Union conferences

GPMU debates merger and the organising campaign

By a GPMU member

The Graphical Paper and Media Union held its biennial delegate conference last week in Bournemouth. It was totally dominated by a debate on the future of the union in the face of membership loss and impending financial crisis.

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UNISON Conference 2003: Promises, promises... where are the policies?

By Ed Whitby, delegate, Newcastle City Unison

Unison conference (17-20 June) was more about promises than policies. General Secretary Dave Prentis spent the run up to conference talking about “reclaiming the Labour Party” and working with others in the “awkward squad” of union leaders.

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AWL at RMT conference

The rail union RMT is holding its conference in Glasgow from Sunday 29 June to Friday 3 July. The major debate is around the union's political fund, with the leadership, round Bob Crow, pushing for the RMT to support Plaid Cymru (the Welsh nationalist party) and the Greens as well as Scottish Socialist Party and Labour candidates. AWL members will be opposing this push. Download the AWL bulletin for RMT conference (as pdf) here.

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AWL at Unison conference 2003

AWL members published a daily bulletin at the 2003 conference of Unison, the giant public-services union which is Britain's largest. Download the bulletins here. (Sorry, for technical reasons they're not in the tidiest format we could wish for: some headings are missing, and the pdfs have some extra blank pages. But we hope this gives readers an idea of the issues at this important conference, and what the AWL did).
Sunday 15 June, local government conference

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Industrial news

A report from the CWU Conference and news from PCS, GMB, TGWU & FBU.

CWU conference: two narrow defeats for the left

By a delegate

The postal and telecom workers union, the CWU, met on 1-6 June. The General Conference:

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UNISON IN CONFERENCE

The huge public services union Unison meets in Brighton from 15 June for its local government sector conference and its general conference.
Issues under debate will include pay, privatisation, the Government's plans for schools, and Unison's role in the Labour Party.
Adie Kemp and Ed Whitby report.

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Back teachers' fight against cuts

By Patrick Yarker

The conference of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) met over Easter as the funding shake-up engineered by Charles Clarke, Secretary of State for education and skills, erupted into a slanging-match between ministers, head teachers and local government officials. Education providers were asking central government: where are the missing millions supposedly due to schools?

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FBU: reject the 'reworded' deal!

By Jill Mountford

At a recall conference in Brighton on 15 April, Fire Brigades Union delegates overwhelmingly rejected a pay deal that had initially been recommended by their union leadership.

Brigades from all over Britain sent a clear message to FBU leader Andy Gilchrist that they will not accept a pay deal that has 'modernisation' strings attached.

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TUC women oppose war

by a delegate

The TUC Women's Conference in Liverpool this week kicked off with a motion on the war. Proposed by the Women's Committee, it opposed war on Iraq without a second resolution from the UN. It did not go so far as to condemn war unconditionally, but speakers from the floor did, such as Christine Blower from the NUT. Maria Exall, a member of the CWU executive, called for trade unionists to fight against any US/UK war on Iraq but also called for solidarity with Iraqi people to overthrow Saddam's regime. Delegates challenged guest speaker Patricia Hewitt MP and she left the conference with a resounding message against war. On the final day delegates staged an anti-war protest in the city centre.

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Rebuild solidarity for the firefighters!

Jill Mountford spoke to Chris Jones, former chair of Merseyside FBU.

On 19 March, the special conference of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in Brighton rejected an "improved" offer from the bosses in their long-running pay dispute. Their leaders had been desperate to have a 16%-over-three-years pay offer accepted and had recommended settlement. Just a week earlier the bosses had made a similar offer, and this had been rejected by the leadership!

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FBU strength is in the rank and file

Jane Clarke from the Bedfordshire FBU spoke to Jill Mountford just before the union's conference on Wednesday 19 March

The strength has been the membership, ordinary firefighters and fire control operators, who voted overwhelmingly, nine to one, in favour of strike action for better pay. The people who do a difficult and stressful job, for a wage that is not enough to keep a family on, have remained the strength of this dispute.

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Unison conference report

Left still has to win union to fight on privatisation
By Kate Ahrens
UNISON's annual conference took place in Bournemouth this month against the backdrop of a ballot for national strike action over pay in local government. However conference failed to reflect the anger over pay or privatisation that is clearly being felt by the membership of the union.

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CWU Conference

Not "how many redundancies?" but "what sort of service?"
By a postal worker


In the face of threats of massive redundancies in the Post Office, our union's response has been sadly lacking in vision and has squandered opportunities. Instead of raising the call to "fight for a decent job for all postal workers" we heard once again "avoid compulsory redundancies".

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