TUC Black Workers’ Conference


April 2011 at Congress House,  London.

Protecting Public Services and Defending Black Communities.

There were a total of 23 motions including 2 emergency motions, all of which were supported and carried.

Several motions on the Coalition Government’s cuts – their impact on public services, further and higher education, race equality and diversity and disproportionate affect on black communities. Indeed, the motion voted to be put forward at TUC Congress later this year was one entitled “Race Equality and the Attack on Public Services” moved by UNISON. Predicted that at least half a million public sector workers will lose their jobs which will further increase black unemployment. Called upon the TUC and affiliates to ensure that race equality forms a key part of anti-cuts campaigns and that equality impact assessments are used to challenge cutbacks.

CWU moved a motion on the English Defence League calling for the trade union movement to create its own initiatives to fight against the EDL whilst working with organisations like UAF and Searchlight. I spoke on this motion, emphasising that the EDL now is perhaps more dangerous than the BNP who have recently been obliterated at the polls.

PCS moved an emergency motion to “Condemn David Cameron’s attack on Multiculturalism” when the PM referred to extremist/terrorist incidents to justify his claim without condemning the EDL who were marching through Luton on the very same day.

I was proud to represent my union, the GMB in moving its motion to commemorate the life as a trade unionist of Mrs Jayaben Desai – an Asian woman who led inspirationally the famous Grunwick dispute of the late 1970s. Even in defeat, she said, “We have shown that workers like us will never accept being treated without dignity and respect and we have shown that the white workers will support us”.

UNITE moved a motion for the “Fair Treatment for Moroccans in Gibraltar” and I attended their fringe meeting on this subject, revealing that whilst black Moroccan union members have spent over 40 years working in Gibraltar building the country’s economy after they had been invited to work on the Rock due to a shortage of workers, they are still being denied basic human rights.

The Havana Club reception was, as always, a must attend fringe meeting (and not just because of the free rum!) highlighting that when people say “there is no alternative”, they should take a look at Cuba. This was in fact a joint Cuba and Venezuela reception attended by Cuban Ambassador, Esther Armenteros Cardenas and Alvaro Sanchez from the Venezuelan Embassy.

Warinder Juss (GMB) -May 2011

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