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Union prepares for debates at TUC Congress

BECTU's flag in gold and blue. BECTU will be contributing to several debates at September's TUC Congress in London.

12 July 2011

Vulnerable workers and health and safety are the themes chosen by BECTU for its motions to the TUC Congress in September.

The union's membership covers the broadest spectrum of working situations and as such BECTU is well placed to understand the needs not only of staff but of its growing freelance membership.

The TUC's 2011 Congress will be held in London at Congress House from 12-14 September.

Vulnerable and Atypical Workers

In a motion highlighting the need for more strategic action to support vulnerable and atypical Workers, BECTU submits:

"Congress notes the extremely valuable work already undertaken on vulnerable workers, including the TUC Commission on Vulnerable Employment.

 "Noting the spread of atypical employment (including freelance, casual, short-term contract and self-employed workers), Congress wishes to further develop the TUC’s strategic approach in this area, by encouraging campaigns for T.U. [trade union] recognition and by focussing on both private and public sector areas of organisation.

Congress therefore calls on the General Council to convene a meeting of unions interested in pursuing this work."

Health and Safety Spending Cuts

On health and safety, BECTU highlights the real risk to workers' health and safety threatened by dramatic cuts to the funding of the Health and Safety Executive.

 The union's motion reads:

"Congress notes that the Health & Safety Executive faces spending cuts of at least 35% over 3 years, leading to an estimated budget reduction of over £80 million per year by 2014-2015, to possibly 700 redundancies and to potential office closures.  Congress also notes that cuts in Local Government spending will impact on the role of environmental health officers.
 
"Congress expresses concern at the consequential reduction in health and safety enforcement activity, with an anticipated 33% reduction in proactive HSE inspections.  Congress believes that a weaker enforcement regime will inevitably lead to increased deaths, injuries and sickness arising from work.

"Congress therefore calls on the General Council to campaign strongly against these ill-conceived spending cuts in enforcement activity and to point out their serious consequences for workers’ health and safety."

Young workers and the national minimum wage

In April this year, Samuel Smith (Royal Opera House branch) and Hannah O'Grady (Writers Producers and Directors branch) represented BECTU at the annual TUC Young Persons' Conference for trade unionists up to age 27.  Read their report.

Delegates there agreed to send a motion to September's Congress which calls on the TUC and its affiliates to campaign to:

  • end the discrimination inherent in NMW differentials
  • end exemptions in apprenticeships and internships
  • take significant steps towards closing the gender pay gap for low paid workers
  • introduce stringent penalties for employers who do not comply with the law
  • raise the NMW to a minimum of £7 an hour or to where it would constitute a living as opposed to a minimum wage.  

Feeding back on discussions in the spring, Samuel and Hannah wrote:

"If the trade union movement wish to champion the cause of young workers .... pressure needs to be brought against the government in order to change the law regarding the NMW."

Find out more about BECTU's New Entrant membership. If you are currently a young BECTU member and would like to get involved in BECTU's work for young members contact us with Young Members in the subject line. 

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