South East Region TUC RMT Delegates Report
SERTUC delegates report from RMT Rep Dean O'Hanlon
Comrades, I attended as a delegate yesterday on behalf of the Union and made some brief notes of issues raised.
Meeting started with a minutes silence for Ben Rickman, secretary of Brent Trades Council who died on 16th October.
President reiterated the people's charter and called for the Labour Party to make its tenets policy.
Secretary reported that a New London Living Wage would be announced on Monday, a key union demand will now to be to ensure that all companies we represent in the region pay this as a minimum wage. She also commented on the need to raise the awareness among the rank and file of the political effects of austerity programme in order to mobilise any planned industrial action against it.
Frances O'Grady new TUC GS addressed the region (first one to do so apparently) and in her contribution set out what she saw as three main priorities for movement.
1. To defend and campaign for good quality jobs.
2. Deal with inequalities.
3. Campaign for decent wages and living standards.
She did not specifically cover the TUC motion to investigate the feasibility of a General Strike but when questioned on this by myself and others set out what was happening with this motion.
1. Seek legal advice and she referred to John Hendy and others.
2. Survey of Unions to establish appetite for action and what is deliverable.
3. Consideration given to linking up trade disputes for which there would be a ballot.
4. Consideration given to naming a date without a ballot but to inform membership that this would remove protections and render them liable to dismissal etc.
A number of contributions followed and it was generally accepted that this is a big step and that it would need to be effective in terms of what it could deliver(e.g. stop transport, affect power etc) or it could have a negative effect on what we are trying to achieve. I.e we need to be serious and strategic about this.
In other contributions it was noted that there is a Day of Action and Solidarity been called by the European TUC for the 14th November and a Unite delegate agreed to bring this to the attention of his union and call for any planned action to take place on this date (not sure if we have anything pending which could be coordinated?). It was noted that we need to take a pan European approach to any calls for General Strikes.
Other contributions were received from Adrian Weir of the Liaison Committee for the Defence of Trade Unions (LCDTU) who reported on legislation passed from the Beecroft report (the guy in charge of Wonga.com!) which were a broad attack on individual employment rights and he referred to a report from the Institute of Directors which would be adopted in the second half of this parliament and were designed to further erode collective TU rights as if they were not bad enough already.
Mbide Charles Kude, Deputy Secretary of the Cameroon Food and Allied Workers Union reported on the working conditions of Banana plantation workers and in particular the fact that bosses give more priority on water supply to their crops than their workers but overall set out a picture that organised labour had made a difference there.
Brian Davies, GMB, Remploy Trade Union Consortium member gave an update on the government's attack on this vulnerable group of workers and how those made redundant had little or no chance of ever working again and the fact that equality legislation made no difference in the real world for disabled workers chances of employment. A bleak picture and one that any new administration with any care for standards of decency should seek to reverse.
A PCS speaker reported on a dispute this Monday starting at 0700 at the British Museum about plans to outsource services including cleaners etc.
A motion passed on need to organise post 20th October.
This is a brief summary of points I made a note of.
Dean O’Hanlon SERTUC delegate.