Trades Union Councils 2013 to 2014 Programme of Work
is based around the core themes of the TUC campaign against austerity and for a future that works
- Jobs, Growth and a New Economy
- Fair pay and a Living Wage
- Good Services and Decent Welfare
- Respect and a voice at work
- Strong Unions
Britain's unions are the backbone of Britain's anti-austerity movement; the only group that can build a mass political movement for change. And the key players for implementing that campaign in the local community, reflecting local needs and concerns, which add to the national campaign, are the trades union councils.
The focus for the TUC work for foreseeable future is the campaign to defeat the government's austerity policies and defend the welfare state.
This programme of work has been designed to ensure that trades union councils can identify the role they should play in the TUC's.'A Future that Works campaign.
Wales TUC has devolved responsibility within the TUC for all matters within the remit of Welsh government Trades union councils in Wales will need to ensure that activities on devolved maters reflect the policy and priorities of the Wales TUC.
Jobs Growth and a New Economy Fighting back against austerity
> Trades union councils use every opportunity to expose how austerity fails as economics and rips society apart
> Trades union councils press for an economic model that delivers good sustainable jobs for all
The fight against austerity is our central campaign priority. We will resist cuts and wage freezes. We will fight for decent jobs, particularly for young people, and investment in skills. We will press for fair tax that stops avoidance and evasion and makes those who profited the most from the bubble pay the costs of clearing-up the damage. We will defend gains made that advance equality, as women, BME, disabled and LGBT citizens suffer as services are cut and the economy slows.
Cuts in public sector jobs inevitably lead to cuts in services, affecting entire communities and our quality of life.
The 2013 trades union councils conference called on trades union councils and the community to use all within their means to uncover the disgraceful victimisation of the working class by the state in the interest of the rich and multi nationals. Trades Union Councils should work with local union branches and communities to campaign against proposed cuts in jobs and services in their local area. Trades union councils are well placed to assess the impact of government policies on local services. The impact of the cuts should be publicised locally.
Fair pay and a Living Wage
Defending living standards
~ Trades union councils are asked to join the national campaign to spread the living wage to private and public sector workplaces
~ Continue their on-going work supporting co-ordinating union campaigns to win better pay
~ Continue their campaigning for better state and workplace pensions
Living standards are under attack, wages are stagnant, yet prices, particularly of family essentials such as food, fuel and energy keep on rising. Across the public sector and much of the private sector pay is frozen or capped.
Almost 5 million are paid less than the Living wage; the minimum families need to live on.
In line with conference resolution on the Living age the TUCJCC will support trades union councils, in particular through the Reserved Fund. The TUCJCC recognises that trades union councils should be at the forefront of local campaigns, promoting the Living Wage and local employers who reach Living Wage agreements.
Pensions are deferred pay, and unions will defend, and work to extend, decent workplace pensions in the private and public sectors. The union movement backs a decent state pension for current and future pensioners, and opposes unjustified increases in the state pension age.
Annual conference asked trades union councils to support the "68 is too late" campaign launched by UNITE, PCS and the NUT. Trades union councils should work with affiliated branches of these unions to promote '68 is too late' in their area. More about the campaign can be found at www.68istoolate.org.uk/
Good Services and Decent Welfare
Standing up for society
Much of what the TUC is campaigning on the trades union council movement has long been engaged in:-
> Opposing outsourcing and privatisation
> Fighting NHS fragmentation and privatisation
> Exposing the effects of austerity on services, benefits and working people
> Campaigning to defend welfare and oppose the stigmatisation of claimants
Since the 2010 General Election the attacks on the welfare state have been many and varied and affect some groups more than others. In particular women, disabled people, ethnic minorities and GBT people have been the first victims of the budget cuts
This has been at the forefront in the campaigning work of many trades union councils. These are the issues which hit their local communities the hardest.
The TUC and the TUCJCC are asking trades union councils to build and extend alliances with service users and the wider community, to work with every possible ally to defend the welfare state and public services realm against privatisation.
Trades union councils are asked to monitor and publicise the damage to local health services through privatisation and to champion, with local health service unions, the NHS in their area.
This supports the call from this year's conference for all affiliated unions and regional organisations to throw their weight behind such campaigns.
Respect and a voice at work
Defending and extending workers rights
~ Defend social Europe, workers' and union rights ~ Press for an employee voice
~ Expose discrimination against older working women and pregnant workers
The attacks on rights at work and equality encourage bad bosses to treat staff badly and discriminate. More workers face exploitation and vulnerable working will grow. Wealth and power are flowing to those at the top, while ordinary people take wage cuts, enjoy fewer rights at work and live in fear of the growth of vulnerable jobs.
There is an ongoing debate on the nature and extent of "Social Europe", reflected at conference this year, but defending the idea could see trades union councils supporting European unions and working with campaign groups across Europe, acknowledging common interests.
Trade Unionists have played an important role in challenging fascists and the far right at the ballot box. More recently by stopping the EDL's ability to organise street mobilizations through mass counter protests. With the European elections in 2014 trades union councils, their affiliates and like minded and decent organisations, must work together to ensure no far-right or fascist parties get elected.
Migrants are often blamed for the shortage of public services, unemployment and lower wages. But migrant workers are a false enemy. It is the endless drive for profits, and government policies that drive down workers' living standards. 2013 Conference called on trades councils to campaign to ensure that the rights of migrant workers are respected in the workplace and in society.
Organising at work and in the community
~ Trades union councils can bring unions together to strengthen bargaining and campaign power
~ Trades union councils should be looking to work with young activists developing their organising and campaigning experience and abilities.
Strong trade unions are a vital part of a fair and prosperous society. Societies with weak unions are less fair, more unequal and hold back economic growth.
Trades union councils face a range of challenges. They need to organise in the community as well as the workplace and strengthen campaigning abilities.
Trades union council resources are limited and trades councils will have to priorities the campaigns they get involved with but TUC Regional Secretaries and Regional Councils, as well as the TUCJCC will give support where they can.
The 2013 trades union council conference was well aware of the effects that the government's austerity policies are having on young people. Whether that's unemployment, cut backs in opportunities for training, the bedroom tax or access to recreational facilities such as sports centres. This was reflected in the resolutions passed.
Trades union councils need to reach out to young people in their communities, connect them to trade unions and use their energy and inventiveness. Trades union councils could also explore using the young members' forums of affiliated union branches as well as schools and youth groups.
The People's Charter
This year the TUCJCC, together with the People's Charter, wrote to all Trades Union Councils urging them to:
a. Affiliate to the People's Charter and promote it locally;
b. Respond positively to approaches for Charter activists to regularly attend trades union council meetings;
c. Identify a Link person with the Charter and to keep it on the Trades Council agenda.
The People's Charter has identified six major reforms to reverse the crisis and the government's austerity policy
• A fair economy for a fairer Britain
• More and better jobs
• Decent homes for all
• Protecting and improving public services
• Social justice
• A secure and sustainable future and for urgent action against global warming.
These principles, and the programme behind them, have been endorsed by Congress as well as the trades union council conference.
Trades union councils are asked to work with the People's Charter or consider the principles and programme of the Charter in their campaigning. Information about the People's Charter can be found at www.thepeoplescharter.org/or write to The People's Charter, PO Box 53091 London E12 9DA
Conference also welcomed the People's Assembly against Austerity asking trades union councils to participate in the Assembly and to take forward its experiences into building the movement in their own localities.
Contacts and links trades union councils' joint consultative committee
Chairperson Bob Crow, RMT + General Council Members Matt Wrack, FBU; Dave Harvey, NUT; Pat Stuart, Unite
Midlands (West) Jason Hill
Midlands (East) Moz Greenshields
Northern Kathy Taylor
Yorkshire and the Humber Kevin Donnelly
North West Alec McFadden
East of England Teresa MacKay
South East Linda Kietz
Wales Amarjite Singh
South West Andy Robertson
Useful publications and contacts
The TUCJCC pamphlet 'Community has been especially produced for trades union councils to explain the value of affiliating to their local trades union councilor establishing a trades union council where one does not exist.
The TUCJCC has also produced “The Journey” a pocket sized pamphlet that pulls out to tell the reader about the benefits to their daily lives of joining a union as well as in their workplace. This is for use by trades union councils and unions as part of their union membership recruitment campaign.
Touchstone Blog - for latest information on the economy and 'Cuts Watch' go to www.touchstoneblog.org.uk
Green workplaces Network - For all your information on the green workplace, contacts and activist networks go to: www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/index.cfm?mins=87&minors=4&majorsubjectlD=2
Black Workers - The TUC has produced a short guide on negotiating for race equality at work to help trade union stewards and activists. The guide explores a selection of issues relevant to black workers to help familiarise trade unionists with the some of the most commonly occurring concerns, many of which have been dealt with through legal proceedings. There are also checklists that provide a starting point to enable activists to start developing bargaining goals. www.tuc.org.uk/extras/collectivebargaining.pdf
LGBT Workers -The TUC has published updated guidance for unions taking into account recent legal changes and current good practice: LGBT Equality at Work: - a TUC guide for union negotiators on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans issues. This is available on-line at www.tuc.org.uk/eguality/tuc-19413-fO.cfmTrades councils may wish to start preparing for LGBT History Month in February 2014. Go to www.lgbthistorymonth.org.ukj for all the information you'll need, lots of ideas and contacts presented in a lively way as well as reports on previous events. For a wide range of information on LGBT in the union world, including the new Trades Union Trans Network, go to www.tuc.org.uk/eguality/index.cfm?mins=108&minors=24&majorsubjectlD=6
What does the government's austerity plan mean for you? - TUC fact sheet produced for the 2013 TUC Women's Conference. Go to www.tuc.org.uk/social/tuc-22008-fO.cfm
Where to get labour movement and counter-austerity publications
Also, The Peoples Bookshop, Third Floor, The Attic, Saddlers Yard, 70 Saddler Street, Durham DH1 3NP http://peoplesbookshop.co.uk/You email the shop through their webpage.
The Alliance of Radical Bookshops
Very useful site with the contact details of a number of left-leaning bookshops. Many offer on-line services and not all the bookshops are in London! www.radicalbooksellers.co.uk/?page id=2
News from Nowhere
Liverpool's Radical & Community Bookshop - not-for-profit; a worker's cooperative committed to social change www.newsfromnowhere.org.uk/index.php
The Morning Star - for daily news and information about the labour movement. The Morning Star is available from some major supermarket chains and can be ordered through your local newsagent at no cost to the newsagent on a sale or return basis. Also available on line at www.morningstaronline.co.uk
Many unions produce guidance on issues raised in this document. Check with affiliated unions to see if they have publications relevant and useful to your work. Also visit www.unionsinthecommunity.org.uk) the site set-up specifically for trades union councils
Friends of the Earth 26-28 Underwood Street LONDON N1 7JQ
02074901555 email through web site www.foe.co.uk/index.htmlfora quicker response
Hazards (Magazine) - health and safety information and networking on H&S PO Box 4042
Sheffield S8 2DG www.hazards.org
Hope Not Hate PO Box 67476 London NW3 9RF 02076818660 www.hopenothate.org.uk
Trade Union Friends of Searchlight PO Box 1576 IIford IG5 ONG 02085501805 www.searchlightmagazine.com
Unite Against Fascism PO Box 36871 London WC1X 9XT Tel: 020 7801 2782. Email only through web site http://uaf.org.uk/
A full range of links to organisations dealing with politics, research, environment, employment rights and many other aspects of our work can be found at www.tuc.org.uk/links/index.cfm