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.
Other motions passed at the conference included support for the industrial action of the FBU, opposition to the use of private contractors in delivering public services, and a motion condemning sweatshop and child labour.
A motion about the rights of sexworkers caused some debate. Ana Lopez, a sexworker and member of the GMB union, proposed a motion calling on the trade union movement to campaign for employment rights for sexworkers. It also called for a review of existing laws and regulations governing the industry. A delegate from NATFHE pointed out that whilst sex workers should have full employment rights and protection at work the union movement needs to recognise that the sex industry makes profits from the exploitation and oppression of women. The motion was passed with some unions abstaining on the issue.