YESTERDAY’S TUC Congress in Bournemouth voted unanimously for coordinated industrial action to smash the coalition government’s public sector pay cap and for the outlawing of zero-hours contracts.
Delegates voted unanimously for Composite Motion 7 – Fair pay and standards in the public sector, which commits the TUC to ‘campaign for an end to the public sector pay cap, to protect pay progression and equal pay for work of equal value, an equal pay strategy prioritised in both the private and public sectors, and the outlawing of zero-hours contracts’.
The motion launches a campaign for a living wage and for the General Council to ‘support the maximum number of unions coordinating necessary industrial action, across sectors where possible, as the most effective way to break the cycle of pay restraint.’
It also calls for the TUC General Council to ‘campaign to maintain teachers’ national pay and conditions of service and entitlements of children to be taught by qualified teachers.’
The motion was moved by Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis, who said: ‘Wages are in freefall except for those who caused the crisis in the first place. Tens of thousands of women are on low pay, often below the minimum wage, it’s a scandal.’
Attacking zero-hours contracts forcing people to ‘live hand-to-mouth’, Prentis revealed: ‘Over 600,000 council workers are on zero-hours contracts.’
He went on to attack loan sharks and the fact that ‘350,000 people were using food banks last year, a 30% increase, but the rich are untouched.
‘Osborne says recovery is on the way. Try telling that to the millions without jobs.’
He pledged: ‘In Unison we will campaign. Our cause will be to move to coordinated action across all sectors. The TUC will support that.’
Seconding, Kevin Courtney of the NUT, said: ‘Britain needs a pay rise. This is the longest real wage squeeze since the 1870s. Gove is attacking every aspect of teachers’ pay and conditions. His motive is to set schools up for privatisation.
‘Our agenda is to defend national pay and conditions and to stop the privatisation of education.’
He concluded by calling on Congress to support the upcoming NUT and NASUWT rallies and strikes.
Susanne Natcurvis of the NASUWT, said: ‘Gove is out to create the conditions for private companies to make profit out of the education of young children.
‘The Secretary of State came to office with the clear intent to tear up the teachers’ contract.’
John McInally, from the PCS, said: ‘Let us say to all those who describe joint coordinated action and even the very idea of a general strike as “daft” and “delusional”, there can be no place in our movement for such cynicism and defeatism.’
Today, Labour Party leader Miliband is set to address the Congress.