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TRADES COUNCILS asked for a “bit of respect” yesterday — but union delegates rejected their proposal to be given voting rights at TUC Congress and on the union body’s general council.
A motion submitted by the TUC Trades Councils Conference, which can currently send one non-voting delegate to Congress, called for a rule change which would give it a nine-strong delegation and a single seat on the general council.
Trades councils are locally organised bodies which bring together TUC-affiliated unions in a particular area or council district, co-ordinating local campaigns and inter-union solidarity.
Moving the motion, trades councils delegate Dave Chapple said: “What we’re asking for is a bit of respect.
“I’ve sat on my arse all week with people staring at me because I can’t vote [thinking] why is that bloke abstaining all the time?
“We’re not aiming to destabilise or disrupt the movement, we want to strengthen it.”
Speaking in support, RMT president Michelle Rodgers noted: “In Scotland, in Wales [trades council delegates] go to their TUCs.”
Acknowledging that the motion was likely to be defeated, she urged delegates to question their unions’ opposition to representation for local trades councils and return to Congress next year with a different stance.
Setting out the general council’s opposition to the motion, Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said the proposal would give trades councils “a similar status to affiliated unions.”
Noting that union delegations to Congress are determined in line with membership numbers, he warned: “If passed, this motion would effectively double count trades council activists.”
The University and College Union and Communication Workers’ Union supported the motion, but it was defeated with opposition from most major TUC affiliates.
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