On GMB sponsored councillors

On GMB sponsored councillors

Motion 193 caused some excitement in our branch. It calls for all councillors supported by the GMB to support GMB members and sign up to the implementation of GMB policies. The debate as is all the others, on youtube. It was carried, a signal perhaps of a more transactional relationship between GMB and the Labour Party.

The words of the motion moved by Newcastle City LA Branch are as follows.

193. GMB LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCILLORS This Congress calls on all GMB sponsored or supported Councillors to unequivocally support GMB members in Councils, Contracted Services, Schools and Academies. Congress notes that obtaining support from the GMB in political circles, is based on those seeking our support, signing up to the implementation of GMB policies and that includes in Public Services. Congress calls for progress on delivering this motion being reported on an on-going basis to the CEC.

Newcastle City LA Branch, Northern Region


Non-compete clauses

Non-compete clauses

On behalf of our members, I took a motion seeking to criminalise non-compete clauses, I moved the motion, and it was seconded. The CEC asked us to refer, and given the choice between that and opposition we agreed. Overleaf, you'll find the video, words of the motion and notes of my speech. I conclude with the following phrases,

The CEC will ask you to refer this motion as they have not made up their mind on the govt’s proposed options. Only prohibition works for our members.

GMB & the Energy Industry

GMB & the Energy Industry

In terms of developing public policy, one of the most important debates at GMB Congress is the Energy Industry debate.

This, like all the others is on Youtube and focus on two composite motions, one calling for continued investment in Sizewell C and the nuclear industry as the only reliable zero-carbon generator source, and the other calling on an acceleration of the use and creation of Hydrogen. The latter motion makes the point that with Tories globalisation strategy, capability and jobs in the renewable sector are often offshored. It does not call for the reopening of the gas storage facilities closedby the privatised gas industry which it should because electricity cannot be stored at scale, gas can be if you have the storage capacity. Much of what it says in the Gas motion would make more sense in the context of a nationalisation or at least a mandatory national plan. The motions calling for nationalisation were marked existing policy and so not scheduled for debate.

The CEC qualified its support on three of the motions stating that it could not support words that suggested discrimination against migrants, (hooray), could not support policies in breach of the WTO trade rules, although would campaign/lobby to change them and that it considered OFGEM to be a flawed institution and asking for anything from them would be a waste of time and effort.

Earlier in the day, two motions (140 & 141) were debated. M140 calls for an integrated approach to tax and subsidy on generation and transport for low-carbon energy. It was compellingly moved by Adrian Stohr with a brave statement about the limits of incremental change today’s energy infrastructure. M141 calls for a renewables development authority and an economic plan to reduce carbon in steel manufacture. Again, it mentions the import of goods, and the export of jobs and tax spend. …

Rachel Reeves at GMB Congress

Here are my notes from Rachel Reeves speech to GMB Congress. It comes as a surprise to me that she’s a member of GMB, I thought she was in Unite, but possibly like so many MPs , she’s in more than one. The full speech and Q&A session is available online. Some of what she said, I have heard before, but interestingly she promised the biggest programme of in-sourcing in history. Some might call this nationalisation!!!

Another slogan I picked from the speech is having a buy British first policy, admittedly the options are much narrower after Brexit as so many European suppliers now choose not to sell to us because the cost of delivery is so high.

She highlighted the Tories shrinking of the UK’s gas storage capability which is one of the prime causes to the volatility of the level of prices.

Labour will increase SSP, although no targets announced. They will introduce sectoral collective bargaining, starting with social care and prohibit the use of scab agency labour.

She announced that new Infrastructure Bank will only lend on the basis of a jobs/wages contract. She will also ensure that there is a worker director on the board. This was very popular but the jobs contract is the more important promise.

There were a number of questions raised.

London Region asked a question on the WASPI women, while RR condemned the Tories for  letting the problem arise, her promises to put this right were harder to find. Perhaps the question should have covered all the Tory pension theft some of which is much more hidden.

In reply to a question, she announced the end of Tebbit’s Rule, defending people’s right to make a home and the government’s duty to have a comprehensive levelling up programme which brings high pay, high skill jobs to the whole country. It’s a task when one considers that many communities in the UK are the poorest in Europe.

One delegate got the cheer of the week asking why Starmer couldn’t support the rail workers. Reeves did not answer although spoke of her own committent to the Union movement and the labour link. She was very unsure in her reply to this question. She was strong on strikes, less so on Kier on which she was silent.

It’s GMB so I have to report on the question on domestic nukes and hydrogen. We want’em, and she’ll give them to us. …

Build more social homes

Build more social homes

Our housing motion was debated and carried with a qualification. We called for the building of 100,000 council homes, ending the right to buy confirming current policy but recognising it’s stalled, reforming housing finance accounts, greening of the social estate, insourcing of jobs, ending no fault evictions which was a new policy for GMB. We also called on the GMB to mount a political campaign to achieve these goals. The motion was moved by another delegate and was carried with qualification, the text of the motion is overleaf ...<.p>

GMB Congress 22 and training of reps.

There now follows a series of blog articles based on my notes and activities at GMB Congress 22, they are tagged as such. I was a delegate from my Branch, and thus part of the London Region delegation. The first motion we had to move was M66 on the Union training programme.

Our key demand is that they unbundle the H&S reps from the workplace organiser training. The current training is 30 days on block release and without facility time an onourous commitment and while it can be spread over several years this relies on someone staying at the same place for long enough.

Our key insight is that we can get the Union in the door via H&S, it only takes two people, it takes 50% of the work force to win a recognition dispute.

We asked for a CEC i.e. national review of the training programme, but even this the CEC asked for refer and will probably dump this on the Regions which isn’t really what we wanted. I asked the Regional delegation to ask fora better recommendation, but they didn't want to.

My speech and the mmotion's text are overleaf ...