Congress believes poverty is a choice made by the rich and powerful. In the sixth richest country, 1.3 million people live in absolute poverty. They don’t have to.
Congress believes that the cost-of-living crisis is a low pay crisis. The only way to end this is to give workers a pay rise.
Congress notes that more than a decade of government pay restraint and austerity has left workers vulnerable to this cost-of-living crisis. All workers in the public and private sector deserve a pay rise in order to survive in the cost-of-living crisis.
High inflation means urgent steps must be taken to improve pay and rebuild a fairer economy.
Congress recognises the work key workers have done over the last two years to keep the nation functioning through the pandemic.
But Congress also understands that there is a lack of knowledge and understanding about what those roles actually entail within the movement, never mind in the wider public.
Congress understands there is a job of work to complete to raise awareness of the true work key workers perform in order to build support from the wider public for a new deal for workers.
Congress rejects the narrative from government and the Bank of England governor that pay rises for workers are the drivers for inflationary pressures. Congress recognises that the British economy is not working for workers and their families. Britain is suffering from an epidemic of unfettered profiteering. It’s not hard-pressed workers who are driving inflation, it is whole swathes of corporate Britain who have lined their pockets.
Further, Congress recognises the economic and financial neoliberal orthodoxy of the last four decades, coupled with the freedom of movement of capital, have had a detrimental effect on Britain. It has deprived the country of investment, eroded manufacturing, welfare and public services, reduced productivity growth to zero, and increased national debt to over £2tn.
Congress calls on the General Council to co-ordinate action between unions and prioritise educational and campaigning work on:
i. pay increases at least in line with inflation
ii. governments to take seriously their responsibilities to fund public services properly and deliver a fair wage to those who provide them
iii. a £15 per hour minimum wage for all workers
iv. no zero-hour contracts
v. a right to food
vi. an awareness campaign detailing the real work of key workers working with affiliates to highlight union members and the roles they perform to build public understanding and therefore support for a new deal for workers.
vii. action on all those issues which impact on cost of living, such as:
- job security and proper sick pay
- a new welfare system to protect dignity and provide adequate income
- genuinely affordable, good quality childcare
- employers, not workers, to bear the costs of working, eg, hospital car-parking fees and mileage rates.
viii. a new national economic policy to include:
- the rebuilding of a strong manufacturing sector using the government’s leverage over public procurement and public investment
- the strengthening of an accountable public sector including taking back into public ownership transport, utilities and all other public services that have been contracted out
- establishing a national investment bank and public banks
- exchange and interest rates appropriate to the country’s needs
- financing should be obtained by taxing the enormous profits of corporations and the rich thus reducing inflationary pressures.
Workers are increasingly angry and willing to fight over low pay, as shown at the 18 June protest and the many successful ballots and strikes over pay.
Congress calls on the General Council to establish, convene and provide resources for a special working group of willing unions which would organise coordinated action over pay and terms and conditions where possible with all TUC unions, including further demonstrations, national and regional rallies, and coordinated industrial action where possible.
Supporters: Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union; Unite; Public and Commercial Services Union