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TUC 2018 The fight for the future starts in Manchester

STEVE GILLAN previews the POA motions that will be up for debate at congress

THE POA NEC has placed two motions before Congress, one regarding national sectoral collective bargaining and the other calling for an independent inquiry into privatisation.

The wording of the national sectoral bargaining motion is as follows: “Congress recognises that pay review bodies in the United Kingdom is a government mechanism to replace collective bargaining for certain groups of employees in the public sector, including the prison service pay review body. Different pay review bodies also cover school teachers, nurses, doctors and other health professionals. 

“It is noted by congress that the review bodies are supposed to be independent of government when making recommendations after taking evidence from employer and trade unions, but unfortunately the review bodies are selected, paid and follow a remit from Treasury and government which has led to pay cuts since 2010 with review bodies adhering to the government agenda. 

“Congress accepts that pay review bodies should be disbanded as they are not independent of government and effectively do as they are told to achieve government objectives on pay. Congress further instructs the general council to work with the Labour Party and other organisations who support a return to national sectoral collective bargaining.”

The TUC general purposes committee asked for the motions and amendments from PCS, which put in a motion regarding public-sector pay, the Fire Brigades Union and the Society of Radiographers to be heard together. All four unions agreed to that request and it should make for an interesting debate at congress.

Similarly, on our second motion regarding an independent inquiry into privatisation, four unions — Unison, Unite, the POA and Aslef — have agreed a composite motion encompassing the wording of all four unions. 

Our original wording read: “Congress notes the debacle regarding Carillion and ultimately its collapse and notes with concern the cost to the taxpayer with further privatisiation of the public services announced, including new prisons, probation services and some health services. 

“Congress notes that there has been no independent inquiry on the costs of privatisation and the failed private finance initiative. 

“The lessons of privatisation of our railways, healthcare, energy, Royal Mail, prisons and other services have been ignored by successive governments even with the collapse of Carillion and the debt of failed privatisation and the private finance initiative costing the taxpayer more with the privateers continually bailed out. 

“Congress calls on the TUC general council to campaign for an independent inquiry into privatisation where trade unions can give evidence regarding their particular sectors to demonstrate that it actually costs more in the long run with poorer services and poorer terms and conditions for workers in the race to the bottom.”

The POA believes that the 150th anniversary of the TUC should be a celebration not just of our past but also of our future. 

We have some inspiring motions on the agenda which will form policy if passed, and we look forward to meeting other delegates so we can plan for the future and watch our movement grow with confidence. 

The fight for new generations starts in Manchester and I believe it is fitting that general secretary Frances O’Grady and her TUC team lead that fight with pride and with a united trade union movement.

Best wishes to all delegates and trade unions for a successful congress.

Steve Gillan is general secretary of the POA.

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