on floor) Six days after this letter was sent, the despicable management went into each of the 43 sites with bundles of these individual notices. Our members were asked, 'Do you want to know what redundancy pay you will get?' The quotes were left on the canteen tables; the quotes were left for any one to look at, and our people were told, 'If you take one of those you will be deemed to be asking for redundancy.' The Secretary of State has either been misled by the Chief Executive of Remploy, and if that is the case he should be sacked, or the Secretary of State has misled the GMB General Secretary, and that is a more serious issue.

Remember the famous speech of Neil Kinnock to the 1986 Labour Conference. I quote what Neil said: 'Ending in the grotesque chaos of a Labour Council, yes a Labour Council, hiring taxis to scuttle around the city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers.' What a grotesque chaos of a Labour Government, yes a Labour Government, scuttling around delivering redundancy notices to disabled workers in 43 Remploy factory sites. What an absolute disgrace.

Congress, we ask you to support all our members in Remploy. Public procurement can not only save Remploy but can invigorate manufacturing in the UK. Five pence in every one hundred pounds spent by government will do it.

I want to give a message to these outrageous Remploy Directors and I want to do it by the same method that our members received their dismissal: your days are numbered; the trade unions and the labour movement give you notice that your style of management is no longer acceptable. You should go and go now. It is no good Ministers saying to me that government does not rule Remploy when it is the Government that appoints these rascals. Using government procurement, the GMB and the other unions are determined to stop these factory closures. We have a vision for a new Remploy fit for purpose for the 21st century. We are not prepared to abandon our members in their hour of need. Congress, if this movement cannot defend the most vulnerable group of workers in our society and give them support to choose where they want to work, we cannot defend anybody.

I commend this motion to Congress in the full knowledge that this great trade union movement of ours will support Remploy workers. There will be no place for the Government to hide. There will be no dodgy deals done and no factory closures. I move. (Applause)

Shirley Rainey (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy) seconded Motion 31.

She said: We too at the CSP believe that supportive employment for some people with a disability is essential and that Remploy have fulfilled, and should continue to be able to fulfil, this day-to-day objective, that is to must maximise the number of people with a disability into employment. Closing the factories can only be counter productive and surely goes against government policy to give people with a disability the opportunity to enter the labour market and to move one million people off benefits into work in the next ten years.

Yes, people with a disability want to be free to make informed choices where they work, but 78 per cent of Remploy employees felt they were unable to be employed elsewhere. Their views must be considered when decisions are taken about their future employment, and they are going to have future employment, we are not going to let them not be employed. This review and threatened closure programme is another clear example of no joined-up thinking across the different government departments. In effect, if people with a disability are effectively prevented from working by a decision to close the factories, it is likely to directly impact not only on their own health, their well-being and their personal fulfilment but on government policies aimed at delivering more equitable health services and managing long-term conditions more effectively.

It is highly unlikely that these implications will have been thought through across all the different departments. I work in a school for children with special needs and they get a full education and then what. Nothing, no employment. They need Remploy. It is madness to close the factories. Let us do everything in our power to stop it happening. Please support.

Esther Marriott (Unite) supported Motion 31.

She said: Remploy worker speaking in support of motion 31 and the amendment. Congress, you have already heard about the issues that are at stake here. I and my fellow workers across all Remploy sites are proud of what we achieve in our factories. We are not sheltered workshops; we are highly skilled manufacturing establishments producing high quality products, but we have been let down by an incompetent management and a government that should have known better and been more supportive.

It is nonsense to talk about placing Remploy workers into alternative mainstream workplaces. If anyone has ever been to a Remploy factory they would be humbled as many of the employees can earn far more money just sitting at home. They find self-respect, self-confidence, friendship, dignity and focus, many for the first time in their lives. Our campaign is not about money but about securing that dignity and a future for disabled workers, not just for this generation but for the next one as well.

The current crusade is taking this message across the country and in two weeks will arrive at the Labour Party Conference. On its way the campaign has gathered momentum as MEPs, local councillors and MPs show their support for our arguments and campaign. Congress, we need your voice and that of the General Council to weigh in behind this campaign. Supporting this motion is the first step, but there is so much more that can be done. I call on the General Council to lobby and bring pressure to bear on the Ministers responsible for the potential closure of Remploy factories and the destruction of the livelihoods of disabled factories and their communities.

Management say that there are to be no compulsory redundancies but what about the 700 non-disabled workers facing the sack? The joint-union business plan will ensure more job opportunities and a more stable economic future for Remploy within the Government's budget. Government itself could help by adopting intelligent procurement policies which make use of the Skills of the Remploy workforce. Why are Remploy and the Government so determined to limit opportunities for disabled workers? These workers are in a company with well-organised workplaces with decent terms and conditions, pensions and sick pay. We are not like other companies who invest in plant and machinery. We have people who are our largest asset, so let us invest in them.

Yesterday, Gordon Brown told us of the Government's commitment to ensure that school leavers, single parents and others will have quality work to go to, so why is that not the same for us? All we want to do is work. Is that too much to ask?
Congress, our campaign needs your support. Please support this motion.

Helen Elliott (Community) supported Motion 31.

She said: Speaking as a Remploy worker and for Community union to support motion 31. As a trade unionist and a Labour supporter all my life, I am sick that under a Labour Government the disabled people I represent, and myself, stand to lose our jobs under the proposals. The idea seems to be that disabled people are discouraged from looking for mainstream jobs by the existence of 83 Remploy factories. It goes with the prejudice that the Remploy factories are and will be a burden on the state economy where market forces rule.
Well, we are not asking for any favours; we do not want the tax exemptions that private equity tycoons routinely exploit to become obscenely rich. Disabled people want the chance to contribute to work and earn a fair wage, and it is not a great one at that by any standards.

It would not hurt us if the Government would put some MOD orders our way. For example, why should not the people in Remploy be able to do the uniforms for our soldiers, instead of the women in Chinese sweatshops who are denied any possibility of having an independent trade union?

I know that six charities support the proposals but unlike our unions those charities, like MENCAP -- and we are accountable to our members -- did not talk to disabled people. We did and we got back the answer that the factories should stay and be given a proper chance of competing in the cold and brutal open market.

Congress, I ask you all to vote for this motion and send a clear message to the government about what disabled people want. (Applause)

The President: I am now going to put the motion 31 to the vote. I would also like to say that both PCS and the Bakers Union particularly wanted to come into that debate and I would like them to be associated with the contributions, but I would like to take the vote now so that we can be clear in our support. I am sure that you will give that. It is not for me to prejudge but I think I have taken the temperature. Can I put motion 31 to the vote.

* Motion 31 was CARRIED

The President: That concludes this morning's business. Thank you for your patience. We send a very clear message to our Remploy colleagues on this.

(Congress adjourned at 1.15 p.m.)

TUESDAY AFTERNOON SESSION

(Congress reassembled at 2.15 p.m.)

The President: I call Conference to order. I would particularly like to thank Sur-Taal who have been playing for us this afternoon. They brought a lovely carpet to sit on. They played for a good long while because I watched them on the screens upstairs. Thank you very much. I am sure we all appreciated it. (Applause)

Yesterday afternoon we lost some business and we were not able to take a presentation of the TUC 2007 Equality Report. I propose to take that at the start of this afternoon's business. Following that, we will receive a presentation from Jacqui Smith MP, the Home Secretary.

I think we all appreciate now that equality is very central to our work. If we are a serious movement, we have to make sure that we show proper representation of all the members who we represent and wish to represent. We need to be clear and serious in our policies and organisation. One way of keeping us up to scratch is measuring what we do. I would like to call on the Assistant General Secretary, Kay Carberry, to introduce the TUC Equality Audit for 2007.

TUC Equality Audit 2007 Report

Kay Carberry (Assistant General Secretary) said:

President and Congress, this is the second full TUC Equality Audit since we changed the TUC Rules a few years ago. As the President has just said, the Audit is a tool to help us measure what we are doing on equalities. The 2007 Audit shows that we are making progress, and that is down to all of you in your unions. We have already heard in the past few days about what we won through union campaigning from the right to request flexible working, to rights for disabled people, to civil partnerships and quite a bit more. This shows a broadening out of trade union priorities and a trade union movement where equality is nearer the top of the agenda. However, when you scratch the surface the old stubborn problems still exist - the pay gap, the appalling rates of unemployment among disabled people, the prejudice endured by LGBT people and the endemic racism running through our society.

Then, when you read this very honest Equality Audit Report, you see that we have got our own imperfections to deal with. Yes, this time the response rate was fantastic, covering nearly 100 per cent of all trade union membership. There is loads of good material in this report that we can all be very proud of but there are areas where we could do much better. For example, the Audit reveals our patchy membership records. Eighty five percent of unions now know how many women members they have, but under half of all unions keep records of young members, black members or disabled members and only 11 per cent have records of LGBT members. This does matter, because how can we represent our members if we do not know who they are? The Audit also shows that we do not always make the most of the membership figures that we do collect. There is little evidence that particular groups are targeted, for example, in organising campaigns. This is particularly worrying in the case of young workers who, after all, are the future of our movement. Only 16 unions said they had targeted activity to recruit young workers, so we do need more campaigns that attract young people.

The Audit shows that while women make up half the workforce and are more likely to be in a union than men, unions still have a long way to go before the leadership of unions include a fair proportion of women.

Congress, equality is not an optional extra. It is central to everything we are about as trade unionists. So, please, all of you do, read this report and give yourselves a big pat on the back for all the good things which are in it but remember one statistic. By the end of this decade just one worker in five will be an able bodied man. I do not know what this bloke's name is but I do know one thing. If he is the only emblem of our movement, delegates, we are in trouble.

Congress, I commend this report to you.

The President: Thank you very much, Kay. There were some words of very good advice and things well worth heeding in that contribution.

Address by Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP, Home Secretary

The President: Delegates, as you can see, we have been joined on the platform by the Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith MP, who is the Home Secretary. I am very pleased to welcome Jacqui to our Congress today. Jacqui is the first woman in history to be the Home Secretary. I don't know why we have not thought about it before. Maybe some of the answers to that question were in the presentation which Kay has just given. As I said yesterday, among the things that I have been talking about this year is how important it is to have leadership positions reflective of the membership and the population. It is on that basis that I think it is really important that we are seeing a woman Home Secretary to bring a different dimension to a very important office of our Government.

Jacqui was elected to Parliament in the 1997 General Election after a career spent in teaching. She has held a number of Ministerial posts, including two periods at Education, where, I am told, she established positive relations with the teacher unions, which is always a good start. As Minister of State for Industry and the Regions, Jacqui began the process of a regular dialogue between Government and the trade union movement over regional development. Again, dialogue is a very good asset to have.

In the three months since you became Home Secretary, I think we have all been very impressed with the way in which you have conducted yourself in office and the calm resolve with which you have dealt with some very difficult issues. We are really pleased to have you at Congress, and we look forward to hearing what you have to say. I invite you to address Congress.

Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith MP: Thank you, very much, and thank you, Congress. It is a real pleasure to be with you this afternoon.

It is a little less than three months ago that I had the honour of being asked by Gordon Brown to become Home Secretary. I think there are few more fundamental rights than the right to safety and security. It is the foundation on which we build a country and communities where people can get the most out of their lives - at home and at work. Of course, the full weight of that responsibility was brought home to me very quickly after my appointment with the terrorist incidents in London and Glasgow just a few days after I was appointed.

And as we meet on the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks in the United States, it is right that we remember not just the victims of 11th September 2001, but also those affected by the bombings in London of 7th July 2005 and other incidents as well.

In the UK the trade union movement has played a prominent and crucial role in our response to these attacks. I want to pay tribute too the individual members in the transport, health and emergency services who have shown great courage in the face of the threats, and who have led by personal example and professional expertise. (Applause) And I applaud the TUC for the ideas and experience that you have contributed to the debate on how we develop a partnership approach to tackling the issue. Wherever possible, you have tried to identify the practical lessons that can be drawn for the future - what more can be done to support the individuals working at the frontline of society, and what more can be done to support communities in their attempts to build understanding and to prevent extremism.

Delivering security for our citizens is not, of course, a challenge that is confined to countering terrorism. Ensuring that we can all feel safe in the other vital aspects of our lives - in our homes, in our local communities and in our places of work, as well as in wider society and within our international borders - these, too, are all pressing issues.

In keeping with your approach, my instinct is also to look for the practical lessons that I can learn and the practical steps I can take to make a difference for local communities. That means delivering the right support to parents and communities to tackle anti-social behaviour, and providing the right tools to local crime-fighting agencies to allow them to get on with the job of making our neighbourhoods safer. And at a time when crime has been falling but people's fear of crime remains disproportionately high, it also means building public confidence in policing through greater community engagement and accountability.

As we all know, fear of crime can in itself have a damaging impact on communities and individuals. It can weaken the social fabric, breed mistrust, put public spaces out of limits and foster suspicion or intolerance of other people. The situation is not helped, I might add, by those who seek to make political advantage from unnecessarily shrill warnings that we are facing anarchy on our streets.

Of course, tragic events affect us all, and rightly make us question whether we are doing everything we can to tackle crime. But Britain isn't broken. Burglary is down 60 percent since 1995; violent crime is at its lowest for a decade; and the chances of being a victim of crime are at their lowest for 25 years. These are not the symptoms of a broken society, and to suggest otherwise is not only wrong but it blurs the issue. Such a broad-brush statement takes the focus off the need for targeted action that gets results, and does nothing to resolve people's concerns. What does work - what will address those fears - is communicating what we are doing to tackle crime in ways that people find visible and meaningful.

By April of next year every local area will have its own dedicated neighbourhood community policing, and by July we will ensure that everyone has access to local crime statistics so that they get a clear picture of progress in their area and can use that information in turn to feed in their views on what local crime-fighting priorities should be.

As a movement, of course, we are no strangers to the power of the community-based approach - indeed, you are its pioneers. Trade unionism is, and always has been, an expression of active citizenship. It is by no means the only form that active citizenship can take, but when I think of the contributions being made by individual members - as school governors, youth workers and local councillors - to communities up and down the country, it shows how valuable that resource is in strengthening the social fabric.

In certain parts of the country and in certain sectors of the economy your role in strengthening that social fabric is becoming important in new and perhaps unexpected ways. In recent years, the UK has not been alone in seeing higher levels of migration, as mobility has increased and people have wanted to come here to live and work. It is not a challenge that we can simply wish away. I know it is one that the TUC has addressed head on. Your report on The Economics of Migration from June took a principled and clear view on the benefits - for host nations and home nations, and for migrant and native workers alike - while recognising the need for rules and rights to be fairly applied. Since February the work of the TUC Commission on Vulnerable Employment has used personal testimonies to bring home the difficulties faced by migrant workers without adequate information about their employment rights.

Everyone who joins the Workers Registration Scheme receives your booklet explaining rights at work. The work that you do in this field is vital, and we should strengthen it. So my commitment to you today is this. I will examine how the Border and Immigration Agency can help everyone who gains a work permit to learn about their employment rights - including the value of joining a trade union - andI have asked Liam Byrne, my Immigration Minister, to report on this by 1st October. Legal migrant workers should receive a clear and early message on the benefits of joining a union to get the protections they deserve. (Applause)

As Gordon set out yesterday, the UK economy now has the highest levels of employment in our history, and we expect another five million skilled jobs to be created in the next decade. We will work to ensure that British workers have the skills they need to make the most of those opportunities. We have put in place measures to make sure that migration is managed properly, and illegal working and abuse of the system prevented, as the economy continues to grow.

To get that balance right, we have set up the Independent Migration Advisory Committee to advise on where Britain needs migration and where we do not, so that we can conduct our national debate about immigration, with respect, on the basis of evidence, not anecdote.

I am announcing today the appointment of David Metcalf as the Committee's first chair. As a member of the Low Pay Commission since its inception in 1997 and a board member of the Union Modernisation Fund since 2005, I know that both government and union colleagues have valued David's service. In his new role David will feed his expertise in labour markets into our considerations on where migration is needed and how it should fit with our plans for a points-based system for immigration.

The system, which will go live early next year, will give us a clear sense of the numbers of people entering the country, and will help to match their skills with our needs. It will ensure that those who benefit most from migration - employers and education institutions - have a stake in ensuring the system is not abused. When employers want to employ skilled migrants, they will need a licence to do so and we will be rigorous in our approach. When a firm applies to sponsor a migrant, we will ask about convictions for labour exploitation. We will use that pattern of behaviour when we decide how often to check that they are playing by the rules, and when we spot bad behaviour we will make sure that the action we take in response is seamless across government.

On migration, as with fighting crime in our communities and defeating the terror threat, I hope I have made clear my belief that we can only make an impact when we work in partnership. Security, in all its forms, matters to us all - job security and personal safety jut as much as local, national and international security.

With an emphasis on taking the practical steps to make a local difference, my ambition is to build renewed trust in our institutions - not just in the organisations that uphold our laws and protections, but in the civic framework of shared values, rights and responsibilities that we all hold dear.

I look forward to working with you closely to do this in the months and years ahead. Thank you. (Applause)

The President: Jacqui, thank you very much for that very calm and interesting address. It is just a common sense and straightforward way of dealing with major issues. I think we can end up with so many things that assume gigantic proportions which, actually, if you break them down to size, we can take control of them and put measures in place to take control.

We have a role as trade unions to be part of everything because we are citizens and workers. One of our messages is that we have got an awful lot to offer and we do want to work to make our society better and tackle all the big issues of the day. So thank you very much for starting us off so well this afternoon. (Applause)

Leitch review of skills and ESOL

Sally Hunt (University and College Union) moved Composite Motion 18. She said: Congress, as I start I make a shameless bid to ask all of our to go to the UCU delegation and ask for a copy of this manifesto.

Congress, this composite seeks your support to restore lifelong learning to the centre of the Government's strategy for education. Ministers tell us that we cannot shelter ourselves from the impact of globalisation, yet it is only the positive encouragement and funding of lifelong learning that will enable us to meet that challenge. Our world is changing. Soon there will be more people reaching their 85th birthday than starting primary school. From ten workers supporting every pensioners in 1950, now there are only four, and in a decade's time that figure will have reduced to three.

Seventy per cent of the 2020 working age population have already left compulsory education, making the expansion of training and education for them the greatest challenge for us. Congress, surely, this is a time to invest in adult and community education for life, not cut it. Yet in 2006 there were 14 percent less learners in further education than the previous year. Add this to a 10 percent cut in enrolment in adult and community learning and you have a crisis not just in funding but a vision, too.

Congress, our country's future rests on its people, on providing the means for individuals to fulfil their potential. Government policy should be about opening doors, not shutting them. Yet my members report that enrolment in English language classes is collapsing because of cuts in funding. These cuts hit the unemployed, the vulnerable and those on low wages the hardest, those on the margins of society, those who we should be doing the most to support. They deny future generations the tools required to lift themselves out of poverty.

This composite makes clear that we in the movement believe in education for all, but we will not achieve that by leaving it to the employers as the recent Leitch Report suggests. We, in the trade union movement, must stand for education as the great liberator. It is a worker's right, not a grace and favour to be granted by an employer.

Our philosophy is that education can help people overcome their barriers and that this is good not just for the individual but for families, communities and society as a whole. Let us challenge government to match the rhetoric with reality. Let us put lifelong learning back where it belongs at the centre of policy fully funded. Please support this composite. Thank you.

Tony Richardson (Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union) seconded Composite 18. He said: Platform, delegates, 'Education, education, education'. Can we all remember that? That was the mantra played out by Tony Blair in the run-up to the 1997 General Election and the Labour Party's flagship policy for a good many years after that. If we fast forward to 2005, 2006 and 2007 and the Labour Party's twin policies of introducing the union learning agenda and freeing up our borders to the Accession countries. These two policies allowed many workers to come to Britain and ask the trade unions to assist in their settling in and education through our training programmes. The policies of education, learning in the workplace and opening our borders all come together in one area - ESOL. One of the Government's better achievements has been the universal access for all to ESOL training. How pernicious and misguided to generate decent policies, to draw all the participants into the system and then to contemplate removing or reducing vital funding!

It goes without saying that without the necessary language skills these vulnerable workers cannot even begin to participate. Without language skills these workers will be socially excluded, abandoned and forced into low skilled and low paid jobs for a good many years. We see it in our workplaces: poor language skills, poor communication, leading to serious health and safety hazards.

We acknowledge and welcome the announcements made by Gordon Brown on Monday with regard to the funding of learning, training and, in particular, extra ULF funds but, remember, today's financial announcement is tomorrow's resource reallocation. So let's be hopeful but let us see the ink dry before we get excited.

It is a disgrace that my Government offers friendship and opportunity and inclusivity, on the one hand, and then asks for the workers' wallets with the other. Education is the key; education is power, and language education must be the first building block to enable these workers truly to contribute to our society. Many affiliates, particularly we in the Bakers' Union are carrying out great work in the sphere of learning. We have all taken up the challenge and we all lived up to our side of the bargain. It is now the Government's turn to back us up by keeping the funding for ESOL in place.

Finally, Congress, we ask you to support the composite to call on the General Council to urge the Government to re-think and ensure that funding for ESOL up to Level 2 remains intact so that we can help our members, these vulnerable workers, to help themselves. Thank you.

Paddy Lillis (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) supported Composite Motion 18.

He said: Colleagues, the restriction of free tuition to those in receipt of means-tested benefits has shifted the burden of paying for ESOL classes on to some of the lowest paid and most vulnerable people in our communities. We already have evidence of the impact that this change has had at the local level. For instance, an ESOL course in the South West which, due to the changes in funding, would have cost students over £250 simply did not run. We are sure that this is by no means an isolated incident.

If we are to convince the Government to restore funding, we cannot afford to rely just on anecdotal evidence. We need to work together to gather and show evidence of the damage and impact that the withdrawal of funding has had and will continue to have on the lives of workers, on union and workplace organisations and also on community cohesion. We know that this change has put ESOL classes beyond the reach of hundreds of thousands of low paid workers. We know that three-quarters of migrant workers earn less than £6 an hour, and that only a tiny minority are in receipt of benefits. We also know, colleagues, that even when migrant workers qualify for State benefits, very few actually apply. Government figures show that only 4 percent of migrant workers have been awarded benefits like Income Support and the Working Tax Credit.

But there is more to this than the cost of classes for those who clearly cannot afford them. Restricting free access comes at a very high price. We know how important being able to speak English is. I am not just talking about an ability to understand health and safety instructions, meaningful access to essential public services and an ability to exercise civil rights, but to participate in democratic processes and trade union activities, building sustainable communities and ensuring community integration all depends on an ability to speak some English. So we need to continue to work together to make sure that this campaign remains at the top of our agenda. This campaign must remain a priority until funding is restored thereby enabling low paid workers with English language needs free access to ESOL classes.

Denise McGuire (Connect) supported Composite Motion 18. She said: Delegates, I want to focus on two aspects in the composite motion: workplace learning to be employment led and not employer led, and ensuring equality of access to workplace learning. I will take them in turn.

From our links with the Sector Skills Council for our industry we see at first hand the very narrow focus of employers. These employers believe that they have a right to dictate how public money is spent and they want our money spent to suit their agenda; people trained for tasks not for careers, jobs narrowly defined, the academic curriculum focused on the jobs of today rather than the careers of tomorrow.

If the union was not sitting on the Sector Skills Council, then the employee voice would never be heard. The skills agenda must be broadened to maximise members' employability. The Government's investment in skills must be used to ensure that members are trained and qualified to have secure, well-paid and high quality jobs.

I am looking now at equality of access to learning in the workplace. We see businesses where the skills budget is focused on the few, on the senior manager, on the bright young thing and on the pals who play golf. We see businesses where the only training and development provided is to protect the company's legal position, to meet statutory obligations. So if something goes wrong it is our members in the dock and not the employer. We see businesses where the vast majority of training is available via your computer, available at the click of a mouse. Well, it is there and it is available if you can click the mouse and if you can see the screen.

Certainly there are guidelines to help websites and computer based training to be disability compliant, but they only address the tip of the iceberg. Those guidelines address issues faced by people who are visually impaired or hard of hearing. But what about people with work-related disorders? Just imagine trying to drive computer based training with voice recognition software? For example: 'Click on four hazards within 30 seconds'. It is just impossible.

What about the irony of people who have work-related disabilities being forced to get their training through the very same channel that caused the disability in the first place?

Congress, I can only echo what the Prime Minister said yesterday. Let's liberate all of the talents of all of the people. Please support.

Gill Dolbear (Society of Radiographers) supported Composite Motion 18.

She said: Within the current Government's agenda to modernise public services, lifelong learning or continuing professional development is now a requirement for all that encompasses role enhancement for nursing and allied health professionals. A key issue in lifelong learning for radiographers is that of the acquisition of enhanced technical and practical skills previously considered the sole reserve of medicine.

In order to make a success of this, the needs and aspirations of workers must be taken into account so that individuals can have a voice and progress into their chosen specialism. Our amendment to this motion refers to the provision of paid time and resources for lifelong learning and for this to be mandatory in the public sector by 2012. Unfortunately, time is the enemy and many staff in the NHS will always put patients or clients first and neglect their own learning needs. The vast majority of learning opportunities and activities tend to occur during the working day and that is why we have proposed our amendment.

Lifelong learning must be valued and prioritised accordingly along with the other aspects of a role. It is not an add on but an integral part of the role and must be viewed as such by managers. Please support.

Gerard Gallagher (UNISON) supported Composite Motion 18.

He said: Congress, as a public service union we have many stakes in this debate, including representing staff in colleges, being a provider of learning services for union members, a broker for learning in the wider public sector and, finally, as taxpayers and citizens who use and care about adult education.

We support the Government's ambition for world-class skills for all by 2020, but what we do not support is colleges being driven to abandon adult and community education in favour of employer-led, skill based, funded through Train to Gain and Learner Accounts.This has presented a huge problem for colleges without transition facilities. Changing to this provision in the face of huge deficits, colleges are taking drastic action such as compulsory redundancies.

The problem with shifting funding towards qualifications for the 16-25 year age group is that 70 percent of the 2020 workforce will have already left education. Enticing adults back into training and education is what we see as the real challenge.

Our experience of Skills for Life and getting UNISON members back into study many years after leaving school shows that you need flexibility, tasters and confidence boosting introductions, but not study for qualifications from day one. However, despite these problems, we will be asking employers to sign the Government's Skills Pledge. It was a surprise to us to see the Government sending Digby Jones out on the road to persuade employers to train their staff to a minimum level. As it turned out, that was to no practical effect and during the same period UNISON struck 79 different learning agreements with employers across the UK. So the score was UNISON: 79 - Digby Jones: nil. (Applause)

Congress, nowhere has the need for joined-up thinking been needed more than ESOL. We see this as vital for our migrant workers, vital for our public services and vital for ending child poverty. UNISON members can already see the impact of the cuts in many areas. College courses are being cancelled; interpretation costs have gone up; increased communication problems and problems with recruitment. A recent example from the NHS in London was where, out of 600 people identified with training needs under the Agenda for Change Reform Programme, 400 needed classes in English for speakers of other languages.

Congress, it is time to reverse these cuts and back a genuine lifelong learning programme. Please support.

Marion Lloyd (Public and Commercial Services Union) supported Composite Motion 18: She said: Delegates, for decades the trade union movement has fought for and campaigned for free general education and training for all. But lifelong learning, as others have said, should not be just about helping this Government achieve its economic objectives often at the expense of our own members. Lifelong learning is about developing working people to fully realise their potential, not just at work but beyond their working day in our day-to-day lives. Others have already expanded on the limitations of Leitch; how Leitch bends the stick too far in the direction of big business and industry. The impacts of these policies are that learners are being pigeon holed vocationally or academically at an extremely early age. School should be about providing rounded education. Local colleges and community based learning are uniquely placed to offer further choices following school where young people can make informed judgments. They also offer thousands of working class people, who did not achieve, for one reason or another, a second chance.

The Leitch Review road turns colleges in the FE sector into training institutions for big business and industry. If workers want to develop their skills for work, they should be allowed to do so. There is clearly a key role for this. Equally, it should not be at the exclusion of general education, general learning and general training such as language, craft, etc. Cutting ESOL funding is directly impacting on some of the most socially excluded and vulnerable people in our society.

How does Gordon Brown reconcile the massive cuts in the state provision of English language training with his insistence that people coming to Britain speak English? So the reality behind the rhetoric yesterday is very different. He talked about enhancing the dignity and value of workers. How dignified does his own workforce feel when he announces over the airwaves one hundred thousand job cuts? How valued do newly qualified doctors and nurses feel when they finish years of training and there are no jobs? How dignified does he think my members feel in the old Department for Education of Skills who are facing 31 per cent job losses and the decimation of the Learning and Skills Council and a tap on the shoulder saying 'Your services are no longer required'? Where is our employer's commitment to the Leitch ambitions? Rather than re-train and re-skill civil servants, they sack us, employ private consultants at exorbitant costs and introduce private sector measures into the public sector? Yes, our employer did a lot to enhance the dignity and value of labour in my own union, in my own office. The narrow vision of Government means that millions of people will not benefit from further education but the trade union Movement is committed to liberating all of the talents of all of the people. The question is, Prime Minister, are you?

Tony Burke (Unite) supported Composite 8.

He said: Referring directly to the Leitch Report, we know that the government have made real progress in the area of skills and training over the last decade and we have seen the introduction of a number of successful initiatives that have made a real difference to the lives of thousands upon thousands of our members. We also welcome the progress in improving access for ordinary working people to training and life-long learning and we welcome the fact that this has empowered people and made a real difference to their working lives.

Congress, we have arrived at the stage where all these gains are in danger of being lost as the direction of the Government's policy moves towards an even greater emphasis on the needs of employers and leaving employers to decide whether they wish to train our members or whether they do not wish to train our members. We have a vocational educational system in the UK that is built on voluntarism and relies on the goodwill of employers to deliver training for our members and, as Sally and Denise have said already, we know from our past experiences that you cannot run a successful economy on the goodwill of employers alone.

The Leitch Report has given trade unions new opportunities, and yesterday we heard the Prime Minister make a number of announcements in regard to training that we very much welcome. We agree that there will be a need for five million more jobs in the economy, and we welcome the announcement of the doubling of the number of apprenticeships over the next ten years. However, whilst we welcome much of what is in the Leitch Report I have to say that so far the employers' response to the Leitch Report and to the skills pledge has been pretty lamentable. Let us not forget who put us here in the first place. It was the employers who failed to train our members over decades, and this lack of training and investment in training has meant that we have to run just to stand still in terms of up-skilling. Unite is of the view that the skills pledge and the recommendations of the Leith Report will lead to be ineffective if there is no guarantee that employers are required to train our members.

Yesterday the Prime Minister said that if voluntarism does not work he will ensure that there is a legal entitlement to training. Congress, we have been arguing this for years. Indeed, a legal requirement, a legal entitlement to training, is part of the Warwick Agreement. The problem has been, as I say, that the response from the employers to the Leitch Report and the skills pledge has been underwhelming. I believe, and our union believes, that at the end of the day the Government will come to pretty much the same conclusion that we have come to, and that is that unless there is a legal requirement on employers to train they will have to introduce sector based skills levies. If the Prime Minister, as he said yesterday, wants the best-trained workforce to avoid that race to the bottom then there is only one way we can do that and that is by introducing sector skills based levies that are compulsorily on employers.

So, support the right for our members to train; support to make sure that employers do train our members and support the composite.

The President: That concludes our speakers on that debate and so I will move to the vote. The position of the General Council is to support.

* Composite Motion 18 was CARRIED

National Skills Strategy

George Emmerson (GMB) speaking in on paragraph 6.3 of the General Council Report said: I would like to make a couple of points on page 118, Young People, and apprentices. The GMB supports the view in the Leitch Report that apprenticeships should be doubled. It was good to hear the Prime Minister give a commitment to increase apprenticeships. We also recognise the good work that the Labour Government have done to increase the number of apprenticeships available since 1997, to over a quarter of a million. However, there are a number of problems that do need to be addressed.

Just making apprenticeships available is not the answer in itself. At the moment we have two extremes: those lucky apprentices who go into traditional apprenticeships in energy, utility and engineering companies, stand a 90 per cent chance of becoming a skilled worker at level 3 and earning a good wage; those who go into apprenticeships but who have less than a 50 per cent chance of completing them often do not get a guaranteed job at the end. If we want to improve the drop-out rate then we must link apprenticeships with schools and vocational training in schools. If the Government want young people to stay on at school until they are 18 years old, apprenticeships must be linked to the needs of those who stay on at school, who are not able to go on to university or pursue more academic careers. We have to consider the 50 per cent of young people who will not go to university, who deserve good jobs too. We need to see more positive links between schools and apprenticeships through such things as young apprenticeships and vocational training.

My second issue is the one relating to older workers who need to change careers, some from choice and others through issues such as redundancy and ill health. There is a need for funded adult mature apprenticeships. Unfortunately, apprenticeship funding is not for those older than 26 outside the special projects, but it is not in the mainstream. The GMB has been fortunate in that we were able, along with the BT group in Portsmouth, to obtain funding for a mature apprenticeship scheme to fill the shortage of skills in that local area. This scheme, like many others, has been very successful to the benefit of the employer and employees so all we ask the TUC, in considering apprenticeships, is to think of both the young and older workers.

The President: I am sure that assurance can be given.

NHS Together campaign

The President: That completes Chapter 6 of the General Council's Report. We can now return to Chapter 4 of the General Council's Report, the Economic and Industrial Affairs section, and we can now turn our attention to the NHS. I am calling Motion 55, the NHS Together Campaign, The General Council support the motion.

Jessica Dentith (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy) moved Motion 55.

She said: The NHS Together campaign was launched at Congress this day last year. It brings together all the health unions under the leadership of the TUC, united around common causes for concern: endless top down reorganisation imposed upon the NHS; too much reliance on competition as an unproven driver for improving health services; and too rapid a change in financial strategy directly leading to job cuts, vacancy freezes and service cuts that have dominated the news and are still going on today.

Of particular concern to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the impact that this has had on new physiotherapy graduates, thousands of whom are still unable to find work. This is despite enormous evidence that early intervention by physiotherapy gets people back to work quicker after injury, speeds up discharge from hospital and helps the elderly and those with long-term conditions to maintain their health and independence. These are not concerns that should be or can be put aside, but they are overshadowing the good news with NHS. Through the extra investment from the government and the sheer hard work of all our members, many areas of health service have got better. Waiting times are coming down and better more effective patient centred care is coming in.

This is why the NHS Together campaign has a dual role: firstly to promote the value of the NHS and celebrate its achievement, particularly in the run-up to its sixtieth anniversary; secondly to draw attention to government policies on health that we believe are just plain wrong for both patient and staff alike. Since the launch of the campaign last September there has been a very successful lobby of Parliament, including a demonstration that the CSP was particularly proud to have been involved with, a march with the NHS Together banner up to the top of Skiddaw in the Lake District in near blizzard conditions, possibly the first time a union banner has been taken to the top of a mountain in this country, and extremely effective in terms of media coverage. The next campaign event is planned for Saturday 3 November in London. This will be an opportunity, not just for health workers but also for all those who support the NHS, to demonstrate a commitment to see the NHS thrive and provide the highest possible levels of service to NHS staff and patients.

The NHS Together campaign has delivered in its first year. There is a greater willingness among Ministers to have more dialogue with the unions about their modernisation plans, including how to tackle problems such as graduate unemployment. This top-down approach to reform is gradually being replaced by more local decision-making involving staff with the expertise to deliver patient care, but more needs to be done to restore the position of the NHS as the jewel in the crown that we all want.

This is why we need your support on 3 November. We want you, your friends, your families and your union banners along on the day. Gordon Brown yesterday paid tribute to the value of union campaigning. If it is good enough for him it is good enough for us. Please support Motion 55.

Lilian Macer (UNISON) seconded Motion 55.

She said: I am seconding and supporting Motion 55, NHS Together. Over the last year we have seen a real time of turbulence within the NHS, and particularly in the NHS in England. This year's headlines have seen our colleagues being made redundant, which meant service provision being reduced. The Government would have you believe that these job losses are a reduction in temp and agency staff, but we know the truth. These job losses are established jobs, our members' jobs, those who deliver the front line services. However, we know that behind the headlines there are staff fighting to deliver services and battle against the onslaught of privatisation and constant change.

The NHS is undergoing radical reform. The Government are altering the way in which NHS services are delivered with the creation of the competitive commercial market in the provision of healthcare. The bottom line is that the artificial creation of a competitive market in the NHS in England is undermining the key principles of our NHS. We have also seen the opening of the first independent treatment centre in Scotland, which means -- as we all know -- increased charges to the Scottish population. Treatment that costs less provided directly by the NHS has been derived for premium rates in ITCs. The transfer of a significant number of treatments has badly affected local health economies as money is being drained away from acute and primary care services.

The NHS is facing the threat of outsourcing driven by efficiency targets through various reviews, which are based on the flawed assumption that only the private sector can deliver efficient services. This we all know to be nonsense. The so-called transfer of risk to the private sector has not happened as we the taxpayers are picking up the real cost of privatisation.

Congress, over the last year we have seen the historic introduction of the NHS Together, NHS Alliance, which resulted in a successful UK and local regional day of activity held on 3 March this year. UNISON has played, and will continue to play, a lead part in this campaigning alliance of TUC affiliates and non-affiliates under the banner of NHS Together. NHS staff are proud of the service that we deliver in the National Health Service. Free healthcare is one of the things that makes our country great. We back change and reform that delivers better patient care, not this madness the Government are driving through.
It is for these reasons that I ask you to support the work of NHS Together and build on the successful achievements of this alliance. I would ask you to join the NHS trades unions on 3 November to demonstrate against the marketisation policy but also to celebrate the successes within our NHS. Thank you.

The President: I will now put Motion 55 to the vote. The General Council's position is to support.

* Motion 55 was CARRIED

2006 NHS Survey

The President: I am now calling Motion 56, 2006 NHS Survey. The General Council support the motion.

Gareth Beatty (Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists) moved Motion 56.

He said: The National Health Survey is part of the Government's health check and they use the information to see if the National Health Service is meeting its standards and targets.
It has shown that some good work is being achieved -- for example, a marked increase in access to counselling services by staff and a decrease in reports of near misses. However, there are a number of areas where there has been no improvement, which causes the membership of the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists concern, given the changed initiatives that the NHS has been through in recent years. Programmes have changed and modernisation designed to improve working lives, harmonised hours, standardised terms and conditions, and to reward with equal pay work of equal value has been welcomed by the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists. However, they have not resolved a feeling of demotivation and abandonment that leads to disengagement.

Responses to the survey still support considerable imbalances to our working lives, with 53 per cent of respondents working over their contracted hours, unpaid, a figure that has not changed in three years. An average of 43 per cent when taken across the whole NHS workforce have not had their promise of proper appraisal processes met, compared with 44 per cent in 2003, and just under half of those who have had their appraisal found it of little benefit to how they worked. Staff are still open to similar levels of threats, attack, abuse and bullying from the public and the workplace as in 2003.
The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists is not against change, and this has been proved by its commitment in the areas of modernisation previously mentioned. However, it is clear that the staff survey is showing that the changes needed for modernisation are not happening effectively. Changes introduced are not being allowed to become embedded into the workplace and the benefits of those changes are not being realised. Further, top-down changes such as electronic staff records, electronic patient records, management restructuring, practice based commissioning, reduction in the number of PCTs, merging of health authorities, integration of Health and Social Services, 18 week waiting lists, separation of the commissioning arms from the clinical provider arms and community services are already upon us. These are major change initiatives which have never been flagged in the NHS survey.
So much for the Government's bottom-up approach to engagement, but these are changes that the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists membership feel are being rolled out at an unrelenting pace with little or no reflection on their impact and no time to realise the benefits promised, thus making them ineffective and wasteful.

This increases the stress staff and managers are under and reduces their willingness to participate in further surveys. That motivation is declining is indicated by poor response rates. The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, along with other national service trade unions, recognises the need to take the National Health Service survey seriously and through the Social Partnership Forum we have ensured they receive top priority. We call on the General Council to support the work of the National Health Service trade unions and offer whatever help is needed to ensure the highest quality of change-management is deployed at the highest levels with proper consultation with the National Health Service workforce so that the 2007 staff survey can reveal real progress in all areas.

Sharon Harding (GMB) seconded Motion 56.

She said: Congress, we are all well aware of the NHS success story under Labour. In the old days the NHS was neglected and underfunded. Under a Labour Government we have seen significant improvements and investment in the National Health Service. The total planned NHS expenditure for the UK this year will stand at £92 billion. That is nearly three times the pre-1997 total. Before Labour took office the NHS infrastructure was crumbling and staff morale was at rock bottom, as they struggled to deliver health services in poor circumstances and poor working conditions. Today, under NHS reforms we are witnessing unprecedented funding and investment.

Despite all the improvements, why do NHS staff feel so demoralised? I will tell you why; it is very simple. These improvements demand more and more from NHS staff. The employers demand more and more from NHS staff. NHS staff give more and more. What are they getting more of in return? The NHS staff survey shows that what they are actually getting is more bullying, more violence and abuse, more discrimination, longer working hours, lower levels of appraisal, lower levels of job satisfaction. Yet NHS staff continue to give the best healthcare possible in these very difficult circumstances. They regularly work more than their contracted hours, including unpaid extra hours, to provide a service to patients. Increasingly, often this means being subjected to the most awful violence and abuse by some patients and their relatives, leading to injury, illness and work-related stress and long-term absences from work.

Congress, enough is enough. In seconding this motion GMB are calling on the General Council to support NHS workers by demanding that NHS employers act on the findings of the annual NHS staff survey and stop ignoring the results. This would dramatically improve the working experience for staff, and in so doing ensure that NHS staff get the value, respect and dignity at work they deserve.

Sally Tattersall (Unite) supported Motion 56. She said: All employers have a duty to provide acceptable workplace conditions. However, in the NHS, conditions are often sub-standard and audits to monitor them are often not done due to lack of staff. The 2006 NHS survey illustrates one of the bitterest ironies of the British Health Service, that those employed to safeguard the health of us all are being driven to ill health themselves by poor working conditions, stress, long hours, and bullying. You have seen the details of the statistics for this motion. I can tell you what it is really like behind the 32 per cent experiencing workplace stress. There is the colleague who regularly works ten hours days because she cannot keep up with the waiting list of children waiting for therapy; the worker who takes five days annual leave and uses two of them to come into work because she cannot keep up with the work load without doing so. The NHS relies on goodwill like this to get the work done, far exceeding contracted hours.

In another London Trust bullying and harassment is experienced by 25 per cent of workers. Today I heard about a Muslim man being harassed. Every time he eats and drinks managers are pointing a finger at him saying 'That has got pork in it. Ooh, that has got pork in it.' He has put in a formal complaint and the employers are dismissing it as banter. This worker is so demoralised by the constant bullying that he may not go ahead with the case. In fact, many staff who are bullied in the NHS do not report it. There is a culture of bullying, and reporting it can make the situation worse.

Why should health workers tolerate working conditions like this that are so negative for mental and physical health? The situation is totally unacceptable and, as if this was not enough, there is even more -- the stress from the outsourcing of PCTs to social enterprise business units like Jamie Oliver's restaurant, 15, except the NHS cannot be run like a business; it is too complex an entity for that. These social enterprises have no obligation to follow NHS national pay systems. They can decide themselves locally whether they do or do not. In my neighbouring social enterprise, the current pension arrangements, as in the NHS, have been agreed to be kept on for three years and then to be reviewed depending on how the business is doing.

This constant and rapid pace of change, erosion of terms and conditions, pension arrangements, jobs cut and redundancies, cause stress and feelings of insecurity at work. We want fair play, healthy workplaces, stable working conditions, effective systems of health and safety, and a stable structure of management committed to eradicating bullying and harassment.

* Motion 56 was CARRIED

Address by Rt Hon Peter Hain MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The President: During the course of that debate you can see that we have been joined on the platform by Rt Hon Peter Hain MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and we are pleased to have you Peter today at our Congress. Peter was appointed to this current post by the new Prime Minister in June when there was a moving around of a lot of things. Prior to that he held a number of other posts.
His last Cabinet portfolio was for Northern Ireland and Wales. Peter has been around the movement for a very long time. He worked for the Union of Communication Workers in his very early days, which was a predecessor to our current Communication Workers Union, and we know he was a tireless campaigner against Apartheid. That seems a long time ago now but it was a really important part of our history and our development. I think we have come an awfully long way since then. Campaigning on all sorts of issues still goes on.

Peter we are very pleased to have you so we invite you to address Congress.

Peter Hain: Alison, thank you very much for your introduction and also for the -

Phil Davies (GMB): Point of order, I want to hand you this on behalf of Remploy.
(Handed sackful of redundancy notices to the Secretary of State - Applause)

Peter Hain: Can I thank you for giving these to me. I will be saying something about Remploy in a moment. Can I say that this is the first time I have seen them, although Paul Kenny has told me about them. The provisional redundancy quotations were not sent out with my authorisation. I have never seen one before and I am glad you have given them to me. I want justice for you and I want justice for all Remploy workers as well. (Applause)
I was saying, Alison, that I am grateful for what you said and grateful also for the vital contribution that you have made over the years, and continue to make, along with your union, UNISON, to the labour movement. Right away upon taking on this job as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions I made three phone calls: to Brendan Barber to pledge an open door partnership with the TUC; to Mark Serwotka to offer an open door partnership with our staff union, the PCS; and to my own General Secretary Paul Kenny to ask for my instructions as a rank and file GMB member! By the way, for the Daily Mail and the Sun that was a joke. Well, it was not a complete joke. No it was not, Paul says, and quite right too.
As the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, as you said, Alison, who was able to help to negotiate the historic political settlements in the spring, can I use this opportunity to place on record my admiration for all those thousands of brave Northern Ireland trades unionists, including all the unions represented here today, who campaigned over the decades during the troubles with tremendous courage against sectarianism and for peace and justice for working people. They played an absolutely vital role in the transformation of Northern Ireland from horror, violence, sectarianism and terror into the new peaceful stable Northern Ireland we have today and we salute their courage and we thank them. (Applause)

Congress, I have always fought for social justice as a trade unionist who was a delegate to Congress, and as an MP, and today I pledge to Congress that I will continue to fight for social justice as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
There is no point in being in a Labour Government, or in the trade union movement, if you do not work to deliver a real difference to the people who need it most. Our labour movement is rooted in social justice and our government is committed to delivering social justice: justice for pensioners by re-establishing the link to earnings; justice by compensating those robbed of their pensions when companies went bust; and justice by legislating for a new personal occupational pension to bring in the millions of people of working age in the United Kingdom who are not currently contributing to a pension. Justice also for children by abolishing child poverty; justice for the many on long-term benefit who need help into a job; and, yes, justice in the workplace too.

I will not tolerate a continued increase in construction deaths. Under Labour booming house building, yes. Booming infrastructure building, yes. But not with the blood of construction workers in the foundations of those buildings. (Applause) On Monday I called the construction industry, the Health and Safety Commission and the main trade unions to a special forum. This will not be a talking shop; it must deliver an urgent action plan to reverse the macabre toll of rising death and injury in construction. Figures just out today from the Health and Safety Executive show that nearly one in three construction refurbishment sites inspected put the lives of workers at risk -- one in three. This is completely unacceptable. The HSE closed down 244 of the sites immediately but safety should never have been compromised in the first place, and we have to make sure that it is not in the future by working together -- governments and the trade union movement.
Nevertheless, Congress, I think we should be proud of what we have delivered together these last ten years as a Labour Government working with the TUC. Not everything you wanted, of course; your members have been angry from time to time.
I understand that. Over the years we have made mistakes. We have got some things wrong. I dare say even the TUC General Council makes the odd mistake or gets the odd thing wrong. But our achievements together dwarf any disagreements we may have had or we still have. Far, far more should unite than divide us, and the alternative is becoming clearer day by day: a Tory Party that flirts with the centre ground but then lurches back to the right; a Tory party that puts John Redwood in charge of economic competitiveness. Here is the man who wants to water down the Health and Safety at Work Act after the construction deaths that we have just heard about. He wants to abolish protections for working people. He wants to scrap the regulation of financial services that protect consumers. He wants to take Britain out of the Social Chapter and back to the no rights culture of the last Tory Governments.
Congress, we know where right-wing policies took us and the progress we have made together since, and the progress we still need to make together in the future: the curse of mass unemployment banished with more people, 2.6 million more people, in work than just a decade ago. For the first time in a generation the number of people on incapacity benefits is falling, compared with a threefold increase in the numbers between 1979 and 1997 as people were thrown on the scrap heap by the Tories and smuggled off the claimant count figures. For the first time in our history more than half of working age lone parents are in employment. Over 600,000 children have been lifted out of poverty; over one million pensioners are no longer living in relative poverty. We have the longest and most sustained period of economic growth for over 200 years.

Yes, there is so much to be proud of, but also so much more, so much more we have got to do together, and because of what we have achieved for the first time we can talk about full employment in our generation, not as it once would have been, an impossibly naive aspiration but as a really achievable goal at the heart of our anti-poverty strategy. If full employment is an ambitious target, then we are right to be ambitious. We must be ambitious because if we are not ambitious for social justice how can we expect the most disadvantaged to be ambitious for themselves and their families? If we are not ambitious, what can we say to the children of lone parents who do not work, who are fives times more likely to be in poverty than the children of a lone parent who does work full time? If we are not ambitious what do we say to someone with even a mild disability who never expects to work at all, let alone have a career? If we are not ambitious what do we say to the worker who feels the daily insecurity of seeking to compete in an ever more competitive and sometimes harsh labour market?

That is why the reform agenda we set out in my Green Paper in July In Work, Better Off is so important. It sets out the next phase to help families and individuals who have been trapped in poverty out of the shadows into a better life.

There is no doubt that the next steps to full employment will be much, much more challenging than the approach -- envied by other countries -- which has delivered such good results to date simply because the long-term unemployed are much, much harder to reach. We have a duty to provide opportunities, by which I mean real opportunities, for careers and not just for any old job, with a renewed focus on sustained employment, career developments and making work pay. In return for these new opportunities it is right that we expect that these will taken up, as Gordon spelt out yesterday in our new proposals for full employment and up to 500 000 new jobs.
By the end of the year we aim to have over 200 major employers committed to offering job opportunities to people on benefits straight into work.

On Remploy, I am committed to both changing Remploy and to justice for Remploy workers -- change because over the past 60 years the expectations and ambitions of disabled people have risen immeasurably, away from segregation in sheltered factories and towards participation in the mainstream work force. But, of course, there will be and there must be opportunities for those for whom sheltered employment continues to be the best option. There must be those opportunities.
Let me be clear, Remploy has a good future. Every one of its workers will get the protection and the opportunities they deserve. That is why I want, in response to the points you are making, a negotiated settlement between the trades unions and the management. Both sides agree that change is necessary. I have had lots of criticism from the workforce, for example, of Remploy management. Both sides agree that Remploy has a future, providing employment services and jobs in factories. The dispute is about the proposals for change, not about the need for change. That is why I have asked the former NUPE and UNISON National Officer, Roger Poole. to chair new consultation meetings between Remploy and the trade unions to see if an agreement is possible.

Congress, we also want to have many more people with workplace pensions when they retire from work. Today we have achieved what nobody would have thought possible, a consensus on a new settlement for pensions. It was the trade union movement, you, that played a decisive role in forging that consensus, sounding the wake-up call over the looming crisis. You called for the earnings link to be restored, which we have now delivered. You have called for justice in pensions for women and carers, which we have now delivered. You called for everybody, everybody, to have access to a workplace pension, a key demand of the TUC. Now it my job to deliver that as well.
The Pensions Bill to be introduced in a few months will renew the social contract for a retirement based on shared responsibility: employer responsibility through minimum compulsory contributions into a pensions scheme, a key demand of the trade union movement; worker responsibility through employee contributions and all workers automatically enrolling into a scheme; and government responsibility for the guaranteed basic standard of living through a basic state pension linked back to earnings. Implementing the new pension settlement will be a hugely challenging and important task for the new Personal Accounts Delivery Authority. In Paul Myners we have appointed an excellent Chair. I can think of nobody better to work alongside Paul than your former TUC President, Jeannie Drake, which is why I am delighted to announce to Congress that I am appointing her as a non-Executive Director of the Pensions Delivery Authority. We are determined to deliver with you justice for pensioners, not just in the future but today as well.

As a result of this year's Budget we have raised the level of the Financial Assistance Scheme from £2.3 billion to £8 million in cash terms, ensuring that all of those affected will now receive up to 80 per cent of their expected core pension. Now I am committed to doing all I can to increase the assistance level up towards 90 per cent and arrive at a settlement acceptable to the trade unions and to pensioners themselves.
They have been robbed of their pensions and they deserve justice from this Government, which I am determined to deliver. Through the Pensions Protection Fund we have legislated to ensure that such a scandal will not be repeated in the future.
We will also address past inequalities, mostly affecting women.

I said at the outset Congress that we have to be ambitious to deliver real change to the people who need it most: people who live on the margins of society and are stigmatised by it; people whose aptitudes, talents and abilities go unrecognised, their potential unrealised; people who fear retirement, people worried in the workplace.
I know you will not give up on them, you will never give up on them, nor will I. Let us work together to deliver justice for all of them. Thank you very much indeed. (Applause)

The President: Thank you very much, Peter. I think that illustrated that you have a very live portfolio indeed and plenty of good issues to tackle. As you can see, we have some very determined workers over there and you acknowledged that in your address. I think in the art of campaigning you will recognise them. I do hope that we can make some progress and safeguard the interests of our Remploy workers and our trades unions.
(Shouts from the floor of Congress)
I think we have heard that; I am not going to get involved in the detail of it. I am sure that there is plenty of dialogue to be had and you have shown how determined you are to win. We have got all the forms.

I think we also do welcome the very good news about Jeannine Drake, who is my predecessor but one, an admirable pensions expert and a very good person to have in that position. That really is excellent news.

Thank you Peter for joining us today and tackling some of the issues that you have got and we look forward to working with you because that is what we have said, a working relationship that I think we regard as really important. Thank you very much indeed for coming today.

Public Services
I now continue with Chapter 4, Economic and Industrial Affairs, moving on to the section on Public Services, which is on page 75. So the debate we have in front of us now is the one on public sector pay. I do need to explain how we are going to deal with that debate so we all know where we stand.
So, the public sector pay debate involves the statement on public sector pay, Composite Motion 12 on Public Services and Composite Motion 13 on Public Sector Pay. We will have a single debate on that. First of all, I will call the General Secretary to move the General Council's statement on public sector pay and this was placed on your seats yesterday lunchtime.
Then I will call the mover, the seconder and the supporters of Composite Motion 12 on Public Services and then I will call the mover, the seconder and supporter of Composite Motion 13 on public sector pay and then I will open up the debate on the General Council's statement and both the Composites, 12 and 13. So there will be opportunities to come in on that. Then I will give the right to reply to the mover of Composite Motion 12, followed by the mover of Composite Motion 13 and finally I will take the General Secretary.
Following that I will then take the votes on the General Council's statement and then on Composite Motion 12 and finally the vote on Composite Motion 13. I hope that is clear. I am sure we can work through it in our customary competent fashion, and so I would now like to call the General Secretary to move the General Council's statement.

General Council's Statement on Public Sector Pay
Brendan Barber
(General Secretary)Congress, I think there is no more important issue on our agenda this week than the future of our public services, the services our country relies on, without which our economy would cease to function and without which the cohesion of our society would face collapse.
We know public services are not about schools and hospitals, prisons and courts, fire stations and job centres; they are first and foremost about the committed, dedicated, skilled people who provide them, people whose work we all depend on. Just think about this summer. Who was it that dealt with the aftermath of the worst flooding in living memory? It was public servants. Who was it that addressed the threat of terrorism on the streets of Britain? It was public servants? Who was it that prevented the escalation of foot and mouth, thus saving our rural communities from ruin?
It was public servants. From 7/7 to Bunsfield, to the derailment at Grayrigg, public servants have always been there when it matters most, savings lives, inspiring children, rehabilitation prisoners, caring for older people, providing benefits to the most vulnerable families, enhancing the quality of all our lives. But it seems to me there is rather a strange paradox. Public servants are heroes at times of crisis, yet villains when they ask for a decent pay rise, and they deserve far, far better. Congress, we all know that there has been real extra investment in our public services but we know too that instead of public servants feeling properly valued they feel bruised, battered and demoralised. The government's attempt to railroad through a rigid unjustified pay policy meaning real cuts in pay and living standards, with rises failing even to match up to inflation, has had a devastating effect on motivation and morale, and the failure to honour the awards of independent pay review bodies has compounded the anger and resentment even further.

Congress, the General Council's statement sets out a clear strategy and I commend it to you. I also indicate the General Council's support for Composites 12 and 13.
All the public services unions are united behind that strategy, and through our Public Services Liaison Group the TUC will continue to bring all public service unions together, to campaign together, to coordinate union action and campaigning, including where appropriate industrial action.

The Government will pay a heavy price, politically as well as industrially, if they fail to heed the warnings. We need to see a fresh start so that the mistakes of this year are never repeated again. I move the statement.

Public Services
Jane Carolan (UNISON) moved Composite Motion 12.

She said: Congress, at the moment I believe I know what you are thinking, "Another September, another Congress, another whinge from UNISON about public services." I have to say that from the inception of this trade union we have been coming to this rostrum to defend the idea that public services should be publicly controlled, publicly owned, democratically accountable and not run for private profit. We protested under Thatcher; we protested under Major and in 1997 we did think for a brief moment that there might be a real commitment to the public service ethos. It did not last.

Then Tony Blair told us just recently in a retirement interview that public services need to go through the same revolution that the private sector had been through. I have to say, what revolution would that be? Would that be the one where the private sector shifts its capital from country to country in pursuit of the cheapest labour? Would that be the one that pays super bonuses to the few while impoverishing the many? I do not think public services actually run like that.

We know what public services do. Just think back to a few weeks ago. Britain was submerged under the worst floods we have ever seen. Transport was at a standstill; electricity and water supplies were disrupted; whole areas of the country were cut off, but who was there? Fire fighters were rescuing the stranded; environment agency staff were coordinating operations; council staff were running relief missions so that people had food and shelter; carers and nurses were going out on foot to see the vulnerable, leaving their own homes, sometimes when even those homes were at risk, working beyond their shifts to minimise the distress to others. It has not stopped since. Schools that were submerged in June are now reopening, thanks to the dedication of teachers and support staff.

Whenever disaster strikes - and Brendan referred to some of them - the dedication of public sector staff is headlines for the Telegraph and The Sun who want to tell us about what dedication and what selflessness we possess as heroes, but you can guarantee two days later we have gone back to being cast as feather-bedded fat cats! For the Government, the mantra seems to remain that what matters is what works. For the Government, public sector unions should not be allowed to dictate the shape of public services, but if it is not us dictating the shape of public services, who should it be? Well-paid consultants who know the price of everything and the value of nothing?

Public sector workers are public sector users. We are council tenants; our children use the local schools; if our children are injured, we use the local Accident and Emergency Service. So who does know better how to run services? Who will show us how to keep our hospitals infection-free? Will it be an accountant from PriceWaterhouse or will it be the cleaner who knows where the corners have been cut and who knows just exactly where to put the effort in to make sure things improve? Do we want social services run by time and motion experts or by staff who are actually committed to providing care and services which you cannot run by the clock?

We demand world-class services for a very simple reason. We are the people who use them, but the imposition of simplistic market models is eating away at public capacity, leaving us at the mercy of multinational companies. Vital services are being eroded by under-funding and politically motivated job cuts. The NHS is destabilised by market forces in private sector competition. Local authorities are reduced to commissioning agencies, outsourcing everything that moves. If you do not know about that, ask UNISON in Glasgow.

What happened to joined-up thinking, integrated services and community involvement? Community cohesion is being sacrificed on the altar of cost-cutting. So I will not apologise for UNISON being back here talking about public services. They are the absolute foundation of a civilised society. Those of us who work in public services have been centralised and decentralised, merged and demerged. We know the meaning of permanent revolution. It is a process of constant ill-conceived and top-down imposition with reorganisation after reorganisation.
Now Gordon tells us it is our pay and living standards that have been fuelling inflation, and I have to say, "What a con!" Take £14 million out of the economy and super bonuses, and that is a reward for your effort. Ask for a living minimum wage and you are fuelling inflation. What a bloody con! (Applause)

Gordon says his is a listening government. We have listened to the fact that survey after survey says the British public want better public services, not tax cuts. We need investment; we need effective delivery by well-paid, well-trained staff; we need democratic accountability and we need partnership. Will a listening Government listen to us? I hope so. (Applause amidst cheers)

Graeme Henderson (Prospect) seconded Composite Motion 12.
He said: Congress, Prospect very much welcomes the expansion in public expenditure by the Government since 1997. Although a considerable amount of that has been on health and education, there are so many areas where, frankly, there are ghettos where public investment is still very, very much needed. Certainly, with the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review this year, the likelihood of 5 percent cuts across the piece year on year for probably the next three years is going to have a very serious, major and debilitating impact on public services.

I will discuss defence, a subject perhaps that many people here are not too familiar with or even sympathetic towards, but the reality is the defence industries in this country employ a considerable number of people, very often in parts of the country where alternative employment is not easily secured. During the past three years, one in nine civilian jobs in the MoD have actually been lost. That, as a consequence, has resulted in the loss of key skills, particularly in engineering and in procurement, to such an extent that the Ministry of Defence is losing its ability as an intelligent customer to secure adequate procurement. That is ultimately putting our armed services people at risk.

Even the Meteorological Office, which is, believe it or not, still part of the MoD, is under threat of privatisation to create the very first meteorological office in the world , which is actually privatised.

Turning to transport, every year 3,000 people are killed on the roads. Thirty thousand are also seriously injured. Our Vehicle Operator and Services Agency is at the forefront of trying to reduce that. It will certainly be a lot worse without their efforts. They are responsible for ensuring that vehicles, in particular lorries and buses, are safe, that drivers' hours are not excessive. However, they are also under threat of privatisation, based upon a completely specious MORI Poll of customers. The purpose behind it is to lighten the regulatory burden. We have 3,000 people dying on the roads and people want to lighten the regulatory burden!

That carries across the whole piece of government. In my own particular area - I am a health and safety inspector; I work for the Health and Safety Executive - I very much welcome the comments that Brendan made in his opening address and also those of Peter Hain, but he confined it to construction. However, the reality is we are facing 10 percent cuts by April 2008, despite last year an under-spend of between £4 million and £12 million. There is more to come with the relocation of our headquarters from London to Bootle, which will not only result in the loss of key skills, but will also have, I think, a serious impact upon health and safety influencing Government and the major players and organisations who are based in London. So there are further cuts to come.

We fought a campaign three years ago to defend the Forensic Science Service from privatisation. We actually succeeded up to a point. In 2005 the relevant government minister gave a guarantee that FSS will remain within public hands for another two years. That time is up. We are now looking at yet another campaign to defend the Forensic Science Service from privatisation, so they will not become the very first FSS to be privatised in the world. Conference, we are calling upon the General Council to campaign actively in defence of the public services. Thank you. (Applause)

Gail Cartmail (Unite) supported Composite Motions 12 and 13.

She said: Unite makes no apologies for wearing our heart on our sleeves in support of the public services and public service workers. For many years, I have listened very carefully to our members in health, education and local government as well as to TUC colleagues - Matt who speaks eloquently about Fire Services; Brian who speaks about prison services; Mark, Paul and others who have described to us the very many varied jobs of civil servants and Judy who speaks to us about probation officers, plus many others - who have all put at the heart of their campaigns their struggles to maintain and improve public services which are accessible to all, unrestricted by so-called choice, competition, contestability and marketisation.

Any portrayal of public service unions as greedy and self-interested is a cruel and untrue slur on our often low paid members and the services they provide that we all rely on, be it flood, fire or health. So when the PM yesterday spoke so passionately about the life-long struggle of Nelson Mandela for social justice, it was not surprising that he highlighted the crucial roles of doctors, teachers and public servants. So, yes, Gordon, their services are vital to Africa, and the same case for social justice applies equally to Britain's public services, its workforce and its users.

World-wide trade unions have reversed neo-liberalism. They have forced the re-nationalisation, for example, of water where they have joined forces with community and civil society organisations. That is why Unite also is proud to align with civil society organisations, such as Defend Council Housing, which have flown the flag for council housing and moved it up the agenda. We are not seduced by sham listening stunts and focus groups. Accountability must be meaningful and it must harness the public service ethos that Gordon also spoke of yesterday. Are we passionate? Yes. Will we fight to maintain improved public services? Yes, we will. Congress, I call for your support for the Composite before you. Thank you. (Applause)

Mark Carden (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) supported Composite Motion 12.
He said: I rise to speak in support of this composite on behalf of RMT members. Congress is concerned at the privatisation emanating from EU regulations, such as the tendering of Caledonian MacBrayne Lifeline ferry services. RMT members have a permanent example of an EU dictat by non-elected bureaucrats on competition and tendering. Lifeline Ferries, which operates to the Western Isles of Scotland run by Caledonian Macbrayne, was put up for tender after the Scottish Executive followed this EU directive with enthusiasm.

We, the RMT, and other maritime unions, advised the Scottish Executive that this would be a costly mistake, financially and industrially, because we would ballot our members. Nevertheless, the wheels were set in motion. So the maritime unions had to start a lobby in Scotland to get guaranteed assurances about our members' jobs, terms and conditions and pensions. This campaign to protect our members was constant and vigorous. We spoke to and lobbied all parties. Eventually, we received guarantees on jobs, terms and conditions, pensions and that all island routes would be in one bundle. This formed part of the criteria for the tender.

This resulted in only two companies being left to tender for these Lifeline ferry services, Caledonian Macbrayne, the present operator who gave these guarantees, and V Ships, a ship management company which resides in Monaco. When V Ships realised they had to give guarantees on job security, terms and conditions, pensions and routes, they pulled out, suggesting that it would not be economically viable for them. In other words, they would not be able to slash jobs, attack terms and conditions and cherry pick the best routes. This left Caledonian Macbrayne as the sole tender. You would think it would end there and the status quo would prevail, but, no. The Scottish Executive decided to carry on with this tendering process, even though there was only one company with a submission.

Comrades, the farce is, £17 million of Scottish tax payers' money later, that we have the scenario where the only company interested in running Lifeline Ferries is the company that is running them now. Please support. (Applause)

Pauline Betteridge (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy) supported Composite Motion 12.

She said: I want to concentrate on two aspects of the composite; firstly, the impact on morale in the public services as a result of the Government's failure to respect the recommendations of the independent pay review bodies. A new pay system was introduced to ensure equal pay for work of equal value, so that wherever you worked in the UK, you would be paid the same. The Independent Pay Review body made a recommendation based on extensive evidence. For those of us unfortunate enough to work in England, the Government have decided that our work is not worth the same as those who work in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who are having their award paid in full, whereas in England it has been staged, reducing its value to below 2 percent.

The Prime Minister talks of discipline in respect of public sector pay, but agreements have two sides. We signed up to the pay review body process, but the Prime Minister obviously has not. Is this a fair way to treat public sector workers who have ensured the success of its rapidly changing agenda of cuts, untested reform and endless reorganisation?

Health Service workers were already under pressure following the very painful cuts of last year to bring the NHS back into financial balance. This parsimonious cut has had an impact on morale which could impact on the quality of services. The Government would do well to remember much of the improvement has come about by the goodwill of the staff working in the NHS. Health workers are no different from civil servants, railway workers, teachers and local government workers. We do not want to be in conflict with our employers over how we deliver high quality public services.

For our second point, we call for re-engagement by the Government with its public sector workforce in order to restore morale and rebuild the faith between public sector workers and Government. Please support. (Applause)

Public Sector Pay

The President: I will take any other speakers in the general debate and I am calling Composite 13 now on Public Sector Pay. It is to be moved by the Public Commercial Services Union.

Mark Serwotka (Public and Commercial Services Union) moved Composite Motion 13.
He said: I am moving Composite 13 and hoping that the Congress will give unanimous backing, not just to the case for public sector workers, but for a strategy to convince the Government to change its mind.

My union believes that when the Government makes claims, one of our first duties is actually to challenge the facts that they are putting forward. Yesterday, Gordon Brown told this Congress that pay discipline is essential in order to prevent inflation. It is a familiar enough argument which was repeated constantly throughout yesterday by all of the media. So I suggest we look at some of the facts.

Congress, the RPI fell slightly in July from 4.4 percent to 3.8 percent. In the year to June, public sector wages grew by 2.8 percent, proving that already the majority of workers in the public sector were experiencing a fall in their living standards. However, according to the Office for National Statistics, the slight reduction in RPI was due to supermarkets cutting prices, sale reductions in furniture and electronic goods and a slight fall in energy prices. Not once did the Office for National Statistics cite a fall in public sector pay as anything to do with the slight fall in inflation. Indeed, the Bank of England itself, when asked to explain to the Treasury the increase in RPI and CPI earlier in the year, did not once in a lengthy letter cite public sector pay as one of the examples.

Most financial experts are stating that there is going to be an increase in RPI. They cite factors for the increase as costs rising in housing, transport, clothing, consumer goods, catering, leisure and household services. Again, nowhere does it mention the question of public sector pay as being responsible for any increase in inflation. We have to say loud and clear, what effect possibly can there be in an increase in pay for workers in the civil service, local government, the health service or education on the question of inflation?

It is frankly ludicrous to suggest that the way to hold down oil prices and inflation is to give our hard-pressed workers in Job Centres 0 percent, which is precisely what the Government are planning to do next year, a 0 percent increase for some of its own workforce. We should have our own suggestions. Perhaps one of the ways to curb a rise in inflation is to curb some of the excessive bonuses paid out to the fat cats in the City. Last year alone, the former chief executive of BP, Lord Browne, personally got a bonus worth £11 million. £14 billion in total was paid out in City bonuses, which is enough to increase the state pension now to £120 a week and link it to earnings.

But this is not just the voice of public sector trade unionists. Today we have published with our sister unions in the Civil Service independent research by Income Data Services that clearly states public sector workers' pay has nothing to do with the rise of inflation.

Congress, we should be clear. Public sector workers are not the cause of inflation. They are the victims of inflation. (Applause) It is our members struggling to make ends meet who are the victims of inflation.

Let us go back to Gordon Brown. Yesterday, we heard another nugget in his speech. He told us the price of a job should never be a substandard wage. Well, Gordon, tell that to the thousands of people you employ in the Civil Service on the National Minimum Wage. Tell it to the quarter of your own workforce earning less than £16,000 per year. Congress, when Gordon Brown talks about combatting poverty, perhaps he should understand the consequence of his own pay policy.

If we need something else to remind him, why do we not look at a recent quote from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, because they pointed out that the poverty increases seen in the years 2005 and 2006 reflected the weak income growth towards the bottom levels of income distribution. It is, therefore, clear that our members struggling to provide a service on poverty pay are not the cause of inflation and we are not going to let them tell us that we are.

Yesterday, in a magnificent display of workers knowing what is in their interests, the Government's own workforce in the Department of Works and Pensions rejected their pay offer with a whopping 76 percent majority. (Applause) They rejected low pay. They rejected the introduction of regional pay in the Civil Service for the first time in this country's history. We also understand that workers in Royal Mail, local government and health and education equally deserve decent pay rises.

In conclusion, it is not enough for us all to agree that we are not the problem. We have to agree on what is the solution. Last night more than 200 delegates attended a packed fringe meeting of PCS listening to the case for co-ordinated industrial action. In our own union, throughout August, we have held over 1400 workplace meetings directly face-to-face talking to 25,000 members. The response coming from every single member and every single meeting is that the answer to challenge the Government is all public sector workers standing together and saying, "An attack on one is an attack on all." (Applause) Our union believes that such an answer is not just one you will receive from civil servants, but also from local government workers, health workers, teachers and council support staff.

In passing the motion, we hope we will agree immediately to convene a meeting after this Congress; draw up plans for concrete campaigning and plans for joint industrial action.

We showed on the issue of pensions that if we stand together we could turn the Government back. Now we need to show them we are prepared to do it on pay. Congress, we do not want to take industrial action, but when the Prime Minister slams the door in our face, as he did yesterday, we have to say we are not accepting it; unity is strength; stand together and we can win. (Applause amidst cheers)

Christine Blower (National Union of Teachers) seconded Composite Motion 13.

She said: Congress, I am very pleased indeed to second this composite on public sector pay, which is, I suggest, one of the most important debates we will have this week for millions of public sector workers and all the services that they provide. It is absolutely vital that we make clear our resolute determination in 2007 to protect the living standards of public sector workers. In the past 30 years or so, governments have failed to value public sector workers, but we know the service that public sector workers provide.

Damage has been caused over the years through increases in pay which have been followed by pay restraint and erosion - boom and bust, as the saying goes - which affects our members, their morale and their services.

The General Secretary, Brendan Barber, was quite right yesterday when he categorised the Government's pay policies as "simply wrong". It is utterly unreasonable for the Government to assert that pay increases for public sector workers are the drivers of inflation. As you have heard from Mark and as you could have read in any number of places, even the Governor of the Bank of England makes no such claim. It is outrageous in the face of economic growth in the UK to suggest that the health of the UK economy in the future is dependent upon pay cuts for public sector workers; outrageous when, as the Sunday Times has pointed out, the heads of the top 100 companies received increases in pay of 37 percent this year on top of 28 percent last year, 16 percent the year before and on top of 13 percent and 23 percent in the previous years.

We know, delegates, that campaigning in the public sector works. Mark has talked about the pensions campaign co-ordinated through the TUC. We need that co-ordination and that determination for this campaign across the public sector for the future of our members' living standards and the services in which they work. I express, colleagues, the solidarity of the National Union of Teachers to our friends and colleagues in the struggle to defend their members' pay across the public sector.

I believe that teachers will react with very considerable anger in November if the Schoolteachers' Review Body fails to act independently and protect and improve teachers' pay or if the Government undermines its recommendations. We, in the National Union of Teachers, will channel that anger into a successful, united, co-ordinating public sector campaign, which has already been started by very many other workers. Peter Hain told us this morning that we must fight for social justice. Comrades, fight for social justice; support public sector workers; support the composite and the General Council's statement. Thank you. (Applause)

Steve Cox (POA UK) supported Composite Motion 13.

He said: Congress, we are happy to support this motion. On 29th August, 20,000 prison staff walked out over the staging of this year's pay. An independent pay review body - not one that we asked for; one that Michael Howard gave us when he removed our trade union rights - recommended 2.5 percent. It is hardly staggering, but we would have accepted it. Then the Government staged that to 1.5 percent and a further 1 percent this November, arguing this was to keep inflation under control. Managers in the Prison Service received their payment in full; yet the rise of £361 for the lowest paid workers, the auxiliary grades, was then staged down to £216, equating to 10 pence per hour. The argument the Government gave was that to give them the full 15 pence an hour would wreck inflation.

We would like the Government to explain the position to these people. Give us the economic argument why 5 pence an hour will fuel inflation, yet the tax breaks given to private equity industry allow large profits at a lower tax rate than for the lowest paid workers; why City bankers and traders earn huge bonuses of £1 million plus which fuels the rising house prices in London and the Home Counties, but they go unchecked, yet the lowest paid public sector staff, nurses, teachers, Job Centre staff and prison workers, have their small rises capped. Regional pay is another cynical attack on the low paid.

Rather than give everyone a decent living wage everywhere, this Government wants to rob Peter to pay Paul. As the POA showed two weeks ago, enough is enough. If this Government continues with this policy, it will not be just prison staff taking industrial action. Workers are angry and a co-ordinated approach is the only way to go forward - good old-fashioned solidarity.

New Labour told us they were a listening government. Well, start listening. Reward the hard working public sector staff with an honest and realistic pay award; untether the restraints on independent review bodies and honour their recommendations; put in place a fairer tax system and stop penalising the lowest paid. None of us want a repeat of the winter of 1978. However, if this Government continues down the road and ignores the warnings and shuts the doors in our face, then we will be left with no alternative and we shall all be out on the street. Support the motion. (Applause)

Gill George (Unite) supported Composite Motion 12 and Composite Motion 13.

She said: I was talking yesterday to a health worker here in Brighton, actually a Unite member, and he told me what is happening to local health care - unfortunately, much the same as the rest of England - a whole load of services under attack; community nursing under attack; the cystic fibrosis team, audiology, psychotherapy and a number of other services all facing cuts and closure. If you live in Brighton and your child needs hospital care, there is a good chance that your child will have to go to London because there are not enough hospital beds locally. There is a nice, shiny, new PFI children's hospital, absolutely fantastic, but it cost £30 million to build. Taxpayers are paying four times that because it is a PFI hospital. What that means is it runs at 50 percent capacity because the Trust cannot afford to open it fully.

I was told about the local independent sector treatment centre that creams off the easy and the profitable cases and makes a mint. I was told about the pay cuts for NHS workers and the loss of NHS jobs; a typical picture tragically mirrored across the NHS, across the whole of England. We are now looking at 26,000 NHS jobs gone across England - an absolute catastrophe. Gordon Brown yesterday seemed to think the NHS was in pretty good shape. Well, I am sorry, Gordon. Try talking to a few more NHS workers and they will tell you about a Health Service that is sliding into deep, deep chaos. What we are seeing now is not just the loss of NHS jobs and services, but also the destruction of that public service ethos, that important idea that we look after the most vulnerable people in our society, not in order to make profits out of them, but simply because we are human beings and in a decent society human beings care about one another.

I know most about the attacks on the NHS, but I know it is pretty much the same picture in the Civil Service, in local government, in education and in transport with the absolute madness of the Metronet PPP project threatening jobs and pensions on the London Underground. That is why this motion is fantastically important. We cannot allow our public sector services to be picked off a chunk at a time. We must have unity across the whole of our public sector, across all of our unions with members in the public sector. We must have a high profile campaign organising and campaigning with a sense of urgency behind it. Let us fight for our public services. Let us send a clear message to the Government today: we stand together; we will defend our public services; we will not let you destroy them. (Applause)

Andrew Price (University and College Union) supported Composite Motion 13.

He said: Sisters and brothers, every single trade union representative here today owes an enormous debt of gratitude to both the PCS and the POA. We owe this debt because these unions have shown effectively in the course of this year that it is possible to win overwhelming support from their membership for a programme of strike action to defeat both the injustice of poor pay and to oppose privatisation.

A policy to limit public sector pay rises to 2 percent is a policy that cannot be supported by my trade union because it is absolutely in conflict with our policy for decent pay for all who teach in post-school education. For those who are inclined to support the 2 percent limits, we cannot repeat often enough that that limitation is being placed on the pay of public sector workers precisely at a time when no limitation at all is being placed on the increase in financial rewards for the fat cats of British capitalism on a day - and he should know this better than anybody else - when the Director General of the CBI tells this Congress that there never has been a better time than today to be rich in Britain.

For those who come before this movement and talk about discipline in pay in the public sector, there is a basic question about what they mean. What sort of discipline is it when public sector workers try to escape from the ghetto of low pay, and the answer is "no", and when the fat cats of Barclays Bank come to this Government with a request for a financial package, a rescue package, in excess of £300 million, and the answer to that question, disgracefully, is "yes"? What sorts of values are we talking about? What sort of the discipline is meant here?

Sisters and brothers, we are all here today because of our responsibilities to the men and women we represent; a responsibility we can never escape from; a responsibility to ensure that their pay and working conditions are improved. That is our responsibility. If that is an embarrassment or a problem to the people from New Labour, that is their problem, not ours. Today you have the opportunity unanimously to pass this motion, to give a sense of leadership to millions of public sector workers who are prepared to fight and absolutely deserve to win. (Applause)

Jean Geldart (UNISON) supported Composite 13.

She said: Congress, last week UNISON's National Committee representing three-quarters of a million local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland voted to move to a ballot on strike action over pay. We do not want to be in this position. We want to be allowed to negotiate a decent pay settlement, but Gordon Brown will not let our employers do so. What an irony! A Tory dominated local government association, and he will not let them negotiate with us over a decent pay settlement.

We have all been making jokes about yesterday's comment from the Prime Minister, "Pay discipline is essential". Some of the jokes ought not properly to be spoken from this platform. I did think of rushing back to get my leathers, but I have not brought them! I am sorry. I am a biker. I should have brought them with me. But there is one discipline for us and there is another discipline for hedge fund managers and private equity directors.

Gordon, please come and talk to the members of my branch about pay discipline. Talk to the members who start their school jobs cleaning at 6.00 in the morning, move on to cooking and delivering breakfast and dinner, get half an hour for their own dinner and then are back cleaning again, working a 12-hour day, five days a week, simply in order to make enough money for their families to be able to eat. Their hourly rate is £5.80. They are typical of the one-in-ten workers in local government, mostly women, on that rate of pay, which is 45 pence above the national minimum wage.

Gordon, you want stability; so do we. Three years ago we accepted a three-year pay deal which ended up in a pay cut because we were promised equal pay. We did not get equal pay. That is partly because the Government will not fund it for local authorities. We have had enough. We cannot be put off any longer. We do not want a strike. We do not want to withdraw services from the vulnerable, but we are being pushed into a position where we have no alternative. It is not just this year.

Rumour has it, and indeed the Government has made it fairly clear, that the Comprehensive Spending Review, which will cover the next three years, will include the continuation of this pay freeze, which is a pay cut, for five million public service workers. That is what makes this campaign essential, not only starting now, but continuing. We must get the Government to acknowledge that it has to pay a living wage to its workforce in order to deliver decent services. I welcome this composite and we need to move forward together. (Applause)

Ian Murch (National Union of Teachers) supported Composite Motion 12.

He said: Like many of my generation, I am a fan of Bob Dylan, so when I saw a headline last week saying, "Film to be made of Bob Dylan's life", I naturally read on. It was a story as interesting as the man himself. "Dylan", says the director, "is such a complex and historical figure that it is going to take six actors to play him". Richard Gere, aged 53, is going to play the young Bob Dylan. Kate Blanchet is going to play Bob Dylan in his prime and a young black actor is going to play a kind of alter ego combined with imaginary friend, and so on.

After yesterday morning's performance, I started to think about the kinds of actors that you would need to recreate the many facets of our Prime Minister. Robert Lindsey revisiting Wolfie Smith could just about have a stab at the young Gordon; I do not have a feel for Gordon's feminine side, so I could not name a female actor, but I do have a black actor in mind, though, to play the imaginary friend come alter ego; he would deal with Gordon's No. 11 years. The distinguished stage and screen actor, Rudolph Walker, could recreate his controversial role from the 1970s TV comedy, "Love Thy Neighbour". That is where he had a lot of trouble with an outrageous man next door!

But what about Gordon at No. 10 in his prime? Who should play that role? Of course, that depends on what he is going to do about some of the things initiated by the outrageous man next door.

The council I work for is saddled with a 10-year contract to have its education services run by a private company; something it was bullied into by a government minister. This company's main qualification at the time it got the contract seemed to be that it was an expert in outsourcing. It ran prisons; it ran a nuclear reprocessing facility and it ran the Docklands Light Railway. Six years later, it has not improved its own educational qualifications or done much for those of the children in the City. The gap in the attainment of the disadvantaged groups which they claimed they would narrow has actually widened. Almost nobody locally thinks this experiment should continue. We do not need outsources. We need resources to help children overcome disadvantage.

Congress, we all know that the ideological assumption that private is better continues to undermine the integrity of our public services. Privatisation and marketisation have not worked in education; they do not work in health; they do not work in prisons; they do not work in the Civil Service.

We saw Gordon here yesterday. He put himself across as a nice, earnest sort of chap. What a pity it would be if he were to create a role as Prime Minister that needed an Arnold Schwarzenegger or a Ronald Reagan to play it.

So come on, Gordon, as Bob, the great man, would have said, "You do not need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows". Give our public services back to the public sector. (Applause)

Doug Nicholls (Unite) supported Composite 13.

He said: Congress, Unite represents thousands of workers in local government where the minimum wage is only £5.80 an hour. We are not talking about a few people in local government being on low pay, we are talking about thousands and thousands. We are determined that this will change.

For much of this year inflation has been running above 4 percent so our members cannot accept a pay cut when their mortgages, energy, and food bills are increasing so rapidly. Let us also be clear that for local government workers the pay offer now just under 2.5 percent represents the fourth year when the offer is less than 3 percent. We all heard what Gordon said on Monday. We say it is not right and it makes no economic sense that low-paid public sector workers are put in the front line in the fight against inflation. There is only one thing that low pay actually fuels and that is inequality and injustice, not inflation.

With company directors who awarded themselves an average of 37 percent pay rises this year, in that context when our members seek modest pay claims, for that is what they are, they are held up as threats to the economy. We want to continue to provide world-class public services but they will not come from bargain basement pay settlements. The staging of the NHS pay settlements where the Government also interfered with the pay review body's recommendations was also a disgrace. These are supposed to be independent bodies making considered recommendations based on evidence presented.

We have seen widespread calls to tackle problems with crime and antisocial behaviour for young people but at the same time youth workers' rates of pay are under attack and the youth service is thrown out to the market. How you treat your public sector workers matters and affects the way that our society works. More privatisation, more low pay, and the message to our members is clear, we do not support the work you are doing and we think that we can get it cheaper elsewhere, yet as we all know the cost of this approach is felt in every single community in the country. Let us say no to low pay in the public services. Support Composite 13.

The President: Thank you. I now come to the rights of reply, if they are required, and I hope they are not. Right of reply to Composite 12, right of reply to Composite 13, and the General Secretary says he does not need to reply. I think all the contributions were to the same end. Obviously the General Council supports all these, including its own statement.

* The General Council Statement on Public Sector Pay was ADOPTED

* Composite Motion 12 was CARRIED

* Composite Motion 13 was CARRIED

The President: Some of you might have noticed there was a slight flaw in having a group debate on that because there were unions who contributed more than once because obviously they were geared up to contributing to the composites when they were separate. I know that in some unions that is not always the thing that is appropriate, especially when we are a bit pressed for time. I think once we had started, we had to carry on. I do feel that all the contributions were well worthwhile so thank you for that.

The Health of the Public Sector Workforce

Andy Pitt (Society of Radiographers) moved Motion 50.

He said: Recent government targets to improve the health service with the constant reorganisations have significantly increased the pressure on the services and the stress resultant upon its workers is now at an all time high. We have seen increased numbers of patients in conjunction with decreased staffing levels, and this has added to the pressures on the already stretched services. Since the introduction of Agenda for Change there has been an increase in the hours worked by many health professionals with an effective decrease in the pay per hour and we have just heard about all the issues surrounding this year's pay offer. Therefore, these factors each contribute to an overall lower morale which is an indirect cause of stress-related illnesses.

I would like to give you some background facts to the problem. In this country 2 million people suffer an illness they believe has been caused or made worse by their work. Musculoskeletal disorders and work-related stress are the biggest causes of ill health in the working population, and that includes NHS employees. For example, in the radiography profession the pressures put upon mammographers and other members are leading to increased complaints of RSI and other musculoskeletal problems, which leads us to ask the question, how can the health workforce deliver government targets if we are under pressure to work in unsafe and unhealthy jobs? Did you know every year in Britain 40 million working days are lost to occupational ill health and injury. There are also over 5,000 manual handling injuries reported each year which occur to health service employees; that is nearly 100 a week, and a proportion of those injured will be off work for some time and potentially disabled. Sadly, following the recent suicide of a dietetic manager the coroner's report indicated that stress caused by health service reforms was a major factor which lead to her suicide. Many more staff is currently suffering from work-related stress, some of whom will continue to work under unbearable pressure for fear of being stigmatised.

The Government in its 2004 White Paper on Choosing Health stated that the NHS will become a model employer. In supporting and promoting the health of its 1.3 million staff but actually the details of how this will actually take effect are unclear. The current focus in the public sector is a big drive to reduce sickness absence and in the NHS this has led to the introduction of zero tolerance sickness absence policies. However, we want employers to concentrate on reducing work-related ill health, not just sickness absence. It must be said that compared with other sectors the NHS has a good coverage of occupational health provision, however there is a lack of national standards for these services and studies such as the National Audit Office study of 2003 found inconsistencies and deficiencies in the level of provision. We believe that an NHS occupational health service should be exemplary and set the benchmark for other services.

What do we want? We want an occupational health service that listens to the concerns and needs of employees, not just employers. They also need to consult with trade unions and be active members of the organisation's health and safety committee. At present occupational health is too narrow in its approach and could make a great contribution towards the health of the public sector workforce. Due to the nature of health problems that NHS employees face, we need holistic, well resourced occupational health services, which includes specialists in preventing musculoskeletal disorders and occupational stress. We need proactive employee centred services not illness services.

Finally, our colleagues in Scotland have occupational health service standards and we want to see this in the rest of the UK. Public service workers deserve better. Congress, please support the motion.

Mary Turner (GMB) seconded Motion 50.

She said: Congress, public service workers are at the front line of our services. They are the ones who look after the sick, the vulnerable, the elderly, and the young, they clean our streets, they clean our schools, and they clean our hospitals. They also retrain and get jobs in benefits and passports. Congress, they are the ones that get abused and attacked both verbally and physically and have to deliver the Government agenda. They are the moving targets with reduced budgets and more individual pressure on workers as the private companies want their profit, and most of those areas have been privatised. Stress and low pay, what a combination, and like all good employees they have been rewarded? Like bloody hell they have! They have been kicked in the teeth to be offered the best 2.5 percent pay rise. These are our lowest paid workers who get crap pay so 2 percent of crap is more crap! 2 percent of boardroom pay is another Rolls Royce. Gordon, it is not public service workers who have put your pay bill up, it is the obscene greedy bosses in the board rooms. (Applause)

Congress, we have all had members who have been very ill, unable to work and many with industrial injuries, who are not retired on occupational health grounds but dismissed on capability. Occupational health - never examine them, never spoke to them, and one member, who was my member, had been off for four months for the first time in 39 years, and the hospital said he must not do his job again because he was unwell, they denied him the right to retire and one week later he died.

Congress, occupational health in some areas do not understand public services and we do not trust them as they are paid for by the employers, and we know that who pays the piper calls the tune. Congress, the Department of Work and Pensions are putting together a plan to reduce sickness absence. Good. Let us tell them what we want. Stop privatisation of our services and lining the pockets of the shareholders, proper staffing levels so that workers can do the job in a safe manner, and properly funded independent occupational health professionals who understand professional service workers.

I agree with Gordon last week when he spoke of Maggie Thatcher, she was a great convictional politician and I am going to close with this: she was great at dismantling public services, she was great at privatisation, she was great at taking away members' terms and conditions, and destroying our pensions, she was great at destroying the communities like the steel workers, selling off our parks and our homes and even our dead came into it, our cemeteries, but most of all she sold off and dismantled our mining communities. (Applause) Yes, she was a convictional politician and she should have been convicted and given 20 years for what she has done to this community. (Applause)

I have a message for the NUM: I understand our colleagues in the police force are wanting to have the right to strike, and we should not deny them that, but could I suggest that you are on their picket lines policing them when they go. (Applause)

Sherrel Martin (Unite) supported Motion 50.

She said: I am very happy to support this motion. I am really sorry that I do have to because it should not even be here. Why is it that members in my area where I work, who need to be assessed for their physical working condition, they have severe back problems, will have to wait 13 to 20 weeks to see an occupational health adviser to help them sort out what desk they need, what chair they need? The reason is the staff shortages. When occupational health nurses and doctors leave, their posts are frozen. They are the people that look after the health of public sector workers but the NHS staff managers are continuing to bully front line staff and there is an increasing number of staff going off on long-term sickness. I was one of those some years ago, I was off for four months with depression and I could not return to work at that point because there was nobody to assess whether I was fit and organise my phased return.

I am a workplace rep and I work very closely with the occupational health staff in my trust and that is helping to make recommendations for the reasonable adjustments that are needed by disabled people to keep them in work. I ask you all to vote in favour of this motion. Thank you.

Jane Aitchinson (Public and Commercial Services Union) supported Motion 50. She said: Congress, I work for the Department of Work and Pensions, the very authors of the report the mover rightly refers to. I felt I had to come and speak up today because what colleagues are rightly demanding is the best practice which DWP recommends to employers to fight workplace stress and sickness. Naturally enough you will be sitting at the TUC today assuming that management in the DWP practise what they preach with their own staff. Congress, I have to disabuse you there. As you might expect with the job cuts programme we faced in DWP, stress is a massive problem leading to work-related sickness but far from best practice our management used the worst practice of the private sector, to intimidate our members to work while they are sick rather than tackle the root causes of their sickness. Worst still, management have used so-called managing attendance procedures to sack over 1,000 DWP members, not for swinging the lead, Congress, but simply for being sick, often made sick by spiralling workloads. Sickness absences over eight days are not tolerated for business reasons. What a shame management do not make it their business to get rid of sickness instead of getting rid of the sick.

There is rank hypocrisy here, not only is my department recommending best practice they do not follow themselves, but at the same time as our members are frightened they will be sacked if they are sick, they are tasked with helping the sick back into work. Congress, we listened to Gordon Brown here yesterday. Today we are asking him to listen to us. Guarantee your own workers the treatment your government recommends. We have had 10 years of the talk; now show us you are a government of your word by your deeds. Support the motion.

* Motion 50 was CARRIED

The President: I am going to call Motions 51 and 52 but I just want to share with you some thoughts I have. In a couple of motions time we are due to deal with the childcare motion which I know is something that is dear to our hearts and I have about nine speakers who want to come in on that, and I know that people will want to contribute. I am really concerned about taking a childcare debate or starting one very close to 5.30 so my inclination is to try and reschedule it to a better time tomorrow. I realise that we have already rescheduled it from yesterday but I just think that trying to take a childcare debate towards 5.30 when we have ballot results after that is pushing things a little too far to do justice to the subject. My inclination is to reschedule. I realise that any option I choose is not going to be the best but my gut feeling is that that is the right thing to do so that is what I would like to propose and that is what I would like to carry through. Thank you.

Civil Service/NDPB dispute and welfare reform

Janice Godrich (Public and Commercial Services Union) moved Motion 51.

She said: Congress, if you want decent public services you need public servants who are treated decently to deliver them and if a government wants its policies carried out it needs the resources to do so. If you pick through Gordon Brown's speech yesterday, there were some potentially positive elements. He told us he wants to get half a million more people into work, he wants to step up enforcement of the minimum wage, and he wants to improve the skills levels of young people entering the labour market. Unfortunately, this sits uneasy with what is happening in departments that will be carrying out these policies, the DWP, HMRC, and the new Department for Children, Schools, and Families.

Our members are already struggling to provide a decent service because of the cuts in jobs; 21 million calls have gone unanswered in DWP contact centres while job centres are closing around the country. At least a million items of post are unopened in HMRC offices. There have already been 40,000 job cuts in DWP and more are planned. The plan of 12,500 job cuts in HMRC has been doubled to meet the target set for the comprehensive spending review. In one area of HMRC, local compliance, the department's own calculations reveal that shedding 600 staff will yield £74m on the one hand whilst simultaneously contributing to losses in tax yield of £204m. This is in addition to the millions squandered on management consultants.

In the DWP, incidentally, the latest group of workers to come under threat of redundancy is administrative officers in job centres, largely female, a disproportionate number from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, single parents, work part-time, or are disabled. If job centres are dismissing these sort of workers, how realistic is it to claim that reduced job centre networks will be assisting more of just these groups into work? In fact, the cuts are now so severe that management have conceded they cannot deliver new programmes under the New Deal. The answer, according to the Green Paper on Welfare, is to privatise more DWP work, including offering contracts to charities, it is also to move from providing help and advice to those wanting to work to threatening sanctions to drive single parents into employment.

Our members do not want to intimidate and penalise single parents into unsociable jobs. Like most public servants they want to deliver a quality service. The same cannot be said for multinational companies chasing profits or the growing band of super-league charities pursuing more and more larger contracts from central government. We were shocked to see an announcement from a minister earlier this year that unions were to be asked to join the path of outsourcing contractors for DWP work and we are confident that Congress will stop this in its tracks with a resounding no.

We are also confident that Congress will express its support for our continuing action, if it proves necessary. PCS members have already taken two days strike action this year against the cuts and their consequences, and we are very thankful for the support we have had from members of other unions up and down the country. But public services do not only matter to the people who deliver them, they matter, as we know, to us all. We have also had fantastic support from organisations like the National Pensioners Convention and the unemployed workers centres that recognise this.

We want the whole trade union movement, as well as service users, to have a chance to say no to any further dismantling of our services to feed the profits of multinational companies. We believe that a national demonstration will give us a chance to do so and show those who persist in pursuing their free market dogma that privatisation has had its day. While we are opposed to much of what the Government is doing, we are committed to negotiated settlements but if there are no negotiations over the assurances our members require there may be more action and your support for this motion will give heart to our members, if it proves necessary.

Congress, we established when defending pensions that unity strengthens the likelihood of an acceptable resolution to our disputes. The issues PCS members are facing are replicated in many other areas of the public sector and PCS reaffirms its commitment to work in unity, to defend public services and public sector workers. Please support the motion.

Debbie Coulter (GMB) seconded Motion 51.

She said: Congress, like our PCS colleagues, a lot of GMB members are also in the front line in public service. We understand fully where PCS are coming from on the privatisation of public services. At different times in our lives all of us have had to deal with government departments and what are referred to as non-departmental public bodies. These will range from TV licences to passports, from statutory sick pay to child benefit. When you are accessing these services today you are likely to come into contact with PCS members. Like GMB members in public service PCS members are committed to delivering high quality public services and as we have just heard from Mark Serwotka they are not on huge salaries but are well trained, skilled, and experienced in the jobs that they do. Their commitment springs from experience of working with service users, they are wedded to the public service ethos.

Congress must also share a vital interest in our welfare state by supporting union members determined to defend our universally held principles. I am sure if we undertook a study, a survey of the public in Brighton today they would not want civil servants working in these departments replaced by private companies and inexperienced agency workers. In the past local authority and NHS workers have suffered CCT, Best Value, PFI, outsourcing, and contestability. Over time the names have changed but it amounts to the same thing, privatisation, privatisation which we know does not deliver better public services, it results in worse public services.

The latest fad in privatisation is to develop the third sector's capacity so the charities and faith organisations can have a bigger role delivering public services. Where is the evidence base that the third sector can deliver better public services than the public sector? There is none, pure and simple. We have thousands of members working in the third sector providing valuable services and there is a role for these organisations in the UK but not in providing services that should be provided directly by the state. Experience shows the third sector employers are often anti-union, they often pay poorly and expect workers to work long hours in the name of the cause but, Congress, one of the main campaigners for the privatisation of Jobcentre Plus is the Employment Related Services Association, an organisation which includes Remploy, by the way, itself a non-departmental public body. Congress, what an obscenity: a public body actively campaigning for the privatisation of Jobcentre Plus is an outrage. Let us defend our public services and the workers who provide them. Congress, please support Motion 51.

The President: The General Council position is to support the motion with an explanation so I will ask the General Secretary to give the explanation.

Brndan Barber (General Secretary): Thanks, President. Very briefly, Congress, the General Council does indeed support this motion but draws your attention to sub-paragraph (ii) which refers to a national demonstration in support of public services and against further privatisation. In planning such a major event we want to ensure that all public service unions are fully involved and the best way to take that forward will be the subject of discussions at our Public Services Liaison Group so that we can mobilise as effectively as possible in support of our public services.

Janice Godrich (Public and Commercial Services Union) in her right of reply said: I very much welcome the support for the motion, I understand the issues around organising the best time for the demonstration and I am sure that will be for the demonstration not if the demonstration, so thanks very much, Brendan.

* Motion 51 was CARRIED

The relocation of ONS and HSE from London

Michelle Wyer (FDA) moved Motion 52. She said: I am the President of Revenue and Customs Section of the FDA. We have heard a lot this week about statistics, every speech seemed to have one. Did you ever stop to wonder where a lot of them come from? Who provides the statistics for the evidence-based policymaking that is so fashionable these days? As identified by Mark Serwotka earlier - thank you, Mark - many national statistics are provided by the Office of National Statistics, the clue is in the name.

I am here to speak to Motion 52, opposing the proposals to relocate the London offices of the ONS to Newport. My Prospect colleague will speak to the issue for the Health and Safety Executive. Believe it or not the ONS and HMRC, who I work for, have much in common. ONS is like HMRC, one of the Chancellor's departments. Yes, we are Alistair's darlings and we also have a link to ONS through the work that HMRC does in supplying trade information to ONS. Finally, we have a shared recent experience of scrutiny by the Treasury Select-Committee of how the efficiency programmes are working in the Chancellor's departments. So for these reasons, as well as the fact that HMRC are facing similar pressures on staff to relocate, I wanted to speak to you about this today. We are not the only ones who think that the staff relocation plans are ill-conceived. The TSC said that the programme was (and I quote) 'inadequately planned and that it poses a risk to the quality of statistics provided by the organisation,' which includes statistics used by the Bank of England in making some of the country's key economic decisions.

So, let us think for a minute what the TSC's comments might mean in practice. I can see the story in The Independent, 'The Bank of England announced today a mortgage rate increase of 5 percent. A spokesman says, 'I know it sounds crazy but it is based on figures provided by the ONS,'' or The Guardian, 'Public sector unions were astonished today when the Prime Minister seemingly abandoned his vow to keep public sector pay rises under 2 percent. 'I was misinformed,' he said when asked, 'actually inflation is running at 20 percent and so I am looking at deals of around 18 percent.''

Seriously, we want the TUC to stand with us in opposing the decision to relocate and join with the TSC in recommending that the Treasury review the reallocation programme as a matter of urgency. The fact is that work done by my members is almost unique. You cannot recruit for national accounts work at the ONS, it is so specialised in nature. For better or worse the only recruitment pool is in Central London. There will be statisticians in other government departments in London, including my own, although I cannot guarantee that this London presence will continue because we have our own Lyons' targets to fight. I know many of those statisticians as most are in the FDA but they will be the first to point out that uprooting the ONS and so moving the centre of gravity of UK official statistics away from London where almost all key policy decisions, right or wrong, are still made will potentially be catastrophic.

To allude back to Brendan's opening address, you cannot treat entities like the ONS as if they were Dr Who in the Tardis, or is it John Redwood, capable of being transported anywhere in the blink of an eye. We all know that frequently when the Tardis lands it is in the wrong place, it is broken, and no one knows where they are; chaos inevitably follows. Unfortunately, however, the Government has no time lords that can repair the damage in 40 minutes or so. You cannot treat people, skilled, committed professional people, and trade unionists, in this fashion as though they are pieces on a chessboard to be moved around at random. If we let it happen to colleagues in ONS, Congress, where will it end?

Perhaps the most immediate issue is that our members now face a forced move or redundancy to uphold a flawed concept of London bad, anywhere that is not London better. Whilst there are some for whom relocation may be a welcome opportunity, the personal impact on members who do not want to move whatever their individual circumstances or background is incalculable. If they do not move, make no mistake, Congress, they will lose their jobs, maybe only 20 or 30 of them for now but we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg, an iceberg already impacting on colleagues in Defra and what was the DTI, and one that threatens to sink the Titanic of public service if the Government do not listen to us and to the Treasury Select-Committee and review their plans.

To conclude, as the ONS moves towards independence, the FDA believes like the Treasury Sub-Committee that it should suspend its relocation plans. The plans should be subjected to external scrutiny and the decision of the office's location should be taken by the new Statistics Board taking account of all the factors and not driven by cost savings alone. Not to do so may lead to the biggest threats to the UK official statistics for a generation. Please support Motion 52 and thank you for listening.

Geoff Fletcher (Prospect) seconded Motion 52.

He said: Comrades, we have concerns over the impact these proposed relocations will have on our members' lives and also the impact on the ability for our members actually to maintain the levels of public service that they currently provide. One emerging issue that demonstrates our concern is that we already see that the ONS find it difficult to recruit suitably qualified specialists in the Newport area. We anticipate that there will be the same recruitment problem in HSE if key and experienced members do leave due to relocation.

The proposed move of a large proportion of policy and non-operational staff from London, Rose Court, up to the Bootle office came about through a review programme looking at how best HSE should be organised in the future. However, this appears to be a smoke screen to allow the HSE to rush through rationalisation of the estate simply to save money. While Prospect are not opposed to well thought out efficiency savings we do not believe this proposal is well thought out. We are still to be convinced that it is value for money and we see the negative impacts will easily outweigh any financial savings gained.

None of these issues have been thoroughly considered as the business case for the relocation focuses on the financial savings rather than the impacts on people and the organisation's ability to perform. This is not a response to the Lyons' review as HSE already has a majority of its staff based outside of London in the field offices and a substantial presence in Bootle. In HSE the staff that are affected are very anxious because they do not know what their future is going to hold so faced with the real possibility of having to consider whether they should change everything they are familiar with in their life and uproot their family makes redundancy more of a tempting option. This will result in HSE losing both experienced and key staff in the short and medium term with the real possibility that it will not be able to recruit to fill the gaps.

The Select Committee looking into the ONS move considered that there was a strong possibility that they would not be able to maintain the standards in terms of statistics and similarly if the whole of HSE's Policies Division is moved to Bootle then there will be the potential that HSE's influence both in Whitehall and with key stakeholders will diminish. The fact that this relocation is finance driven is not something that has suddenly come about, we have been waiting for the effects of the previous disastrous comprehensive spending review settlements to filter through, and you will be aware that the HSE is in the process of shedding up to 350 jobs by March next year and that if the forthcoming CSR is as bad as anticipated then we will be looking at a further 500 jobs that will have to go. Other cost-cutting measures that will affect HSE's ability to respond will be the proposed review of the field office structure and this is on the back burner at present while the London relocations top the agenda but we have already seen the announcement of the closure of the Stornley office to save money and there is a policy where the HSE management have taken opportunities to reduce the estate costs as they arise. Congress, please support the motion. Thank you.

Christine Chorlton (Public and Commerical Services Union) supported Motion 52.

She said: I must admit that when I read point (iii) of the motion my Northern hackles rose. After all, outside of London we have produced world-class artists, musicians, scientists, engineers, mathematicians, politicians, leaders, and even a General Secretary of the TUC. Congress, the motion is not about that, it is about two particular bad examples of the convulsions that government is putting the Civil Service through. We believe that re-organisation of the Health & Safety Executive and the Office for National Statistics will lead to serious and unnecessary loss of specialised skills and experience.

The HSE predict that only 40 percent of staff will move from London to its new headquarters in Bootle. We believe that even this low figure is a gross overestimate. The number in ONS currently choosing to move are very small leading to artificial surpluses in London and under-resourcing outside of London. The ONS are also having serious problems recruiting highly specialised staff in Newport and we are concerned that key staff who are not willing or able to move may be made compulsorily redundant.

In the HSE and eventually in the ONS equality impact assessments showed a negative impact on black and ethnic minority staff. These moves will make our workforce less diverse in direct contravention of the Lawrence Report's recommendation and the Government's own stated policy. The reorganisations are supposed to be about saving public money but ONS alone have spent £21m on, guess what, consultants, mainly for, guess what, a disastrous IT project.

PCS supports new ways of working if they improve the efficiency and service that our members provide but our members cannot provide an efficient service without enough secure, good quality jobs. The HSE is a major bulwark for protecting the public, ONS provides statistics that are critical to the country, and if they are corrupted then the whole effect of government policy is undermined. We believe that these moves in the HSE and ONS are ill thought out. The Government must recognise that departments have to be properly resourced with skilled, experienced, and motivated staff to carry out the functions. Please support the motion.

* Motion 52 was CARRIED

Scrutineers' Report

Christine Tucker (Chair of the Scrutineers): President, delegates, please turn to the back of your agenda and I will give the results of the ballot.

Section A

(unions with more than 200,000 members)

Unite

(ten members)

Gail Cartmail Tony Dubbins

Martin Mayer Len McCluskey

Doug Rooney Brenda Sanders

Derek Simpson Pat Stuart

Paul Talbot Tony Woodley

UNISON

(seven members)

Bob Abberley Jane Carolan

Gerry Gallagher Dave Prentis

Alison Shepherd Eleanor Smith

Liz Snape

GMB

(three members)

Sheila Bearcroft Allan Garley

Paul Kenny

Communication Workers Union

(two members)

Jeannie Drake Billy Hayes

National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers

(two members)

Chris Keates Sue Rogers

National Union of Teachers

(two members)

Lesley Auger Steve Sinnott

Public and Commercial Services Union

(two members)

Janice Godrich Mark Serwotka

Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers

(two members)

John Hannett Fiona Wilson

Section B

unions with between 100,000 and 200,000 members

Association of Teachers and Lecturers

Mary Bousted

Prospect

Paul Noon

University and College Union

Sally Hunt

Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians

Alan Ritchie

Section C

unions with fewer than 100,000 members

(eleven to be elected)

Name Union Votes

Jonathan Baume*(FDA) 431,000

Brian Caton * (POA) 594,000

Bob Crow (RMT) 328,000

Jeremy Dear * (NUJ) 382,000

Gerry Doherty* (TSSA) 498,000

Michael Leahy* (Community) 416,000

Joe Marino (BFAWU) 245,000

Judy McKnight* (NAPO) 330,000

Robert Monks (URTU) 60,000

Ged Nichols * (Accord) 408,000

Keith Norman (ASLEF) 191,000

Brian Orrell * (NUMAST) 429,000

Tim Poil * (NGSU) 412,000

John Smith* (MU) 459,000

Matt Wrack * (FBU) 376,000

Section D

Women from unions with fewer than 200,000 member

(four to be elected - no contest)

Sue Ferns Prospect

Anita Halpin National Union of Journalists

Lesley Mercer Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Julia Neal Association of Teachers and Lecturers

Section E

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

Mohammad Taj - Unite

Section F

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

Leslie Manasseh Connect

Section G

Member representing black women

Gloria Mills UNISON

Section H

Member representing disabled workers

Mark Fysh UNISON

Section I

Member representing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Workers

Maria Exall Communication Workers Union

Section J

Member representing young workers

John Walsh Unite

General Purposes Committee

(Five to be elected)

Name Union Votes

Andy Ballard (ATL) 766,000

Phil Davies* (GMB) 5,788,300

Peter Hall* (RMT) 5,496,000

Alastair Hunter* (UCU) 5,819,000

Linda McCulloch* (Unite) 5,846,000

Annette

Mansell-Green* (UNISON ) 6,239,000

Congress adjourned for the day

THIRD DAY: WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 12TH

MORNING SESSION

(Congress re-assembled at 9.30 a.m.)

The President: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to Wednesday morning. We are more than halfway through now so that should be good news for everybody. So far so good. I have enjoyed it so far and I hope you have found it useful and enjoyable, so far as you can anyway.

I would like to start by thanking the Waverley Abbey Musical Theatre Group, who were singing and playing for us this morning. (Applause) I thought they were wonderful and it is just so nice to get that fresh, lively start to our day. Thank you for supporting them.

Whenever you are halfway through a congress you have to review where you are. We do have a number of items of outstanding business. I think we are making reasonably good progress but we do need to keep up the momentum. In terms of the outstanding business, if time permits at the end of the morning session, I intend to take Composite Motion 7, Violence Against Women, and Motion 27, Supporting Working Carers, and also Paragraph 3.9.

There are a number of other items of outstanding business and I will let Congress, and the relevant unions, know as soon as possible when it is hoped that this can be taken so that you can plan your interventions and get your speeches organised.

In terms of this morning's business, I would just like to advise you that there is a bit of a switch-round. Instead of the Vulnerable Workers debate being followed by the Organising and Rights at Work debate, that is reversed. The Organising debate will be followed by the Vulnerable Workers debate. It is a switching round of the scheduled agenda. PFA Composite Motion 5 will be taken after the question and answer session with John Hutton.

I remind everybody about the time pressures on our remaining business. I have been very pleased with the cooperation that so many of you have shown and I just want to remind you of the importance if you are going to speak to be ready to come up to the rostrum. I have some speakers' seats here so I can see who is ready to come up and can get you up in short order. We then do not spend any time that is unnecessary when making your way down here.

For speakers, it is five minutes for movers and three minutes for subsequent speakers. You do not need to take all that time to make the important points. When you get the red light that is the time to wrap up your contribution and invite Congress to support the resolution, and then leave so that we can take the next speaker. I do not want to be continually ringing the bell or reminding people because I know that is intrusive, but it is really quite important in terms of making progress with our business.

I have tried to take the additional speakers where they are not scheduled or not listed in the debate because I know it is important to some unions to be able to come in on things. I have tried to do that as much as possible and not to disappoint too many people but if we do slow down I might not be able to do that. I want to be consistent throughout the week.

If we are still not making progress the General Purposes Committee have threatened me that we may need to reduce speaking times, which again I do not want to do. I think with a bit of tightening up we can get through the business efficiently. Thank you very much for all your cooperation.

I would like now to call Annette Mansell-Green, Chair of the General Purposes Committee, to give us a report. Annette?

General Purposes Committee Report

Annette Mansell-Green (General Purposes Committee): Morning, Congress. I have just one item to report. Alison has already reported on part of my business this morning so I will not waste Congress time by repeating it. Congress, I can report that an emergency motion from the Prison Officers' Association has been approved. It is numbered Emergency Motion 1 and entitled, Defence of Public Services. It will be circulated shortly and the President will indicate when she hopes to take it. Thank you.

The President: Thank you very much, Annette. (Query from floor) I have advised you of the motions I was planning to take today and I said there were a number of other outstanding items but that does include the childcare debate, which I was not able to take yesterday. At the moment, it looks like it is going to be tomorrow; if I can do any better than that I will advise you. (Further query from floor) I know that but I gave the assurance that I would do my best.

Address by Mike Griffiths, Labour Party Fraternal Delegate

The President: We will now move to the first item of this morning's business: that is to receive an address by Mike Griffiths, who is the fraternal delegate from the Labour Party. Mike, you are very, very welcome at Congress this week. I would like to tell you that Mike served on the National Executive Committee of the Party for 10 years chairing its influential Organisation committee, he is a trade unionist, he is one of us, and he is a political officer within the Amicus section of Unite. Mike will be chairing his own conference in a couple of weeks' time so, Mike, you are very welcome and we look forward to your contribution.

Mike Griffiths: Good morning, Congress. I bring warm, friendly, and fraternal greetings from the Labour Party to this 139th Trades Union Congress. It is a little strange for me for regardless of my having attended Congress now on and off for about 30 years this is the first time I address you on behalf of our party in this my role as Chair.

All of my life, leaving school at 16, joining my union, and subsequently joining the Party a few years later, I have been representing the trade union voice within the Party. Of course, it is natural that I should do so as thousands of trade unionists have done before and continue to do so now. Indeed, as we know it was the trade unions that formed the Labour Party, trade unions that first were elected as Labour MPs, and in 1906 it was 29 trade unionists that formed the first parliamentary group calling themselves the Parliamentary Labour Party from which the Party's name derives.

These early MPs were not only members of trade unions, they were its early leaders, general secretaries, and senior officials of those unions. From that motion moved by a rail worker in Doncaster calling for a formation of a political force to the formation of the Labour Representation Committee in 1900, trade unionists knew that real advancement for members required industrial and political improvements.

So, Congress, what about now, 100-plus years later? We like our predecessors face enormous economic and social change, where once the telegraph made intercontinental communications possible, now the internet means that design can happen on one continent, production on another, and sales on a third. Different economies are brought together at a rate we have not seen since the arrival of steam and the Suez Canal. Markets are changing and emerging. I watched an advert on television for a collapsible multi-ladder last month and saw the identical same advert in Spanish in Latin America last week; yes, and the ladder was made in China. Where once America's industrialisation for a few decades outpaced Britain's, now China and India are expected to grow beyond the economies of Britain, France, and Germany, combined.

So, what is our answer to these seemingly impossible forces that control us? As trade unionists it is actually the same, for the forces we face are actually no more formidable than the powers that confronted our early leaders. Think about their struggles then, when to unite and to combine was the answer, and whether it was the Match Girls or the Tolpuddle Martyrs with George Loveless's cry for liberty, it is the same today, to come together again is our answer.

Today, nearly 140 years on since those 34 trade union delegates at the Mechanics Institute in Manchester started all that we see today, we actually are a much stronger Movement. The task today is a shared task, not just for the industrial arm of our Movement but for the wider movement with the Labour Party and a Labour government, a Labour government now in its third term, Labour legislation coming on to the statute books, tax and investment decisions being driven by Labour values.

Congress, I do bring greetings from our Party - our Party - as its Chair but recognising that not all of our issues are ones that we agree on. There is much that we disagree on in areas of policy and in delivery. Representing the trade union voice within the Party I am that advocate of many of those concerns, and always have been, for that in a sense is the point of my address today: it is always going to be like this. Our role as trade unionists in the Party is to press for the improvements we desire on behalf of members; part-full or part-empty is a senseless argument. For us the glass is never full. We are trade unionists, this is what we do, push for what we can get, recognising the strengths and weaknesses of our arguments, settle on the basis of the best deal for our members in the short term, never compromising in the long term.

There will always be differences of opinion, unless of course Labour loses the next Election and then we can all enjoy that sweet solidarity of opposition. The values that unite us are older, stronger, and more profound, than any of our differences. Some of those shared values have become legal rights, rights to time off, union recognition, parental leave, dignity, and equality legislation. I am now happy to acknowledge publicly the need for more in many areas, not least in not just ending the abuses of vulnerable workers under current legislation but for new legislation to give fair and better protection to temporary and agency workers.

So I say to Congress today, just two days after the CBI's Deputy Director, John Cridland, called for the Prime Minister to reject new legislation for temporary workers, that the Warwick commitments to support new legislation either in Europe or in the UK will be met. The CBI has a poor record in these areas. They said that the national minimum wage would lead to spiralling unemployment; instead this year over a million low-paid workers, two-thirds of them women, will benefit from another rise in the national minimum wage and Britain now with the highest employment rate in the G8, 2.6 million more in work under this Labour Government.

So, Brendan, I finish with a story that will be of some interest to you. Just last week I was in Colombia with an organisation you yourself founded following your visit in 2002, Justice for Colombia. Congress, Colombia is the worst place in the world if you are a trade unionist. More trade unionists are killed in Colombia each year than in the rest of the world put together. In a country condemned by the UN and other non-governmental organisations as a major violator of human rights, we heard tales and saw sights more harrowing than most of us will see or hear again. Yet in the midst of those people's loved ones being killed and tortured the bravery of those good people who sought only to come together as trade unionists shone through.

In a small village high in the mountains along a road that only a truck could navigate, these Colombian trade unionists called out to you, to their international brothers and sisters, to be heard. Justice will come to Colombia but only through political change brought about through international pressure. It may seem a huge leap to link the struggle of those Colombian trade unionists, those Colombian workers and their families, and their need for political action with our struggles, with our industrial struggles and the political connection we have with the Labour Party, but as we move forward as a trade union body and as a labour movement we seek more, more than just defending the rights of our members. With a Labour government listening and responding to the country's needs and the movement's values, we should and we will extend justice, equality and prosperity, for all citizens of this country and indeed the world.

Congress, on behalf of the Labour Party, my party, our party, I wish you well. Thank you. (Applause)

The President: I have just presented Mike with the Gold Badge of Congress, which we give to our invited speakers and I am wishing him all the best for his conference in a couple of weeks. (Applause) Thank you very much.

Trade Union Rights for Prison Officers

Brian Caton (POA-UK) moved Motion 18.

He said: President, Congress, it gives me great pleasure to move this motion and to come before you once again to ask for your help and your support in securing full trade union rights for prison officers. We are not asking for such a lot, you know. The previous speaker talked about what the Labour Party wants to do and the foundation of the Labour Party being that of trade unionists. Unfortunately, sometimes trade unions have to stand up and take industrial action; not always welcomed by them and it is certainly not welcomed by either the Government if you are in public service or any private enterprise. Without the right to strike and without the right to take other types of industrial action when you are facing imposition after imposition, it makes it very difficult to hold your head up and to say that you are truly representing those who elected you.

We have had imposition, imposition without negotiation, imposition without consultation, imposition without meaningful discussion, or indeed any consideration of prison staff views. I would add to this that, whilst I am critical of the prison service management and critical of the Government, I do understand why prison service management behave the way that they do at times. Prison service managers receive very poor training. They learn their skills normally in watching prison officers manager prisoners. In a modern industrial environment I hardly think that is a good way to teach people in a key public service how to manage those loyal men and women who act on your's and society's behalf to keep those dangerous, damaged, and difficult people, and hopefully to rehabilitate them.

One thing I would agree with the previous speaker, we have gone through a struggle, our struggle, as prison officers. It began in 1919 with the police and prison officers' strike. Since then and through the 20 years to 1939 we were victimised and bullied, with harsh and vicious attacks, sackings without notice, with a Prison Service management at that time and a Prison Service Commission seeking us to be more like robots than human beings, and occasionally the robots malfunctioned and revolted. To a certain degree we feel a little bit like that now.

The Prison Service management under pressure is not a good set of managers. They are under pressure because they do not have the resource from this Labour government to manage the 81,000 people that are currently being put into prison by this Government, some of them in our opinion quite wrongly. Colleagues, we were under pressure from Mr Howard when he stripped us of our trade union rights that we had held from 1939 to 1993. The attack from that Tory government was absolutely condemned in opposition by the Labour Party so we find it difficult to understand that if we could have trade union rights between 1939 and 1993, and it was condemned by a Labour government, why on earth can this Labour government not give us back our rights, and our human rights? (Applause)

Congress, what we want is balance, what we want is fairness, a balance that says that if they seek to impose without consultation then we will threaten industrial action to bring them to the table. We are not saying we want to go on strike. What we are saying is that we should have the right to use that method if we are being abused. We want to talk. Where they bring forward early suggestions we want full consultation. We want them to understand that we are the professionals. We do not sit in offices. We work with prisoners. If there is a deal on the table, then let us strike a deal but we strike that deal through negotiation and we expect it to be honoured. What we want is mutual understanding, mutual respect and trust. I ask you to support this motion.

Bob Crow (National Union of Rail Maritime and Transport Workers) seconded Motion 18.

He said: I have the pleasure to support the POA resolution. It was nice to hear the fraternal greetings from the Labour Party this morning. It reminded me of that railway worker that went to Doncaster some 106 years ago. His name, by the way, was Thomas Steel. To people old enough to remember, people like Paul Kenny, Tony Woodley, and Derek Simpson, it is not Tommy Steele the actor, 'Half a Sixpence', but Tommy Steel, a railway worker.

When he went to that rostrum he argued on behalf of our union that we needed a party that was going to defend working people's interests and to have the right to strike. The funny thing is 100 years after you still ain't got the right to strike. The difference was when Thomas Steel went to that rostrum in Doncaster there was not a Labour government, but you have had a Labour government for ten-and-a-half years that refuses to give you the right to strike.

Now, I heard a progressive general secretary saying it is not all about going on strike and people like Bob Crow that are wreckers, it is all down to 'microism'. Now, I do not know what 'microism' means and perhaps they can explain what 'microism' is. When those prison officers are being attacked by people under the influence of drugs or drink, or whatever they get their hands on in prison at three in the morning, I do not think they turn round to each other and say, 'We're being assaulted because of microism.' (Laughter) They are being assaulted because of the failure of the prison systems in Great Britain. (Applause)

Comrades, I could be paranoid and say that some people on the General Council do not like me (Applause) but I would like to say my very best wishes, I mean that sincerely in a comradely way, to the Musicians Union that took my place on the General Council. I do mean that sincerely. If you want banjo players to replace strikers, it is a matter for yourselves, but the reality is that we have the right to have our voice heard. I have to say, brothers and sisters that this movement, unless it gives a lead to workers when they are in struggle, is going to become impotent. We need to start these meetings coming here and giving people hope. I know young delegates that come here for the first time are saying to me, 'What's the point in coming?' We should be giving those young delegates hope. Meetings like this should give us the opportunity to reaffirm our faith and reaffirm our commitment. It is no good coming to this stage and talking about what Nelson Mandela did and what George Loveless did, and what other people have done through the centuries, those people broke the law and history judged them right, and what the prison officers did was break the law and we should judge them right as well.

* Motion 18 was CARRIED

Shrewsbury pickets

Alan Ritchie (Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians) moved Motion 20.

He said: At the TUC Congress in 1975 a motion was moved by the then AUEW General Secretary, Hugh Scanlon. It called for the right of workers to picket peacefully when on strike and it called for the removal of those sections of the 1875 Conspiracy Act. Congress also declared its opposition to the penalties imposed on the two jailed Shrewsbury building workers and called on the General Council to use the full strength of the British Trades Union Movement to secure their release. The motion was carried.

In 1976 UCATT asked for the support of Congress for a parliamentary inquiry into the case of the Shrewsbury pickets; in response, Len Murray called on the Government to instigate an investigation into the whole Shrewsbury case. When Des Warren heard the call from Len Murray he stated that any call for an investigation would have to be backed by the whole labour and trades union movement. We believe that that is equally true today. If anyone is asking why now, why now is UCATT raising this issue, we say, do not ask why now, ask why it has taken so long for justice to be served to those trade unionists. (Applause)

In December 2007 it will be 34 years since the Shrewsbury trials concluded, trials that placed 24 building workers in the dock charged under the 1875 Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 24 building workers arrested, prosecuted, and convicted: Dennis Warren, Eric Tomlinson, John McKinsie Jones, Arthur Murray, Mike Pierce and Brian Williams, all received custodial sentences, 18 others received suspended sentences. It is important to remember the real conspiracy of Shrewsbury, that of the then Conservative government, the police, and the building employers. For Shrewsbury we need only remind ourselves of Tolpuddle and the great miners' strike of the 1980s, the state against the workers. That is what this motion is about today.

I would like to place this motion in context. In the 1970s the building workers' strike was only one of several disputes in which unions emerged victorious: the miners, the dockers, the railway workers, and one I was personally involved in, the upper reaches of the Clyde, in the UCS, all inflicted humiliating defeats on the Edward Heath government. That combination of defeats saw a government instigate the arrest of 24 working men. It was a politically motivated prosecution, a political trial that had the sticky hand of the Conservative Home Secretary, Robert Carr, all over it, a man in the pocket of the building employers and when a Tory government sought to use an archaic piece of legislation they repeated the tactics of Tolpuddle.

In 1834 George Loveless and his comrades were arrested under the Unlawful Oaths Act. There are striking similarities between Tolpuddle and Shrewsbury, both were equally important in the trades union movement's history. At Shrewsbury a politically motivated trial resulted in a judge handing down sentences to Dennis Warren and 23 others. At Tolpuddle the judge set the sentences, in his words, 'to make an example to others'.

We believe Shrewsbury was the same, the sentences were announced on 19th December 1973 just before Christmas. It was a terrible time for the families of these trade unionists. I make no apology for linking Tolpuddle and Shrewsbury, both were politically motivated trials and that is why we have to address this injustice now, to show those who wish to victimise workers that the labour Movement is strong and united and will defend its members.

I accept there has been criticism of that dispute and some criticism of the Shrewsbury pickets but I would ask delegates to consider that this law is a class law, the Conspiracy Act, and that is what was used against the Shrewsbury pickets. If we picket the debate this week on public services we would all be convicted under that Act. So the next stage is to carry this motion forward and insist the General Council go over its terms. There can be no greater motivation to achieving justice than to support Dennis Warren's statement from the dock: 'Villains are victims. We are all part of something bigger than this trial. The working class movement cannot allow this verdict to go unchallenged.'

On behalf of the Shrewsbury pickets and on behalf of all workers in the United Kingdom, let us challenge this class law and support Motion 20.

John McDonnell (GMB) seconded Motion 20.

He said: I am seconding Motion 20 and proud, privileged, and emotional to do so. There is nothing more I can add to what has already been said by the mover about those dedicated trade unionists than pledge total support for justice for the Shrewsbury pickets and for Des Warren's family in his memory. Chair, I would like to associate this Motion 20 with a more recent case which is not 30 years old but 23 years old, that is, the Cammell Laird's 37 strikers who occupied the British shipbuilding yard in Birkenhead. It was an official dispute. These 37 loyal trade union members were arrested and one of those 37 was a member of my family, our Jimmy. They were sentenced to Walton Jail in Liverpool with convicted murderers and rapists, even though they never were convicted of any crime. All they wanted was to save the shipyard from closing down with the loss of hundreds of jobs. Is there anything wrong in that? As a result they lost their pay and the right to redundancy pay; some of them could not ever get a job after that.

The effect on their families, I can assure you, was unbelievable: the trauma, the anger, the misery, was there and it is there to this day. Jimmy vowed that with his last breath he would fight and fight and fight again for justice. Jimmy died a couple of years ago with no justice. Jimmy's wife, Peggy, who supported him throughout, died 12 months after Jimmy with no justice. Jimmy's grandson, who was five years old at the time and is now 28, he will tell you he never ever forgot that time when his grandfather was taken away and put in prison for something he believed in, trade unionism, and put in prison. I had the privilege of visiting Jimmy with the late David Basnett, who was on the General Council, and the late Dick Pickering, and waiting to go into Walton Jail was unbelievable; the anger and the pain was there, and is still there. Then last year Eddie Marnell, who led the campaign and was one of the 37, buttonholed Tony Blair at our Congress and Tony, with his wonderful smile, held his shirt up and promised he would sort something out for these people. Lo and behold, 18 months have gone by and we have not had a word from him, but what can you expect from a warmonger?

I would like to say this, colleagues, pass this motion, campaign for it, do something about it, and ask the General Council to do something about it for the memory of Des Warren, Jimmy McCarthy, and all the other people who are deceased. Thank you.

John Sheridan (Unite) supported Motion 20.

He said: Thirty-four years ago this December the Tory ruling class exacted revenge on British working class activists who had inflicted a series of defeats by jailing six building workers. The Tory Government conspired with the police and the building employers to try 24 building workers using archaic and arcane laws to brand these men criminals when all they sought was decent pay and conditions. Six building workers were jailed: Des Warren was jailed for three years, Eric 'Ricky' Tomlinson, the actor and entertainer, was jailed for two years, John McKinsie Jones received a 9-month sentence, Arthur Murray, Brian Williams, and Mick Pierce were each locked up for four months. Eighteen others were branded criminals for life and they received suspended sentences of up to two years each. These men took part in a national building strike in 1972. Their demands were for a decent rate of pay, a 35-hour week, improved safety conditions, a pension scheme, and decasualisation of the industry to do away with 'the lump', hardly exorbitant demands even then, comrades. The strike won the biggest increase ever gained in the building industry leaving egg on the faces of the employers and hatred in their hearts.

The Tories were screaming for blood, they sought revenge for the defeat they had received by these building workers. These trade unionists were charged under the 1875 Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, a charge almost impossible to defend against. For instance, to prove conspiracy the prosecution did not have to prove that the people had actually met or talked together. It was said by the judge that they conspired merely through a nod and a wink. The defence attempted to prove that this was a political show trial. The judge would have none of it stating that the trial was nothing to do with 'the lump' and nothing to do with politics. Des Warren declared in a statement at the trial: 'Mr. Bumble said: 'The law is an ass.' If he were here now he might draw the conclusion that the law is, quite clearly, the instrument of the state. It is biased; it is class law, and nowhere has that been demonstrated more than in the prosecution case in this trial. The very nature of the charges, the delving into ancient Acts of Parliament, dredging up conspiracy, shows this to be so.'

Was there a conspiracy? Congress, the answer is yes. It was between the Government, the employers, and the police, not with a nod and a wink but under pressure at that time for changes in the picketing law, which they obtained. From the start it was clear that Warren and Tomlinson were the main targets for the prosecution. The victimisation of Warren continued in jail because he insisted he was not a criminal but a political prisoner, which he was. Des Warren suffered from advanced Parkinson's disease which he blamed on the drugs administered to him in jail; he called this the 'liquid cosh'. Warren was made to serve the full 3 years of his sentence out of pure spite and vindictiveness of the state.

Congress, this is the greatest travesty of justice against trade unionists since the trial and deportation of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. We therefore call on the Government to hold a full inquiry into the arrest, trial, and sentence of these building workers usually referred to as the Shrewsbury pickets. Congress also demands an inquiry into the subsequent treatment of Des Warren in jail, now sadly deceased. Congress, we should also call for a pardon for these building workers wrongfully arrested and convicted. Thank you for listening to me. Congress, please support.

The President: Thank you very much for all the contributions in that debate. The General Council support.

* Motion 20 was CARRIED

Organising and Independent Trade Unionism

Steve Sinnott (National Union of Teachers) moved Motion 21.

He said: After listening to the last two debates I want to express the solidarity of my union, the National Union of Teachers, to colleagues fighting to rectify old injustices and I also express, too, that what the trades union movement is facing is some of those old challenges and also some new challenges. I sense within the trades union movement a new and a developing confidence, stronger in some areas and perhaps a little weaker in others, but we can sense with that new confidence and that new determination renewed efforts in relation to recruitment and retention of members and a developing acceptance of the benefits of an organising culture.

This is clearly impacting upon our campaigns, campaigns on pay, campaigns on conditions, campaigns on the equalities, the agenda that we have, and all those other issues that are central to the social and political priorities of the trades union movement. United campaigning, and indeed action, has had its successes; our successes in relation to public sector pensions and in my field some excellent campaigns in relation to privatisation, academies, and the demands for efforts to be made and renewed in relation to social cohesion.

Colleagues, we have a new government and we have with that new government to renew some of our old demands but with that new government there is also, too, some new opportunities that are developing and we should use those new opportunities. At such times as these I think it is good, indeed I think it is essential, that we restate some of the fundamental principles that guide our work. Independence: our trades union movement must be and continue to be independent from government and indeed from employers. Our movement and our unions must be democratic, must be led by the members and union leaderships must be accountable to them. Essential, too, is that we must express solidarity between unions and we must express, too, our desire and our willingness to give mutual support. The importance of the aim of organisational unity for each section of workers needs emphasis, too - blue collar workers, white collar workers. This collective restatement of some of our fundamental principles I think is important and essential to the public. It is essential, too, for potential members and it is essential for potential activists. It is essential for the Government to understand this restatement of our principles and it is important, too, for employers also.

Motion 21 is intended to be a unifying and a positive statement and, Congress, I think it deserves our unanimous approval: no ifs, no buts, no qualifications. Motion 21 is a formula for recruitment, for effective action, for solidarity, for raising the profile and the effectiveness of our movement, and its standing. Unanimously support Motion 21.

Lorraine Parker (GMB) seconded Motion 21.

She said: Congress, I want to make it clear that in seconding this motion we are doing so in support of the principles set out in the motion. The GMB supports the social partnership between government, employers, and unions. In schools we are part of the social partnership representing support staff along with UNISON and Unite. It is a fundamental principle that all unions have the opportunity to act collectively in bargaining with employers. Of course, sometimes there are issues which are sensitive in some areas but we are committed to the principle that no affiliated union should be frozen out of any agreement with an employer as a result of the actions of others, often non-affiliates acting under inducement from an employer. Such moves are divisive and ultimately lead to breakdowns in relationship, the antithesis of social partnership. So we say that where it is working for the benefit of our members social partnership should not be unwound or diluted but is incomplete without the opportunity for all affiliated unions to participate. Please support this motion.

Kevin Kelly (Public and Commercial Services Union) supported Motion 21.

He said: I am speaking in support of Motion 21 because the motion is in line with our approach and practice in recent years. Congress, PCS is in favour of working with employers when we can and where it benefits members. We are in favour of seeking and securing negotiated settlements, agreeing with negotiating bodies, and securing facilities for trade unions to operate, represent, and negotiate for our members. Our approach is that we believe in hard bargaining with mobilising and organising members in campaigns to back these up and where necessary with membership support and as a last resort taking industrial action. This independence and organising approach has become more vital in recent years. We have seen attacks on our pay, jobs, and conditions, and attacks on our ability in the workplace to represent members, organise, and campaign. Our union believes the industrial climate is such that we have no other option but to take this approach. In PCS in the last two years we have seen membership increase; we recruited 52,000 members in 2005 and 2006 at a time of job cuts. We now have over 10,000 activists, one for every 30 members. In our Revenue and Customs group we have seen union density increase by three percent in the last year alone. In the DWP, which has been hard hit by job cuts, where we have seen over a dozen days of strike action over pay, appraisal, and job cuts, we have seen our membership density increase from 56 to 73 percent. Only two days ago our members in the DWP showed a willingness to carry on fighting, campaigning, and standing up for their rights when they voted 3 to 1 to reject a below-inflation pay offer. After the beginning of Congress two of our representatives from Adeco were awarded an organising award and that was based on the campaigns that they ran. In the National Maritime Museum after years of partnership with low membership, no activity, no bargaining, we fought a statutory recognition process and won the ballot. We now have four times the number of reps, facility time, and membership has doubled through this process. We showed a couple of years ago working with other trade unions that when the Government refuses and we take action they will back down. It is this approach, we believe, that is the best approach for the trade unions. We have shown that we can grow trade unions, we can win in the workplace, and we can win on the key issues of pay, jobs, and conditions. Congress, support Motion 21.

The President: I put Motion 21 to the vote. The General Council support.

* Motion 21 was CARRIED

Agency Workers

Tony Woodley (Unite) moved Composite Motion 2.

He said: Good morning, Conference. Tony Woodley, an old person from Merseyside and a proud member of Unite! Colleagues, the plight of agency and temporary workers is, without doubt, one of the single biggest issues in our country today. There are more than one million of them working in Britain. There is not a factory or a workplace that does not see a second-class citizen in this world of work.

Our forefathers and mothers must be turning in their graves. They fought to end the casualisation of the docks, and now we see the single biggest scandal of our time, that the whole of our country has been casualised from construction through to schools and hospitals. One million workers are denied equal rights in our workplace. We have to take some responsibility for this because we are not organising enough where we are organised and we are not organising the unorganised to fight back for these people and give them the power to change their working lives. We have to do more.

Let us not be fooled either. It is not about work flexibility. It is flexibility for bosses, certainly. It is about casualisation and it is about exploitation of hundreds of thousands of workers who are facing discrimination, being denied the rate for the job, no sick pay, no holidays, no overtime, as compared with the directly employed workers. And why? Because it is lawful to mistreat agency workers and use them to drive down the pay and conditions of everybody else.

Comrades, a dangerous gap in employment law has opened up here. It is causing racial tensions as the indigenous British worker blames migrants for driving down his/her pay. Let us be clear. This is not about migrants. It is about greedy bosses doing what they do best, exploiting workers from whichever country they come. We have to stop it via legislation. That is my belief. (Applause)

The Warwick Agreement promised to introduce domestic legislation for agency and temporary workers if the EU route was not delivering. I ask you this: how do you get legislation through Europe when it is our Government, above all governments, that is stopping the legislation in the first place? We had 125 MPs supporting the Paul Farrelly's Private Members Bill, only to see Government ministers talking out the time that we had. It was an absolute disgrace for a Labour Government to do that! (Applause)

The Government say, "Show us the evidence. Show us where the abuse is." Well, here is some of it, Mr Brown and co: plants where one-third of the workforce are agency but employed all the year round on worse conditions, worse pay; permanent workers who leave and are replaced by agency workers; a 65 year-old worker threatened at gunpoint for daring to complain and told that his family would be harmed; a young pregnant Polish worker forced to live in a car for weeks after her agency kicked her out of her accommodation and her passport held back so she could not even go home; and a leading hotel chain employing Chinese agency workers doing the same jobs as everyone else but on less pay, but giving them their £3.75 an hour in envelopes because they are not even seen as being real people who exist.

Comrades, the Government does not need evidence. The evidence is on every street corner in London today as you see migrants queuing up for a day's work. We are fighting back. At Salford Council, which is a Labour council, Unite members took action to end the two-tier labour force amongst our refuge collectors. In Derby, we have acted to stop the ruthless exploitation of Hungarian pizza delivery workers facing illegal deductions from their wages.

You all know that the list is absolutely endless, but we do need not only more organising but Government action as well. No more excuses; no more waiting for Europe; stop the abuse; stop the exploitation; stop the casualisation and stop the racist backlash that is inevitable if we do not stop these abuses. That is what we have to do and we are demanding domestic legislation now as agreed at our last Labour Party Conference. Comrades, support Composite Motion 2. Thank you. (Applause)

Jeannie Drake (Communication Workers Union) seconded Composite Motion 2.

She said: This Labour Government has introduced laws to extend protection against discrimination on grounds of age, sexual orientation, religion and belief. So it is absolutely inconsistent with the sway of modern law and opinion that we have an under-class of one million workers against whom discrimination is standard practice and to whom equality is denied. They are the agency and the temporary workers who have no rights to the same conditions as permanent employees, no clear employment status and no security of employment. Many thousands of them are members of our unions.

The Government say that this unfairness is necessary to sustain low unemployment and a flexible labour market, but the evidence shows otherwise. Strong economies, like Denmark and Holland, have fair deals for agency workers and strong employment levels. You can have flexibility without exploitation. The prophets of doom predicted that part-timers' rights and a national minimum wage, would all lead to high unemployment, but the reality, to use the Prime Minister's words yesterday, is, "We now see the highest level of employment in the UK in our history".

Fairness for agency workers will improve UK productivity because it will mean that employers are committed to those workers and will give them access to training. It will give hope to those workers, so many of whom are young, who are undertaking permanent workstreams with no hope or prospect of a permanent contract.

And, yes, it was hugely disappointing that the Government opposed Paul Farrelly's Private Member's Bill that so many MPs supported, but we must not lose sight of what that Bill achieved. It made the Government take notice. There was a sense that a moral landmark victory had been staked and it firmly united union activity in a collective campaign that is gathering momentum and will not go away. One hundred and fifty MPs went on to support the Early Day Motion tabled by John Cruddas. And, yes, the DTI have current proposals to tackle illegal abuse, but they simply do not go far enough.

There is a need for a new legal framework and the Government has to fulfil its pledge under the Warwick Agreement either to support the European Agency Workers' Directive or to introduce rights through domestic legislation. Over the course of the summer, ministers have tried to assure us that they want to reach a deal on the European Directive. They say that in the proposed talks under the Portuguese presidency they will be in dialogue on that issue. We will be watching because we want to see that European Directive or we want to see domestic legislation.

The President: Wind it up now, Jeannie. Thank you.

Jeannie Drake (Communication Workers Union): On the importance of organising agency workers - let me make one point connected to my union members in the postal dispute. The Royal Mail is using insecure agency and casual workers to undermine the effectiveness of the industrial action, many of whom are migrant workers. It is simply unacceptable that workers are exploited in this way and used to undermine genuine trade union disputes. It is the compelling reason why the trade union movement must fight for their rights, organise them and recruit them into membership. Congress, please support.

Norma Stephenson (UNISON) supported Composite Motion 2.

She said: Congress, I work in the NHS and I work alongside agency workers every day, from cleaners to nurses, from therapists to account clerks. The agency workers I talk to are decent people, many of them from all around the world. I do not blame them for undermining the public service team because it is teamwork and skills that really make a difference to the patients. For some of them, the basic pay rates are OK, but, let us be clear, there is nothing but the legal minimum for holidays, for pensions, for maternity and for other conditions; people side by side doing the same job on different conditions. That is why we have fought against the two-tier workforce. That is why we have achieved protection agreements, agreements to prevent new starters being downgraded. But agency workers undermine these manifesto commitments and it is the reason why we are asking the General Council to close these loopholes.

Congress, one last myth that I want to bust is that agency workers actually want to be agency workers. Well, not in my experience. Not all, but most, would like a contract. They would like flexible working, security and reasonable conditions. That is why we want Warwick to be honoured; we want dignity at work; we want a fair and level playing field across Europe and we want business and public services aiming for quality and not a race to the bottom. Conference, please support Composite Motion 2. (Applause)

Harry Landis (Equity) supported Composite Motion 2.
He said: Brilliant banjo player! (Laughter amidst applause) President, Congress, we are intervening in this debate to include the Equity situation with regard to agents and with emphasis on our walk-on members. You have all seen the adverts: "Do you want to be in television, in commercials? Ring this number. Make an appointment and come and see us"? When you get there, if you are young and attractive, he says, "You are just right for commercials and television". If you are old and ugly, he says, "You are just right for commercials and television". (Laughter) He says, "It is going to cost you £150 to register with us - oh, and you have to be in our book of photographs; that will cost you another £100. Now, we have a photographer down the road. He knows exactly what we want and what sorts of photographs we need. Give him £100 and you're in with us." That photographer is probably his cousin. You will never hear from them again.

That is how the general public is conned. Our professional members are victims of a similar trick. Most agents are legitimate and represent ethically our walk-ons, but there is a rogue element that charges money upfront before taking them on. There are laws about agencies and their activities, but there is a loophole which allows money to be charged in order to be included in their book of photos. The DTI seems powerless to act.

Some walk-ons have two or three agents to ensure they do not miss out on the work, because they all have different areas where they secure work, film companies and television companies, et cetera. However, to appear in two or three books can be very expensive, and these payments, plus commission, can reduce their fees to below the minimum wage.

If the Prime Minister was sincere when he told us on Monday that he was intent on regulating agency laws, let him start by making upfront fees illegal because they are wicked. Thank you. (Applause)

Tony Lennon (Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union) supported Composite Motion 2.
He said: Harry, I did not know you did the banjo! You had better tell your agent; there is some work in that!

Colleagues, I have heard only two reasons from the CBI and the Government to explain their opposition to the European Directive on Agency Workers. I think Jeannie Drake from CWU dealt well with the first one. There is no incompatibility between proper regulation of the workforce and flexibility in competition. I think it is worth remembering that a lot of us signed up to Europe because we accept competition provided it is done on a level playing field, and we should not allow our Government to tilt that playing field, even if it is in our favour. So that argument does not wash.

The other argument I have heard about opposing the Directive is that business in this country does not want regulation of agencies. In our sector, where we deal with agencies and have done for a long time and have good working relationships with some of them, I can tell you that the loudest call for proper regulation of agencies comes from agencies themselves who are honourable, responsible and want to treat our members properly when they are engaged. They are fed up with being undercut time after time by the rogues and the cowboys who cheat, deceive and rob our members. The good agencies want the bad agencies dealt with. So in our sector, at least, the argument that business does not want regulation is, frankly, baloney.

It leaves me thinking that, far from defending the interests of business, people like John Hutton and Richard Lambert of the CBI - you heard him yesterday - are actually defending the very rogues and cowboys with whom we have trouble. That is completely unacceptable.

We have two specific problems in our sector. Harry has already explained one of them, the upfront charges that are levied on people who sign with agencies. Sometimes you pay so much to sign with an agency that the first three or four days work you do more or less is handed straight back to the agency to refund the upfront fee that has been charged; so it is a completely unacceptable charge.

The other specific problem that we have time after time for our members is that the rogue agents build their business model on holding back money from our members for as long as they possibly can, ducking and diving when they have received payment from the customers to whom they have handed workers, claiming, "The cheque book has been lost", "The accountant does not come in until next week", "We have forgotten the bank sorting code", a whole list of excuses based on the fact that they take money on behalf of our members and hang on to it. That is why in this composite we are calling for proper control on late payment. We do not think our members should take on the business risk of waiting for cheques that the rogues and cowboys in the agency business seem to be passing on to us.

Please, colleagues, we are not against agencies. We work with agencies. We want the better ones to survive, but they will only survive if you vote for Composite Motion 2 and give them proper regulation of the people who are undercutting their businesses. Please support the Composite. (Applause)

Chris Baugh (Public and Commercial Services Union) supported Composite 2.

He said: President, Congress, I am giving support to Composite 2 and calling for an end, as it does, to what the composite rightly describes as 'legalised discrimination' towards the most exploited sections of the UK workforce. We agree with the need to hold the Government to their promises in respect of the EU Temporary Agency Directive, in fact, to look at a system of licensing and regulation across all employment agencies, not waiting to be forced by Europe, but to take the initiative to modernise UK law and, equally importantly, to ensure proper enforcement of a minimum wage. But if or when, perhaps, we secure the legal protection that is set out in this particular composite, experience tells us it will be the duty of the trade unions to ensure that it is enforced properly.

On Monday, the Prime Minister presented a joint TUC Organiser of the Year Award to a UNISON rep, Irene Stacey, and two PCS reps, Lisa Burns and Lynda Stephenson, who are based at the British Cattle Movement Service at Workington in Cumbria, set up in 1998 in response to BSE and the Foot and Mouth crisis. Lisa and Lynda were one of hundreds of agency workers recruited over that period of time. Through their work, the work of local activists and many full-time organisers recruited into PCS through the TUC Academy, the campaign was an example of organising at its best. Hundreds joined the union, proving yet again that young people are willing to join a union and, in a legal ballot, voted unanimously in favour of union recognition. But while this campaign has meant over 450 new Civil Service jobs being created and the union has built an important base for its future campaigning activity, the absence of legal protection and the impact of job cuts in the Civil Service is highlighted by the experience of Lynda who was presented with the Award on Monday by the Prime Minister only to be shortly told afterwards, a couple of hours later, that her temporary contract was to come to an end in March.

Due to the fact that management in the Civil Service have to meet arbitrary central job cuts targets, that work with an important public interest angle still needs to be done, that agency workers are not included in the head count and can be employed again on poorer pay and conditions, a government department is enabled to behave in this particular fashion.

PCS hopes that the Prime Minister would recognise the obvious injustice here. It is why PCS continues to work so hard to secure an agreement on jobs for the Civil Service and why we believe this composite is so important. Please support. (Applause)

Hilary Bills (National Union of Teachers) supported Composite Motion 2.
She said: President, I have a message for you. I too attended the Priory Girls' School.

The President: Did you?

Hilary Bills: Yes, I did. We must get together and find out if we might have been there together. Unfortunately, I have to tell you I no longer support Shrewesbury Town. I am a Baggie supporter now. Well, somebody has to be, don't they! A true supporter. Thank you, Congress.

The National Union of Teachers wishes to draw to the attention of Congress the plight of those teachers who find themselves working for certain, not all, private supply teacher agencies. To be a teacher in the public sector you need to have qualified teacher status, be registered with General Teaching Council and to have cleared an enhanced criminal background check. It is not easy to be a teacher, you know! But, for a variety of reasons, certain teachers must and have chosen to work as a supply teacher, for reasons such as caring responsibilities or, as in the case of a very close friend of mine who is a trainer gymnast and an international judge, he has to be out of the country sometimes for two months at a time. A permanent teaching contract for him is not on, supply teaching is, and he is a good teacher.

I know I am getting old - you can tell - but I can remember a time when local authorities were providers of services, not commissioners. Each authority would employ a pool of teachers who would be paid under teachers' conditions of service and, in the absence of a teacher, would go in and work in the school. Unfortunately, most supply teachers are employed by private supply agencies.

Agency teachers suffer a multiple exploitation. They are not able to join the teachers' pension scheme; they are not entitled to national pay rates or terms of employment. The work they are offered is often on a self-employed basis, so they do not have access to the usual employment rights and are often dismissed at will. Cases that we have at the moment in the National Union of Teachers concern one supply teacher being paid less than half the national pay rate. Another female supply teacher's fixed term contract was terminated early with a notice of one day; the reason being she was pregnant.

So, in supporting Composite Motion 2, I suggest to you that the next time you hear about one of your children in your family having a supply teacher teach them for the day, why not go and ask the school management - be good trade unionists - under what conditions of service was that supply teacher employed. Please support. Thank you. (Applause)

The President: Thank you very much, and thank you for those comments. The General Council supports Composite Motion 2.

We will have to get together afterwards. I have to say, your football team is yours for life, thick and thin, and we all know that it is mostly thin if you are a football supporter, but there we go!

* Composite Motion 2 was CARRIED

Organising and representation

Charles Ward (Association of Educational Psychologists) speaking in on paragraph 2.2 of the General Council Report said:

President, Congress, the AEP wants Liverpool O8 to be a success. We support TUC efforts to make a success of Liverpool 08, but, sadly, Liverpool City Council is engaged in an open attack on legitimate trade union activities of the AEP and our local representative.

Following the vindictive, malicious dismissal of our local authority representative, Yvonne Price, the AEP is in dispute with Liverpool City Council. Yvonne's dismissal was a deliberate and calculated attempt based on trumped-up allegations to remove her from local working hours negotiations. Congress, Yvonne stood up; Yvonne was counted and Yvonne was dismissed. Because of that, and until our dispute is settled, the AEP cannot support co-operation with Liverpool '08.

Conference, the AEP is asking for your support. We are asking the General Council, the North West TUC and all affiliates, to use their contacts and to influence Liverpool City Council through Liverpool '08 to encourage that Council to reinstate Yvonne Price, the AEP's officially accredited trade union representative, and to engage in normal and humane relations with the trade unions again. Thank you, President. (Applause)

Keith Norman (Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen) spoke to paragraph 2.2 of the General Council Report.

He said: Just to let you know, my Executive Committee President reckons I am more of a fiddler than a banjo player, but we will have to leave that for them to decide when they are in session next week! But I have come to the rostrum, even though you did not support me for the General Council, or most of you anyway, to thank you, and sincerely thank you on behalf of my union, Aslef, for the decision, Aslef v. The United Kingdom. I think that shows what the Trade Union Movement is all about.

I would like to thank the TUC for their support, Brendan, in particular; I would like to thank you, the grass roots of the movement, for your support and I would like to thank our sister trade union, RMT, for the very generous donation that they gave us in pursuing this case through the European Courts. I am sorry that we had to go to Europe to do it. We could not resolve it in our own country and we had to go to Europe where we got the decision. I would like to thank UNISON as well for their very generous donation and for the 15 smaller trade unions who are the life blood of this trade union movement.

I would like to thank you very sincerely on behalf of our movement because you have made one statement very, very clear in Aslef v. The United Kingdom: there is no place in the trade union movement for racism. Thanks very much. (Applause)

The President: Thank you very much, ASLEF, for those comments. Our sister trade unions and the TUC will do everything we can to try to use its good offices to sort that. Thank you very much for bringing that forward.

Address by Sharan Burrow, President ITUC

The President: I would now like to welcome our sister, Sharan Burrow, President of the ITUC, into Congress. Sharan has been with us this morning. She arrived yesterday. As I indicated, Sharan is one of our women Presidents of the world. She is President of the International Trade Union Confederation and President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Sharan is the first woman President of the ITUC. I was pleased to be part of setting up that new body last November. Before that, she was the first woman President of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and she has very, very many friends around the world. She has a fine, forthright style but excellent comradeship and leadership.

I know you have had a bit of a dispute 'down under' this year and we really want to bring our best wishes from the trade union movement in the UK and all the other trade unions. You have our sympathy, support and solidarity for everything. We are really looking forward to hearing you. I am absolutely delighted that you have come to the Congress that I am chairing; so you are welcome. (Applause)

Sharan Burrow (President, ITUC): Thank you, Alison. Brendan, Frances, trade union colleagues, my international colleagues and, of course, proud members of the TUC, I am absolutely honoured to be here to take part in your 2007 Congress. I stand before you as both the President of a sister confederation, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and, of course, as Alison said, as President of the International Trade Union Confederation.

I want actually to try to put what is going on in Australia in the context of a global struggle that you and every other union activist around the world is engaged in. We have built a new International. It took a lot of effort and a lot of people engaged in a commitment to unity, but Alison is right in that last year we were proudly able to bring together the majority of the union movement around the world. We also built a new global Council of Unions which brings the industrial union movement internationally and the relevant bodies together to bring all of the resources we can to the priorities that must be fought and won.

However, the structures alone will not do the job. We have to build a new internationalism. It requires unity and strong practical solidarity built on both union and political power. Union strength in our workplaces must extend to both union and political influence within and across borders or we will continue to fight the fight that every one of us is engaged in with an increasing sense of a globalisation that is spiraling out of control.

Our house, the union house, has a commitment to a shared humanity that demands peace, justice, equality and self-determination for all. That will never change. It has withstood atrocities of all forms which have been visited on the lives and the livelihoods of workers and their families. Equally, it has seen the celebration of great victories, liberation, emancipation, democracy, human and trade union rights, development and decent work; victories too numerous to detail, but victories of or with organised labour that has shaped a better world.

However, we all know that that progress is stalling and in many nations it is seriously under threat. I would say to you that for workers, for working families, the great Tory experiment has failed. It has failed our workers; it has failed their families; it has failed our nation and it is creating an unjust globalisation that we cannot stand back and watch without taking action.

Union voices have rallied around the world against the Washington consensus, which is the best description of this great Tory experiment. You know it was wrong. It was all about if the rich get richer, then it will trickle down and people will pick up the pieces. Well, you knew there would be winners and losers; we all knew there would be winners and losers. You knew that the demands for privatisation would rob developing nations of independent pathways to development and that that agenda would indeed have a backwash into our own backyards.

The good news is, internationally, the Washington consensus is dying, if not dead. The bad news is that it has left an impoverished legacy, and I have heard some of that today. As a former teacher, with respect to yesterday's debate around the public services, I empathise with you and stand in solidarity for a better deal.

As the global economy grows, we should have cause for great celebration for the prosperity delivered to workers and their families. It should be something we can take heart from all over the world. The reality is that corporate greed is driving profit-share at the expense of wages, at the expense of safe workplaces, at the expense of conditions and entitlements for workers and denying governments the necessary taxes for public services, such as health, education, transport, housing and the like.

You know the statistics. With more than 2 billion people living on less than US$2 a day, with 187 million unemployed, 80 million of them young people, and about 2.2 million dying at or from work every year, the scourge of child enforced labour growing in some nations, and almost 25 percent of the world's labour force, many of them in our own countries in precarious employment as well as those in the most vulnerable nations, more than 25 percent, a quarter, of the global workforce in distress because they cannot earn enough to live with dignity and security, there is one reality. The corporate world is not contributing to the growth that we care about, decent work everywhere.

The approach, therefore, of the 'leave it to the market', the trickle-down theory, has delivered a world that, in spite of massive growth, now has more people unemployed. Experience has increased unrest in a world where there is substantial marginalisation amongst local communities has given us greater numbers of economic migrants and growing inequity economically both within and across nations.

When we talk to major advocates of this approach as a developmental framework, we know that they accept a blind faith in privatisation, trade liberalisation and globalisation with the attendant demands of a small government and deregulation that has had unacceptable consequences, and that the social dimensions of globalisation as a result require urgent attention that they simply will not address.

As a basis for trade with the imbalance of power between nations, this framework enhanced by the consequent self-interest and the moral bankruptcy of a global economy without a commitment to human rights, labour rights, climate change and the environment has worked to perpetuate a culture of corporate greed which simply does not serve the interests of working people.

Capital has a global reach, but without global rules, without a global governance architecture that protects the rights of workers and their community, the corporate law of the jungle grows stronger and so does the dislocation, therefore, of jobs and the consequent divide between the rich and the poor within and across countries.

This requires, as I said, both union and political action from us. Unions are being instrumental in the fight to achieve legal entitlements, to organise and bargain for the redistribution of wealth nationally, and now we need to do it globally. Equally, we must fight for the social wage commitments of quality public services, education, health care, housing and other areas of support for our communities.

Public services are as important today as they have ever been. This requires that we recognise that whilst the priorities for global justice are established by all of us in our own environments, where we act together and succeed with those of just one affiliate, one global union federation or, indeed, the new international, we succeed for all. It requires us to organise, to organise in our workplaces, in our communities, across both our domestic borders and, indeed, our international borders. We need to organise for political power. We need to do whatever it takes.

If you consider what is going on in my country right now, that is exactly what the struggle is. We are engaged in a struggle for the very decent heart of a democratic nation. We have seen 11 years of a Conservative Government, a Tory Government, that set out to tear up workers' rights, to take away job security by ripping up unfair dismissal protections, to take away income security by allowing employers to determine the nature of the employment contract. We have a saying that Australia is now a 'take it or leave it' workplace: sign the contract. Let the boss determine the wages and conditions or do not take the job. It is perfectly legal to walk into a job and lose decades of conditions established through struggle, like overtime, shift allowances, public holiday pay and meal breaks, even. The list is endless. The bosses can simply determine that provided they meet five minimum standards, standards you can still drive a truck through, like averaged working hours on a weekly basis, then they can do what they like. 'Sign the contract or you do not get the job'.

Needless to say, that means they can take away the right to collective bargaining by simply refusing to do so.

Freedom of association, the right to organise and collectively bargain is only maintained in Australia right now, not by right or by legislation, but, indeed, by the strength of our own solidarity. Working people are being hurt every day, losing their jobs and losing income simply because an employer decides that that is fair game.

Well, we decided that this not only was not good for working families, but it is not the basis on which you can build a decent country or a decent democracy. When you have a Prime Minister who basically two weeks ago stood up and told the nation that he is frightened - he is frightened - that if rights at work are reinstated, we will see unions at the pay bargaining tables of companies across the nation by right, the right of representation, then what you have is the shocking notion that a Prime Minister of a democracy would stand up and say he does not believe, genuinely does not believe, in the open right to freedom of association and the right to representation that comes along with it.

So we decided we had to fight back. That set of laws, work choices that tore up workers' rights, that threatened the minimum wage, that took away our industrial umpire, as well as all those fundamental ILO standards, is supported by two other pieces of equally shocking legislation. Time does not permit to show you a video, but let me tell you that when we have laws that are the death of permanent work, because contract work is now the basis on which any employer can decide to take your labour, pay you for your labour but not have an employment right with you, and in so doing make you responsible for all of the conditions, your pension, your overtime arrangements, your leave, your workers' compensation or health and safety support -- I am talking about all of those things you can be made responsible for by a decision of the nature of the employment relationship -- that is the end of permanent work in my country if we cannot see this Government off.

It gets worse. We have a piece of legislation that should not exist anywhere in the democratic world. It is aimed at our unions in the building and construction sector right now, but it has implications if the Tories win again for us to be all subject to coercive powers that allow interrogation, jail and fines for ordinary industrial activity.

You can be fined or jailed for having a union meeting and refuse to talk to a secret task force about who was there and what you talked about. It is as simple as that. You can have a dispute with the employer and months later find yourself, after it is done and dusted, summonsed to appear in court facing fines of up to $30,000 as an individual worker for an act of solidarity, for standing in solidarity with your colleagues when a representative of yours was sacked, harassed or suffered other industrial threats.

These three bits of legislation, along with the punitive action now where we are punishing the most vulnerable in my country, those who are disabled, single mothers, where we are threatening migrant rights, mean that we are seeing the breakdown of a proud multicultural tradition of a migrant nation because temporary workers are being brought into the country to fill so-called skill deficits. We absolutely welcome the temporary workers, absolutely welcome our workers from neighbouring countries, our brothers and sisters, but we will not stand back and see them refused the right to join a union or exploited about equivalent wages and conditions to those of Australian workers. All this paints a horrible picture for a proud democracy where we have said that workers' rights sit at the core of a decent nation.

We have spent two years fighting back because it has forced us to change the way we conduct politics. I think it has to force us right around the world to think again about how we build union power. We know how to organise in our workplaces, but I can tell you, as a movement, we have never seriously sought actually to organise in our communities before and to have a systematic conversation that employed every technique we could think of.

We actually took the cost of two cups of coffee, $5, voluntarily from each member in Australia and we built a national advertising capacity on national television in prime advertising time where we now tell the stories of working people hurt by a lack of rights and hurt by the Government's legislation. For every dollar we have spent, the business community and the Government have spent $15 and we have beaten them. It is now one of the number one issues for the forthcoming election.

However, if that is all we did, it would not be enough. We have actually systematically engaged - and we thank those unions around the world who have helped us to understand how to effect this - with our own members in phone conversations, door knocks, house visits, talking to people, not just in their workplaces, but one-on-one conversations about what it is that is at risk for them and for their children and their grandchildren.

We have a parallel to that. We have built community campaigns where we have community organisers now working in our communities in those electorates we need to win and they have been there for two years. They have built the kind of community campaign that sees non-union members and union members working together with church groups and women's groups with community organisations to say that rights at work must be reinstated.

In addition to that, we have mobilised like never before. In the face of no-strike legislation, other than in a protected bargaining period, we have mobilised on three separate occasions more than half a million workers and linked them by Sky channel in the same meeting right across the country.

Our Conservatives are in a panic. We face an election within weeks. We need you to keep your fingers crossed because we hope that we will get one simple victory. We hope we will get a Labour Party - that is a good thing - but it goes way beyond politics, about whether it is Labour or Conservative or Green or Democrat or Independent. This is a message from working Australians which says: "You can't tear up people's rights. You can't put your hand up and get them both to represent working people and their families. You can't tear up their rights without consulting them, without asking them how to vote, vote for legislation some 23 times which takes away job security, income security and fundamental rights, and then put your hand up again in a democracy and get re-elected. It does not work like that."

So it is a simple message that says it does not matter where you come from; if you do not protect working people, you seek to tear up their rights, do not expect to get re-elected. So keep your fingers crossed that within just a matter of weeks we will see off the Tories in our land who have sought to redefine an Australia that we do not recognise.

I wish it was just Australia, but indeed it is not. Whilst we all have to fight within our own nations, I am enormously grateful for the solidarity of the TUC, for other confederations around the country, and we will again draw on that solidarity as we seek to rewrite labour laws in Australia, should we see the Government defeated in the next few weeks.

The message for us is that we cannot indulge in isolationism. A new 'international' alone or a union campaign alone in my own country, without a sense of purpose, is about the kind of nation or the globalization we want to see. So whether it is a campaign for labour laws in specific countries, public services bargaining with a multi-national company, our vision for reform of the UN structures or other issues of social justice, we know one thing. Isolationism and whingeing about our plight in life will not change the political landscape or the legislative landscape and will not do anything about the ugly face of globalisation. So union strength must mean political strength as well as industrial strength.

On the global scale our commitment to the millennium development goals and the calls for action against poverty are simply the beginning. We must build the alliances that allow us to effect a serious drive for political influence, setting the political agenda, holding governments to account and seeing off the damaging effects of conservative governments everywhere. With very few exceptions, the governments of the world have moved to the right. They are easily seduced by the corporate board rooms. They are intimidated by the dominant financial policies of the World Bank, the IMF and the OECD when, indeed, they are not leading it. They are timid in opposition to the rise in social division, racism and xenophobia. Only when unions and civil society stand together against the might of the corporate world and in defence of good political leaders will we see the pendulum swing back the other way.

I am optimistic, even as I recognise the often overwhelming challenge of the struggle ahead of us, not the least of which is, as I said, central to the heart of my very own country right now.

Our political campaigns together must mean political power and success if we are going to achieve a legacy that we are proud to hand on our children and grandchildren and if we are going to use the legacy that was handed to us to dig deeper wells, as somebody said last night, for our grandchildren to drink from.

We know that the challenge for us is to be able to mobilise on a scale that can both influence the ballot box and then hold governments to account as we drive a consciousness that democracy extends well beyond polling day. In terms of UN reform, democracy must sit at the heart of a global governance structure that will make it possible for workers to feel confident to build a secure future; human rights, workers' rights, quality education and social justice. Broadly speaking, we know that without skills, without job security and without the rights that protect working people and their families, our future is not what we would want it to be.

The TUC, the ITUC, all of us, must have one ambition. We cannot rest on isolationism. We cannot rest on simply knowing what is right. We must take the fight, the arguments, the conversation, the communication and the good old-fashioned organising framework we know so well to our communities and we must enable those communities to demand of democracies all around the world a decent future where people, again, sit at the heart of a fair globalisation. Thank you. (Applause)

The President: Thank you very much, Sharan. That was an excellent contribution and it shows that we need to take the same approach the world over. We do wish Sharan and her colleagues all the very best in the coming months.

As you can see, we have been joined on the platform by John Hutton. John was with us last night and he is going to address Congress a little later on. So you are very welcome to Congress, John. Thank you.

Vulnerable Workers

The President: We now move on to Chapter 1 of the General Council's Report on Vulnerable Workers. I ask the General Secretary to introduce the video on Vulnerable Workers.

Brendan Barber (General Secretary): President and Congress, this year, as everyone knows, we have placed a major focus on challenging exploitation at work, including by establishing our Commission on Vulnerable Employment. Instead of making a speech about the evidence that the Commission has been hearing, I think it is better to give just a few of the workers we have met the chance to speak for themselves. The issues they raise demand a response. The tragedy is that this film could have been so much longer. (Video shown entitled: Exploited: Britain's Vulnerable Workers)

The President: Thank you, Congress. That was a completely absorbing video. It just should not be happening, should it? Like so many things that we do in the trade union movement, vulnerable work has been such a major area of work and there is, obviously, an enormous amount that we have to do. I am very pleased that we have a big debate organised for this subject. I am sure that you will be very supportive and commit yourselves to eradicating abuses like that. They really do have no place in our society today.

Migrant Workers

David Drever (Educational Institute of Scotland) moved Motion 1.

He said: EIS, first of all, wants to assert what is already well-known to Congress. You have heard it this morning, you saw it on the screen in the hall just minutes ago and it has been spoken of already earlier on this week. What is the role of migrant workers in the UK economy? I want to make reference to an excellent research paper published in June of this year by the TUC on the Economics of Migration, which made two very clear points which I want to refer to. The first point refers to the benefits which comes from migrant workers. Overall levels of employment and overall wage levels are in fact higher as a result of immigrant workers. By increasing the workforce as has happened during the past number of years the number of jobs available and the number of workers required have increased and the wages which these jobs pay increase accordingly.

Secondly, and this has been known since 2000 but recent evidence has up-dated it, migrant workers pay more in taxes than the value of public services they receive and consume. The figures in the year 2000, which have been enhanced since then, show that £31.2 billion was paid in taxes by migrant workers and £28.8 billion was consumed in public goods and services by them. These are facts, colleagues. While we can dismiss fairly easily the smears of the Daily Mail and The Sun when they speak of migrant workers stealing native jobs and draining the Welfare State, and they have done that in years past, I think we need to look more closely at the words of the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, on Monday when he spoke about British jobs for British workers when he allied this to a call for an enhanced English language test for new migrant workers. There are suggestions in the call of 'British jobs for British workers' that somehow it is the migrants coming in who are taking the jobs and the suggestion that these migrants will require enhanced language tests further isolates and marginalises an already vulnerable group.

Congress, we have already heard about the exploitation and abuse of migrant workers, and I do not want to rehearse that. We have heard from Sharan Burrow and we heard information earlier on today about agency workers, but I do want to make two points. What we are required to do is to enforce effectively minimum employment standards, minimum wage standards, sick pay and paid holidays for migrant workers. We need to organise migrant workers, we need to ensure that union rates are being paid and we need to ensure that there is no under-cutting of existing wage rates for native workers.

Tony Woodley spoke earlier about the dangers of a racist blacklash in this situation. It is all too clear that this may well happen. However, one way of preventing that situation happening is by defending the rights of immigrant workers and in doing so defending the rights of our own indigenous workers. By preventing the under-cutting of wage levels for migrants we will prevent the under-cutting and undermining of wages and conditions for our native workers.

The last point I want to make, Congress, is a specific one in the field of education. We heard yesterday about the misplaced cutbacks of ESOL classes which discriminate against migrant workers and their families. I want, briefly, to highlight the problems facing the children of migrant workers in our schools. In Scottish schools, and this happens throughout the United Kingdom, there has been a significant influx of youngsters from central and eastern Europe generally, but mainly Polish.

We in the EIS warmly welcome these pupils. We welcome the ethnic diversity they bring to our schools. We recognise, however, that education authorities and other providers must ensure that resources are available to enable these children to access fully the curriculum which is available to them and many of them cannot do that just now when they arrive in our country with no English language skills whatever. What we must do is put resources in place to ensure that classrooms, teachers and pupils have the resources which will allow these youngsters to play a full part in the education available to them. Colleagues, if we do all of these things in schools, in our workplaces, in the way we organise as unions and in the way we defend minimum wage standards and conditions, then we will ensure that the material base for racist abuse and concern by setting native worker against migrant worker will not exist. In doing so, we will defend migrant workers but we will also defend our existing workers. I ask you to support the motion.

Susan Highton (UNISON) seconded the motion.

She said: President and Congress, UNISON is pleased to second and to support this motion. We firmly believe that migrant workers make a positive contribution to our economy, particularly in public services, by doing some of the thankless jobs such as cleaning, catering, social work, social care and as well as professional jobs in social work and nursing.

The challenge to their effective organisation are many, particularly where workers are spread through different employers. Their employment and legal status can often prevent organising, representation and recruitment. Nationality and language play an important part. Just as with a UK born worker, gender, race, sexual orientation, identity, disability, age and faith may have implications. As unions we need a three-pronged approach. Firstly, organising and recruiting migrant workers; secondly, education to inform our members and the public about their valuable contributions and, thirdly, campaigning against laws which criminalise them and for changes in the law to legalise their status.

In UNISON we have, as have other unions, provided information and application forms in different languages but we have also researched private contractors which use large number of migrant workers. We must work with local communities, faith groups and find allies to establish credibility. The point is that unions are not automatically seen as a good thing depending on the migrant workers' experiences back home. Many of them, for example, will know of the way that murder and terror have been used in their home countries against trade unionists. Finally, we must use our union learning reps to help negotiate access to training and free English lessons. Yes, we have persuaded employers to give paid time off because they recognise it is in their best interests as well.

The actions called for in this motion will contribute to ensuring fair treatment to our colleague workers and affiliates. We must respond to help each other so that we are better placed to defend their rights. Congress, let us reach out to find our new family in forgotten factories, fields, care homes, shops and kitchens. Please support this motion. Thank you.

Rachelle Wilkins (GMB) supported Motion 1.

She said: Congress, we recognise that migrant workers are crucial to our economy and we must extend our hand of friendship to these most vulnerable workers who come to our country expecting a better standard of living. Unfortunately, more often than not, migrant workers are exploited by unscrupulous employers and gangmasters, in turn undermining the minimum wage and also health and safety legislation. Congress, this has to stop. The responsibility for doing so must lie with the employers.

As trade unions we need to refine our ways of reaching out to these workers and it is incumbent on us to recruit and organise them to prevent employers from creating unhealthy divisions which, in turn, undermine the terms and conditions of our own domestic workers. All unions need to work together on this issue and share best practices. We need to go beyond the workplace into the wider communities, possibly joining forces with schools, local authorities and migrant community worker groups.

The Midland and East Coast Region of the GMB have won two awards for our innovative projects Reaching out to New Communities. One of these was a TUC regional award and special thanks must go to Roger Mckenzie and Gary O'Donnell from the TUC for their help and support with the Grantham project. Through this we have helped workers to integrate fully into their local communities. Sometimes this is as simple as showing them how to open a bank account or find a school for their children. Two of our project workers who came from eastern Europe have helped us to create a Welcome handbook, not just in English but in different languages, which has proved to be an invaluable tool when recruiting our migrant workers.

GMB won the International Careers Guidance Award for this initiative in 2005. We also recognise the importance of the Internet and, through this, we have created a Migrant Worker web page, which allows us to reach out to our migrant workers, like I said, not just in English but in their own native languages.

Congress, please support this motion and help us to help our overseas brothers and sisters to feel welcome, safe and secure, by having the support from a trade union when they come to this country. Thank you.

Kevin Courtney (National Union of Teachers) spoke in support of Motion 1.

He said: I am very pleased to support this important motion on migrant workers.

Congress, sometimes the press and other allies of the bosses say that the trade union movement is a self-serving interest group. Leave aside the hypocrisy of the 37 percent pay- rise-bosses calling anyone else selfish. This motion shows our movement at its very best by reaching out to unorganised workers and vulnerable workers who are the bottom of every pile and doing everything we can to help. But, Congress, it is not just selfless.

This history of our movement is built on waves of migrants - Irish navvies, Caribbean transport workers, Asian nurses - coming here and joining our unions and revitalising our unions. Across the world migrant workers are revitalising the union movement.

I want to talk to you about migrant teachers who have come to this country to help out and then been treated in the most disgraceful way. I want to say that unscrupulous employers are not just small, half-illegal backstreet operations. There are very rich and very big teacher supply agencies which are unscrupulous employers and there are governments which are unscrupulous, too. (Applause)

When the teacher shortages were at their worst a few years ago, many London schools could not have run at all without the thousands of overseas teachers, mainly from the Commonwealth, who came here. Congress, I have worked with many teachers actively recruited from Africa and India by an exploitative teacher supply agency, which persuaded these teachers to give up their jobs at home and promised them the earth. They promised them continual work, paid holidays and permanent residency but after only a few months these agencies forced them to decide between redundancy with no work permit or highly casualised work at low pay rates and no school holiday pay. We did force compensation out of that agency and we got the Government to close down the experiment which allowed those agencies to hold teachers' work permits, but that has not stopped the bad treatment of overseas teachers. Now that the shortages have eased, the Government are tightening rules which previously they ignored, leading to many excellent well-qualified teachers losing their employment and their right to stay in the country.

In June of this year we had a meeting of 300 overseas teachers at NUT headquarters, 172 of whom told us that they were facing losing their employment. The Government was about to enforce a rule that had been ignored throughout the teacher shortage. These teachers, with very little notice, were given a deadline of 31st August to gain qualified teacher status or face withdrawal of their work permits. These teachers were well-qualified in their home countries. They had been working here with our children for many years and suddenly they were told they were unqualified.

Following the campaign we scored a partial victory. The Government did give an extension of one year, but the campaign must continue for all of these migrant workers including the teachers. I think we need to ask Mr Hutton some questions. We need to ask 'Will you treat overseas teachers/Commonwealth teachers on the same basis as European teachers and take into account their home qualifications? Why not if you are doing it for European teachers? Further, will you bring in laws that will control the agencies, that will treat all workers, both manual and professional, migrant and home, much better than they are treated now?' It may damage the profits of the agencies but the labour movement demands it of you.

Diana Holland (Unite) supported Motion 1.

She said: Congress, nearly 20 years ago as a new Women and Equalities Officer in the T&G I was invited on a cold Sunday afternoon to a social event organised by a group of migrant workers. That afternoon, through plays, poems and songs, I heard from a very talented group of mainly young women who told of the horrors they faced as migrant domestic workers in this country; how they curled up under a kitchen table at night to sleep having fed on scraps from the children's plates because they had no bed or food of their own, the long hours on low or no pay, having been verbally abused, spat at, threatened, hit, sexually harassed and even raped. How they longed for their families, the comfort and safety of home, knowing they had no money, often no passport because the employer had kept it, no rights and nowhere to run.

As Teresa said in the video we saw earlier, nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors. That afternoon we joined the campaign and over time 600 migrant domestic workers joined our union. Joining a union gave them a union card, status as a worker for the first time and together we had a much more powerful voice.

In 1998 after years of joint campaigning with Kalayaan and Waling-Waling, one of the first acts of the Labour Government ended the slavery status of migrant domestic workers we thought for good. It was a celebration like no other I have ever known in the trade union and labour movement. But last year these gains were placed under threat by new proposals on immigration. Conference, the campaign is on. We must not let migrant domestic workers suffer again. Their struggle is our struggle.

Organising migrant domestic workers and migrant workers is about community organising, challenging myths and unfair immigration rules, like the ones which say low paid senior care staff are no longer entitled to stay here because they are not paid enough. There is a different solution - pay them more. By building unity, we want to end basic exploitation.

I call on you all to support the motion, to support migrant workers and to take heart from the campaign message of migrant domestic workers, believing in the justice of the campaign and having the capacity to dream of a better world for all, even when morale is low. Migrant workers were central to the origins of our unions, many of them are here, and they are central to building unions today. Please support.

The President: Motion 1 is supported by the General Council.

* Motion 1 was CARRIED

Managed migration: impact on performers

Natasha Gerson (Equity) moved Motion 2.

She said: Congress, before I go on, I would like to congratulate the banjo players on their election to the General Council. (Applause and cheers)

First of all, I would like to emphasise strongly that we, Equity, support wholeheartedly the TUC's approach to migration. It has an overwhelmingly positive impact on the economy and on the cultural life of the UK. Workers from outside the EU should have the opportunity to work in the UK but only if they are properly protected. Fair working conditions and employment rights must be provided for them. But if the alarming changes proposed by the Home Office as part of its new points system for visa applications are introduced, there is no guarantee that such rights will be enforced. At present non-EU members require a work permit, and consultation with a third party, such as a trade union, is required. This allows monitoring of potential employers and goes some way to preventing abuse of vulnerable workers.

Tier 5 under the new regime proposes to allow any employer to bring in any non-EU worker they please without benefit of consultation. This omission will almost certainly mean less protection for the most vulnerable.

Of course, we at Equity want to retain our reciprocal agreement with the US Actors' Union, which at its best gives our young workers, not just the established, the chance to work in America, but it is also a fact that 95 percent of the contracts undertaken by our members are for less than a year, but that is not all that this motion is about. It is about the protection of all short-term workers, EU and non-EU in the areas of construction, catering, etc. We have seen it today. The list is endless. We are asking Congress to work with us, the Government and the Home Office to ensure that the new system retains and strengthens former safeguards in order to protect rather than neglect this easily exploited section of our workforce. Please support. We have accepted BECTU's amendment. Thank you.

Martin Spence (Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union) supported the motion.

He said: I speak in support of this motion and thanking Equity for accepting our amendment to it.

You have had it explained to you how the existing system is proposed to change, according to the Home Office proposals. We have a system that, in our view, broadly ain't broke but, nevertheless, the Government intend to fix it and replace it with something new. The new system will be, as you have heard, an employer-based system where employers will be able to bring in workers from outside the EU, outside of the system of work permits and consultation with the entertainment unions which exists at the moment.

The entertainment industries and the arts thrive and are driven by talent. They are driven by the talent of the people who you see on the screen and on the stage, actors, dancers, singers and musicians, and they are driven by the talent of the people who you do not see, the people who we represent behind the scenes, if you like, the directors, the designers, the technicians, the people who operate the cameras and the sound equipment and the editors. These people are crucial as well. This is a world centre of entertainment excellence in the UK and the unions have invested an enormous amount of time and resources in building up the skills base in those industries. Our success is lauded by the Government. It lauds the fact that the creative industries collectively now represent between 7 percent and 8 percent of GDP, but that will not remain the case unless we continue to nurture and protect UK-based creative talent.

Our theory is that the new system will be open to abuse. It is a light touch regulatory system driven by employers and it will be open to abuse. A further problem is that this is a project-based industry. Films only take a few months to make. Some programmes only take a few weeks to make. Shows may only run for a few weeks or a few months on the stage.

The problem is that if abuses occur by the time we respond to them it may be too late to achieve anything effective, because not only has the film finished or the show finished but the company which produced them has actually wound itself up. That is why our amendment asks for rapid and effective sanctions on employers who do not follow the guidelines that will emerge from the present consultation. That is why we are asking for your support for this motion.

Barbara White (Musicians' Union) supported the motion.

She said: My colleagues have already told you about the proposed changes to Tier 5 under the points-based system. During the winter of 2004-2005 there was a glut of Russian and East European ballet and musical companies touring the UK. Victor and Lillian Hochhauser, the impresarios who promote the Moscow City Ballet in this country, secured the services of an orchestra from Latvia. In recruiting Latvian musicians, the Hochhausers had benefited from the change in European law.

We agree in principle with the freedom of movement of labour, goods and services throughout the EU, but this freedom should not be used by employers to exploit workers and undercut the resident labour market. Negotiated rates of pay for musicians in this field of work are not particularly high. When musicians from Eastern Europe are paid less than our negotiated rates, they are almost on starvation wages. Some of these musicians find themselves staying in the cheapest possible hotels and, quite often, breakfast is not included. Apart from their instrument cases, you might also find them carrying a suitcase packed full of food. If you stop at a motorway service station in the early hours of the morning you will frequently find musicians having a cup of coffee and something to eat when they are travelling home having finished a night's work. I know several British musicians who have purchased food and drink for some East European musicians when they have realised that they did not have sufficient money to buy more than a cup of coffee.

Our members do not have a problem with migrant musicians per se as they respect their specialist skills and their musical ability. It is not a case of one musician being against another. The issue is the exploitation of labour by employers who engage or employ cultural workers for less than the minimum pay and conditions as laid out in the relevant collective agreements prevailing in the member state that the worker is visiting.

It is crucial that the Government work with the entertainment unions in order to offer protection to the most vulnerable group of workers. Please support.

The President: There is nothing to reply to. The General Council supports Motion 2.

* Motion 2 was CARRIED

National Minimum Wage enforcement

John Hannett (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) moved Composite Motion 1.

He said: Congress, this motion is seeking the strengthen the National Minimum Wage enforcement process. Last year the government department dealing with enforcement issued a report on the subject. It listed the amount of illegal under-payment uncovered at around £3 million, a shocking figure but it also gave the most common excuses used by employers to justify not paying the minimum wage. These, more than anything else, illustrate why this motion is before Congress today. So what were the reasons given? One employer said that the reason why they had not paid the minimum wage was because the workers did not speak English, and another added, 'In any case, it's more than they would get in their own country'. Another employer gave as a reason that the employee was disabled and another said it was because the employees were over the age of 65. Yet another employer said, 'I don't think the worker was worth it. In any case, she only wanted £3 an hour'. Congress, all of those statements are outrageous from employers who were deliberately and blatantly under paying the minimum wage.

To those excuses must be added the employers who use accommodation costs to deny employees the right to the National Minimum Wage. Some employers who provide accommodation for workers will charge more than they are allowed to for the accommodation itself. They deduct major costs over and above what they should for gas payments when they are not allowed to. If they provide transport to work, they deduct this amount illegally claiming that it can come off the minimum wage when it cannot and should not. Rogue employers like Butlins have been found guilty of illegally under paying the National Minimum Wage to the tune of £1 million by deducting gas and electricity costs from their employees' wage packets.

Congress, we have to tackle underpayment in all of its forms if we are to ensure that the National Minimum Wage really succeeds and makes the differences that we want to see. That is what this motion is seeking to achieve. It calls for a series of improvements designed to help in the enforcement process. These include further substantial increases in the enforcement budget, a more vigorous targeting of sectors and types of workers where underpayment is likely to be rife and greater publicity of the enforcement process including maximum coverage of major developments such as the first criminal prosecution which took place in August 2007 against a children's nursery.

Congress, the motion also calls for other measures. It calls for stiffer financial penalties on employers caught underpaying or victimising those trying to enforce their statutory rights, and it calls for increased compensation for workers concerned. Yes, they should get all the money they have been underpaid but they should get it with interest as well. Why should a worker get nothing else from their employer when they have, in effect, been giving the company an interest free loan?

I was delighted when Gordon Brown gave a clear pledge on this issue when he spoke to this Congress. The Government have pledged to take action in these areas and we welcome the recent consultation process and look forward to the introduction of a further way of dealing with arrears owed to workers.

USDAW is calling for a greater role for trade unions in the enforcement of the National Minimum Wage. In particular we want to see trade unions able to take group claims on behalf of a number of workers to an industrial tribunal. This means that we could push forward the whole of the trade union organising agenda for these very vulnerable workers. It would open the door to developing recruitment and organising in areas and companies where, as a movement, we have had limited experience and success so far, as is well illustrated in the video that we saw.

Congress, USDAW has first-hand experience of the benefits of the minimum wage which it has brought to the workers in the retail and associated industries. There the minimum wage has been a major success. Let us ensure it remains so by putting in place the strongest possible enforcement methods. Thank you.

Gloria Hanson (UNISON) seconded the composite motion.

She said: Enforcement is the bedrock of the minimum wage. Unless employers know that they will be caught and penalised for underpaying their workers, the Minimum Wage Act is just another piece of paper.

The National Minimum Wage has been in force for nearly eight years but thousands of workers still work in under-regulated industries. For employers who have little regard for their workers' rights, migrant workers, young workers and others who lack bargaining power are particularly vulnerable to minimum wage violations. Our colleagues in Her Majesty's Revenue and Collection have done a valiant job of enforcing the legislation. They have shone a bright light into some of the darkest corners of the labour market and brought many unscrupulous employers to account. But the HMRC needs greater resources, more staff and stronger powers.

Congress, we welcome the Government commitment to increased funding to the HMRC but more is still needed. At the moment the HMRC can target only one sector a year for protective enforcement. There should be enough compliance officers to investigate a much wider range of employers, thus creating more job opportunities. To be really effective they should also be able to share information with other agencies dealing with different areas of employment rights. What is the point of having one agency to enforce the minimum wage if they cannot act on violations of working time or health and safety which so often occur together in the same workplace? Unions need the opportunity to take representative and group cases to tribunals, rather than having to take individual cases. Where patterns of under payment exist, it is rarely only one worker who is suffering. UNISON has worked with other unions and the TUC to put forward proposals for stronger enforcement and tougher penalties for employers who break the law. We want employers to think really hard before they take the risk of cheating their workers out of the minimum wage.

The most important thing that we can do to enforce the minimum wage is to make sure that workers know their rights. The Government have been timid in their approach to information. We proposed in 1999 that information about the minimum wage should be printed on every pay slip and posted in every workplace. We still think that should happen. We also believe that every new worker entering the labour force should get a starter kit with full details of their rights and how to enforce them. We want to see informed workers, supportive unions and a strong enforcement agency working together to make the minimum wage a truly powerful weapon against low pay. Please support.

Dave Bean (Public and Commercial Services Union) spoke in support of Composite Motion 1.

He said: It is PCS members who work in the HMRC - Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs - who are tasked with enforcing the National Minimum Wage. Our members would, I am sure, have welcomed Gordon Brown's statement on Monday that no employer should be exempt from paying at least the National Minimum Wage to their workforce, but PCS members also welcomed the then Chancellor's pledge in December 2006 to increase resources in the National Minimum Wage Enforcement Budget by 50 percent.

Congress, I can inform you that at the time of this promise in December of last year there were about 80 compliance officers working in HMRC. Belatedly, nine months later a recruitment programme is underway to add a further eight compliance officers to those currently employed. I think that anyone can work the figures out. Instead of a 50 percent increase in compliance officers, we only get 10 percent. That situation, I believe, is certainly due to the 25,000 projected job losses that the Chancellor wanted to enforce at that time in HMRC. Similarly, the equivalent of only three members in the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, DEFRA, is the total resource to respond to complaints from agricultural workers regarding the National Minimum Wage. That situation ably demonstrates the negligible commitment of resources by DEFRA, a Civil Service department which has recently experienced compulsory redundancies. What sort of sense does it make to have legislation on the National Minimum Wage if there are not the resources to enforce it?

PCS actually agrees that far too few penalties have been imposed up to now but, there again, we have to use our small compliance resource and this means that we have to make choices on whether it is worth jeopardising arrears of pay being made to take on complex legal cases against employers. In fact, Congress, HMRC only has the resources for about six prosecutions for all the National Minimum Wage offences per year. That, of course, forces employees actually to take their cases to employment tribunals for themselves and feel isolated and open to dismissal by doing so. Even if eventually we get to a settlement with the company concerned, we find there is a lack of sanctions for the underpayment of holiday pay. There is no enforcement agency for holiday pay, believe it or not.

So, Congress, we all welcome the principle of the National Minimum Wage, but PCS wants more enforcement powers to pursue those employers who do not pay it to their workforce. We need more resources to have sufficient numbers of compliance officers to be able to enforce the National Minimum Wage as promised by Government but not delivered by HMRC.

Therefore, Congress, if you want proper enforcement of the National Minimum Wage it is essential that civil servants are employed in sufficient numbers to deliver it rather than arbitrary job cuts which do the reverse. Otherwise, we will still leave the poorest in our society without proper pay protection, which they both deserve and are entitled to. Support Composite 1.

Michelle Wyer (FDA) supported the Composite 1.

She said: Me again, President of the Association of Revenue and Customs. I want to start by saying that I completely support the spirit of this composite motion. I work for HMRC and I know how hard my colleagues work to monitor compliance with the national minimum wage. In fact, only recently headlines were made with the first criminal prosecution. A children's nursery owner has today been fined £2,500 with £500 costs in the first national minimum wage criminal prosecution case. This is vitally important work and I totally support the actions proposed in the motion for more compliance officers.

However, Congress, what disappoints me is the reference to failures by HMRC management. This seems to blame my members directly for government policy. The motion alleges a 'failure by HMRC management to deliver on Gordon Brown's commitment'. Basically, this looks like an attempt to avoid offending the Government and attack union members instead. These are members. Senior members in Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (or the vast majority of them) are in a union -- right to the very top. Most are in the FDA but there are quite a few in PCS too. HMRC is one of the most strongly unionised employers at these levels in the country, if not the most strongly organised.

Congress, the Government have made no additional resources available to HMRC to do this vital work. In fact, we have had reductions of 5 per cent year on year, as well as the proposed reductions of almost a quarter of our staff, and yet in this environment senior managers are expected to meet a commitment to allocate an additional 50 percent to national minimum wage work. Where is the additional resource to be found? Should we pull off people involved in paying tax credits or tackling tax fraud? My best suggestion is that we advise people to buy a ticket on the European Lottery and keep their fingers crossed for the £35 million.

They have as much chance of getting additional resources via that route as any other.
Our members work hard and do a good job in increasingly difficult times, but what they cannot deliver is magic. I checked our staff lists and we have no Potter, Harry; Grainger, Hermione; or any Weasleys at all!

Our Government do not need our help to attack my members. The commitment to 'increase resources by 50 per cent' was made by Ministers and it is Ministers that should provide the 'goblin gold' for those increased resources.

But, to conclude, the USDAW motion is excellent and I hope and expect it to be endorsed by Congress, but I do ask for a pause for thought when composing motions in future. Consider those required to deliver such policy without being resourced to do so.

Thanks for listening.

The President: I will now go to the vote. The General Council support.
* Composite Motion 1 was CARRIED

Gangmasters and the construction industry

Alan Ritchie (Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians) moved Motion 4.

He said: The construction industry is a tough and dangerous industry, an industry which suffers from casualisation and fragmentation. European Union expansion was the means for greedy and unscrupulous employers to exploit migrant labour. Migrant labour is used because of a failure to train young workers in the UK through craft apprenticeships. Fifty thousand young people applied for craft apprenticeships but only 7,000 could be paid in our industry. This is at a time when the construction industry is booming, but migrant workers are being abused by the construction companies. Employers are out for a quick buck with no concern for their workers.

Migrant workers are recruited in their own countries or when they arrive in this country, at a time when they are most vulnerable, recruited by gangmasters or, as they say themselves, labour-only employment agencies. Workers are literally placed into bonded labour, doing the same work as others but paid far less, far below the industry minimum rates, extra money deducted for travel and accommodation. They are the modern version of tied cottages, called hot bedding, and in one instance a garden shed had been converted into a bedroom with six beds. Eighteen migrant workers were sleeping in the shed on an eight-hour shift system. It is hard to believe that this goes on in the 21st century. Such squalor and deprivation should have disappeared with Dickens. Large deductions are made from wages, excessive charges for return flights are common, passports are confiscated by the gangmaster and as trade unions get involved to prevent further abuses in this atmosphere of all prevailing cultural fear gangsmasters have told the workers that if they join the union they will be sacked and deported. They know it a lie but it is effective when frightened workers are faced with that. Many employment agencies now take English workers, but they are more difficult to exploit. It is illegal, but it an abuse of law that has to be acted on.

The systematic abuse of workers is not just in small construction companies. UCATT have uncovered, throughout the country, appalling levels of abuses by gangmasters working on sites owned by all the major construction companies. In the Midlands one of our officials visiting a site found workers paid below the minimum wage. In most sub-contract work employment agencies are brought in and exploit the workforce, who are often migrant workers.

We believe the Government must act to stop this serial exploitation. We have situations where workers have not been paid by the gangmasters in the agricultural industry. But in that situation the companies can be stripped of their licences by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and they can no longer supply labour to the agricultural industry. But unfortunately they are alive and kicking in the construction industry. If the abuses were uncovered, they would be banned. Unlicensed gangmasters kill workers. Construction is the most dangerous business in Britain and there has been a 31 per cent increase in deaths in construction. The casual nature of our industry has tragic consequences. On one site a crane collapsed. A Polish worker was killed on his first day on a construction site in Liverpool. His family were not informed of his death for week. No one even knew he was on the site. No paper work: he did not exist.

This resolution calls for the Gangmasters Licensing Act 2004 to be extended to the construction industry, so that the gangmasters in the construction industry, the worst gangmasters, have their licences revoked. Many of these employment agencies have now moved into construction. UCATT believes the government must act now; they must stop intimidation. They must stop the fear and must stop the exploitation of these vulnerable workers.

I move Motion 4 and ask you to support unanimously.


Russ Blakely (Unite) seconded Motion 4.

He said: I am here today to speak in support of Motion 4, speaking on behalf of Unite, a construction union member. There is another way to combat gangmasters agencies, these flesh pedlars, and that is to enforce and uphold the full main construction national agreements in the UK, which are applicable in engineering or construction. These agreements will tackle the problem of gangmasters or is it gangsters? Construction workers can operate telephones, fax machines, emails, so they should be directly employed under our national agreements. We do not need gangmasters to find us a job. These mechanical and electrical contractors have national agreements. The government is the biggest construction client in the UK and then, for example, when contractors win PFI hospital or new build contracts they resort to gangmasters and agencies, without the national agreements. Then there is bogus self employment. The UK construction industry is a scandal. It is outrageous that the UK Government is not coming down on these outfits like a ton of bricks.

Gordon Brown mentioned Carillion when speaking about construction, the same Carillion along with Balfour Beatty, along with their subsidiaries, along with the Employers Association, whose former managing director was taken to court. There was a statement on oath, stated in a court of law, talking about a blacklist of UK construction workers, which has now been extended to agency workers, but this statement went uncontested by the employers' legal counsel. In the year ending April 2007 there were 77 deaths in construction -- yes, 77 -- and from April of this year to this present moment in time another 30 plus UK construction worker have already been killed in the UK, with thousand upon thousand of injuries.

One- point -two million people work in the UK construction sector, one in four are union members. We need to recruit and organise the other three out of four. The only way we can do this is in the cabins on the sites under the national agreement. Support Motion 4.


The President: Let us move to a vote on Motion 4. The General Council support the motion.

* Motion 4 was CARRIED

Address by Rt Hon John Hutton MP, Secretary of State for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

The President: As I indicated, I am going to go to the contribution by John Hutton. We are really pleased to have him with us today; he has been here since yesterday. John is the Secretary of State for the new Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, which used to be the old DTi, and I am very pleased that John was able to be with us throughout that debate and to listen to our contributions. John, we are pleased to have you here today and we invite you to address Congress.


John Hutton: Thank you very much, Alison, for that introduction. Can I start by thanking you on two counts: one, for allowing me to listen to that debate; and also, you may not thank me for this, making a brief contribution to it.

President I believe very strongly indeed that Britain's economy today is stronger, it is fairer, and it is more competitive than it was ten years ago. There are over 600,000 new businesses, investment is up, more people than ever have a job and more of those people have employment rights than they did in 1997. Unemployment is at a thirty year low and inflation is at an historically low level. My belief is that that has not happened by accident. It has happened because we have recognised that to succeed in the dynamic global economy we have to be open and outward looking, receptive to new ideas, yes, and willing to change the way we do things, and to deal with change successfully. I also believe we need to build partnerships between business, government and unions, and to put confrontation and conflict behind us. I see this very clearly in my own constituency of Barrow where workplace relations in the shipyard have changed beyond all recognition in the past ten years, helping in the process to sustain jobs and skills in an industry that many people felt had no long-term future.

In making that progress I think we have learned one other thing too, that in the modern world you do not have to trade economic success for social justice. You do not have to choose between a fair society and prosperity. That is the false choice the Conservative Party has always offered the British people and you only have to read John Redwood's plans to see what a threat a Cameron Government would be to jobs and workplace rights in the United Kingdom.

When I say I want to be the voice for business, that means championing all those who make business in the UK successful. Most importantly, the greatest resource that British companies have is Britain's workforce. I believe we have established partnerships, based on our fundamental shared values between government and trade unions, that have delivered advances for working people unparalleled in modern political times.

It is for all of these reasons that I have always believed in the link between the trades unions and the Labour Party, as I did in my early days as an employment rights lawyer working in the North East where I saw at first hand the exploitation and the vulnerability of many British workers. Now more than ever we need to listen properly to each other and to debate policies in a progressive way, and that is why I welcome the work we are all engaged in to extend and renew our party democracy. I know that only a constructive partnership between a Labour Government and a trade union movement today will deliver the changes that working people in our country need. Next month, for example, workers who have to take bank holidays out of their statutory leave entitlement will benefit from an additional four days holiday, with more to come, making a difference to six million workers, many of the poorest working people, delivered as a result of your constructive engagement with this Labour Government, and in October around a million people will benefit again as the minimum wage rises. But as the experience of Jennifer, Michael, Danny and Theresa in the film you played earlier so powerfully showed, the existence of workplace rights alone is not going to be enough if employers think they can flout the law with impunity. Of course, it is clear to all of us that there is still exploitation and abuse in the workplace.

We will never retreat from arguing for fairness at work, the right to work, and the right to share in rising prosperity so that everyone has the opportunity to use their skills to the full. These rights, I think, are fundamental to a decent modern society but it is only by ensuring that they can be exercised in a Britain that is changing more rapidly and profoundly than at any times since the industrial revolution that we can give protection to the most vulnerable workers and also ensure that our economy can prosper in the future.

Rights that exist only on paper, as one of the contributions to your debate made clear, are not worth the paper they are written on. Under the Vulnerable Worker and Enforcement Forum that we set up this year, bringing together unions and employers, the enforcement agency is doing vital work in helping us understand the extent of abuse in workplaces today. The evidence that Unite, GMB and UCATT are bringing to the forum is vital to our work. Evidence from the TUC's own Commission on Vulnerable Employment will also be crucial as well.

We know we must step up enforcement in workplaces across our country. That is why we are substantially increasing investment in enforcing the minimum wage, and that extra investment will go in. Where there is underpayment I can confirm today that employers will face an increased maximum fine and workers will get fair arrears of wages reflecting the current wage, the wage they are owed, not the level of the minimum wage as it was when these breaches occurred.

As the Prime Minister said on Monday, bringing the power of the enforcement agencies together will be key to help us make the further progress we want to see. This is something I want the forum to address urgently, starting from its meeting next week. Where there are abuses in employment agencies we will root them out. We will double the number of inspectors and give them greater powers to investigate as well.
We will go further to crack down on rogue agencies, raise the possible penalty for abuses to an unlimited fine and we will legislate to end the suspect practice of forcing agency workers to pay for accommodation or transport, giving them for the first time a real and proper choice and a right not to take services they do not want to use.
Vulnerable workers can be exploited by employers, no matter the nature of the employment or which sector they work in, but we know it is wrong to suggest that all agency workers will be the victims of abuse and exploitation. We must root out the rogues, whatever sector they are in, as we act to protect jobs and flexibility that offers jobs to millions of workers. Agency and all other workers benefit, deservedly so, from the core workplace rights that we have established and they are likely to be the single largest group to benefit from the new bnk hliday legislation that I referred to a moment or two ago.

We will continue to form our policy going forward on the basis of the evidence. The TUC's own research is that significant numbers of temporary workers choose agency work in preference to permanent jobs. Agency working has always played a crucial role in our labour market, enabling people to get a foot in the door and a route into permanent employment, many from a life on benefit. One-third of agency workers were out of work altogether, including many coming from years on benefit and women returning to work after bringing up children. Forty per cent of agency workers find themselves in a permanent job after a year.

I think it is vital that we fulfil our agreement of Warwick to seek progress in Europe. We balance the commitment to the principle of equal treatment with an equal determination to protect jobs and give people a choice that agency work can offer.
We want to see discussions on the Directive come to a successful conclusion with a fair and lasting solution. The priority being placed on the issue by the Portuguese Presidency gives us a fresh opportunity to search for agreement. We will take advantage of this new opportunity to try and reach a sensible agreement. If we are to make progress on this and many other issues of importance that you have referred to in your debate today, I think there are two essential tests that any new legislation in this area must meet. Firstly, does it protect jobs and protect the fundamental right to work? Will it continue to allow companies to go on creating jobs? Secondly, will it make a positive change for the most vulnerable working people? Where those two tests are met we will not hesitate to take action.

I want to end this morning, Alison, by stressing that government action alone is not going to be sufficient. I agree with Gloria Hanson from UNISON that we need a new partnership to help shine a light into the dark corners of our labour market and rid Britain of practices that have no place in a modern successful economy. Here my view is that unions have a vital role to play in bringing rogue employers to justice, reporting abuses to the authorities so that we can join together in protecting the most vulnerable workers. If you come forward, the Government will act. I have already asked Brendan for the details of all those individuals mentioned in your video so that we can ensure the enforcement agencies are taking the appropriate action where the law has been breached.

But there is one more area where we need to do more together. It is right that we look for ways to help your organisations better advance the cause of protecting vulnerable workers. David Cameron announced yesterday that he would scrap the Union Modernisation Fund. Because we value the work you do in improving the lives of working people, I can announce today that we will in fact extend and strengthen the Fund. There will be a further round of up to £3 million that will include a new focus on protecting the most vulnerable workers from abuse and exploitation. So, President and Congress, working together we help the most vulnerable in our society. That is what our movement was founded on.

Working again together in this generation, I think we can deliver fair employment opportunities for all British workers, a Britain where the right to work and the right to fair treatment in the workplace continue to be the hallmarks of our decent and progressive society. Thank you for listening.

The President: Thank you for that. I think we have been saying all week that we appreciate it when people come and acknowledge the contribution that our members make. We have a lot to offer and we welcome some of the announcements you were able to make today.

I am now handing over to Brendan.


Brendan Barber (General Secretary): I am very pleased that John agreed to take questions. A number of unions have indicated that they would like to put a question, and I would like to take two or three questions that unions want to raise on the issue of employment agencies. Cathy Murphy from GMB, please. Tom Lannon from UCATT, and Steve Warwick from UNISON. Cath, please, if you could put the point you want to make.

Cathy Murphy (GMB): On a number of occasions over the last few years GMB's local industrial action has been undermined by employment agencies sending agency staff to undermine the dispute. The Employment Standards Inspectorate has intervened but our experience is that they have failed to do so. What will it take to increase their powers and ensure that the abuse stops?

Tom Lannon (Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians): Construction worker. The question I want to ask is this. Last month employment agency Baltic Work Team were stripped of their licence by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority after a group of Bulgarian agriculture workers were found to be starving, not having been paid. Despite this, Baltic still also operate in construction where there are equal levels of exploitation but no such regulation. When will the Gangmasters Act be extended to the construction industry?

Steve Warwick (UNISON): Unison is committed to world-class public services. As a union we will not see all the extra investment of public money spent on public services. We are increasingly worried that large sums up to £35 million a year in some London Boroughs are being spent with employment agencies. The costs are huge and there are dubious practices. Our members who work for agencies struggle to get accurate pay slips and get no annual leave or pay slips. Better regulation is needed and it is now time for real rights for agency staff.

John Hutton: I will try to respond. Cathy's question echoed the last question about employment agencies needing to be taken seriously. Some of the announcements that I have made will help us make progress in this area.
If the law is not being properly applied we have to make sure that the authorities who are charged with that job have the resources to implement the legislation.
Parliament has made a decision about the use of agency workers when there are industrial disputes going on. By doubling the number of inspectors that are going into work with the Agency Inspectorate we can begin to make a difference. I do not claim we can solve every problem or every abuse tackled. I cannot make that promise today but I can say there will be additional resources, more people on the ground, to help us properly enforce the law and stop employment agencies breaking the law in this area. It is a priority for us and we have made a commitment for us and I will be accountable to you for delivering those commitments.

On Tommy's point about construction sites and the gangmasters legislation, let me say two things about that. Regulations that came into effect this spring, the Construction Design and Manufacturing Regulations, offer a better prospect that we can deal with some of these problems of abuse in construction, I think, than extending the gangmasters regulation. The important thing about these regulations is that they will apply to all sites and there will be unlimited fines available for those who break the regulations.

Why I think the regulations are a better tool than the gangmasters legislation is because it can be gangmaster specific. These regulations deal with the fact that those who are working on construction sites have to be properly trained and skilled. Thedse new regulations deal with that too. I accept the case, but we have got to look at this. There are abuses. We heard about the increase in fatalities. This is completely unacceptable to us and I know if Peter Hain were here he would be talking about it.

So some of the things that need to be done to tackle this -- we need to look at abuse and exploitation. We can see if these new regulations work and if they do not our commitment is that we will keep under review the gangmasters regulations.

Brendan Barber (General Secretary): UCU want to pose a question on ESOL provision.

Jon Bryan (University and College Union): I was pleased to hear your commitment to vulnerable workers and, given the Government's commitment to adult education and civic contribution, I would like to know why the Government are cutting entitlement to free English classes for many of our most vulnerable citizens, including migrant workers. We are talking about £1,000 for a full-time course.

Brendan Barber: Could I ask Janice Godrich of PCS to come up. She has a question on redundancy in government departments.

Janice Godrich (Public and Commercial Services Union): I very much welcome your opening statement about working with unions. My question relates to equality. One of your new Department's roles is to promote better practice in employment relations, yet we find that compulsory redundancies amongst its staff have had a disproportionate effect on black and ethnic staff who are represented among the low paid staff within your Department and the whole civil service. What steps will you be taking to ensure your Department sets a better example to other employers?

John Hutton: When I was at the DWP I went to the consortia in London who were dealing with these problems and to announce that they had extra money to do this. We have to make sure that the right investment is going into that, as much as we can afford to make, and the Budget was a very helpful one.

On the point that has been made from UNISON, we have to follow the legislation, the strengthened legislation that this Labour Government put into play. I know there are some specific issues that have been raised, particularly with relation to my own department, that I am looking at, and we will follow to the letter of the legislation that we initiated and we took through Parliament. That is our legal responsibility to our workforce, and we look to discharge that every way we can.

Brendan Barber: John's Department has a number of responsibilities and I now call two unions on energy, BACM-TEAM and Prospect.


Patrick Carragher (BACM-TEAM): On the environmental imperative to decrease carbon emissions, the Government have announced a competition for clean coal later in the year. Given that the European Commission want about ten or twelve of these projects to go ahead, and given that there are different types of technology, do they have enough vision? Should it not be extended to ensure we try and improve the different kinds of technologies that are about currently?

Paul Noon (Prospect): The UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has a clear view on our nuclear legacy. In reality this work has been slowed down, which has also caused job losses and the loss of nuclear skilled workers. At the same time the USA and Europe are pushing hard for re-processing and the Japanese utilities are also committed. Will the Minister give such a commitment to the UK, to generate jobs, to fund the gap on clean up.

John Hutton: The last question about the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, we are putting additional money into the NDA, more money going in. There is a legacy issue we have to address. We have to discharge our responsibilities to people to come. We set out our views in the recent White Paper and the consultation on new nuclear energy, and that is an issue for people to discuss with us, and that is an open debate at the moment. The consultation closes next month and we should assess what people say. There are contracts for re-processing which take us several years into the future, that have to be properly discharged by NDA and the Sellafield team, and that will happen but we have to listen to what people have to say about the future of re-processing.

I think on Pat's question about coal, and how we can develop and support some of the new technologies that will make coal-fired power generation viable and sustainable, we have a great opportunity for this with a demonstration on carbon capture going ahead in November. There is a golden opportunity for us here in the UK to take an international lead in developing some of the new technologies that we need to make our environment safer and which can be a real boost to jobs. The competition you referred to will be dynamic. We will look at the technology that is most exportable and therefore for the benefit of the UK, alongside the other projects we are working with. This is a great opportunity for us. We have to be confident enough to seize the moment and that is what I want to do.

Brendan Barber: Another sector that John is responsible for, postal services.


Amarjite Singh (Communication Workers Union): I work in the postal sector as a post person, and every day I see -- since deregulation in 2006 - in every-day life where we deliver public services, the negative effect it has on the Royal Mail. My question is, in Labour's last election manifesto the government committed to a review of the impact of competition on Royal Mail. Could you confirm what the timing and terms of reference for the competition review will be? Thank you.

John Hutton: We have, as you know, recently put £2 billion of additional investment into the Royal Mail to help the Royal Mail deal with the challenge of competition for postal services. I do not think there can be any turning back of the clock there. That is the reality. We have to find the right way forward for the Royal Mail that benefits both the staff who work there and the customers who use postal services. It will be done. I said to Billy Hayes, I don't know whether he is here today -- he is -- that we are going to do this. We cannot do it -- it would be wrong to do it -- during the currency of this current dispute. I hope this dispute can be ended quickly because that is in the best interests of Royal Mail and the staff, but we will have to wait until the outcome of the dispute.

Brendan Barber: Two final questions from USDAW and Connect. Geoff?

Jeff Broome (Union of Shop Distributive and Allied Workers): USDAW welcomes the extension of the right to request flexible working to carers of adults. The right to request flexible working has made it easier for working parents and carers to enter and remain in paid work. In view of the importance of flexible working and the benefits this brings to both workers and employers, what plans, if any, are there to extend the right to request flexible working to all workers?

Adrian Askew (Connect): The Government often talks about lightening the regulatory load on employers, yet it seems that there is one rule for business and another for trade unions. If I can give a couple of examples. As a union we have a specific mandate, we have a political fund, members can choose not to pay into it if they wish. Even with that, every ten years we have to spend thousands of pounds re-balloting members to ask if they want the fund to continue. That could be better spent on skills training for vulnerable workers. It adds no value, and when we hold ballots we do so under some very arcane rules. My question is quite simple: you are committed to lightening the load on business. Will you apply the same de-regulatory principles to unions and help us get on with what we do best, which is making the world of work better for millions of British workers.

John Hutton: I think on the first question about part-time working and the right to request flexible working, the legislation has been a success. It was extended to two and a half million workers. The purpose of the legislation was very clear. It was targeted on those who had caring responsibilities. It does now command a consensus between both sides, union, employers and government, that this is the right way to build on the framework of laws that were established. I think we should keep this under review, we will do so, but we should bear in mind that there is a new right too, a flexible right, and it is something we are looking at very, very carefully.

On the point about ballots and deregulation, let me make one thing clear. It has been tremendously important, the work we have done on better regulation, and in this session there will be new legislation, and for many sceptics, for many people who doubted what this agenda was about, they perceived it to be about taking away workers' rights, we have been able to show it is possible to develop better legislation. That is essentially the question that we should look at in relation to your point about union ballots on political funds. If there is a way of ensuring, by doing all of this in a different way, a sensible way that takes advantage of modern technology, we should look at that. If you want to put a specific proposal to us we will look at that very carefully.

Brendan Barber: It is very clear there are a host of issues for which John has lead responsibility, a lot of areas where we need to work together, and we want to thank you for coming along this morning and being prepared to field all the questions that delegates wanted to put.

The President: Thank you very much, John and Brendan, for that excellent session. (Applause).

I was optimistic about returning to Motion 5 but I cannot impose on you for two lunch times running.

Presentation of gold badge

The President: I have one extra item to introduce; I hope you will bear with me for this one. We heard the announcement that Ed Sweeney is to be appointed the next Chair of ACAS. Ed was a member of the General Council until recently when he retired from the new union, Unite, after 30 years, he told me, in the trade union movement. Ed is not able to be with us tomorrow so I would like to take the opportunity to present Ed with his gold badge, which he is entitled after many years of very loyal service. He is a very good friend of ours, a great favourite. I cannot think of a better way to take on that new role. I am absolutely thrilled. (Presentation of the Gold Badge of Congress to Ed Sweeney)

I want you to complete your Equality forms; you might not have done so. They are still available.

(Congress adjourned at 12.45 p.m.)


WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON SESSION

(Congress re-assembled at 2.15 p.m.)

The President: Congress, good afternoon and thank you for coming back so promptly. We need to get on and make a swift start and carry on working our way through the business.

First of all, I would like to thank the Waverly Abbey Musical Theatre Group who have been playing for us this morning and this afternoon. (Applause) Absolutely wonderful, and I am so pleased that you have performed for us. I wish you all great success and thank you to all those teachers who coach the best out of you so thank you very much. We are very pleased that you were at Congress with us. Thank you.

I said I would update you on any progress that I could give you on where we were going to place motions that were outstanding. I would like to tell you that I am going to take the General Council's Statement on Childcare and Motion 80 during the debate this afternoon, so I will be taking it later on this afternoon. It will be slotted in after Motion 73. so I hope that will be a good place and we will give it the proper attention it deserves. Thank you very much for that.
I am going to return to Chapter 2 of the General Council's Report on Organising and Rights to Work but I had better give you a bit of a warning before then. I am very pleased with the cooperation so many people have shown this morning -- we are trying to be efficient and get through our business as quickly as possible -- to keep your contributions within the time allowed for your speeches, and whatever, but we did end up running a bit out of schedule and we did lose some time. So I am going to try and keep you moving. Therefore, keep coming up regularly, stay within the time, watch red light, thank you very much, and then get off.

But if you do not need to get up, do not get up. If you can reduce your contributions without substantially changing things, if someone else has said something already, you do not necessarily need to repeat it apart from agreeing with them.

If we do start falling behind again the General Purposes Committee are beginning to give me heavy advice that they will have no option but to suspend Standing Orders and to reduce speaking time. I really do not want to be in the position to do that, because we want to be fair to everybody whether you are on the first day or the last day. That is just a bit of a warning, because it is in our hands to try and make progress on the agenda, so thank you very much for that.

As I said, I am now on Chapter 2 of the General Council's Report, Organising and Rights at Work and I am calling Composite Motion 5 on Union and Professional Standards. The General Council support the composite.

Union and professional standards
Gordon Taylor (Professional Footballers' Association) moved Composite Motion 5.

He said: I am here with my colleagues Bobby Barnes and Simone Pound, and first of all, if you will forgive me -- I am not used to kicking off until 3 o'clock, that was in the old days -- may I say that it is a very pleasant duty, on behalf of my members at Shrewsbury Town, to present a signed shirt and a brochure on their history to your chair, Alison. (Presentation) That is on condition that they do not beat my local side, Accrington Stanley, on Saturday.
This motion, supported by Equity and the Radiographers, The Association of Colliery Management, Airline Pilots, is really about bringing to the notice of Congress that in a world of multi-nationals and indeed super unions we should never forget the role and importance of the smaller specialist unions and the role they play in upholding professional standards and being spokespeople for their profession and their industry.
I am reminded that when I was a young latch key kid my mum worked in the hospital and my dad was an engineer at Gorton Tank near Manchester. In school holidays we would be playing football and it was one too many occasions when the ball went into the garden of a rather irate neighbour. Being a little bit small, she strung me up on the fence by my braces where I was bouncing up and down eventually got lifted off, with my dignity a little bit hammered. Finally, mum and dad got hold of me and said 'Look, you are not to worry about being small because the best things come in small packages and they don't make diamonds as big as bricks.'

Really as a smaller union -- and its good to be at the TUC again because it focuses on what real union issues are about -- when you think in a world when so many professional footballers now with the aid of television are millionaires, we are not to forget those at the lower end of the profession and those five out of six youngsters of 600 a year who have been promised since the age of 9 that they were going to be professional footballers and by the time they are 21 they are out of the game and it is the union they look to. We should not forget the 50 players each year who go on to the pitch thinking they have another five to ten years in them and then get permanent injuries; those players who, when it comes to the end of their careers, it is like a bath of cold water, they do not know where they will turn to and it is the union who has provided a non-contributory pension fund and training scheme with our union learning.

Sometimes the smaller unions can bring the focus and availability and accessibility, but I tell all my staff that we are available 24 hours a day. I will never forget that my Dad worked as a Branch Secretary for the Amalgamated Engineering Workers Union. He had done 25 years and it was a special night and he said he was going to get a special award from Hugh Scanlon, God bless him, the General Secretary. I waited up that night, I was allowed to, and he came back and he looked fine and he had his watch but he was a little bit crestfallen. I said 'Did you meet Hugh Scanlon?' and he said, 'No, he had another important matter and he could not come.' That is why I feel the smaller you are the more focused you should be and you have to have time for the latest apprentice of the lowest club in our pyramid of football.

There is one thing we can have, and achieve, in spite of the world where more and more there are so many common interests with work permits, foreign players coming in from abroad, looking after the development of young player. I was reminded earlier this week when our General Secretary was again, as a union, put on the back foot by the media because we are never able to quite get out because they do not want to hear the good stories and the good news that unions have and the good work that they do. It is on the Today programme and it is always 'What about a strike?' 'Did you support the strike?' 'How do you feel about the Prison Officers?' who did a great job of showing solidarity, and of course it was about the transport drivers with the Tube. I am reminded about when Richard Scudamore was asked what was his worst time in the Premiership, it was not the Tevis affair and third party ownership, it was when we as a union, in spite of having more than 50 per cent foreign members, returned a 93 per cent of the ballot forms and 99 per cent plus were in favour of strike action if we could not protect our rights and get the money we were due from television. That is what solidarity is about. It is never to be complacent either because now in the President of the Football League we have a member of -- you could not exactly say he was a union lover because he was a member of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, Lord Mawhinney, you can appreciate it is a little bit difficult. What can I say, he is not the best at recognising collective bargaining agreements. Perhaps we should keep going. Anyway, we shall keep going. Someone said he was about as available as Lord Lucan rather than calling him Lord Mawhinney, but we will get there.

It is about solidarity; it is about minimum wages; it is about collective bargaining agreements; and it is about severance pay. It is about not only providing English classes for our foreign players but it is about working with other unions and that is about the other sporting unions that we deal with -- the cricketers, the golfers, the jockeys, the rugby players -- and it is also about working with other unions within the TUC and then looking ahead and looking abroad and working with John Monks as well in Europe.

The President: You have got the red light so can you wind up. I have to treat everyone the same.

Gordon Taylor: I am just going to wind up and say thank you for that. Thank you for the chance to speak to you, but also just to say today that Ian Porterfield died and it is about a solidarity that remembers not just our 4,000 current members but also our 50,000 former members. It is about those Queens Park Rangers players who, when Ray Jones was killed, turned out in that game with his name emblazoned on their shirts. It is about health and safety and making sure we do not have any more young apprenticeship like at Walsall who have sudden death syndrome. It is about working hard and improving proper standards. Finally, it is about making a magnificent contribution to the community.

It is our centenary year and my members have said to mark it we should celebrate it but above all we want to have a lasting memorial and we are looking to raise £1 million for the new Manchester Children's Hospital, a new rehabilitation unit.

The President: I think we are well into injury time now.

Gordon Taylor: Finally, Chair, Billy Meredith, the very first founder in 19O7 in his last days, asked my predecessor to come and he said, 'Look under the bed' and there was a suitcase and it was full of his caps and his medals. He said, 'Remind your members that they did not look after me in my old age.' Billy Meredith would be very pleased with the progress we have made after 100 years and he will be more pleased when we raise a million pounds for a new rehabilitation unit.

Christine Payne (Equity) seconded Composite Motion 5.

She said: President, I wondered whether you would have the courage to show Gordon the red card! Probably as well you did not.
Equity wholeheartedly agrees with the PFA that it would be helpful to focus on the positive experiences and benefits of the specialist smaller unions. Upholding professional standards is just one of the strengths of the smaller unions. Gordon has explained some of the other strengths and I would just like to touch on three; relating to the industries in which our members work; speaking up for our profession; and developing effective ways of responding to the needs of our membership. Not very different in many respects from what every union in this hall does. Therefore, we welcome the opportunity to share our knowledge and our experience with other unions, and to learn from you.

However, we do have one concern on the composited motion, and that is it now asks the General Council to bring together all unions twice a year. The PFA is right, the world is changing and it is changing fast, and as unions we need to keep up with those changes, share our knowledge and experience, now even more than ever, but Equity is not convinced that the way to do this is through twice-yearly meetings. We believe that the best way to do this is through full representation on the General Council for all affiliated unions, large and small.
This would also put an end to the undignified scramble and lobbying for the 11 seats reserved for the smaller unions on the General Council. This is divisive and it is damaging. It sets the smaller unions against each other. This was very clearly demonstrated this morning by Bob Crow's comments. Bob if you are here, a banjo player needs representation from a union as much as a train driver, an actor, a radiographer, a footballer, and in fact every single worker who is represented by trades unions represented in this hall today. (Applause).

My union believes we have an important role, all unions have an important role, to play in our movement. All unions need to share experience and knowledge, and all unions now more than ever in this changing world need to work together. So our question to Congress is: is this best achieved by two meetings a year or is it best achieved by all unions identifying, debating and addressing the challenges of the future together?
Conference, I hope you will support Composite 5.

Andy Pitt (Society of Radiographers) supported Composite Motion 5.

He said: As a member of the Senior Managerial and Professional Unions Group we, along with other unions, play a full and active role at the TUC. Over the last ten years small professional unions have seen a consistent growth in membership and, whilst we may not attract headlines like the big unions do, we have a vital role to play in the movement.

A key role for the Society of Radiographers is to uphold professional standards and to promote the welfare of the NHS and health sector generally. We speak with authority on behalf of the profession of radiography and would welcome the opportunity to meet with other unions with similar interests to exchange views, ideas and experiences. We recognise that there are numerous different forums within the TUC, and the SOR is active in the Public Services Liaison Group and the Public Services Forum. However, we believe that what has been proposed in this motion will be an invaluable addition to these arrangements and would also be of benefit to the wider trade union movement.

The reason we submitted our amendment calling for bi-annual meetings was to ensure continuing dialogue and effectiveness. However, following on from the seconder of the motion we too have welcomed the expansion of the General Council. Therefore, the Society of Radiographers fully supports the sentiments expressed both by the mover and the seconder of this motion so please support it.

* Composite Motion 5 was CARRIED

The President: I would like to congratulate the PFA on their centenary year and thank you to Gordon for coming. I would like to thank the PFA members at Shrewsbury Town for this very nice shirt, with all their names on. I will read it carefully; I had better not do it now. I know that the PFA members and your representatives there have always done a really good job in being good role models and helping to support younger members, and all the rest of it, and I do know that. I am very pleased. As with Accrington, I do not plan to show you too much sympathy on Saturday but I do recall that I went through Accrington, it was after we had fallen out of the Football League, it was the first match we had and people were so friendly and so helpful and we knew that life would carry on. We got back in the Football League and Accrington is in the Football League, and it is great. There is so much friendship and solidarity in football, and I have had over 40 years of pain and misery but I have loved it all. So thank you very much.

Address by Wanja Lundby-Wedin,President, European TUC

The President: Let us move on then to the rest of our agenda and I am pleased to welcome another sister trade union President, Wanja Lundby-Wedin, who is President of the ETUC and also a good friend from Lo-Sweden. She began life as a nursing auxiliary and is a member of Sweden's Municipal Workers Union, and she is now Europe's leading woman trade unionist. You cannot get much better than that. You are very welcome.

Wanja Lundby-Wedin: Thank you, and thank you President.

Congress and honoured guests, it is with great pleasure that I address the Annual Congress of the TUC. It is also, Alison, of course a great pleasure to see another woman President. I would like to thank you for the invitation and let me take this opportunity to wish you every success in your debates and discussions.

I was supposed to give a speech here in 2001 as well, on 11 September. However, as you know, the tragic attack on the World Trade Centre in New York on that day affected so many and changed so much. I went home to Sweden with my undelivered speech. Perhaps I can use the same speech again. Let us see. 'Europe and not least the European Monetary Union stands at the forefront of your discussions.' No. It might be other issues that are important now, and I also have another role. This time I return as the President of the ETUC as well as the President of the LO-Sweden.

In the ETUC we have a lot of things that bind us together. Europe is a region in the world where both economic and social dimensions have developed over the years. In the ETUC we have a common responsibility to strengthen the social dimension of the European Union. We must work towards a social Europe in order to achieve full employment, quality of work, equality, social security, integration and to reinforce human rights.

Equality between women and men is a crucial issue for a more social Europe. There are still many steps to be taken and it is important that the question of equality should not only be a women's issue. It concerns both men and women. It is a matter of distributing the responsibility for home and family in a better way as well as reinforcing the position of women in the labour market. I hope that I, in my capacity as the first female President of the ETUC, can contribute to strengthening women's position in working life and in the trade union movement.

It is fair to say that Britain and Sweden have not been at the leading edge of the European adventure. We both have our own strong sense of distinct national identity, and I am not the one to tell you what is the most important thing on your identity, but let us come to the Swedish one. It is about a strong labour movement, a strong welfare state, and also about social partners that take responsibility for strong collective agreements. At the same time, Sweden has some of Europe's largest and most successful multinational companies like - you know them all, I suppose - IKEA, H&M, Ericsson and ABB. So many of our companies think on a world scale and we have to think in the same way. We -- and I mean we, the Swedish trade unions -- can hold them accountable in Sweden. We have 75 per cent union membership, which is - and I am proud to say this -- the highest in the world, but even with that we cannot on our own hold them accountable outside Sweden and there is always the threat that if they do not like the Swedish conditions they will move elsewhere. Recently, for example, some of them have considered relocating in London. At all costs, we must avoid threats from employers not so much 'take it or leave it' as 'take it or we leave', and leave for countries where wages and working conditions are, in our view, unacceptable.

Some progress has been made for stopping it. Over 50 European laws have been enacted on employment questions, but these are not enough to give workers confidence in the future. We need more and, to be frank, we need the support of the British Labour Government. In a Europe with free movement of labour across the countries of EU we need regulation to support the workers; we need, for example, controls on temporary employment agencies, as you discussed this morning.
The TUC has led the way on being open and welcoming to migrant workers and we feel the same way in Sweden. We want these workers, of course, to be welcomed and to receive equal pay and conditions for work of equal value and to be covered by collective agreements and by labour laws, but too often they are treated as a second-class workforce. Unscrupulous agencies must be stopped -- stopped from organising a cheap labour market; stopped from supplying labour to employers where there is a strike, as they did recently at the Royal Mail; and stopped in the worst cases from being people traffickers. The British Government is part of a blockage to European-wide measures to regulate agencies properly, and I appeal to you and to them to help us clear that blockage and give all agency workers first-class status throughout Europe. (Applause)

The ETUC has supported the Charter of Fundamental Rights as part of the new reformed Treaty. This gives the right to organise, to negotiate and strike. We secured its inclusion in the Treaty against the wishes of some countries. I regret that there is what is called and I quote, 'A UK specific protocol', and in Sweden we call it 'an opt out', but the UK specific protocol limits the Charter's effect in the UK. If the Treaty goes through, as I hope, we will all need to work to end that opt out, as we ended the earlier UK opt out from the Social Chapter. The alternative, by the way, to the Treaty being adopted would be a period of chaos in Europe, no binding Charter of Fundamental Rights in any country, not just the UK, and a free field for the locust capitalists. Some would welcome that but we would not. To throw out the Treaty because of attitude of the UK Government to the Charter would be a set back for all the workers of Europe, especially those in the new member states.
The Charter might not make much difference in Sweden, but the Charter and the Treaty are essential to embedding democracy and trade union rights in countries like Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, and other countries in central and eastern Europe.
I hope that you when you soon have the debate on this issue you will reflect on this need for solidarity as you handle the difficult situation in the UK. Maintaining competitiveness is a great challenge facing Europe.

I hope that we in the trade union movement can be a progressive force in the transition prevailing in the labour market. Saying no to structural change does not make us capable of competing with Asia or India. It is not the new technology that we should be afraid of; it is the old one. Today flexsecurity is on everybody's lips but for many of them who talk about flexsecurity they seem to talk about flexibility, but if we are to come to be the progressive driving force that we want to be we need security not just flexibility -- security that means if I lose my job there is an unemployment insurance that will provide me with security of income and security that means I receive training, which helps me to acquire the skills needed for a new job. It is about opportunity for life-long learning for all. Older wage earners who feel secure can play a part in the structure of change and the ETUC should be the strongest driving force for security in change.

Congress, these are some of the key points in my mind and the mind of John Monks, our General Secretary and your old colleague. We both want to take the ETUC and European trades unionism from the defensive to the offensive. We want to take European trades unions to use our strength, relatively high membership, real collective bargaining and political power and strong public support. We want a 'can do' attitude to organising, also the young and the migrants, to improving productivity and pay, to introducing the best technology and invention.

Our most important task to be able to be really good is to make sure that more and more people join the trade union. The trade union is nothing without its members. Our aim must be that a majority of the wage earners of Europe shall be unionised. We also want Europe to lead the world on environmental questions as it does now on social issues. We want the economy to be strong so that we can be generous at home and abroad and afford public as well as private prosperity. We want the European social model to be the model of world development, but to reach that goal there is a need for strong trades unions and strong political parties that share our values, so we have to build alliances both in the labour Movement both at national level, European level, as well as global level.

Sometimes, and I have heard it from you today and yesterday, we blame our Labour Governments. Ask me about it. We have had a period of twelve years of Social Democratic Government in Sweden and, of course, I did not like all the things they did. Sometimes I blame them, and I do it officially and in public, but I also see and saw and I know what they did and what we did together -- what we did together for welfare, for justice, for solidarity. You can also ask me how it is after less than one year with a Conservative Government. We have lost 95,000 members due to their policies. They know exactly how to do it and you know too, you have acted during the Thatcher era, you know how it is with a Conservative Government. I am not the one to tell you not to blame the Government because you should do it and you have to do it when they do not listen to the trade union movement, but we all have to see how important it is that we really build alliances with political parties and have a strong labour movement. If we have it, I am sure that we will meet the challenge we have in front of us, the challenge to take the offensive and to build trade union membership, trade union influence and, yes, trade union power. We will reach that goal if we really are in the mood to build alliances, to go together with other movements that are our friends, but the most important thing is people. Organise, organise, organise.

Thank you for your support for the ETUC. I can guarantee that we will return that support and solidarity in full. Thank you very much. (Applause).


The President: Thank you very much, Wanja, for that excellent perspective on the situation that we face in Europe and our responsibilities as trades unionists.
As you can see, the ETUC is under absolutely excellent leadership. All the very best and thank you for joining us at our Congress.

Multilateralism and the ILO

The President: I would like now to turn to General Council Report, Chapter 5, Global Solidarity. That begins on page 84 and I call Motion 68, Multilateralism and the ILO. The General Council support the motion.

Roy Rickhuss (Community) moved Motion 68.

He said: before moving Motion 68, may I say just that that speech from Wanja was absolutely excellent, particularly the references to the damage that the Tories did to our movement in those bleak years. We should take a lesson and listen carefully to those words when we have the rest of the debates this afternoon.
By way of background to this motion we should recognise that globalisation is removing from us control over the ways we work and live in Britain, giving lie to the claim persistently advanced by the right that capitalism and democracy go hand in hand. The relatively peaceful revolutions in central and eastern Europe, in 1989 and in the years after, were sparked by the struggle of trade unions, in particular Solidarnosc in Poland and the working people who were martyred or imprisoned in the long years of marshal law. Our movement, to a greater extent than any other, brought democracy to Europe as it helped to do so at around the same time in South Africa, but the capitalistic lie has prevailed.

What is really happening is clear. The market is taking more and more of the decisions about the distribution of income and the allocation of resources. Working people and their unions are increasingly being disenfranchised by globalisation, which is bringing double digit rates of growth in large areas of the world without helping the people most in need, the people who never appear in the plans of multinational companies unless they have oil or raw materials that can be exploited elsewhere to create profit. Far from encouraging democratic development, globalisation is reinforcing one party rule, especially in China the country that is benefiting most from globalisation, but also in a whole range of countries where the democratic process has stalled. This is a most dangerous trend that needs to be reversed.

If that is the background, one of the instruments available to the international community is the International Labour Organisation, the ILO. It is probably the most neglected and yet the most valuable. Established in the immediate aftermath of the appalling destruction of the first world war, the ILO is the only international agency that survived the destruction of the League of Nations, the only agency that has a significant role for trades unions and employers, and it is the only organisation that supervises the application of its decisions affecting the working lives of ordinary people. So the ILO is a valuable instrument in the mission to tackle poverty and injustice, which are the root causes of conflict.

You might think that the government would want to promote the work of the ILO, especially to find ways of helping to make globalisation serve the common good.
You might think that the ILO is ideally and uniquely placed to handle the much-needed international dialogue on migration of workers. You might think that the government would use the ILO in the drive to eliminate exploitation of vulnerable workers. Congress, far from it. The record of our government has been appalling.
Not only do we continually flout the Freedom of Association Conventions, thus damaging the credibility of David Miliband's commitment to a rule-based international system, our government is amongst the most grudging and penny pinching in providing the ILO with the means to fulfil its crucial work. These approaches should be addressed constructively and soon.

There is a third policy that the Government could adopt, should adopt, which would cost it nothing at all. During the 1980s the British Government denounced three ILO Conventions on minimum wage fixing, payment of wages and labour clauses in public contracts. Tebbit and Thatcher wanted to wipe out the legislation that gave employees basic entitlements and they had to denounce the Conventions before they could repeal the laws.

With the new threats of exploitation facing the working people amongst us from Poland and other central and eastern European countries, we need a firm underpinning of the national minimum wage, the right to be paid in cash and the labour clause provisions. If our Government re-ratifies these conventions it would give workers greater protection from any future Tory Government seeking to repeal what little protection we already have.

This motion calls on the TUC to demand that this is addressed immediately.

Peter McEwen (Nautilus UK) seconded Motion 68, as amended.

He said: President, I am going to take your introductory words to heart and I will try and chop out some of the stuff I was going to say on the Conventions that this motion calls for the UK to re-ratify as they were all very well covered by the mover.

The ILO is at the very core of our struggle to build a better workplace for the world's workers, including 1.2 million seafarers. We rightly hear a lot about vulnerable workers and there can be few workers more vulnerable than seafarers. They have been living with the reality of globalisation for over 50 years. In shipping, employers have total freedom to pick and choose the nationalities of their employees and almost total freedom to pick and choose the conditions they work under. As a result, abuse and exploitation are rife: seafarers threatened with the sack and complaining about their conditions; seafarers owed months of wages; seafarers on ships that are totally unfit to be at sea; seafarers who are forced to work excessive hours in the toughest of working environments. An international inquiry concluded that for thousands of today's seafarers life at sea is modern slavery and their workplace is a slave ship.

Thirty years ago most seafarers would come from the same country as the flag flying at the back of their ship. Today not only are most seafarers serving under flags of convenience or foreign registries but one ship in every four has at least four nationalities amongst its crew and as many as twenty different nationalities working the crew of the biggest ships with the attendant problems of language. In this often fiercely competitive, frequently deregulated and utterly fragmented working environment, our members seek to uphold professional standards.

The principles that the ILO seek to uphold are absolutely essential for industries such as shipping. In the last six years we have developed at the ILO what is known as the Bill of Right for Seafarers, the 2006 Maritime Labour Convention, and when ratified it will for the first time ensure that all seafarers receive comprehensive social protection with clearly stated rights. An increasingly globalised world increasingly needs globalisation, and the ILO is the body, the only body to do it. The ILO delivers to seafarers but its specialist maritime section is totally at risk. This motion will assist in protecting the ILO and enhancing its work. I second.

* Motion 68 was CARRIED

Workers' Rights

Peter Cox (Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union) moved Motion 69.

He said: This is not a motion about a specific grievance. There have been many calls this week for the General Council to pressure the Government to change something. This is something we can do ourselves as an international movement. This motion calls for an international universal declaration of workers' rights. There is not one but it should not be difficult to compile it from many sources, from the UN, from the ILO, from the European Union which we have heard about, plus even this week our own motions, on Monday Composites 3 and 4, yesterday Composite18 about the right to learning, and the Trade Union Freedom Bill.

What is different about this? What is special about this? What is the magic ingredient here? It is in the text. It is, follow the money and follow the paperwork. Can I establish a principle here in this company? I do hope I can. It is that labour is the source of all wealth. I hope we can accept that because there are important consequences from it. One consequence is that prime ministerial slogans about 'enhancing the value of labour' are meaningless because labour has no value. Labour only creates value when it is put to work. As to what has happened to it, this is where the 'worksmart' website comes in. It typically shows in a profit-making enterprise that workers' labour creates profit , which is many times more than the wages. Conversely, if you look at the tax situation, and there has been much talk about tax this week, if you look at the UK tax take it is many times higher tax take from that small amount of wages than the small amount of tax take from the high amount of profit at the workplace. Therefore, the policy change should be, and it is sweet reasonableness this, all wealth created by labour should be taxed equally. Richard Lambert is being disingenuous when he tells us that corporation tax has gone up. It may well have gone up but that is not the point, the point is the proportionality, or the disproportionality can be a factor of 20 or more, and that is before private equity; after private equity it is off the scale. Bookkeeping must also change, that is why it refers to bookkeeping. Bookkeeping must also change to show that labour creates wealth. At present, it does not. Wages are just listed as a cost, which can be cut, and is, and frequently cut. You can dig it out but it takes some time and trouble to do it.

Now, naturally, we live in the real world, there is nowhere else to live, and no single country could possibly introduce measures like this. Richard Lambert again specifically warned us that if there is any threat to their pay or their conditions they will up sticks and leave the country, which of course they will. Therefore, it must be international and at the very least it should include a move against tax havens; that would be very welcome and I would say something from the United Nations that is long overdue. Let us have a debate about a second UN resolution on that subject. On a world scale this is something that we can do, make a demand on all our political representatives on a world scale. We have heard about the under class here; there is an underclass in China, there is an underclass in India. I went to a fringe meeting a couple of days ago, which referred to over 100m people in India doing the worst kind of work. We can make a demand on all our political representatives that if you want our money, if you want our vote, institute this, institute workers' rights, rewrite national constitutions to incorporate workers' rights. I suggest that this is an idea whose time has come and I call upon Congress to vote for it and to make it happen. Thank you.

Joe Marino (Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union) seconded Motion 69.

He said: In the debates we have had at Congress so far where we have talked about internationalism and we have talked about international capital, we have talked about private equity, there is one thing I think has shone through, that is, the issue of the need for transparency. We need to know and see what is going on. When Leo Gerard from the AFL/CIO spoke on Tuesday morning I think he made a very telling point, that we will not beat this on our own, we will not beat it in one individual country, this is an international issue that we have to deal with internationally. Therefore, we have to reform some of those rules internationally through the relevant bodies that can have that influence and have that clout to do so, both in fiscal policy, in bookkeeping and accounts, so we can follow the money, so we do know what is going on, so that workers can see where the exploitation is taking place and where it is going to, and we look then at the clarity of the position.

President, I will not take too much time seconding this motion because I think the mover did a fine job of that; that is the area we need to look at. I just want to make one final point, that is, to congratulate the TUC and Brendan on the 'worksmart' website. Those who have not been on it should get on it and perhaps one of the things we need to do is publicise that more to our people, and certainly that is an area which is a good start for the TUC. We need now to take that internationally through the TUC, through the international bodies, so that we have that transparency necessary for us to counteract global capitalism.

The President: We will put Motion 69 to the vote. The General Council supports.

* Motion 69 was CARRIED

Child Labour

John Mayes (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers) moved Motion 70.

He said: Congress, child labour is something many of us associate with countries in the developing and emerging worlds. This form of exploitation is often driven by extreme poverty. In highly regulated countries like the UK the exploitation of children should not exist. I will show that the rules governing child labour here are not followed consistently.

Child labour is a global problem faced by the developed world, too. We have heard this week that there are 3.5 million children living in poverty in the UK with 1.3 million of those in severe poverty. That 3.5 million represents approximately one-third of the nation's children. Congress, the level of child poverty in the UK is shocking. In the UK children work for a variety of reasons; many work to earn cash for the extras in life and to develop their financial independence. There is nothing wrong with this, indeed many of you in this hall will have sons and daughters, or other young relatives, who work while at school, and where this is regulated it can often have positive spin-offs helping young people to organise their lives around work and school. However, where this is not the case and young people work excessively, they turn up for school listless, tired, disorganised, and totally unprepared to face the day. For many of these children the effects of poverty mean that the pressures to undertake excessive working are strong and can dominate their lives. The number of children living in poverty is boosted by those who have been trafficked and those who arrive in this country unaccompanied and seeking asylum, both these groups are amongst the most vulnerable in our society.

We should welcome the draft guidance published this summer saying that effective collaboration between different services is a key principle to safeguard the physical, social, emotional, and educational interests and welfare of children in such circumstances. Young workers aged 14-plus can only work for two hours on a school day and on Sundays, as well as five hours on Saturdays. In the holidays this rises to 25 hours a week and 35 for the over-15s. Where these hours are exceeded and go unchecked and where the nature of the work is not only unsuitable but illegal for children to carry out, the result can be extreme and can cause lasting physical and emotional damage.

Although we have regulations in the UK they are less than adequate and enforcement of them is at best patchy and inconsistent. Local authorities do have the responsibility to oversee children who work and currently they should ensure the following: first, that all young workers have a permit; second, that children work within the regulatory hours and that their schools are consulted; also, that their workplaces should be subject to risk assessment. In addition, the motion calls for a framework which enables schools and trade unions to play a part in raising awareness and protecting the interests of child workers.

Finally, there has been much publicity around the opportunities which will be presented to London's young population in the run-up and in the wake of the 2012 Olympics. Whilst not appearing to be over-sceptical there is limited evidence to date of positive spin-off in areas which have received so much publicity, such as the development of sport, the encouragement of healthy lifestyles, and affordable housing which should result from the development of brownfield sites in the East End. We have heard at Congress how crucial affordable housing, especially in London, is to the health and security of our children. Congress, it would be shameful if the 2012 Olympics resulted in greater exploitation of our children. On Monday we urged the Government to redouble their efforts to eradicate child poverty, today we say, tighten up the rules on child labour and enforce them.

Shelagh Hirst (Association of Teachers and Lecturers) seconded Motion 70, as amended.

She said: President, Congress, I keep hearing the word 'globalisation' this year, even Gordon Brown spoke of the need to master it. Well, child labour is a global challenge that requires global as well as national responses. This amended motion reinforces Congress policy in line with the global unions' policy and stresses the link with free, universal, compulsory education for all delivered as a quality public service. Everyone deserves and is entitled to an education.

Like Gordon Brown, I too have been to Africa. Over three weeks this summer I had the privilege of being alongside children and teachers in nine schools where their enthusiasm for learning and their thirst for education was second to none. I also saw firsthand how child labour disrupted or stopped schooling for a number of children, particularly at secondary level. One teacher as a teenager initially ran away to school when his family wanted him to stay at home and tend the cattle. He knows only too well the difficulties of accessing education.

Child labour is most prevalent in the informal economy where work is unregulated and trade unions are absent or weak; where trade union presence is strong and organised there is no child labour. The ILO's child labour standards set out in Conventions 138 and 182 complement one another. All child labour which contravenes these conventions must be eliminated. Whilst not all work that children do is forbidden, these conventions make it perfectly clear what is and what is not allowed and at what ages.

So, Congress, what can we do? By supporting this motion you can ensure that Congress continues to play a leading role internationally as well as nationally on child labour and maintains support for the holistic 'pro-education and pro-decent work for adults' approach of the international trades union movement, and holds Gordon Brown to his commitment to education for all by fulfilling his obligations on child labour.

As trade unions we each have a role to play beyond influencing international policy. We must seek out all those working with the informal economy in the UK, organise and unionise them so that child labour is eliminated. We must lead by example. That will ensure that I, along with my education colleagues worldwide, can do what we do best, educate. All children should be in school as education is the key to life; without education people suffer, struggle, and die. Please support this motion.

The President: I will put Motion 70 to the vote. The General Council supports.

* Motion 70 was CARRIED

EU Constitution/Reform Treaty

The President: We move to Motion 71, and the General Council has decided to leave the motion to Congress.

Paul Kenny (GMB) moved Motion 71.

He said: The GMB is not an anti-European Union and the GMB is not an anti-Labour Party union, but the GMB is a union that says that when you make us a promise, whether about Warwick or whether to the people at election time, you should keep it. This resolution is about two promises, now a dim vision, of social advances through European arrangements. The proposed treaty clearly falls within the promises made by the Government to the electorate at the last election and to refuse to honour this by means of ducking and diving may cost the Labour Party at election time. The reasons for arguing against the referendum and used to attack some who call for the promise to be kept is that a referendum on the treaty would be rejected by the British people. If that ever happens, those same voices would no doubt be lining up saying that the people have let the Government down very badly. The problem is we have never had a serious debate about Europe in Britain. Brussels and Europe has been an ideal kicking horse for successive British governments to get them out of political scrapes: if you are in doubt, give the EU a clout.

Many British workers have Europe to thank for real gains and benefits in employment and social justice, and pension victories. Let us not forget it was our membership of the EU which allowed us to legally enforce rights like TUPE, equal treatment for part-timers, health and safety laws, paid holidays, work contract information and consultation rights, and the list goes on; maybe we should not have had to go to the courts to use EU law. If there is a disenchantment with Europe blame the lack of political vision of MPs, but do not blame the trade unions for reminding politicians of promises they made to the British people. It is time to grow up and end the opt-out.

Now we come to the second promise, the promise to embrace social Europe as well as the trade and business agenda. As a movement we have used European bodies, including the European Court of Justice, to extend labour laws and protection for UK workers. We should not have had to but Europe offered us that opportunity. The scandal that forced ASLEF to use the European Court of Justice because our own Government failed to repeal Tory laws, which shackled our ability to sling racists out of our own ranks, was a disgrace. (Applause)

The protocol attached to the Charter of Fundamental Rights that this Government has insisted on is specific about blocking any legal challenges or rulings from European courts against rights enjoyed by 26 other states, but not enjoyed by UK workers and which arise out of that part of the Treaty. Those protocols are blocking measures and more, and this very lunchtime on The World at One Gary Titley, MEP, admitted publicly for the first time the reason those protocols were put in was at the request of and with pressure from the CBI; they were put in for the CBI to ensure British workers did not get rights of access to European courts to enforce improved rights for British workers. Shame, and shame on the Government for giving way to them. (Applause) Now, I know some delegates in this hall have different views about Europe. Some delegates may feel by pushing this we may see the end of the European Union. Let me say to all of you, if there is no social advancement how can there be a trades union supported EU?

Let me finish with these two small statements. Firstly, the GMB will not be threatened or intimidated by private equity tow-rags, or global predators, or politicians who think we should ask for nothing, expect less, and nor will you. Secondly, do you remember that advert for soap, which said your best friend should tell you about BO? The GMB has been a good friend to Europe and if you think we will let our public services get chopped up and our members get shut out of access to trade union workers' rights, including the right to strike, then it is about time we told the CBI that BO means bugger off. (Applause) As for the mud-slingers, the mud-slingers who say that calling for politicians to honour their promises is lining up with UKIP and the 'little Englanders', it is not us screaming about jobs for British workers only. To all politicians: deal with Europe, no more pandering to bigoted nationalistic claptrap and the CBI. Please support 71.

Colin Moses (POA -UK) seconded Motion 71.

He said: I am not here to talk about prisons, I am here to talk about the way forward in Europe. What has made my union decide to second this motion are the numerous factors already mentioned by the GMB, and my comrade. One of the things is about broken promises. We have had a bellyful of broken promises and what we have here is another broken promise. I have been told just before coming up to this rostrum that for me to support this I must be a closet Tory: what, to support democracy, to support a referendum, to support an idea that my union is refused trade union rights? I want those trade union rights and Europe is the place I have to go to get them. If democracy is to mean anything and the promises are to mean anything, they should not be made in the heat of an election but they should be kept and they should be kept right through, and the Government should be brave enough to go to the people of this country and ask them.

I was doing some TV interviews the other day and I was being interviewed by a Japanese television company; they could not understand me either, by the way. (Applause) But in my best Japanese I answered the question, 'Do you believe having a referendum will bring about an election and let in Mr. Cameron?' My response was, 'Well, I don't think Mr. Cameron is ever going to get in, even if he had three referendums.' Let's not be afraid of this nonsense. Let's make them sit up to their promises. Let's talk about social justice and what is in it for our movement. Let's move our movement forward through Europe.

I was told earlier today that Europe is a curate's egg. Well, that might as well have been the Japanese telling me that. Whatever we may think of it, we have a set of beliefs and those beliefs should be built on democracy and that democracy should mean we should be brave enough to go forward, ask the people of this country what they want, and give them what they want. If they say no, that is the answer. Let's not back away. Let's not be afraid. Thank you.

The President: I am now calling Motion 72 and again the General Council has decided not to adopt an attitude and to leave it to Congress.

EU Constitution /reform treaty

Bob Crow (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) moved Motion 72.

He said: We support the motion moved by the GMB, excellently by Paul Kenny and Colin Moses, and I hope you can support this resolution as well. Both resolutions call for a referendum and for whatever views that we argue for a referendum following this decision - and it is going to go through, you are going to pass the referendum this afternoon, in my view - the first question your Executive Committee and, more importantly, your members are going to ask is, 'Which way should we vote?' It will be very hard to put a ballot paper out to members stating: 'We are asking you to take strike action but we ain't asking you to vote yes or no.' That is what the question is going to be here. I think we should give a view. The sole reason that we are calling a referendum is because there is not enough in the constitution to allow us to support it.

Now, put this issue to bed about anti-European. I am not anti-European at all. Real European power is when dock workers in Liverpool go on strike and French CGC workers refuse to unload their boats. That is real European solidarity. (Applause) People get seduced into this European Union argument. There is no doubt, as Paul said, there have been a number of gains as a result of the European Union. Why were those gains put in there? They were put in there because they were frightened that with the presence of the Soviet Union they had to come up with a social model. Now that the Soviet Union has gone there is no need for a social model and ASLEF's brilliant win in the court was on the basis it went through European law to overturn domestic law. Once this Constitution goes through, unless you throw it out, ASLEF or any other union will not be able to go to Europe because it has to be domestic law. So, to go to Europe to overturn domestic law you are now going to have to go to domestic law to get what you want. Really, it is about having the right to strike. You do not have the right to strike unless it is in domestic law. Prof. John Hendy, QC - an eminent QC - makes it quite clear that you still will not have the right to strike unless it is in domestic law.

Now, we are supposed to have a progressive government that will tell you everything, and I accept the European Union is rather confusing, but do not get seduced. It is a bit like Alice in Wonderland when Humpty Dumpty said, 'Words will mean exactly what I want 'em to mean.' Do not get seduced by that argument. The fact is when the Scottish Parliament was set up and the Welsh Assembly, we gave certain powers away from the Westminster Government over to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. If it is good enough for our Scottish members to have a vote on that and it is good enough for our Welsh members to have a vote on that, and by the way our members in Ireland to have a vote because they are going to have a referendum, then it should be good enough for the British people to have a vote as well. What are they scared of? (Applause) I thought these were the people that told trade unionists they were frightened of the ballot box. What are they frightened of, that the vote might not go the right way? I do not think so at all.

The reality is this. I will tell you why my union is so opposed to the European Union and its directives. I have more in common with a Chinese labourer than I have with one of those stockbrokers in the City of London. Why are we building a fortress round Europe when I thought we stood for 'workers of the world unite'? All these people come to the TUC from round the world so why shouldn't there be upgrades in the standards for everyone throughout the world? The reality is this. The European Union directives have allowed for the privatisation of the railway industry, they have allowed for public services to be privatised, they are allowing now for the welfare state to be smashed, and on top of that they are allowing for the full wholesale privatisation of all our industries.

Now, whether you are for the European Union or whether you are not, I believe that people should have their say. Let's have the arguments on the floor. Let's have the debate. Let people decide their own destiny. Do not be seduced. I will come back to Alice in Wonderland for the final time because it is Alice's Wonderland you are living in if you are in this European Union with its Constitution. This European Union is just like the walrus, he brought its mates round for tea, the oysters, and then he ate them. That is what he did! You are going to get eaten up by this European Union and I will say to you, let's pass the referendum, let's pass GMB's resolution, but on top of that give a direction. I thought we were about leading workers, not just sitting there on the fence. If you sit on the fence, it is a very awkward position to be sitting in. I would ask you here today to pass the resolution, say there is nothing in the Constitution, and have a unanimous decision to vote no as well.

Bob Oram (UNISON) supported Motion 71 and seconded Motion 72.

He said: Many people have asked me this week why Unison is supporting this motion and the answer is simple, because it is our policy. Our policy has been framed by our conferences over many years and it is the first principle of our movement that you come here to reflect your union's policies. My first speech on Europe was in early 1990 when we opposed the Maastricht Treaty. UNISON opposed that because it enshrined everything that Margaret Thatcher held dear: a rigid monetarist economic framework which promoted reduced public services and social benefits through privatisation and cuts in spending. Consistently we have argued our case over the intervening years in line with our policies agreed at our conferences. The EU project is more advanced now. Today we witnessed the attempt at creating a federal Europe with one currency, one government, one foreign policy, one military machine, one industrial policy, and a complete freedom of labour, capital, goods, and services, a free market, which will include health and education. It is a slow incremental process happening in a way that we need to understand and need to recognise.

By some out there any opposition to Europe is criticised as right wing, rabid anti-Europeanism. That is a slur that is simply not true. Congress, it is not illiberal to expel the BNP from our ranks. It is not anti-Semitic to criticise the Israeli state for what it inflicts on the Palestinian people. It is not anti-European to say that this is the wrong direction for Europe and it is not one we want them to go down. We can and will play a full role in Europe but let us shape it ourselves on our terms. Yesterday in the public services debate you unanimously agreed to reject European attacks on public services; today you are about to call for a referendum on the Treaty. Whatever you call the new Treaty, everyone accepts that 97 percent of it is the same as the old Constitution. That stood on its own as a document but the new Treaty amends all the old treaties; the wording has inevitably changed but the substance is what we previously agreed to oppose. Let's not kid ourselves that nothing has changed. Nothing has been approved and there is nothing in it that we wanted. Why do we not stick with our previous position in line with the workers in France and the Netherlands who previously rejected the Constitution? They saw its real intentions and so should we. All trade unionists need to join together defending public services. If we believe that a majority vote will defend them in the new Treaty, then we are delusional, delusional believing that Jacques Dolores will deliver on his promise for a social Europe. Free market competition in all economic services across the continent is what this is about, a race to the bottom where our fundamental rights would be undermined and be put at risk of being lost.

Do not be fooled by the rhetoric, the doom mongers, or those that slur us as right-wingers. Do not be fooled by the duplicity of Labour ministers who talk up social Europe but boast of their silicone sealed opt-out from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Do not be fooled by the bankers and the business leaders who have a letter in The Guardian today saying vote yes. Let's build a Europe that workers want to see and give us a real future for generations to come. Support 72 and 71. Thank you.

Tony Woodley (Unite) supported Motion 71.

He said: It is a very important debate that we are having and an important decision we are about to take. In speaking in support of the GMB motion the T&G section of Unite, like most of you, has a little bit of a dilemma. On the one hand, as other colleagues have said, we are not anti-Europe and we certainly would not want to associate ourselves for any reason with UKIP or the anti-trade union Tories. But we also do not want to be part of a Europe that discards the social model that could bring benefits to working men and women. On the other hand, we certainly cannot support ducking a referendum, not because the Government has broken its promise to hold one, as important as that is, but because our government is still pushing the European model with British workers as second-class citizens. I know we all agree this, we do not want more liberalisation, we do not want a further push to privatise our public services, and we do not want a European model that is lined up only for big business to take advantage of. That is what it is about at the moment and that is what people are obviously trying to push through.

Previous speakers are right when they said the protocol destroys the Charter of Fundamental Rights. It does destroy it, not just dilute it. With its opt-out it is not an exaggeration to say that it is a disastrous reversal on workers' rights that are, of course, human rights. In the Thatcher years we relied on Europe to give us some semblance of worker protection that we needed. It is sad to say that with this protocol it would be absolutely impossible for British workers to override British law to seek fair play from Europe, as Bob said. Be clear, we are not going to agree to this and if the Treaty becomes law with every opt-out that Richard Lambert and the CBI cronies have already negotiated, it would be mission impossible for British workers to ever get that level playing field that we campaigned for and we have worked so hard for.

Comrades, the case is simple here, if the Government wants to have a social opt-out then we must demand, must demand, a democratic opt-in. If anyone thinks (and I do not) that the British people want a free-market Europe with no protection for workers, then I say put it to the vote and let's find out. Support resolution 71. Thank you.

Joe Mann (Community) opposed Motions 71 and 72. He said: I ask you to consider who would benefit if the motions are adopted and the campaign for a referendum gained momentum. The Tories would love it; it might even give the flagging David Cameron just the shot in the arm he needs after a summer of discontent in his party. The Daily Mail and the Express, and all the dirty dealers empire, would probably carry the TUC story for the first time this week. They would revel in the prospect of spinning even more lies and disinformation in a campaign before a referendum, in full knowledge that they are very well skilled in stirring up populism, reaction, and xenophobia. These are the qualities which would dominate a referendum campaign, not the concern which we share that the Charter of Fundamental Rights should apply here.

There are many employers who would rejoice too, not the likes of Honda which will not invest in the UK any further because of our existing detachment from the Europe Union, but the companies which want the freedom to make their employees work round the clock. They are well aware that nearly every social policy measure in the last 30 years which has helped workers and promoted fairness in the world of work stemmed from European Union initiatives, and often the directives have been introduced in the teeth of determined British government resistance. Think about our mission, as an international movement our representatives at the ETUC Congress this year fearlessly argued the cause against the Constitutional treaty. They were humiliated by the overwhelming rejection of their views by sister organisations. Building international solidarity and trade union strength involves mutual give and take and in the end acceptance of majority decisions.

Delegates, do you want the TUC to keep its back turned to deepening cooperation with our good and patient friends in the ETUC? If you do not, vote against the motions and deny the enemies of our movement the field day they would undoubtedly enjoy if these motions are carried. Thank you.

Tony Richardson (Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union) supported Motion 72. He said: Platform, delegates, in 2005 the French and Dutch rejected the EU Constitution. Their people spoke and to all intents and purposes it was dead, dead but not buried. In that year two other things happened: firstly, my branch brought a successful motion to the Bakers Union Conference against the EU Constitution and to campaign for a 'no' vote. Secondly, this TUC also decided to oppose the Constitution and campaigned for a 'no' vote. At our conference I made the point that we must still be vigilant. We must not take our eye off the ball.

Here we are, two years later, having to deal with this new Treaty. This new Treaty is over 90percent of the old Constitution. It remains undemocratic. It is centralising. It is a privateer's paradise. It contains nothing that can be in any shape or form called the friend of the workers. The very least that the Congress can do is stick to its policies and Congress decisions, and if we do not do that we might as well all go home. I am absolutely sick to death coming to this Congress, coming to this rostrum, winning the argument and getting no action. I said it is the Bakers Union policy to oppose the EU Constitution and campaign for a no vote. I will say this, the Bakers Union stands full square, shoulder to shoulder with the RMT in demanding a referendum and a campaign for a no vote. You know it is right, it is Congress policy, support the RMT, support resolution 72, and commit the General Council to do what is right.

Mick Shaw (Fire Brigades' Union) supported Motions 71 and 72.

He said: The TUC already has a policy on the draft European Union Constitution. The reality is that the European Reform Treaty is that draft Constitution dressed up under a different name, despite what those who will tell you otherwise would have you believe, therefore our decision should not be that difficult. The Fire Brigades' Union is not opposed to Europe. We are not opposed to the European Union. We are not opposed to greater European integration. We are not opposed to European Union enlargement. What we are opposed to is the European Union being used as a vehicle to force through privatisation, to drive down workers' wages and working conditions.

There has always been a tension in the European Union between those forces arguing for what has been known as the social Europe, the more progressive forces, and those forces arguing for a business Europe, a bosses Europe, a Europe of unrestrained capitalism. It is those latter forces, those arguing for the bosses Europe, who are the ones currently calling the tune in the European Commission and the other institutions of the European Union. That is what this European Reform Treaty is all about. It is a neo-liberal anti-democratic project. It undermines democracy and accountability. It undermines decent public services. It will undermine manufacturing. Increasingly open and democratic government within the member states will be replaced by secretive and unaccountable institutions which deliberately set out to exclude as many as possible from the decision-making process. That is why those who are the most enthusiastic supporters of the current direction of the European Union are those who are most opposed to people having the chance to have a vote on this topic.

The people of France and the people of the Netherlands have already had the opportunity to say what they thought of the draft European Treaty; they opposed it. Unfortunately, those who support this Treaty do not want to give the British people the chance to have the same vote. I think it is worth saying that it would be a huge mistake for those of us on the left and for the labour movement if the only persons calling for the British people to have the chance to vote on this were the Tories. We should stand clearly for the right of the British people to be allowed a vote on this Treaty. As Bob said, it is no good calling for the right to have a vote but being silent when it comes to recommending which way people should vote in the referendum. There is absolutely nothing in the European Reform Treaty that is there for workers. The decision should be very easy, we should be opposed to it, and we should call on people to vote no. Support 71 and 72.

Mark Serwotka (Public and Commercial Services Union) supported Motions 71 and 72.

He said: Congress, when you actually analyse the question in front of us, we think the answer now is pretty simple. It is not simple because PCS is anti-European or anti-EU, in fact far from that. We do not believe that all our ills stem from the European Union; indeed, we believe that many of our most vital gains for workers in recent years have come in EU legislation. In this debate what we want to focus on, however, are the actions of our own UK Government, the choices they are giving us, and how we put pressure on them. We have to recognise that it is our government in Europe that seeks to block workers' rights, supports the exploitation of agency workers, supports deregulation, supports privatisation of our public services, and now wants to opt out of the Charter of Fundamental Human Rights.

Congress, we should not let the villains in-chief off the hook and seek to blame all our ills therefore on Europe. In fact, our view is that what this Government is doing to us is cynically relying on the fact that our movement's internationalism, our abhorrence of nationalism and 'little Englandism', will mean we will let them get away with anything because we are afraid of being described as an anti-European union. Indeed, the logic of succumbing to that position is they can do anything they like and we will sit by quietly because we could be described as being anti-European.

Congress, for my union the blocking of the Charter for Fundamental Human Rights was the final straw. It seems to us that the only way now to build a campaign and to put pressure on our Government to reverse its decision is to say we want a referendum and we will campaign for a 'no' vote if what is on offer is what they are currently giving us. Congress, that is why we believe our campaign must be separate and it must be distinct. We must be clear that our campaign is based on opposition to privatisation, for full rights for workers in the UK, and for full implementation of the charter. We want a referendum and we should say loud and clear the referendum we want is for workers' rights, for equality, for peace, and for social justice. That is why what we should be proclaiming is that we will link up in the true internationalist tradition with workers and unions across the whole of Europe to say we want a workers' Europe, not a Europe for big business.

Congress, if we fail to take that decision today the Government will read into that that they can carry on with their neo-liberal agenda and the trades union movement will stay silent. We should have a referendum, we should say it is no to what is on offer, and force them to change course, otherwise we should defeat it which is the best way to stand up for workers' rights in this country and workers' rights across Europe. Support both motions.

Brian Corbett (Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen) supported Motions 71 and 72. He said: First of all, I am a little disturbed at certain things because I thought we had a policy and the policy was made in 2005. We already have it, so what are we actually doing here? At least it is a decent debate for once. (Applause) Brothers and sisters, very little has changed indeed. I can tell you that our members certainly have not changed on the issue. ASELF members have not changed; certainly we have not been got at and nor has our Executive Committee, and it is clear we are not anti-European. We are trade unionists just like our comrades over there are trade unionists. We oppose privatisation. This is what it is about. We oppose privatisation in any forms, any moves for privatisation. We oppose the charters from anywhere that take our rights away. It is funny that we support the ILO Conventions, which is where we should put all our focus; indeed, all of you just voted for 68, so that is quite clear as far as I a concerned, and so far as my union is concerned. We support the NHS as it has always been but no moves towards greater privatisation.

That is what it is really about, privatisation. Let's not turn this into a big union/small union fight. It is not about that. We know that. Let's put our members first, quite clearly first. That is what it is about. We ask you to support the motion from the RMT and ask Congress to do the same. Comrades, do not waiver. In your delegation oppose privatisation, oppose job cuts. That is what it is about. Please support.

Derek Simpson (Unite) stated that all sections of Unite supported Motion 71.

He said: Colleagues, to make perfectly clear it is not an anti-EU vote at all by Unite, in fact we are pro-Europe. We are concerned like all speakers have said about this Constitution which drives right against the social Europe that I believe everyone in this hall would support. Colleagues, when people speak about the problems with Europe what we need to understand is that one of the most regressive governments in the EU against the social agenda has been the British Government. Anyone who goes to Brussels will find that out. We are concerned about opt-outs negotiated by a British Prime Minister, opt-outs that cause the greatest concern about the direction. It is not Europe itself that needs to change, it is the attitude of the British Government towards Europe that dilutes all those advantages that other workers in Europe have and we are prevented from having. (Applause) We are clearly pro-Europe but we are very much concerned that this Constitution is all that the critics have said. I cannot add to that but I need to make that clear distinction. For those who believe that the answer is to walk away, to step outside, to pull back, remember that we have been pulling back to a position that is worse than what is in Europe. We do not walk away, we join the fight and the fight is to change the attitude of the British Government, to stop the opt-outs and to fight for social Europe. Let's be clear exactly what we are saying, which is what we did say and what was said by Tony Dubbins from this rostrum on behalf of Amicus two years ago, we are for Europe, a social Europe.

Paul Kenny (GMB) exercised a right of reply. He said: I am sorry, I will not take up much time but I think it is important to make this point. The suggestion was made by the speaker from Community that by somehow supporting 71 you are lining up with the Tories. Let me tell you the point that you are making is that you are lining up with the CBI; that is what you are doing. I am not prepared to do that. (Applause) I am lining up with rights for British workers. They should not be blocked by the power and use of the CBI through the British Government. This is what Gary Titley said today on the radio. He was asked, was it a mistake for the Government to add on this extra protocol and were they doing it in some sort of sense of political window-dressing. Titley said, 'Mistake, no, it was the CBI that was pressurising to make this absolutely super, magnificently water-tight,' in other words, to make sure that there was no way British workers could go to the European courts to get access to things we had before, a complete blocking measure. I say to Community, I am not going to line up with people who are going to deny rights to British workers, and I hope you do not either.

Bob Crow (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) exercised a right of reply. He said: Apart from Community, I never see many people come to the rostrum and say vote against our resolution. Perhaps there has been a change of heart this afternoon while the good weather has been out in Brighton. The reality is I am not going to sit back and say because we have a different point of view about the European Union that we are anti-democratic and anti-European. My union stands shoulder to shoulder with anyone with its record on internationalism; 140 of our members went in the International Brigade to fight Franco; 10,000 lost their lives in World War II to end fascism. We do not need any lessons about internationalism in our union. We want to see the interests of everyone, every worker, get better in life.

My friend, Joe Mann, does the piloting at Tolpuddle. I have to say, Joe, you do a good job in that piloting but what you talked about was a kamikaze mission; I have to say that, an absolute kamikaze mission. We do not stand with UKIP. The question is about whether you believe that that Constitution, if it goes through as it says, gives you more rights than what you have now. I respect the position of those people who want to be in the European Union; I do respect that. We are honest about where we stand and we have had a clear policy for years. When the architect of the European Union, Schuman, actually said that what he wanted was a European Union to stop socialism spreading. That is what he wanted. There is no doubt that all those gains were put in there but now what you are seeing is the welfare state taken away because there is no Soviet Union to be a threat to them any more. It is liberalisation. What a dirty word 'privatisation' is. They will not even use the word 'privatisation' because people do not want it. They use the word 'liberalisation'. I thought liberalisation meant it was free. Pensioners cannot go and buy an industry. You cannot go and buy an industry. It is for the big businesses to buy the industry. I was proud of being in those demonstrations in Brussels with Transport & General Workers Union from this country and other unions from around the world and around Europe especially, when we stopped the port directive coming in to privatise ports throughout Europe. That is what European solidarity is about.

I have to say that you are going to pass a referendum here now, so pass 71 so there is no contradiction, but be clear as to the reason why we are asking for a referendum; it is the sole reason that you are going to vote 'no', because you do not like what is in it. If, of course, it changes between now and December, or whenever the Social Chapter or Social Charter is agreed, then there will be a different position but as we stand here today we should enforce the referendum and never mind what the CBI want, never mind what the Labour Party want, let's declare an agenda for British trade unionists. On that basis support 71 and also support 72.

* Motion 71 was CARRIED
* Motion 72 was LOST

The President: That concludes the debate on Europe.

Address by Sithokozile Siwela

The President: We now come to an address from another sister trade unionist. I hope you can leave quietly because we are really looking toward to welcoming our sister, Sithokozile Siwela, who is the Secretary of the Women's Committee of the Zimbabwe Council of Trade Unions. As I indicated earlier this week, we think we have our problems, but our fellow trade unionists in Zimbabwe are going through an horrendously difficult time at the moment. We, as the British trade union movement, have been very much with them in their struggle. A wage freeze has just been announced in Zimbabwe with an inflation rate of 3,000 percent. At the same time the women of Zimbabwe find it really, really difficult to find access to basic necessities of life, like sanitary towels. I know we had a very moving address at our last Congress from our other sister, Tabatha. So that is just a snapshot of the difficulties that ordinary working people face.

We had invited the ZCTU President, Lovemore Matombo, here, but he is at home leading the protests and co-ordinating the trade union action that is needed. However, we are more than delighted to welcome Sithokozile. We do not think we could have a better substitute than our sister here, so we are very proud to have you, Sithokozile, and we really look forward to your address to Congress. Thank you. (Applause)

Address by Sithokozile Siwela

Sithokozile Siwela (Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions): President, General Secretary, delegates and visitors, I bring greetings from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and apologies from my President, Lovemore Matombo, for not being able to attend. He has asked me to deliver his speech to you.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions is pleased to have been invited to this Congress by the British TUC. To us Zimbabweans, the invitation speaks volumes about the relationship that exists between the ZCTU and the British TUC.

The British TUC has been a major supporter of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions in its time of need. You have supported us financially, materially and morally in our times of need. We are always indebted and grateful to you for this most invaluable assistance.

I am sure that most of you are aware of the situation in Zimbabwe and it needs no introduction. But we Zimbabweans cannot tire of telling our friends of our predicament as long as you lend us your ears. The Zimbabwean story has been quite a long one so that some people and organisations have begun to tire. So it gives us solace to know that there are people and organisations out there who are still prepared to listen to us, and the British TUC is one such organisation.

It is a tragedy that Zimbabwe has been plunged into the horrors of hyperinflation through ill-conceived economic and political decisions. Conservative official government figures put the inflation at 7,600percent, the highest in the world. However, independent analysts say this figure has more than trebled and the International Monetary Fund predicts that by the end of this year Zimbabwe's inflation will hit 100,000 percent!

The unemployment rate in Zimbabwe has shot up to nearly 80 percent in recent years, leaving just one in five adults in formal employment. The rest have been absorbed in the informal sector. Poverty afflicts 90 percent of the population. While the poverty datum line stands at 8.2 million Zimbabwe dollars, most Zimbabweans earn less than 2 million Zimbabwe dollars. There is no fuel, no water, no food, no electricity and no transport. Virtually everything is in short supply. After 27 years of independence, we are back in the Stone Age!

In response to the economic and political crisis, Zimbabweans have left and are leaving the country en masse. Today, on the streets of London, you will not be surprised to hear Zimbabweans speaking in vernacular language. That is the reality we are facing. Millions more have left the country to neighbouring South Africa.

Believe you me, no one is happy to live in a foreign land. We know they all want to come back home and stay with their families.

As the labour movement, we are doing our best to fight repression and we will not get tired. Our only weapon is to withdraw our labour.

Although we realise that we are confronting a regime that has vast state machinery at its disposal, we also realise that we have no-one to liberate us but ourselves. As we speak, we have resolved to embark on a national protest next week on 19th and 20th September. That is Wednesday and Thursday. We seek your support and solidarity during the action. As always, we know it will come.

As Secretary of the Women's Advisory Council of the ZCTU, I do wish to add that whilst all Zimbabweans are suffering, women in Zimbabwe bear great burdens and have specific needs.

Thank you for your support for the Dignity Period! Campaign. ZCTU, with the support of ACTSA, has so far distributed 3.5 million products. The crisis in Zimbabwe continues, but international solidarity and practical support gives us courage and hope. It makes a difference.

I will take back to Zimbabwe your messages of support.

On 19th and 20th September, ZCTU has called for a two-day stayaway. I hope you may find ways on those days to share and demonstrate with us. Your continuing support is deeply appreciated.

Let me take this opportunity, on behalf of the ZCTU and all workers in Zimbabwe, to wish you a successful Congress. I thank you. (Applause)

The President: Sithokozile, thank you so much for that very moving address, which updates us on the situation. It is always a difficult slot to fill when we have just had a high profile debate and people are on the move, but the attention I think that Congress gave you showed how much we care about what happens. I spent quite a few occasions during my years as TUC President outside the Zimbabwe Embassy protesting and showing solidarity with you. I know that will continue as long as it is necessary. Please do take our very best wishes back and we will carry on with you in the struggle, and you will win because working people working together do. Thank you very much.

Solidarity with Zimbabwean trade unionists

The President: That takes us very neatly on to Motion 73 on Solidarity with Zimbabwean trade unionists. The General Council supports the Motion.

Christine Tucker (Accord) moved Motion 73 as amended by UCU.

She said: Congress, you have heard from Sithokozile how bad things are in Zimbabwe. Our motion spells out some more statistics. I want to highlight just one of them. Life expectancy in Zimbabwe is plunging and it is worse for women. On average, women in Zimbabwe do not reach age 35 and men do not reach age 38. Imagine what that would mean if we were Zimbabwean. I know I would not be here. How many of you would still be alive? How empty would this hall be if we removed everyone who is older than that?

Congress, our motion is about basic solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Zimbabwe. It is also about what you can do when you go home. The first thing you can do is to respond to what Sithokozile and the ZCTU have called on us to do next week. Next Thursday lunchtime, Action for Southern Africa and the TUC will be demonstrating outside the Zimbabwean Embassy to show solidarity with the ZCTU and the people of Zimbabwe. If you are in London next week, please be there.

If you cannot attend, ACTSA and the TUC will soon be launching an e-action to support the ZCTU protest; so check the TUC website, add your name to the action and get your friends and colleagues to do the same.

It will not end there. Our motion calls on unions to join ACTSA. You were probably all members when it was called the Anti-Apartheid movement and we were campaigning in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in South Africa. Now we need to do the same for our sisters and brothers in Zimbabwe and other parts of southern Africa, such as Swaziland. The TUC and ACTSA have set up a trade union network to co-ordinate action on Zimbabwe. We want you to support ACTSA and the vital work it does.

Beyond next week's solidarity action, our next priority is to persuade the Portuguese Government not to allow Robert Mugabe to hijack the Europe Africa Summit in December. The French union stopped Mugabe coming to France earlier this year, and we know that our colleagues in the Portuguese union are doing their utmost. We need to do more to show the Portuguese Government that their reputation will be sullied and their summit a failure if Robert Mugabe attends.

The work of the French and Portuguese trade union movements prove, contrary to what Robert Mugabe claims, that Zimbabwe is not a British obsession. Trade unions across the world are united in condemning Mugabe's regime. The South African and Nigerian trade union movements, in particular, will no doubt join the solidarity actions next week because they always do. They know that winning the liberation struggle is not enough. Africans need to win freedom too. What they do is show that if Mugabe has the support of other African Governments, he emphatically does not have the support of African people. Congress, please support the motion as amended. Thank you. (Applause)

Alastair Hunter (University and College Union) seconded Motion 73 as amended.

He said: Comrades, I am old enough to remember the days of Ian Smith's illegal regime and the fight for independence under Robert Mugabe which led to the establishment of Zimbabwe. I remember also how enthusiastically we welcomed the end of Britain's colonial regime in what used to be Rhodesia. It was with sadness, therefore, that I listened to Sithokozile's account of the state of Zimbabwe today at the hands of that same Robert Mugabe.

In supporting Motion 73, I want particularly to address UCU's amendment highlighting the importance of solidarity with the Zimbabwean students' movement. Like their trade union colleagues, student leaders and activists in Zimbabwe face increasingly brutal state repression.

One of the key organisations fighting alongside the ZCTU is ZINASU, a national union of students in Zimbabwe's higher education institutions. ZINASU represents more than 300,000 students in 42 institutions, including universities, teaching training colleges, polytechnics and agricultural institutes.

At the end of June, ZINASU's Secretary General, Beloved Chiweshe, and Munjodzi Mutandiri, former Students' Union President of Chinhoyi University of Technology, were abducted and tortured by state agents. They were then thrown into a sewage discharge river, forced to drink sewer water and dumped 20 kilometres outside Harare.

In July, more than 5,000 students were evicted by armed riot police from Zimbabwe's main campus in Harare after they protested against a decision to deny them food for three days. And their crime? Refusing to meet a demand to pay an extra 1 million Zimbabwean dollars to make up time lost during a strike by lecturers.

ZINASU's demands are reasonable: affordable quality education for all; adequate learning, teaching and research facilities; employment creation for college graduates and a democratic constitution in a democratic Zimbabwe.

Congress, I urge you to show your solidarity with Zimbabwean students and workers in their fight for justice by supporting Motion 73 and its amendment. Thank you. (Applause)

Bill Greenshields (National Union of Teachers) supported Motion 73.

He said: Comrades, we could not do anything other than add the voice of the National Union of Teachers in support and with total solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe struggling both for their trade union rights and for their very survival in many cases. Robert Mugabe's government has degenerated from a great beacon of change and liberation, as it was just a few decades ago, to one of tyranny, corruption and oppression.

However, in raising our voices in support of our trade union comrades and the people of Zimbabwe, we must not give credence to the racist and imperialist view that the economic and political problems faced in Africa are simply the result of bad governance, corrupt politicians and officials, that somehow Africans are less able to manage their affairs than Europeans were or are.

Of course, the British state in Rhodesia and the racist white regime that followed it offered no democracy or rights, only oppression and violence. Some of those very imperialists and racists now have the nerve to raise their voices to lecture Africans on democracy.

The degeneration of Mugabe's regime from a vehicle for liberation to one of tyranny is not unassociated with imperialism and the interventions during the past two or three decades; the first at the time of liberation which said that there would be no land reform for ten years and imposed that on Mugabe's government. In the early 1990s, the IMF and the World Bank imposed a structural adjustment programme that wiped out 30 percent of industrial capacity. In the late 1990s Mugabe's government revolted against the programme and imposed tariffs to protect industry, stopped the privatisation programme, started land reform and allowed compulsory purchase of land.

At that time the all-white Commercial Farmers Union controlled 90 percent of all marketed produce. Britain and America took action against this and suspended payments for land purchase that had been agreed under the Lancaster House Agreement. Furthermore, Britain and the US established a Zimbabwe Democracy Trust. Bush and the US Congress introduced a Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act. That gave the US power to impose economic sanctions. They instructed US representatives on the IMF, World Bank, African Development Bank, plus others, to vote against all credit facilities and loans for Zimbabwe and to claim payments on existing loans. Zimbabwe has received no loans or credit since 2000 and has had to cease buying oil and fertilizer on the international market.

The effect of drought and these sanctions has caused the nosedive of the economy. When our comrades then protest in the trade union movement that they should not bear the brunt of this, Mugabi falsely accuses them of being the allies of imperialism, rather than the victims of it and attacks them politically, economically and physically.

So when today we declare our support for them and our solidarity with them, we recognise the fact that that unconditional support in their brave struggle against the degeneration of that Government, which held out so much promise three generations ago, was also our support for them in resisting the effects of imperialism. Vote for the motion. Solidarity for ever. (Applause)

Paula Roe (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers) supported Motion 73.

She said: The NASUWT whole-heartedly supports this motion, but believes that there is an aspect to it that we would like to raise. Currently, in the United Kingdom, we have fellow sister and brother trade unionists from Zimbabwe who desperately need our support and solidarity. It is difficult to imagine that there are in our workplaces, in our schools, individuals amongst us who are literally in fear of their lives.

I would like to give you just one brief example of one such case. A fellow teacher from Zimbabwe, who fled from there in 2001. His crime? He dared to criticise Mugabe's regime by speaking the truth, by writing articles to highlight the plight of Zimbabweans at home and abroad, and by sharing how, in so many ways, the Zimbabwean people are suppressed and oppressed Robert Mugabe's regime.

The outcome of exposing the wrongs of such a destructive and corrupt regime was that this teacher was placed on a 'death list'. His name was published in the Zimbabwean Newspaper on 5th April 2007 and on the Zim2Day website. It was immediately obvious that this teacher member, his wife and three of the children here in the UK, were all under the same threat of death, and that there was no way that he or any member of his family would be able to return to Zimbabwe. Even here, he felt their lives were threatened.

Only the advice and support of his trade union helped him feel more secure. With the aid of the NASUWT, he was able to apply for a change of status from asylum seeker to that of refugee for himself and for his family. An urgent application was required. It is a difficult process; one through which our union was able to support both him and his family.

Sisters, brothers, it is with enormous relief that we heard on 30th August 2007 that our brother trade unionist and some of his family were granted leave by the Home Office to remain in the United Kingdom as a refugee for a significant period of time. Today, as I came into the Congress Hall this afternoon, I received an email that said his remaining eldest child had also received news today that she would also be allowed refugee status.

From the UK, he will continue to fight for justice and to inform the international world about the dark side of Mugabe's regime. International pressures are needed to alter the Mugabe regime, but we must also realise that we have fellow Zimbabwean trade unionists here with us now who need our solidarity and our support from all of our unions because unions have a tremendous effect on individual lives. Support this motion, Congress. Thank you. (Applause)

Rotimi Sankore (National Union of Journalists) supported Motion 73.

He said: Most, if not all, colleagues here would have seen the pictures that came out of Zimbabwe during the past couple of months in which trade unionists and non-trade unionist protesters were attacked by security agents in Zimbabwe. That was the product of the work of our journalist and media worker colleagues. Unfortunately, in Zimbabwe today, the surest way to be a victim of repression of that Government is to cover things like protests or publish reports that reflect any criticism of the Government. Journalists have been victims of beatings, imprisonment and even death; so, obviously, we must stand very firm against any such activities on the part of the Government and offer them our international solidarity.

However, the issues in Zimbabwe are also very complicated. As trade unionists and internationalists, we must cut straight through those complications by way of offering our solidarity. One of the previous speakers hinted at that. The Zimbabwean Government has become extremely skillful at making the point that all the criticisms against it are from imperialists and colonialists. Some of this may be true, but the fact remains - and we must make the fact very strongly as trade unionists - whether it is the British Government or the Bush Government, which have hypocritical foreign policies towards the country, that is not an excuse for workers to be denied their rights in Zimbabwe.

The example that stands out very firmly is that of Pakistan. Pakistan was suspended from the Commonwealth when General Musharaf overthrew a democratically elected government. Zimbabwe at the same time was on the verge of being suspended and then withdrew before it could be suspended. So Mugabe goes to the African Union and says: "Now Musharaf is a very good friend of the West because he has supported them on the war of terror and they have accepted him back, but we, as a black government that is fighting an anti-colonial battle, are still out." It is a very skillful argument that wins him support. That is why, as trade unionists, when we offer our support to Zimbabwe workers who do not have the right to protest and to journalists who are victimised for reporting the truth, we must make it clear that our solidarity is the solidarity of workers, not the solidarity of governments that may or may not have a hypocritical foreign policy. (Applause)

The President: I do not think there is anything reply to, so I will move to a vote on Motion 73.
* Motion 73 was CARRIED


General Council statement on childcare at TUC events

The President: I now move on to Chapter 10 of the General Council's Report on TUC Organisation. It starts on page 172. We are to have a debate on childcare. I am going to explain to you how we are going to deal with it. What I will do first is to call the General Secretary to move the General Council's statement on childcare. That was placed on your seats during lunch-time on Monday. Then I will call the mover, seconder and supporters of Motion 80. I will then open up the debate on the General Council's statement and Motion 80. Then I will give the right of reply to the movers of Motion 80 and then to the General Secretary. I will then take the vote on the General Council's statement and then the vote on Motion 80. I hope that is all clear. I now call on the General Secretary to move the General Council's statement. Brendan?

Brendan Barber (General Secretary): Many thanks, President. Congress, the General Council, like the Women's Committee, is absolutely committed to maximising the involvement of trade unionists with childcare responsibilities in TUC and union events. We know that more needs to be done. We have set out the background