An article in the Financial Times of July 28, 2008 confirms that the TUC Unions got virtually no concessions from Brown at the recent Labour Party Policy Forum in Warwick. The article points out the the Union leaderships’ 130 demands were virtually ignored. Big business was happy with the outcome:
Gordon Brown was on Monday praised by business for resisting “the worst” union demands on policy, but urged to stand his ground in the run-up to this autumn’s politically charged party conference season. Business reacted with undisguised relief to the measures for Labour’s next manifesto hammered out at the party’s National Policy Forum. Facing a list of 130 union demands, Mr Brown rejected the vast majority outright and gave little ground on the remainder.
Employers said the document that emerged from the weekend talks between ministers, unions and Labour activists - a central plank of the party’s policymaking machine - contained little to cause them alarm.
After stripping out union-friendly rhetoric and vague assurances, the document was notable principally for the lack of substantive new commitments. The main exception was the pledge to lower the age threshold for paying the adult rate of the national minimum wage from 22 to 21, subject to advice from the Low Pay Commission.
“We’re pleased that this agreement appears to be mainly a rehash of existing policies,” the EEF manufacturers’ organisation said. Stephen Alambritis of the Federation of Small Businesses told the FT: “We’re keeping a beady eye on this [area] but there’s nothing earth-shatteringly new that would worry us in it.”
Rejected policies included the abolition of the ban on secondary picketing, the reopening of public sector pay deals and higher taxes for people earning more than £40,000.
Solidarity feels that the TUC Unions would find it difficult to make a real case for their continued financial backing of Labour. They are getting very little in return for the large sums of cash they donate. What policies are their members’ money going to support? The TUC unions provide 90% of the funding for the Labour Party but seem unable to deliver policies that are in the interests of their members. Is it right that Union bosses should vote in favour of privatisation of public services, or for pay cuts for their members? Our misguided Brothers and Sisters in other Unions should realise that NuLab is not the friend of working people! At the minimum they should opt-out of the political fund but better still they should join a Union that doesn't collude with either the Bosses or the political class - Solidarity.