TUC 17: Defending union rights and tackling job insecurity

11 Sep 2017

The need to defend union rights and tackle job insecurity was highlighted by PCS in backing a motion at TUC Congress today.

Composite 8, a new deal for workers, moved by Neil Derrick of GMB, described how insecure employment and the growing pressure workers are under to work harder and faster for less, are the defining issues of our time for the trade union movement. 

He said: “We know the importance of this battle to our movement, but it is also crucial to the sort of economy we want to build.

“We want a 21st century movement to tackle this wild west economy, we need strategy, we need vision, we need guts,” he said.

“This movement is about much more than a list of demands. It is about basic human dignity,” he finished.


Hard-won rights

The motion was passed after being supported by several unions, including PSC delegate Ian Albert who spoke and said: “We know our employment rights are hard won and under threat from this government and we cannot take them for granted.

“PCS always stands proudly in defending union rights,” he said. “We believe it is important that the TUC sets out a new manifesto - but we can’t do it on the cheap.”

“We support this because it is right. We can’t let insecurity at work be the norm. It is not right.

“We recognise that we need to stand together and support together - these aren’t just words we need to stand together.”

Ian’s comments came after several speakers, including Dave Ward of the CWU said he wanted to see all unions standing together for workers.

“Every time I come to congress I sense that what we need is a call to action,” he said.

“The issues that we speak about need to be pulled together and we need to pull together a simple plan thats a serious strategy,” he added, to applause.

He added that he wanted to see a national demonstration: “We could get one million people out there on the street’” he said. “I want to be on a platform with you, I want all of us together.”


Alarming impact

Congress also heard about the alarming impact of the advancement of technology on workers, with Richard Joyce from Accord, and Tony Burke from Unite, both underlining the mental health implications of having to be ‘on’ 24/7.

“The pace of living is faster than during any previous era but it is estimated that UK employers are losing over £30bn a year due to mental health issues, as the work/life boundaries become increasingly blurred,” the composite set out. 

According to some predictions new technologies driving the automation of work could lead to a third of British jobs being lost by 2030. 

The motion forms part of “Insecure employment and the growing pressure workers are under to work harder and faster for less, are the defining issues of our time for the trade union movement,” delegates heard.

In passing the composite called on the TUC General Council to build support for a major campaign and reach a consensus on deliverable action. It also called on the TUC to develop a common bargaining agenda to tackle insecurity; publish a trade union manifesto on what constitutes a new deal for workers; and finally, to mobilise for a national demonstration for a new deal for workers to be held no later than the first half of 2018.

Read more news from PCS at TUC17.

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