Brown fobs off union demands. Break with Brown!

Submitted by martin on 27 July, 2008 - 9:18 Author: Martin Thomas

The BBC reports (27 July) that: "The Labour party has rejected trade union demands for less restrictive strike laws at its National Policy Forum at Warwick University. Calls for measures to make strike action easier were defeated on the final day of the forum".

The National Policy Forum, a vastly less open body than the old Labour Party conference, gives no decisive weight to the trade unions, who command only 30 out of 184 votes there.

But, according to the BBC, union leaders have not only been outvoted or outmanoeuvred. They have quietly given up on the issue.

"The party and unions issued a joint statement welcoming the agreement of a 'serious set of policies for the future of Britain'.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of public services union Unison, said: 'We have moved forward on a package that covers a wide range of areas that the British electorate wants to see addressed...

'Importantly for us, it affirms the central role of the public sector in delivering public services'."

BBC: "Controversial government policies such as building a new generation of nuclear power stations, a welfare crackdown and ID cards were also all approved, a Labour spokesman said".

As yet, no "insider" reports are available from the Forum. Peter Kenyon's blog comments: "The mainstream media has been briefed but the blogosphere is bare".

Unfortunately, the BBC's account is all too plausible. If the BBC is overstating the submissiveness of the leaders of the big unions, those leaders have the means to get a different story in circulation very quickly.

Conclusion: the need for activists in the unions, at all levels below the very top, to redouble efforts to force a clear political break from Brown and a clear direction, at least by a significant minority of unions in the first place, towards re-establishing democratically-accountable working-class representation in politics.

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