TRADE unionists in north-west England drew up a “programme of change” needed from the government after next month’s general election at the weekend.
More than 100 delegates flocked to the North West TUC’s annual conference in Blackpool to plan how to overcome the “government’s ideological attack on the working class and trade unions.”
Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said Con-Dem policy had caused “significant damage” in the town — a view backed by a recent TUC study into the seaside resort that highlighted the impact of cuts to services, rising unemployment and a lack of action on deprivation.
Subjects of debate included devolution, the need for unions to be involved in negotiations and decision-making to defend jobs and services and opposition to regional pay as a result of devolution of control of health services.
Further motions included opposition to the privatisation of education, opposing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and campaigning against cuts to emergency services.
TUC regional secretary Lynn Collins called on delegates “to be a change for good” and to keep speaking up for working people.
Conference also heard from teaching union NASUWT international officer Abdullah Muhsin, who told of the situation for trade unionists in his home country of Iraq.
He won a standing ovation as conference passed a resolution supporting Iraqi trade unionists.
An emergency motion of support for sacked University of Bolton trades unionists Damien and Jennifer Markey was carried, as were motions challenging local authorities’ plans to seek private tenders for postal services and calls for a campaign to defend Liverpool women’s hospital.