Trades Union Councils debated at Congress 2023

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two debates on trades union councils at this year’s Trades Union Congress [23 minutes]

Motion 76 The Role of Trades Councils

Proposed by Steve Gillan Prison Officers’ Association Gen Sec and chair of TUCJCC

Seconder Sarah Woolley, Gen Sec of Bakers’ Union, BFAWU

Supporting speeches by Tony Kearns Asst Gen Sec Communication Workers’ Union and Steve Wright Fire Brigades Union

Opposed by Paul Novak TUC Gen Sec also Toby James Prospect

card vote result at end

edited from Monday 11 September 2023 proceedings of TUCongress see

Motion 76: The Role of Trades Councils
“Congress accepts that trades ‘councils have a rich history in the trade union movement and play an active part in communities supporting the wider movement and TUC campaigns.
Further it is recognised that trades councils have a combined affiliated membership of hundreds of thousands of members throughout the movement.
Yet trades’ councils are seriously under-represented within Congress.
Currently, they are entitled to a single delegate to Congress and can submit only one motion. Trades Councils’ total affiliated membership, in a single trade union, would mean a far larger Congress delegation. Congress therefore agrees a rule change, so that at Congress 2024, the trades’ councils shall be entitled to

  1. A Congress delegation of three;
  2. A single seat on the TUC General Council; and that the trades’ councils’ Congress delegation shall be entitled to speak and vote on any motion, amendment or other Congress business, in addition to its own single motion.”


This is the motion which was agreed at the trades union councils national conference in June to go to Congress.

National trades unions’ support for trades councils’ solidarity work

– Motion 77 @TUCongress 2023

view here (13min)

Received from: TUC Trades Union Councils Conference

 Proposer Liz Payne-Ahmadi [delegate elected at Trades Councils Conference]

Seconded by POA with support from NUJ and ASLEF 

Motion 77 National trades unions’ support for trades councils’ solidarity work: 

Congress believes that solidarity with workers taking strike action is a fundamental principle of the trade union movement. 

Therefore, Congress applauds all local trades councils who have been working so hard during 2022 and 2023 to deliver picket line solidarity with strikers from across the spectrum of trade unions – both TUC affiliated and non-affiliated. 

However, despite the best efforts of trades councils to reach out to unions, at local level and through regional TUC structures, seeking information on local disputes, their capacity to show solidarity and offer picket line support has in some cases been limited by less-than-ideal communications between unions and trades councils. 

Often trades councils are the last to know about disputes, strikes and picket lines in their areas, including when and where the picket lines will be. This makes coordinating public support and inter-union solidarity more difficult and less effective than it should be. 

Congress further believes that provision of accurate and timely information is crucial to every aspect of relationship building between trades councils, unions, and their branches. 

However, many trades councils lack vital information about union branches in their localities. 

Congress therefore urges the TUC General Council to encourage all affiliated trade unions to:

 i. ensure that all their media and communications officers and/or general secretaries have up to date contact details for all UK (and as appropriate Republic of Ireland) trades councils

 ii. ensure, as a matter of routine, that relevant information, including media releases, are sent to all trades councils

 iii. ensure that in the run up to and during disputes (whether local, regional, or national), trades councils are sent up-to-date information on strike dates and times, picket lines, how negotiations, if any, are proceeding, and the outcomes of these disputes. 

 iv. Congress also asks the General Council to write to all affiliated unions, requesting them to ensure that their regional officers are provided with the contact details of trades council secretaries in their region, and that these officers send the names of the relevant branches of their union to each trades council. 

 – Motion carried