Welcome to day three of GMB Congress 2018.
Yesterday was a big day for GMB. We elected our new National President.
Huge congratulations to Southern Region’s Barbara Plant on being elected to the role but thanks too to Sheila, June, David and Andy who spoke so eloquently yesterday morning, and who are all committed and beloved GMB activists.
It was great too to hear from Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, who backed our Take back the Tap campaign and also pledged to pay every Labour Party employee at least £10 per hour as a result of the campaign run by our young members and call centre workers in Newcastle. He followed on from Tim’s speech which celebrated the achievements of GMB members and activists who make a difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. If you want to catch the Making a Difference video again, you can see it and share it here: https://www.facebook.com/GMBunion/videos/440635863026880/
Today we will discuss equality organising and manufacturing, and close congress with our traditional end of conference slide show and singing along to the Red Flag.
The CEC also has two Rule Amendments to make you aware of ahead of Congress. They are as follows:
RA 13 - www.gmb.org.uk/CECRA13.pdf
RA 14 - www.gmb.org.uk/CECRA14.pdf
The day's business opened up with a vast range of motions for debate and voting. There were motions on Brexit, Fracking, Water Shortages, Women in Leadership, LGBT Rights, Disability Awareness, Access to Work, Supporting Bame Members, Loneliness, Hate Crimes, Sexism in Schools, Elderly Care, NHS & Social Care, Male Breast Cancer and Trump Official State Visit, to name but a few.
CEC Special Report: National Equality Organising Strategy
Motion 249: POST BREXIT TRADE DEALS
Phil Hill from Leeds Civic Branch speaking on Motion 249
This Conference has no confidence in the present government to negotiate trade deals beneficial to the UK after the country leaves the EU. It believes the government will chase any deal with any country for immediate publicity and short term political gain rather than in the interests of the country and its people. By chasing deals at any cost, there is a risk of massive a trade deficit. For example, at present, there is a trade surplus with America, given President Trump‘s rhetoric on ―America First‖, any dealings with the current US administration is likely to be detrimental to the UK. Chasing deals at any cost could lead to safety standards being compromised at home and, given the willingness to sell arms to countries with dubious human rights records, a danger of death and destruction abroad.
Conference, therefore, calls on the Labour and Trade Union movement to argue and fight for trade deals to be that are both in the country‘s interest and also ethical. It further calls on the next Labour government to follow ethical foreign and trade policies.
Motion 80: LEARNING EQUALITY FOR ALL
Amanda Burley from Leeds Civic Branch speaking on Motion 80
Chesterfield C40 Branch asks this Congress to support the following motion outlined below:
The GMB 2017 rulebook states as part of its purpose that every GMB member should have the opportunity to discover and develop their talents, well Congress the education of members is key to this purpose. Also contained in the rulebook under rule 2 item 6 page 8 it states ‗to promote training and educating members in relation to the activities they carry out on our behalf, and to provide scholarships to educational institutions for members, in line with conditions set out by the Central Executive Council. Currently Congress GMB members nationally have access to the National Lifelong Learning Fund and also access to the GMB Ruskin College Fund and four regions also have access to regional educational funding for members.
So we ask Congress to address this inequality on behalf of GMB members so that any member that pays the same GMB membership subscription fee that they also have access to regional funding if not already available; so that it is not dependent on regional postcode provision. Congress 2016 created the National Lifelong Learning Committee so the vehicle for addressing any inequality should be taken up by that committee and the regions from where that individual committee member operates from.
Motion 282: HATE CRIMES
Mel Hartley from Sheffield Mcp & Lt Branch speaking on Motion 282
This Conference, we acknowledge the fantastic work done by the GMB in condemning all forms of hate crimes. We call on the GMB to further promote training, education as well as encouraging reporting of all such crimes with our partners and affiliates. Training and education will reinforce why this behaviour is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated in any civilised society.
Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Region have entered into a partnership with Tell Mamma and this collaboration uses expertise within Tell Mamma to direct campaigns and literature where it is most effective. We call on Congress to develop this partnership nationally to ensure that hate crimes in all forms are eradicated.
Hashim Equiano from Leeds Local Govt Branch seconding Motion 282
Composite 26 (Universal Credit - incorporating Motion 382: END THE DETRIMENTAL EFFECT OF UNIVERSAL CREDIT ON HOUSING
Natalie Wallage from Leeds Works Dept Branch speaking on Composite 26
This Conference notes that whilst the consequences of universal credit on recipients is well publicised, there have also been unintended consequences on housing providers. Not only are families suffering hardships by having to go 6 – 10 weeks without money, there is also a knock on effect to social housing providers.
Many of these providers are waiting for large sums of money from those awaiting universal credit payments. Rent arrears that are caused by the universal credit debacle are causing cash flow problems, meaning no money to pay wages. Many arm‘s length local authority housing companies are making people redundant. Some face bankruptcy. Unemployment is fast rising in already low paid and overstretched services. Private landlords are reluctant to take those on universal credit as tenants due to the wait for payments. A number who invested in buy to let as a means to a pension after the financial crash of 2008, are also being affected.
Conference calls for an end to this vicious circle of delayed payments leading to rent arrears, leading to job losses in housing providers, leading to more on universal credit. Conference accepts the need for a Welfare and Benefits system fit for the 21st Century but Universal Credit is not the answer. For the sake of preventing homelessness and stopping the destruction of housing providers, universal credit must stop.
Motion 392: PROTECT SERVICES FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
Pamela Dalton from Transport & Distribution Branch moving Motion 392
This Conference is called upon to condemn cuts by local authorities to services to those suffering domestic violence. These services provide refuges, help to access benefits and housing and, more importantly, a chance for a new life without fear of injury or death. Cutting services to victims of domestic violence is a false economy. They give an opportunity for, mainly, vulnerable women protect themselves and their children. It helps to re-build personal confidence and self-esteem.
This helps to identify and remove themselves from abusive relationships. By helping with self-confidence and self-esteem, those helped become not victims but people who can fulfill their potential. It helps to remove children from situations where violence is the norm, stopping a further cycle of domestic violence. The blame for these cuts lay with central government. The austerity measures of the past 8 years threaten not just libraries, parks and other council provided services but, threatens lives. This cannot be allowed to go on.
Conference calls on the government, as a matter of urgency, to make adequate funds available to local authorities to enable these essential services to continue.
Emergency Motion: The Murder of Three Nestle Trade Unionists in Columbia
Brian Golding from Rowntree and Associated Branch spoke on the above Emergency Motion put forward by our region. The Motion called on Nestle to apply leverage in the community and in Columbia to ensure the peace process has real affect. It also called on Nestle to recognise the trade union SINALTRAINAL.
Motion 289: SUPPORT FOR THE RAINBOW LACES CAMPAIGN
Jo Early from BASF Chemicals Branch moving Motion 289
This Conference acknowledges the support given by many British sporting organisations to the Rainbow Laces campaign. This campaign aims to show solidarity with and bring awareness of issues affecting those who are LGBT, via the wearing of rainbow coloured laces. Conference, in particular, notes the support given by the main football organisations in this country.
However, despite its statutes being explicitly opposed to any form of discrimination, FIFA has awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cup Final Tournaments to Russia and Qatar, respectively. In both countries, LGBT people are suffering discrimination. For example, in Russia, vigilante executions of those identifying as LGBT are tolerated by the authorities, whilst in Qatar, homosexuality is illegal. Discrimination, oppression and persecution are unacceptable in any country, let alone ones entrusted with a major international sporting tournament.
Conference calls on the England team competing in the World Cup in Russia, to show solidarity with and highlight the plight of those suffering discrimination by the wearing of rainbow coloured laces in their matches. Conference also calls on the Home International teams, should any or all qualify for the World Cup Final Tournament in 2022, to wear rainbow coloured laces in Qatar. Further, Conference calls on the GMB to support the Rainbow Laces Campaign and asks branches and Regional Equality Forums to engage with professional and semi-professional sports clubs in their area, particularly but not exclusively football and both rugby codes, to ensure the campaign is carried on throughout the season rather than highlighted for just one match.
Motion 293: FOODBANK SUPPORT
Michaela Murray from Pontefract Central Branch moving Motion 293
This Conference believes that the use of foodbanks shames this country and us as human beings. We call on the GMB to lobby Government to put in place legislation that would make all supermarkets donate food to foodbanks that is past its sell by date instead of disposing of it.
Motion 354. HELP FOR VETERANS
Graham Jarvis from Barnsley GMB moving Motion 354This Conference notes the lack of help for those leaving the armed forces, some of whom have served this country for 20 years and more. Because of the way they are treated whilst in the services, many have difficulty adjusting to civilian life. They have had years of having their needs catered for, such as access to a doctor, dentist, housing and schooling for their children. Once they leave that bubble, they often have a lack of understanding of how to register with a doctor and dentist, how to find work and how to get a child into school. This lack of knowledge can lead to ex-forces families ending up in expensive privately rented accommodation. The stresses caused can lead to family break-ups and homelessness.
Conference believes that a re-settlement programme would help those leaving the armed forces. This would teach ex-service personnel how to access services and how to write a CV and apply for jobs. Conference, therefore, calls on the government to provide a properly funded programme for those who 146
have given a service to the country. Our service personnel deserve a decent life with a decent chance of employment, housing, medical services and education for their children, after leaving the armed forces.
A re-settlement programme would give them a chance of that decent life.
Motion 118. WORKPLACE DEFIBRILLATORS
Pauline Kiely from Yorkshire Ambulance Service Branch, moving Motion 118
This Conference calls upon the GMB to support a campaign to highlight the inadequate provision of working defibrillators in our workplaces. We call upon this conference to lobby and participate with the Government, regulators and industries for all companies to demonstrate their commitment to mandatory provision of defibrillators.
Closing Procedure of Congress
As Congress 2018 comes to a close, we want to thank everyone for your hard work and contribution this week. From electing our new President, to debating motions, to fringe events and celebrating the success of the year just gone - it’s been a great week.
Once again, we want to say a huge congratulations to Barbara Plant who will be chairing our Congress next year as GMB President!
We hope you enjoyed the end of Congress slide show, if you want to watch it again, you can see it here:
On the back of Jeremy’s speech yesterday, a number of delegates have asked how to get a GMB sponsored ticket to the Labour Live music festival which takes place on June 19th in London. All you need to do is click here and enter this promotion code in the ‘discount code’ box (LLDT-GMB*) to get your free ticket: https://labourlive.festivalprosoftware.com/?showBookEvent1&EVENTID=5061&TID=35
Over the next week, we’ll be sending out a feedback survey to all delegates, to find out what you enjoyed most or would like to change and improve but in the meantime, we want to wish you a safe trip home.
Thank you for everything you do for GMB.