What now for trade unions?

Submitted by carolyn on Wed, 09/02/2011 - 15:40

“Helpfully Controversial”
“Informative and engrossing”
“Interesting content, delivered well”

Just some of the comments from delegates who attended the latest IER conference in the North West, where an excellent platform of speakers discussed political, strategic and legal issues facing trade unions and their members

Steve Farley, North West TUC, opened the morning with a fact-packed summary of the current economic situation. This was followed by a thought provoking and self proclaimed ‘controversial’ talk from Robert Monks, General Secretary of URTU. Both speakers clearly engaged delegates, and the question and answer session generated a good deal of delegate comment on ways to engage with younger people, develop better relationships with members, and improve recruitment.

Professor Keith Ewing, President of the Institute, gave an excellent and informative presentation on the UK’s anti- union laws and potential legal challenges. Jane Carolan from UNISON spoke about the effects of the cuts on public sector services and how we might form more alliances with community organisations and service user groups to fight against public service cuts.

John McDonnell MP spoke about his support for trade unions, both within the labour party and within parliament. He acknowledged the importance of trade unionism to the Labour Party, and the need for unions to have a louder voice within the political arena. Unfortunately due to time constraints a discussion was not possible, and apologies to delegates who were unable put their questions.

Catherine Hobby from University of East London gave an excellent presentation on whistle-blowing and the Public Interest Disclosure Act including the fact that 1 in 4 people are aware of bad practice in the workplace. Mark Bell from University of Leicester spoke about equalities and particularly the ways in which the Con-Dem government have weakened those aspects of the Equality Act due to come into force in April 2011, for example removing the socio-economic duty and reducing the public sector equality duty.

Chris Baugh, from PCS ended the day with an excellent and thought provoking speech that incorporated tales of victimisation and even covert surveillance being practiced in some workplaces.

A full report of the day was posted on the Unison active blogsite

At the end of the day, Institute Director, Carolyn Jones, dashed across town for an interview with BBC Radio Merseyside about the conference.

AttachmentSize
Keith Ewing Presentation.ppt213.5 KB
Catherine Hobby Presentation.ppt153 KB
Mark Bell Presentation.ppt188.5 KB
Keith Ewing NOTES.pdf33.34 KB
Catherine Hobby Paper.pdf100.67 KB

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