The trade unions which fund the Labour Party have failed to get their shopping list of demands taken up as policy at Labour’s National Policy Forum.
As the FT said “If this is a union victory I would hate to see them lose“. Here’s what they didn’t get:
* A change in the ballot process to make industrial action less prone to end up in the courts
* A windfall tax on fuel companies
* A change in the law to make secondary action easier
* A rise in the National Insurance ceiling
* An end to the privatisation of the welfare state
* Free meals in primary schools [in England]
Well, the first Warwick Agreement resulted in the unions continuing to back Labour on the basis of promises which haven’t been kept. So, it’s not as if agreed changes in policy would have been adhered to by ministers…
But as the News Line comments, union leaders failed to put up a fight:
The policy conference treated the trade unions and the working class like dirt. There was not even an attempt to disguise the fact that it was full steam ahead for three year wage cutting deals, privatisation, and the ending of all workers final salary pension schemes.
The joint union-party statement that emerged is truly pathetic since it does not deal with a single policy.
It states: ‘The Labour Party today announced it had agreed a comprehensive policy programme looking ahead to a fourth-term Labour Government.
‘Representatives for the local Labour parties (CLPs) and trade unions joined government ministers to welcome the deal, following a three-year process of consultation and discussion. The policies will go forward to feed in to Labour’s manifesto.
‘Simon Burgess, Vice Chair of the National Policy Forum, said: “This has been a comprehensive policy process unique in British politics. We have spent three years in close conversation with the British people, the trade unions, business and voluntary organisations”. . .’ And business has won hands down.
The statement continued that ‘Tony Dubbins Chair of the Trade Union Liaison Organisation (TULO) said: “After three years of discussions, culminating in an intensive weekend of keenly debated issues, the unions are pleased to join the CLPs and ministers in welcoming a set of policies which we believe positively address this agenda for the future of the British people. We have worked together co-operatively and effectively in the finest traditions of the Labour movement”.’
Dubbins was unable to name or laud a single policy decision that had been reached.
No wonder Brown was able to quit the conference – the trade union leaders were in the bag and were determined to do nothing that would rock Brown’s boat.