TUC

TUC Congress ambles along

TUC Congress (online, 12-14 September) did not advocate anything like clear policies to address the multiple emergencies the working class faces — let alone struggles to win them. The Congress is typically uninspiring and light on engaged, democratic debate. Having it online, for the second year in a row, made things worse. When even the Labour Party is having a real-world conference this month, the TUC decision to stay online was notable. At the same time, despite the whole thing being watchable and documents etc accessible online, there seemed to be little political effort to interest even...

The TUC leadership is sleepwalking

This weekend (12-14 September) the Congress of the TUC, representing 48 trade unions with the best part of six million members, meets online. The TUC General Council’s two statements to the Congress run to over 3,600 words. They diagnose some of UK society’s immediate problems, at least, and advocate a number of good and important things. But they also confirm how far the top leadership of some of our unions – and even more so the TUC bureaucracy – are from a serious class-struggle, let alone socialist, approach, capable of rallying trade unionists to meaningfully address the multiple...

HSBC profits and bonuses soar while it vandalises society. Expropriate the banks!

UK-based international banking and finance giant HSBC has increased the “bonus pool” for its bankers by 50%, to £650m, after its profits grew more than fourfold in the second quarter of 2021. It says it may increase it further before pay-outs early next year. Last year HSBC paid 324 of its bankers more than £850,000 in salaries and bonuses, while eight received more than £4m and one more than £8m. This comes hot on the heels of HSBC being embroiled in a major international money-laundering scandal; the revelation that it was the second biggest UK financial backer of companies in the coal...

Work or full pay for all

The government has scaled back the weakening of its job support schemes — without significant labour movement pressure. If the labour movement fights, we can win more. The original, pre-October furlough and self-employment schemes were stingy enough, and they are still being cut. But the latest changes for after 31 October (increasing the state contribution to employers to keep jobs from 22 to 49%, and reducing the number of hours workers must work; doubling the payment to self-employed people from 20 to 40% of normal income) are real concessions. Neither trade unions nor the Labour Party have...

How to fight for jobs

The government’s figures say unemployment could approach five million next year. Young, women and BME workers are being and will be hit hardest. The government is driving ahead with the gutting of the furlough and self-employed support schemes, and with a rushed-through hard Brexit which will further batter the economy. This unemployment crisis is also one of low pay and insecurity. Even before the pandemic, almost four million workers were in highly insecure employment. Since the virus hit, the number of workers on zero hours contracts has passed a million for the first time — with the...

TUC report reveals racism but offers no answer

A TUC report, Dying on the job: racism and risk at work, has revealed the deep-seated racism that underlies the higher impact of Covid-19 on black and minority ethnic (BME) people, but its proposals fall well short of what is needed. In the early days of the pandemic, it became clear that BME people were dying at a significantly greater rate. Compared with white people, black people are more than four times as likely to die from Covid-19, Bangladeshi and Pakistani people more than one-and-a-half times as likely. While the government tried to portray this as a mystery requiring medical study...

Labour movement activists and organisations on why we must take over the banks

The 2019 TUC Congress passed a proposal from the Fire Brigades Union for “public ownership of the big banks, which could play a central role in building a sustainable economy, investing in a publicly owned energy sector and creating decent, unionised jobs in the interests of working people”. No one opposed the motion – but very few are actually advocating or campaigning for this. Here we quote a range of labour movement activists and representatives on why it is so essential. In the current situation, as we face an implosion of credit and a snowballing slump, against the background of the...

Fight the epidemic - yes. Back the Tories - no

The Labour Party has made some important demands for the Covid-19 crisis, including improving the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which underwrites part of wages and extending it to the self-employed; insisting employers guarantee to keep people in work; and increasing a range of benefits. The problem is that the party shows no sign of campaigning around these demands. Its leadership acts as if that the epidemic obliges it to express positive support for the Tory government. Big demonstrations and crowded public meetings are obviously out at the moment. But Labour wasn’t going in for those...

How unions should tackle sexism

It’s HeartUnions from 10 to 16 February 2020. I was reminded of the week of activity, highlighting the work of unions, by a parcel from the TUC arriving at my union office announcing the focus this year is on sexual harassment. It was accompanied by a letter from our co-ordinated industrial leadership, bringing together 48 unions and 5.5 million members, and declaring “a radical yet practical plan” to end sexual harassment. Over 1/2 women and nearly 7/10 LGBT workers are sexually harassed in the workplace. Subjecting women to fear, shame, and discomfort in a workplace, street or union meeting...

Industrial news in brief

Tube union RMT suspended strikes planned by drivers on London Underground’s Central and Victoria Lines on 3-4 September, after bosses made a number of concessions. The issues at the heart of the dispute include authoritarian management culture on both lines, and driver numbers on the Central Line particularly. The union remains in dispute and activists say strikes should be reinstated if management renege on agreements. Plans for TUC congress At the time of writing discussions are taking place among labour movement anti-coup people about activities at the 2019 TUC Congress (8-11 September, in...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.