TUC:BACK TO UNION ROOTS
malecki at algonet.se
Sat Jun 22 07:52:42 MDT 1996
Forward to Marxist list;
malecki in exile
>Subject: TUC info - Get back to roots, Monks tells unions
>Date: 17 June 1996
>Embargo: 10.35am Tuesday 18 June
>Get back to roots, Monks tells unions
>New Unionism launched at TUC conference today
>TUC general secretary John Monks today called on unions to get back to
>their organising roots and not to look to Labour to reverse membership
>Speaking to 250 union delegates at a specially convened conference,
>New Unionism - organising for growth, John Monks called for a radical
>expansion in union influence and membership. The conference, held at
>the Barbican Centre in the heart of traditionally hostile union
>territory in the City of London, marks the launch of a major
>recruitment offensive by 71 unions representing nearly 7 million
>John Monks warned unions not to rely on Labour to solve all their
>problems. He said: "Of course there may be a change of government
>soon. But though a Labour Administration will end years of hostility
>and animosity towards organised labour which we have endured since
>1979, we cannot and must not rely on a change of public policy to lead
>to an increase in union membership. Recruitment is a job for unions
>not for government."
>Monks set out the stall for New Unionism which includes:
> putting recruitment and organisation first
> attracting "new workers" by striking new deals for carers and
> transcending national barriers to tackle multinationals and to
>build European Works Councils
> Sharpening union appeal by offering top class services and benefits
> Bargaining for skills - the TUC is already set up joint projects
>with over 20 TECs
> Working in partnership with decent employers - and taking on the
>He admitted that the labour market is changing faster than unions are
>and called on leaders to prioritise recruiting in new jobs and
>industries - instead of competing for a shrinking pool of members in
>old union strongholds. He warned: "In our current state the last
>thing we need is an outbreak of civil war. There is no need to fish
>in the same waters or steal each others' catches."
>And he issued a strong warning to Britain's new breed of union busting
>bosses, saying that the TUC would never accept that any sector or any
>company could become a union no go area.
>The Conservative government's anti-union record also came under
>attack. John Monks said: "Eight acts of parliament over the past 17
>years have all but forced union organisers to work with their hands
>tied behind their backs." But he reminded delegates that the upsurge
>in first wave New Unionism at the end of the last century, which
>attracted thousands of women, young and casual workers into
>membership, was operating in a politically cold climate too.
>He said that today's unions need to attract workers in the insecure
>service sector, including fast food chains "where the staff come and
>go almost as quickly as the customers". He pointed out that for much
>of the workforce the full-time steady job is a thing of the past and
>called on unions to adapt to the changing face of the labour market.
>He added: "New Unionism is not about looking back but about renewal
>and facing up to the future."
>Monks urged British unions to learn from the experience of sister
>unions overseas and go for "total trade unionism" - a comprehensive
>trade unionism covering all sections of the workforce, including
>women, part-timers and the self employed. He added: "We need to grow.
> We owe it to ourselves, but more important we owe it to all those
>workers alone - and often very frightened - in today's world of work."
>Note to editors
>A copy of the full text of the speech is available from the TUC.
>Contact: Frances O'Grady 0171 467 118 (w) or 0171 609 0187 (h)
>or Dee Sullivan 0171 467 1248 (w) or 01426 317903 (pager)
>or John Healey 01399 78395 (pager)
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