Thursday, 9th June 2016

MOTIONS TO CONGRESS

Today's motions included Fracking, Rail Nationalisation, Rise in Funeral Poverty, Temporary Disability, Flooding in the UK, Solidarity with Refugees and the Human Rights Act to name just a few.


COMPOSITE 13: FLOODING IN THE UK

Mark Sykes Speaking on behalf of the CEC on Composite 13

This motion called for Congress to support a campaign to launch a public inquiry into this winter’s floods and funding cuts. The GMB support the recent comments of the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who called for greater flood defence spending after experts criticised the chancellor, George Osborne, for prioritising cutting the deficit.

The GMB has a very high regard for emergency workers, including the members of the Fire Brigades union, who are often not given the credit by Tory government ministers for their tireless work helping those who found their homes and businesses inundated over the Christmas and New Year period.

The GMB is proud of its members and the very hardworking engineers who work for the Environment Agency. They have made superhuman efforts to try and protect cities and towns all around the region and beyond.

The emergency services do need public support and public investment. The GMB is totally against cuts to flood defence money, which has taken place over the past five years. This is not the answer to the issue:

The answer has to be to increase it. The floods are not, as government ministers have said in the past, a once in a generation event, they are occurring on an increasingly regular basis.

The GMB believes that pressure must be brought to bear on the government to fully fund the Environment Agency, not cut its budget and to fully fund new flood defences where they are necessary.  Not just in York but in other areas of Yorkshire, including the Upper Calder Valley as well as the rest of the country

George Osborne was criticised by academics who said their analysis showed that flood defence spending had fallen. Prof Simon Wren-Lewis of Oxford University said the government had shown no sign of taking into account the increasing threat of extreme weather.

“What you would really expect is to see spending at a much higher level. It doesn’t seem like the same kind of reaction which we know has happened to the threat of terrorism, where we know spending levels have increased by a large magnitude” he said.

The GMB believes a full enquiry should be held to ascertain whether government ideological cuts are to blame for the misery heaped on the people who are affected by recent floods.    

Cindy Gavin speaking on Composite 13


MOTION 217:   SUPPORT FOR THE ARTS

Ian Kemp speaking on Motion 217

This motion condemned the government’s attitude towards the arts.  As a result of austerity, libraries, museums, galleries and theatres have had reduced funding and closures.  Works of art have been sold, mainly to private collectors.  The attacks and shackling of the BBC will cause detrimental changes to the variety and quality of the Corporation’s output.  These are all blatant attacks on the idea of arts for all.  The last government in Western Europe to restrict the arts was Nazi Germany.  

Conference calls for an increase in arts funding, to enable more people to have access, to participate in and, to appreciate all types of art. The announcement of Jeremy Corbyn that he would support an increase in arts funding if he were to become Prime Minister is a step in the right direction.  We call on the current Prime Minister to follow suit.

 


 CONGRESS CLOSES

Congress officially closes.  An omnibus vote of thanks was made by June Minnery CEC member from GMB Scotland and Congress highlights were shown in a PowerPoint presentation. Delegates joined together to sing the Red Flag before leaving the conference hall to make their way home.

 


Congress Final Decisions.pdf


 

 

THE RED FLAG

The people's flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts' blood dyed its ev'ry fold.

Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.

Look 'round, the Frenchman loves its blaze,
The sturdy German chants its praise,
In Moscow's vaults its hymns are sung
Chicago swells the surging throng.

Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.

It waved above our infant might,
When all ahead seemed dark as night;
It witnessed many a deed and vow,
We must not change its colour now.

Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.

It well recalls the triumphs past,
It gives the hope of peace at last;
The banner bright, the symbol plain,
Of human right and human gain.

Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.

It suits today the weak and base,
Whose minds are fixed on pelf and place
To cringe before the rich man's frown,
And haul the sacred emblem down.

Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.

With heads uncovered swear we all
To bear it onward till we fall;
Come dungeons dark or gallows grim,
This song shall be our parting hymn.

Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here

 

 


Congress Diary - 2016

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