Friday, September 22, 2006


The Greens have a small but committed trade union group and a good deal of the speakers identify themselves as trade unionists.

The also passed an emergency motion yesterday as follows;

"This conference supports the workers at NHS logistics in their strike action against being privatised and calls for an immediate halt to all privatisation of the NHS. Conference calls upon GPEx to publicise our support."

Which is great. It's interesting the level of openness to the trade unions that exists in the party. Today one of the main speakers was Brian Synott from the European Federation of Public Services Unions (which includes lots of the main unions in the UK) who spoke interestingly and well on what's happening at a European level.

With this level of support the Green trade union group really needs to raise their game to turn "support" into real active involvement. Although it's unfair, many people certainly would not associate the Greens with Trade Unions and the only way to turn that around is to get to the front of the movement. At least it's good to see here in the hall, I wondered if there would be any opposition to trade unionism and it appears there is consensus. Cool.

Another, more problematic motion was passed earlier today which, whilst having it's heart in the right places needs much more thought as to the implications.

"The Green Party believes it is wrong in principle that private health care companies and agencies should be able to employ or use staff who have been expensively trained by the NHS without contributing something to the cost of that training. Therefore companies, including pharmaceutical companies, employing or using NHS trained healthcare professionals outside the NHS will have to pay an additional training tax. This will take the form of a levy for each person hour during which they employ or use NHS trained staff outside the NHS. The proceeds from this levy will go directly into the NHS Tax which the Green Party is going to create."

Leaving aside the fact that this may make laid off NHS staff near unemployable by any employer with an eye to cost the whole emphasis is wrong. It's focus is on the individual health worker not the structures of the health system. A cleaner isn't expensively trained but they should be an NHS member of staff not in the hands of a private company.

We should abolish the agencies and privateers and take the whole of the health care system into public ownership not tinker about making NHS trained workers more expensive to employ than their private counterparts.


Anonymous said...

WHat does "raise your game mean" in the context of the green partyTU group? Why not tell the GPTU that its robust raft of proposals has reached tipping point, if you like cliches so much. Both the NHS motion and the other one on repeal of anti TU laws (see below)are known to the GP press office, what have they done?

If any readers of this blog want to make these motions known to TU and left oragnisations do so. Nobody else will.

text of tu law motion

Motion passed by The Green Party Conference re TRADE UNION FREEDOM BILL 24/9/2006

UK workers have the least rights of any group of workers in the EU and British trade unions are constrained by the most draconian anti-trade union laws in Europe, which prevent them from fighting to their full ability for the rights of their members. The Green Party, as a party which supports social justice and trade union rights, supports the right of UK workers to receive fair and equal representation in their negotiations with employers and their organisations, and to take industrial action when their rights are threatened.

We call upon the Green Party Executive to support the Trade Union Freedom Bill and to
support the Campaign for the Repeal of the Anti-Trade Union laws.

Proposed by The Green Party Trade Union Group:
CONTACT Peter Murry yrrumuk
077 365 251 87

Jim Jay said...

What raise your game mean? It's certainly not inteded as an attack, which, perhaps you think it was.

Without having to time to reread what I wrote I think it's fair to say there are lots of good motions and policies on the trade unions and some very good trade union speakers at conference, what needs work is translating that into information that people outside the green party knows and also taking the green party more coherently into the trade union movement.

I thought the TU workshops and motions were very useful but it's an area that we need to make massive improvement too - not in intentions but in terms of real involvement. I actually think that's pretty uncontroversial, but perhaps you took it to be slightly hostile - I'm going to go over everything i blogged at conference tomorrow to tidy them up so i'll bear this in mind to look out for badly worded sections.