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SHADOW CHANCELLOR John McDonnell pledged yesterday that when Labour comes to power it will do so as part of one movement: the labour and trade union movement.
Mr McDonnell was speaking at Manchester Mechanics Institute at the launch of a week of events marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Trade Union Congress on June 2 1868.
The day-long conference looked back at the role and influence of the TUC since it was founded at a meeting in the Institute, but also looked forward to its role in the future.
“When Labour goes back into government we all go back into government,” he said.
“We will be genuinely one movement, working together with the trade unions.”
He outlined Labour’s programme in government, including investment in infrastructure, but warned that Labour would have to “undo the last 40 years of neoliberalism.”
Former TUC head of equality and employment rights Sarah Veale said previous Labour governments had tried too hard to pander to employers’ organisation the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
“Under a Labour government, the Labour Party agreed to develop policy about trade-union recognition. The CBI and the TUC were sent away to come up with a trade-union recognition policy.”
But she said the CBI was problematic, creating huge hurdles.
Incoming University and College Union president Vicky Knight said 2018 marked many other important anniversaries – including the foundation of the NHS, the arrival of the Windrush, the centenary of the right to vote for some women and “the 50th anniversary of those inspirational 1968 women strikers and their landmark dispute of Fords Dagenham sewing machinists.”
Our movement has a proud, proud history and such an exciting future!"
TUC deputy general secretary Paul Nowak told the conference: “We must decide what we want a future Labour government to do, such as sectoral bargaining, enshrining trade-union recognition, corporate governance and, in summary, a pro-workers, pro-union, pro-collective-bargaining government.”
TUC senior employment rights officer Hannah Reed said: “In the 150th year of the TUC, let’s resecure workers’ rights and let’s resecure a good deal for working people.”
The conference was organised by TUC North West region in conjunction with the Manchester Industrial Relations Society, supported by Thompsons solicitors and the University & College Union.
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