Concerns over accountability override desire to increase rank and file influence at TUC
A proposal to allow the national conference of trades councils to send a speaking delegate to TUC Congress in future years was narrowly defeated yesterday.
In a motion to Congress, trades councils raised concern that the TUC general council had “put on the back burner” a motion on “supporting local campaigning” that was passed by Congress last year, which made the same recommendation among others.
“I’m proud to be in a trade union that is rank and file, membership led — and I want that to be the way with the TUC," said RMT president Peter Pinkney.
Fire Brigades Union Matt Wrack said that others had raised concerns that the delegate from the trades councils might vote against the line of their own union.
“We could live with that,” he said, urging delegates to support the motion.
“Trades councils organise local campaigns against cuts, against racism — things we cannot do on our own.”
PCS delegate Austin Harney said a bigger involvement of trades councils would lead to a “far more representative conference.”
Association of Teachers and Lecturers delegate Niamh Sweeney said her union was “as concerned by the proposal as we were in 2013.”
In the most impassioned address of the debate, CWU delegate Amarjite Singh said: “Don’t lock the trades councils out — open the doors.”
But a delegate from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy said: “Our reason for opposing is not a lack of respect, but a concern over a lack of accountability.”
The motion was defeated by 2,908,000 votes to 2,718,000.