Unite strengthens policy on anti-union laws

Submitted by AWL on 27 October, 2021 - 12:08 Author: Luke Hardy
Unite contingent on demo

At the Policy Conference in Liverpool (18-22 October) of Unite the Union, one of the most important composites passed was about the anti-union laws.

Previous policy conferences decided for repeal of all the anti-union laws including the Thatcher ones. This conference passed some concrete policy about a campaign on those laws and on the threatened further “minimum service” legislation attacking transport workers.

The composite referred to breaking these laws if necessary, and a special conference if and when the Tories introduce the “minimum service” legislation. It commits Unite to push the TUC to organise a national demo to repeal all the anti-union laws and to support any union targeted by anti‐union laws.

The one motion that was voted down was a call to “dissociate... from the IHRA definition of antisemitism”. Workers’ Liberty people have often argued that much of the left has become blind to antisemitism when presented as criticism of Israel and Zionism but actually amounting to denouncing all Jews empathising with Israel (however critically) as racists or as tools of Israel, seen as the world’s hidden hyperpower. The defeated motion seemed to show that blindness.

A baggy composite around climate change and just transition lacked bite and omitted targets for net zero by 2030. The conference also passed a motion about a “balanced” energy “policy that puts low-carbon energy at its very heart”. Apparently that meant gas and “clean coal”.

Much has been said (including by new Unite general secretary Sharon Graham) about the conference voting to support PR including statements made by Sharon Graham. That isn’t actually what was passed. The composite motion opposes First Past the Post and instead “support[s] moves to explore, select and introduce a new voting system for the UK”. Hopefully Unite will make a firm commitment to fight for proportional representation but oppose a pact with the Lib-Dems.

The conference was originally due in July 2020, but was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Motions came from branches, equalities committees and industrial sectors, across a whole range of subjects, and where they overlapped were composited together.

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