Friday, 24 September 2010

Trades Union Congress Sept 2010

The visit of Methodists to the Trades Union Congress is now nine years old and has been important in providing a platform to cooperate over a number of issues most notably migrant workers, asylum (or what we now prefer to call sanctuary) seekers, and vulnerable workers. Methodists were present at the birth of the Union movement, at the iconic Tolpuddle march and later at the first congress. The Forward movement of the 19th Century and the Union movement shared many personnel and links.

The policy making body of the TUC is the annual Congress which meets for four days each year during September. Each affiliated union can send delegates to Congress - the larger the union, the more it can send. At Congress 'motions' (resolutions for debate) are proposed and discussed. These form the basis of the TUC's work for the next year.

This year's Congress was held at the Manchester Central Convention Complex from the 13th - 16th September.

Inside the Conference hall in Manchester debates were orientated around the concern over the new coalition governments emergency budget and the forthcoming comprehensive spending review which are dominating the political landscape. The Unions fundamentally disagree that cutting expenditure is the correct way forward for the economy. Believing that fairer taxation and maintaining employment are crucial they argued that the reduction in public sector employment will hurt the poor the most.

We had a very informative meeting with Hannah Reed highlighting her concerns regarding the extent of the potential cuts and their impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Hannah is the Senior Employment Rights Officer for the TUC and leads on issues relating to vulnerable employees, casual and agency employees. Hannah is also a practicing Methodist and a member of the Faith and Order Network.

Gareth Wallace- Assistant Public Affairs Officer, Salvation Army
Chris Chesters- Moderator of the Industrial Mission Association
Rev'd Alison Tomlin -President
Paul Morrison - Policy Advisor Joint Public Information Team (JPIT)
Hannah Reed - TUC Employment Rights Officer
Deacon Eunice Attwood- Vice -President
Rosa Leto - Chair of Methodist Workplace Chaplains Council

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