06/10/2007 - UNITE at the Labour Conference - Will they ever learn?

Unite is a big Union. It tabled a motion at the 2007 Labour Conference calling on the Government to extend full employment rates to agency and temporary workers. Unite produced a long list of examples where regular jobs have been replaced by agency jobs - often migrant labour. These jobs are lower paid and with far worse conditions. There have been a number of industrial disputes related to the use of agency workers to replace regular workers. Jack Dromey, deputy general secretary of the TGWU section of Unite, said: -
"The number of those directly employed is falling and the numbers of agency workers, overwhelmingly immigrants on poorer conditions, are growing."
Clearly a problem. So was the motion passed? No. It was not even voted on following changes to the Labour Party structure introduced the week before by Gordon Brown.  Next year policy motions will not even make it to debate - they will be dealt with behind closed doors by a special committee.
Solidarity has been vilified because it has opposed the large influx of migrants. Other countries acted to block this with the result that larger numbers came here - with effects on wage rates, working conditions and demands on over-stretched services. Some of our Brothers in other Unions believe that if only the government introduces legislation to give all workers equal rights all will be well. They have been treated with contempt thus far. Others believe that the answer is to unionise the migrants. We understand this desire but we don't believe it will work. The main advantage of cheap labour is that it is cheap. If migrants join Unions they become expensive in comparison.  The strategy of the TUC affiliates is based on a misguided, shallow internationalism. What is required is a Union that stands up for British Workers. That Union is Solidarity.