Mr Tony Cooper (Engineers' and Managers' Association) moved Motion 96.
He said: President and Congress, our motion was not intended, initially, to be anything about the relationship between the small unions and the big unions in the TUC, but we recognised it was related which is why we accepted the amendment. It was actually about effectiveness. We wholly accept that to run the TUC effectively you need a small Executive Committee and we accept that any small Executive Committee is bound to be dominated by those big unions which contribute most of the members and most of the cash.
We passed a motion earlier today complaining about the domination of our Parliament by its Executive. I hesitate to call for consistency because it might rebound on me somewhere else, but I assure you that our General Council is also dominated by its Executive, and it matters. It matters because the world is changing and the world is changing a damned sight faster than we are as trade unions. Without the kind of scrutiny, independence, regular checks and new ideas that would come from some separate body, we do not believe that anything in the present proposals would allow the TUC to move, adapt and create innovations as fast as it needs to do. We do not believe that we have a mechanism to bring forward that. With the greatest of respect, we do not believe that innovation comes from old lags like those of us who are up here, including myself. This is not intended to be a criticism of either the existing General Council or the Executive, individually or collectively, but simply of the way in which we work.
I ask you to consider this. Currently, if you look at our working membership affiliated to the TUC, but not our total membership, it is nearer to 20 per cent of the workforce than 30 per cent. We welcome the signs of the turning tide in union membership but, frankly, if any other organisation had allowed its market share to fall as low as that, you would have sacked the whole damned lot of us and a long time ago. In short, we believe that you need a small committee to manage the TUC and we believe and understand that that committee should be dominated by the large unions.
What we seek is a completely separate mechanism to keep the Executive on its toes, to pressurise it between Congress, to be a source of innovation and to stimulate debate, because that, in our judgment, is absolutely crucial to our ability to build on the signs of increased interest in trade unionism. Thank you.
A delegate formally seconds.
The President: The General Council oppose the Motion.
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